It's Saturday late afternoon in Melbourne and the weather our there is not that great....dark clouds and the wind blowing....not my kind of weather, not my kind of day. It's just past 5PM and I am wondering (don't laugh!)...I am wondering what Najib is doing!
And that line from the Nursery Rhyme, "Sing a song of Sixpence," came to mind "The king was in the counting-house, counting out his money" and that thought made me smile..... to count my money would take maybe just one shake of the Flying Hippo's tail. I figure out that Najib would need more days then there are in a year, to count his!
A billionaire for a prime minister! And a Malay to boot! Muslim too, just in case anybody is wondering.
All that money put together within his own lifetime...hell not even within his own lifetime for he is still alive (is he not?)....so all that money during his "working life".
Most of that working life spent in politics. Umno politics!
Before Mahathir's time I had not heard of any of our serving PM, or their family, living beyond their means. Tunku, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein Onn, in all the time that they served our nation, in as far as I know it, all lived within their means and when they left office, they left with fame but not fortune.
There were some questions asked about Tun Razak's and Tun Hussein's father-in-law, Noah Omar, forming Genting Highland Berhad with Lim Goh Tong that led to the formation of Malaysia's only casino....but little else.
Throughout his time as PM, Mahathir did ensure that his own children were not in politics....but already we were hearing about the wealth of his brother-in-laws - especially Razali Ali, the ex MB of Selangor....and when Mahathir quit as PM, the ability, alacrity and audacity of his own children ability to accumulate businesses that made them insanely wealthy, made many questioned what links these businesses had to the fact that their father was Mahathir Mohammad - ex PM of Malaysia.
Pak Lah time as PM saw the rise and rise of his own and extended family in questionable businesses ventures that could directly be linked to Pak Lah's position as PM.....businesses valued in the hundreds of millions....and the rise and rise of his son-on-law, Khairy Jamaluddin, politically and financially. All this contributed to Pak Lah's early political demise when he had to leave office before the end of his term of office.
By now the getting of material wealth occupied every waking moments of, if not the PM himself, then it certainly occupied the minds of his immediate family, his extended family, his sahabats and anyone else who could get close to the PM....and in some cases, the mind of those who could get close to those who could get close to the PM.
When Najib became PM, Rosmah and him inheriited from Mahathir and Pak Lah .....not from Tunku, Najib or Hussein Onn...but from Mahathir and Pak Lah.....an Umno where money ruled. From the Cawangan level to the State level and beyond, nothing gets done in UMNO, without the greasing of the palm with money.
What was different about Mahathir, Pak Lah and Najib was in the manner each chose to deal with corruption and money politics in Umno.
Mahathir saw the corruption but he decided that the end justifies the means....just as long as what he wanted to get done got done, Mahathir was prepared to let corruption festers within Umno and in government.
Pak Lah saw the corruption and heard about the corruption. He chose to listen but not to hear about the corruption ....hoping that if he did not ask too many questions it will all go away....and he preferred to leave the punishment of the corrupt ones to Allah in the hereafter.
And so after Mahathir and Pak Lah, Umno was already a den of thieves robbers where everyone that could, would jostle, push and shove their way to the gravy trough and partake of anything that can come their way by hook or crook.
Now while they were all pigs at the trough partaking of the gravy that Umno kept shovelling into the trough....some pigs were more equal than others.
Together they decided ....why should anyone else become rich on account of them?
Why not they become rich themselves....and they both then proceed to do just that : become rich, very very rich....billionaire rich!
For us Malays, for Muslims, for Malaysian and even for politicians in Malaysia....this is something we are all trying to wrap our mind around. To paraphrase Mahathir who recently said "I did not expect a Prime Minister to steal." Well Tun, with all due respect, you took the words right out of my mouth. Neither did we. Not only did Najib steal, he robbed us all blind, lied, cheated and scammed us out of those billions that he now has.
And all this he did as president of Umno. I guess what they say about the evolution of human intelligence in Umno having stopped some time back has to be true...it did stopped some time ago....just about the time that Mahathir was about done with his time as PM.
It is our burden that the present prime minister has taken it upon himself to continue the legacy of money politics started, tolerated and even at times, encouraged by Mahthir and Pak Lah.
What Najib is doing different is simply this : He and Rosmah have decided that they will be the first to partake of the gravy being shovelled into the trough by Umno......and who among you all can fault him for that when those before him, and we all too, have been complicit in making it possible for him to do so?