Hornbill Unleashed

January 12, 2014

‘Wolf of Wall Street’ dogs silent Najib’s heels

Filed under: Human rights,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 6:00 AM
Tags: , , ,

Hazlan Zakaria

As lawyers of the “Wolf of Wall Street” bay for corruption allegations from British journalist Clare Rewcastle-Brown to be retracted, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak remains silent about the expensive habits of his step-son who produced the movie.

Lawyers representing Red Granite Pictures headed by Najib’s step-son Riza Aziz sent a letter of demand asking Brown to retract her story posted on whistleblower website Sarawak Report. Riza is the son of his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor from a previous marriage.

Brown had asked if the billions of public funds parked by national investment arm 1MDB in questionable off-shore accounts ended up in Riza’s pocket.

This is because she could find no records of Riza making the millions necessary to invest in the Hollywood movies he is producing.

Incidentally 1MDB is headed by another controversially big-spending Malaysian Jho Low, said to be close to Riza who is also a personal friend of “Wolf of Wall Street” star Leonardo DiCaprio and was present at the movie’s launch.

The legal letter accused Brown of deliberately and maliciously crafting the story to push a political agenda and implicate Riza.

Brown’s article, however, seems to be based on public records, news reports and Riza’s and his Red Granite partner Joey McFarland’s own words in previous interviews with Hollywood media.

The journalist, well known for her criticisms of the Malaysian government and Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and has been denied entry into Malaysia, raised relevant questions which beg for answers.

Questions that even the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) raised its eyebrows at, though admitting that it has no power to investigate cases where excess expenditures do not match the income of individuals noted.

But as a body that is supposed to combat graft, its effectiveness is questionable when it cannot query individuals who seem to be living beyond their means, especially those close to the halls of power, like Riza.

MACC is perhaps looking to make up for this deficiency by publicly asking that a clause be inserted to enable it to investigate such cases, hoping to erase its paper tiger image.

Such a legal suit in open court is perhaps good as it may bring to light details of Riza’s finances. If everything is above board, it would clear him and if not, it would give rise to more pertinent inquiries.

Many interested parties would be pleased to see Riza and Najib clarify the matter. If they have nothing to hide, like Brown said, it would be better for them to come clean and lay their cards on the table.

The legal tactics aimed at Brown at the moment smack of intimidation and seem like an attempt to scare away further queries.

But more than just questions about public funds that may have been misused, Najib should also break his silence to answer to the people of Malaysia that he is accountable to, on the activities of his step-son and his links to it, true or not.

As Brown pointed out in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Riza had said that “I have leeway, but he likes to know that the projects we do have pedigree”.

This was in answer to a question on what Najib thinks of his (Riza’s) new venture.

Riza’s claim of having “leeway” shows that Najib knows of Riza’s activities.

This calls to question Najib’s numerous appeals for Islamic moderation, morality and austerity at home when his son spent millions on lavish parties and morally questionable movies overseas.

The “Wolf of Wall Street” portrays the glamorous life of Wall Street businessmen who wrangle their way past legal hurdles in the quest for more and more cash and the decadent lifestyle they lead, loaded with sex and drugs.

Riza has been known to throw a lavish party or two as befitting his role as a Hollywood movie-maker.

Of course, Najib can do what Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz did when asked about allegations that his son Nedim Nazri bought a RM7 million bungalow; Nazri said that what his son did or did not do is not his business.

Najib can say that he has nothing to do with what Riza does, “leeway” or not, though it speaks ill for his family members to be flouting his own call for austerity and moderation.

But more still, as prime minister, he has the moral responsibility to explain his connection or lack thereof to a movie that portrays such immorality and 506 instances of the “F” word when he preaches moderation, morality and Islamic values at home.

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3 Comments »

  1. Probably the RM22 billion that supposedly Sarawak has in reserve are also parked in someone’s own account? Imagine the interest they can earn on a single day!

    Comment by brian — January 13, 2014 @ 12:01 PM | Reply

  2. Is the son after Clare? Or the father?

    Comment by Adoi — January 12, 2014 @ 7:49 PM | Reply

  3. 1MDB ‘s fund parked in offshore was definitely being misused to benefit mega projects initiated by Rosmah Mansor and business partner , Sarawak paramount thief minister, Taib Mahmud.

    Comment by Mata Kuching — January 12, 2014 @ 11:51 AM | Reply


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