Hornbill Unleashed

March 28, 2013

Najib leaves Taib video expose to MACC probe

CLARA CHOOI

The Financial Times reported that the prime minister declined to address the expose by Global Witness directly during the interview. 

Barisan Nasional (BN) is “equally as concerned about corruption” as its critics but the problem cannot go away overnight, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in a Financial Times (FT) interview carried today, in the wake of a damning expose on Sarawak’s timber scandals.

The international financial daily reported that the prime minister declined to address the expose by Global Witness (GW) directly during the interview, pointing out that Malaysian graftbusters were already investigating the allegations against Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.

“Prostitution and corruption are two things that mankind has had to live with for so long. But we are determined to tackle it. It is a scourge. But it is something that will not go away overnight,” he was quoted saying.

In the article describing the likely heated contest that Najib will face in Election 2013, FT noted that Umno is vulnerable on the topic of corruption, which the federal opposition will use as its key weapon on the campaign trail.

The business paper pointed to the numerous allegations of bribes allegedly used to secure government contracts, and Malaysia’s ranking of 54 out of 176 countries in Transparency International Malaysia’s (TI-M) 2012 corruption perception index.

Taib has denied all involvement in the timber scandal. — file picNajib’s pledge to transform and reform the country includes promises to stamp out corruption and be more transparent, but the series of graft exposes involving administrators in his team has continued to hamper progress.

In the latest revelation by London-based environmental group Global Witness, Taib found himself at the centre of corruption allegations again in a video of a covert investigation on Sarawak’s timber scandals.

The video, titled “Inside Malaysia’s Shadow State”, showed dealings by GW’s undercover investigators with Taib’s cousins and several other intermediaries to acquire thousands of hectares of forest land, which the group said would displace thousands of indigenous people living there.

Taib has since played innocent and denied his involvement, and his government has even initiated its own probe to determine if the video was an attempt by the opposition to discredit him ahead of Election 2013, a contest deemed the most critical yet for the ruling BN coalition.

FT said Najib’s team could well be upstaged by Pakatan Rakyat (PR), the loose coalition of opposition parties PKR, DAP and PAS that has grown significantly in strength and in numbers since its harried formation five years ago.

PR had a taste of victory in the last March 2008 general election when it robbed BN of its two-thirds parliamentary majority and won in five states and a federal territory.

Should Najib lead BN to only a narrow win in the next election, the country’s sixth prime minister could face a leadership challenge within Umno.

But Najib appeared to acknowledge this during the interview, pointing out that he had allowed himself the risk when he changed Umno’s constitution to make it easier to challenge the party’s leadership.

“I’ve made Umno more democratic, more inclusive. Of course, by doing that I’m putting myself at risk. But I believe that what were doing is good for the country and good for the party,” he was quoted saying.

Prostitution and corruption are two things that mankind has had to live with for so long. But we are determined to tackle it. It is a scourge. But it is something that will not go away overnight. — Najib Razak

Economy-wise, FT wrote that Najib has the advantage of incumbency as he led Malaysia through an economic performance last year that, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), had “surpassed expectations”.

The paper pointed out that the Malaysian economy grew 5.6 per cent, driven by a robust domestic demand and exports of commodities like gas and palm oil.

Citing HSBC, FT noted that foreign confidence in Najib’s reforms has also seen foreign holdings of Malaysian government bonds soar by 550 per cent to RM215 billion since 2009.

But the paper pointed to concerns all around over the government’s debt to GDP ratio of 51 per cent, and noted that government revenues were weak.

Responding to this, Najib said his government will look at widening the tax base, appearing to hint that once polls are done, the highly-awaited goods and services tax may be introduced, after it was shelved following public uproar.

“I will look at the tax structure, definitely, because we need to enhance the revenue base. The government revenue base has to be predicated on a much stronger footing,” he was quoted saying.

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11 Comments »

  1. So MACC finally acted and raided the office of one of the two lawyers implicated in the video of Global Witness. Let me share with you this. Election is just weeks away and pressure was mounting on Najib to nudge Taib. Could MACC be looking for incriminating documents in the lawyer’s office to confiscate or that Taib would be safe? They have yet to touch the Rahman sisters, Fatimah and Nolia who are the cousins of Taib and the daughters of former CM and Head of State, Addul Rahman Yacub. And Taib was never been called to give statement to the police or MACC yet. The conclusion is MACC is just putting up a side show.

