Drama king Najib at it again, this time over IRB’s bankruptcy notice

By Julian Tan


POLITICIANS will stop at nothing to draw our sympathy to retain and gain public support, including dramatising events that have no significant impact. And since being booted from Putrajaya in 2018, ex-PM Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak has elevated political theatrics into an art form.

The latest is the fuss he kicked up over a bankruptcy notice by the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) over his failure to pay RM1.69 bil in income tax. In no time, he took to social media complaining about selective prosecution and abuse of government machinery while maintaining his innocence.

He even penned a lengthy puisi (Malay poetry) lamenting about attempts to break him down and how he would not give up. It even comes with a photo of him deep in prayers that is sure to tug at the heartstrings of the less-discerning Malaysians.

The MP of Pahang’s royal town Pekan, is just doing what he does best now – be a drama king. Contrary to the picture Najib and his ilk are trying to paint, the ex-premier is not about to be evicted from his posh residence nor barred from spending more than RM1,000 on his credit card, like how bankrupts are legally treated under the law.

Just like the 12-year jail sentence and the RM240 mil fine meted out on him by the High Court last year for corruption and abuse of power, the former premier has some way more to go before he is exhausted of avenues for appeal.

In the IRB case, Najib’s legal team has already filed an appeal against last year’s High Court decision compelling him to cough up RM1.69 bil with a 5% interest rate per annum over some RM3 bil transferred into his account while he was the sixth PM.

Does Najib expect to be treated differently from other alleged tax dodgers? Many businessmen and individuals too had encountered similar run-ins with the IRB and they too had maintained innocence and needed to go through the appeal process.

What makes Najib so special?

Isn’t Najib still a free man? Just like his conviction last year, there are many layers of appeal and legal challenges Najib’s lawyers can resort to. The irony of this is that as governments the world over convict, fine and jail perpetrators of one the greatest heists in history that is the 1MDB scandal, no one has been put behind bars yet in the country which is the epicentre of this brazen transnational crime.

Najib’s appeal process must be allowed to run its course and no finality will be in sight for years. In all likelihood he will remain a free man until after the next general election, which must be called latest by 2023.

By which time, Najib is hoping to get off the hook if a new PM is in office, especially one whom he helps install. And to get a friendly-PM in, Najib has no choice but to brush up his acting skills and hire box office-equivalent scriptwriters to win over the audiences at the ballot boxes. – April 9, 2021


Julian Tan is a FocusM editorial contributor.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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