Najib talks sense, but don’t be fooled by his theatrics

EX-PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak recently posted on his social media that Malaysia’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was the worst in the Asean region, based on the country’s positive cases per million population.

Najib’s assertion is based on statistics and it is hard to fault his claims. In fact, now that he is no longer the Prime Minister, he has made a lot of sensible, constructive comments and suggestions.

He obviously has received the best advice money can buy in branding himself – and based on what we have learnt so far, cash is something he is still flushed with despite having left Putrajaya unceremoniously in 2018.

Whether we like Najib or not, his latest comments on our dismal performance in containing COVID-19 should serve as a wake-up call for all of us. The initial euphoria that Malaysia is doing well, has worn off with deadly consequences. New daily COVID-19 cases have breached the 4,000-mark and our healthcare facilities are at breaking point.

To be fair, our Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has done well to stem the tide since early 2020. For that, he has deservingly received accolades, including the “Tan Sri” title.

But Dr Noor Hisham is alone and it would be unfair to entrust the responsibility of waging the war against the invisible enemy solely on the shoulders of one man. The responsibility ought to fall squarely on the shoulders of each and every Malaysian, including politicians who should be laying out a coherent roadmap on the way forward during one of the most critical junctures in our nation’s history.

Because our politicians have not done a sterling job in this respect, Najib’s comments on our national response towards COVID-19 has struck a chord with Malaysians. And it’s not just the pandemic. His comments on the Emergency, flooding situation, aid packages like the i-Sinar, Penjana or Permai schemes and a slew of other issues, have resonated with many Malaysians who, prior to May 2018, found him objectionable.

But therein lies the problem: it is easier to be an armchair critic and an Internet troll than to actually roll out initiatives that would involve tiptoeing around political landmines and juggling competing interests. In other words, talk is cheap.

When Najib was the most powerful man in Malaysia, he squandered the opportunity and fell into the temptation of abusing the power vested in him by the people.

Malaysians will never forgive and forget the shenanigans of 1MDB which saw billions of ringgit being siphoned off. As countries across the world charged and jailed those involved in one of the most brazen cross-border heists in modern times, not a single Malaysian has been put behind bars.

Despite the ignominy of being the first ex-PM to be sentenced to jail – a conviction he is currently appealing – Bossku is sparing no expenses trying to make himself relevant. But this should not cloud us from seeing through Najib’s true intentions: he just wants leverage to keep himself out of a cell.

Najib’s dog and pony show is just political theatrics. Because a leader who claims to have the people’s interests at heart would not have stolen from the people – a crime the court has convicted the ex-PM of. – Jan 21, 2021


Dominic Tham is a reader of Focus Malaysia.

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

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