    Comment by Affendi Nawawi — March 28, 2013 @ 11:23 PM | Reply

  2. Aim Air See See found no evidence of any wrong-doing … case close

    Comment by tigeryk — March 28, 2013 @ 6:52 PM | Reply

  3. TRY a NEW GOVERNMENT, simply FORGET BARISAN NASIONAL this time and GO FOR PAKATAN RAKYAT.
    Afterall, it does not cost Malaysia anything to change the government but it does cost Malaysia a lot if corruption and malpractices persist.

    Comment by Ayen Piyat Tawai — March 28, 2013 @ 6:17 PM | Reply

  4. All forms of corruption and power abuse shall be thoroughly investigated within the first 100 days of Pakatan Rakyat rule. Malaysians are very confident the PR leadership will be able to accomplish that without resorting to witch hunting. Why is it that Najib cannot order MACC to probe Taib Mahmud or was he unwilling and did not want to end corruption at all?

    Comment by Mata Kuching — March 28, 2013 @ 3:02 PM | Reply

    • Najib and his agent the MACC and PDRM were always super fast to act on any corruption reports lodged against Pakatan policians and thier aides. But the same was never applied by his administration and its two stooges against any BN lawmaker.

      Comment by Affendi Nawawi — March 28, 2013 @ 4:11 PM | Reply

    • Is PetroSaudi Internationl Ltd a new vehicle used by the Sarawak’s thief minister and Najib to park their ill gotten wealth overseas and to siphon more assets through projects JVs?

      Comment by Mata Kuching — March 28, 2013 @ 5:01 PM | Reply

  5. IT DOES NOT TAKE LONG TO TACKLE MOST OF THE CORRUPTION IN MALAYSIA. The truth is most of those who are corrupted ARE NOT SMART – its just that its SO EASY to do it. Taib’s video proof it and all the evidence that has ever come out, and its really flimsy evidence shows how CRUDE they are..

    All it takes to wipe out majority of the corruption is to put a team of calibre people such as Rafizi and Tony Pua and large part of it would be wiped out within a term..The rest of it can be tackle over time. The truth is its the small potatos that Najib has gone after that is hard to wipe out because its almost cultural such as in the police and municipalities and small agencies. The big ones, it won’t take long because THEY ARE SIMPLY NOT VERY BRIGHT!

    Comment by BigJoe — March 28, 2013 @ 1:14 PM | Reply

  6. If Najib has any nuts at all he would tell Taib Mahmud to step down, without pay (since he is already filthy rich through filthy means) while he is investigated for corruption. But to ask the MACC to investigate Taib is rather like asking the police to investigate itself or the armed forces to investigate itself or the police to investigate Rosmah Mansor. It amounts to a sick joke. Because we have a sick regime of sickos, of deranged retards, of supreme thieves, liars and racists sitting on and protecting each other’s coveted stash. You woudn’t expect anything more than this from lameduck Najib, would you, who has no personal credibility and absolutely no political legitimacy. Neither does Taib. This is why birds of a feather flock together. A den of thieves.

    Comment by OtakPusing — March 28, 2013 @ 12:38 PM | Reply

  7. If Pakatan takes over the federal governance this time.

    The first thing I want to see is the immediate arrest of Mahathir and Taib, their cronies and families.

    As much as I support Pakatan and DSAI, I will not agree things to be swept under the carpet or any secret immunity signed.

    Comment by kswoon — March 28, 2013 @ 12:03 PM | Reply

  8. Najib, corruption in UMNO and BN did not happen recently and infact it was already deeply ingrained in BN’s culture when you pride yourself as the youngest MP then.

    Comment by Doris Andrew — March 28, 2013 @ 10:57 AM | Reply

  9. MACC will say they done their job and leave it to AG.

    And AG will say he has no power.

    So who has power? Gandalf? Or Sauron or Satan?

    Comment by Sempulang Gana — March 28, 2013 @ 9:23 AM | Reply


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