So let us see whether Dr Mahathir and Daim are prepared to kill Najib by killing Umno and Barisan Nasional in the next general election by starving the ruling party of funds. Let us see whether Dr Mahathir and Daim are prepared to allow Pakatan Rakyat to take over just so that they can get rid of Najib. I really want to see this happen.
Don’t pretend 1MDB money didn’t help Umno win GE13, says Zaid Ibrahim.
Place country and rakyat first, says Nazir Razak.
1MDB scandal a case study of the failure of Umno’s one-party rule, says the Wall Street Journal.
Guilty or not, Najib clearly weakened by 1MDB scandal, says Forbes.
Arrest Dr Mahathir over WSJ claim, Saifuddin Abdullah dares IGP.
Those were just some of the many headlines today and it looks like those headlines are beginning to shift from the ‘personal corruption’ of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to the corrupt Umno system.
Is this an indication that people are beginning to understand the real story of 1MDB and comprehend what actually happened? Well, let us see how the debates unfold over these next few days.
I have been writing about this same issue for some time now and even mentioned that I am not supportive of the opposition-backed ABU movement (acronym for ‘Anything But Umno’) because the focus is on eradicating Umno rather than on eradicating the Umno culture.
My argument is that if you eradicate Umno but not the Umno culture and if the Umno culture is also prevalent in the opposition then that is no bloody good because all we are going to see is old wine in a new bottle.
And the Kajang Move, the ouster of Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim, the secret talks in London on the Unity Government between PKR and Umno plus the ‘PAS progressives’, etc., has proven my point. The opposition plays politics just like Barisan Nasional does.
There was one very crucial point that I have been raising over the last few years, but a point that has largely been ignored by all and sundry from both sides of the political divide. And that crucial point is: general elections are expensive. It costs Barisan Nasional between RM1.5 billion to RM2.5 billion each time a general election is held.
Is this a secret? Are you shocked to know this? You mean PKR, PAS, DAP and all those more than a dozen other political parties do not know this? Of course it is not a secret and everyone knows this. It is just something that no one wants to talk about because everyone is involved in this, even the opposition parties.
There are many ex-Barisan Nasional people that are now in the opposition, be it PKR, PAS or DAP. There are many others such as Saifuddin Abdullah that are still in Umno, or those such as Zaid Ibrahim that are now ‘independents’. But are any of these people talking about the RM1.5 billion to RM2.5 billion that it costs Barisan Nasional each general election? And why are they not talking about it?
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s ‘Number One Critic’ of abuse of power and misuse of public funds, should actually be the first one to explain to the people how the system works. Dr Mahathir should also explain that not only the ruling party does this but the opposition does it as well — only that the opposition does it on a smaller scale than the ruling party.
Dr Mahathir should explain that when he was in power for 22 years he led Barisan Nasional through five general elections in 1982, 1986, 1990, 1995 and 1999 while his successor, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, handled two general elections in 2004 and 2008. That makes seven general elections before the 2013 general election that Najib had to handle to make it eight in all.
So, in total, it is estimated that over the last 30 years or so since Dr Mahathir took over from Tun Hussein Onn, Barisan Nasional has had to spend between RM15 billion to RM20 billion just on general elections. And, as I said, we have discussed this before so this is not quite hot news or something new.
Now, can Dr Mahathir enlighten us or has he ever enlightened us on how Barisan Nasional managed to spend an estimated RM15 billion to RM20 billion over the last 30 years, 22 years of those years with him as Prime Minister and five of those eight general elections with him in charge?
Not long after Dr Mahathir took over as Prime Minister, six years to be exact, Umno was declared illegal and was closed down. At that time all of Umno’s assets were in Umno’s name and this triggered a financial crisis because when Umno was wound up all its assets and bank accounts were frozen.
For three years Umno struggled to unfreeze those assets and some Umno divisions even faced bankruptcy and had to fight civil suits in court because of its accumulated and unpaid debts.
As an example, Bank Bumiputera sued Umno Kuala Terengganu on the loan it took to pay for the construction of its new headquarters building in Gong Kapas. Bakar Daud, the Umno Kuala Terengganu chief, had to send a SOS to Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin who sent one of his boys to Kuala Terengganu with two suitcases of cash to help pay the cost of the 1990 general election because Umno Kuala Terengganu was broke.
And Umno Kuala Terengganu was not the only Umno Terengganu division to receive suitcases of cash from Daim. Marang, Dungun, etc., also received loads of cash. And Terengganu was not the only state that needed a cash injection. Kelantan and many of the other states were bailed out as well. And in spite of all that cash that was ‘injected’ into Kelantan, the state still fell to the opposition and has remained opposition ever since.
