As the world focus on the Greek situation and GREXIT, Malaysians are witnessing another form of exit in the form of their corrupted Prime Minister Najib who is being barraged with strings of disclosures of scandals, wheeling and dealings of billions of dollars of public funds via the debt ridden govern-ment owned investment company 1MDB. I called it NEXIT (Najib exit). As it stands out it appears that he may be facing criminal charges on embezzlement and Criminal Breach of Trust.
Najib Razak, Malaysia’s Prime Minister since 2009, is facing the greatest challenge of his leadership – and even the risk of criminal charges. – Forbes
NAJIB NOT EXPECTED TO LAST THE MONTH AS PM: Ringgit, markets bloodbath feared as full-blown political crisis sets in
KUALA LUMPUR – Plunged into its most serious political crisis in decades, Malaysia is on watch for Prime Minister Najib Razak’s resignation.
The shock development followed sensational news that a massive RM2.6 billion of public money was illicitly transferred via 1MDB-linked companies into his personal bank account in 2013.
But political insiders say the 61-year-old son of a former prime minister won’t give in so easily and will try to negotiate his way out.
Even so, they don’t expect Najib to last long as the PM, pointing to ‘irreversible forces’ in play in his Umno party.
“It looks like very soon, he may not last the month,” MP for Batu Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.
“But there is still a lot of uncertainty. For sure, Najib won’t go so willingly. Umno will split.”
Don’t drag Malaysia down
Indeed, political watchers are praying for Najib to ‘go honorably’. Even a member of Malaysia’s influential royalty has issued what is perceived to be a veiled hint to Najib to do the right thing by the people.
“Corruption is a serious crime. Do you know what is the punishment for committing it? Nothing… if you are a member of certain organisations,” the Johor Crown Prince, Tunku Ismail posted on Facebook.
“Being corrupted is a very bad trait. Being silent and doing nothing about it, however, is even worse. I would prefer even to fail with honour, than to win by cheating.”
Although the Prince did not mention Najib by name, he recently mocked the PM as someone who had ‘everything to hide’, triggering massive debate in the country over the 1MDB debacle, corrupt leaders and how to bring them to justice.
Economic, markets ‘bloodbath’ on the horizon
Najib’s 1MDB sovereign fund – wholly owned by the Finance Ministry of which he personally heads – has been a key factor plunging Malaysia into an economic down spiral, with a run on the ringgit forcing the currency to plummet to 1997 Asian Crisis levels of 3.80 to the U.S. dollar.
Efforts by the Najib administration to save the economy from further pain by successfully averting a ratings cut by Fitch now appear wasted, razed by the red-hot Wall Street Journal expose’ of his alleged corruption.
A markets bloodbath is expected on Monday, with no speedy end in sight for the country’s worst political crisis, with some even fearing that Najib might resort to iron-handed steps, such as declaring emergency rule.
With Najib still influential and unwilling to let go of the powerful PM’s post, a split down the line in his Umno party is already taking place as ‘warlords’ from different factions jostle each other to survive the fallout. This could prolong and worsen Malaysia’s instability, causing a real and fierce capital flight, analysts warn.
“No one seems to know how to bring Najib down if he insists on staying put. He controls the Umno supreme council and if they don’t ask him to step down, those in Umno who want him to be suspended for a full and independent probe to take place will be thwarted,” said a top political analyst.
“People say based on the Constitution, the power rests with the Attorney General but will Gani Patail exercise his discretion to save the nation. Najib has been his boss and benefactor, he may not act independently or in the interest of the country.”
Emergency meeting in Parliament as Umno civil war worsens, with Najib unwilling to relinquish power
However, Najib’s foes inside Umno such as former premier Mahathir Mohamad are unlikely to accept this, and as such, many expect the fight to get worse before it could possibly end.
“Mahathir has all the cards and he will deal these out one by one – each deadlier than the other. The latest expose has been described as a nuke bomb – so imagine what other secrets he will reveal, given Najib’s less than innocent past,” said Tian.
“In such a scenario, with Umno fighting, how can Malaysia not be destabilized and this is why the Opposition is calling for an emergency meeting.”
Alarmed at the swift down spiral, the federal Opposition has called for an emergency meeting of ‘progressive MPs’ in Parliament. Although they not have announced it, word in town is that a no-confidence vote against Najib will soon be attempted and appeals made to the King to step in.
Wan Azizah, who heads the PKR party and is also the wife of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, has urged lawmakers from both sides of the divide, as well as non-governmental organisations “disgusted with corruption” to join the Tuesday meeting.
“The meeting is to consider the impact, implications and Malaysia’s future as a result of the WSJ (Wall Street Journal) allegation and the Attorney-General’s confirmation on the existence of document from a government special task force probe on the serious charge of embezzlement against the prime minister,” said another Opposition stalwart Lim Kit Siang in a statement. – Malaysia Chronicle