After that bitter experience of the late 1980s when Umno was declared illegal and all its assets and cash got frozen, and which took years to unfreeze, it was decided that Umno must no longer hold any assets and its billions of cash in the name of the party. Instead, the Umno President, the Umno Deputy President, and the Umno Treasurer, would act as trustees and would manage Umno’s assets and cash on behalf of the party.
Of course, in the beginning it was in the names of Dr Mahathir, Tun Ghafar Baba and Daim. Later it was changed to Dr Mahathir, Ghafar and Anwar Ibrahim. But basically three people in Umno were the trustees: the Umno President, the Umno Deputy President and the Umno Treasurer and/or Finance Minister (whoever happened to hold those posts at that point of time).
But these three people could not hold all these assets and cash in their personal names because they were also ‘public servants’ and this would have created a problem. So they created nominees and put everything in the names of these nominees.
So we had many Malay, Chinese and Indian millionaires who Umno, MCA, MIC, Gerakan, PPP, etc., turned into billionaires. They became cronies of those who walked in the corridors of power and because of this association they became super-rich.
But not everything they owned belonged to them. Some of it belonged to Barisan Nasional. And whenever an election is held they are supposed to hand back a few hundred million to Barisan Nasional so that the ruling party can raise RM1.5 billion to RM2.5 billion to finance the election.
But then along the way something happened. Some of those nominees who started with nothing and were now billionaires got greedy. They refused to hand back what they were holding as nominees of the ruling party. Furthermore, some died and their families decided to keep whatever the deceased left.
The quarrel that Dr Mahathir had with Daim was precisely because of this. Dr Mahathir accused Daim of ‘running away’ with Umno’s money to the tune of tens of billions.
The quarrel that Anwar had with Dr Mahathir was also because of this. Anwar accused Dr Mahathir of ‘running away’ with Umno’s money to the tune of tens of billions.
Dr Mahathir and Daim, in turn, accused Anwar of ‘running away’ with billions of Umno’s money. According to Dr Mahathir, Anwar smuggled out hundreds of millions of cash in RM1,000 notes to Indonesia. Dr Mahathir then retaliated by stopping the use of RM1,000 notes.
Now you cannot use RM1,000 notes but must take them back to Bank Negara to exchange them for smaller notes before you can spend the money. But you can do that if it is only one or two RM1,000 notes. How would you do that if they total in the hundreds of millions? You will need to explain where the money came from.
In the past, during the time of Dr Mahathir, Daim and Anwar, it was easy. You just created projects and privatised toll highways, water supply, IPPs, and so on. Then you collected a few hundred million from each of these concessionaires. That would solve the RM1.5 billion to RM2.5 billion that you needed to finance the elections.
Now there is nothing left to privatise (in fact, it is now the opposite: privatised companies are being nationalised). And, to make matters worse, all that money that was previously collected, billions and billions of Ringgit, are still in the name of nominees and the nominees, or the family of deceased nominees, refuse to hand the cash and assets back to Barisan Nasional.
That, basically, is what they are trying to tell us in those news items above without actually saying it the way I have said it. Saifuddin Abdullah knows what I am talking about. He is part of that system. So why does he not say what I am saying the way I am saying it?
Zaid Ibrahim, too, knows what I am talking about. He, too, was once part of the system and was a beneficiary of that system. How do you think he became so rich and owned one of the biggest law firms in Malaysia?
Mukhriz, Dr Mahathir’s son, the Kedah Menteri Besar, should tell us where that hundreds of millions came from that was used to take back that state from the opposition in 2013. Did the hundreds of millions come from Umno or from his father? And where did Umno and/or his father get that hundreds of millions from?
Was that hundreds of millions from 1MDB? Is that why Mukhriz is keeping silent?
Everyone who, today, is condemning Najib, not only knows how the system works but is part of that system or was once part of that system. They are talking so much. They are saying this, that and the other. But there is one thing that they are not saying. And that one thing is elections are expensive. Elections cost a lot of money. Every election Barisan Nasional needs to spend billions.
And they are not talking about this because they will then have to explain how Barisan Nasional managed to get its hands on RM15 billion to RM20 billion over the last 30 years since the 1982 general election.
And if they accuse Najib of using 1MDB to raise RM2.6 billion just before the 2013 general election, and that this is what it costs to finance a general election, then they would also have to explain how they raised money for the seven general elections before that in 1982, 1986, 1990, 1995, 1999, 2004 and 2008.
I, however, do not care too much about the story of the RM15 billion to RM20 billion they spent in the 1982, 1986, 1990, 1995, 1999, 2004, 2008 and 2013 general elections because I already know that story and have written about it enough times in the past. What I want to know is what happened to the balance of that hundreds of billions that was raised?
Yes, that is the crux of the matter. Najib wants what belongs to Umno to be returned to Umno. And Dr Mahathir and Daim are two of the biggest nominees who have parked Umno’s cash and assets in the names of other nominees and who refuse to give what they are holding under trust back to Umno.
And do you think MCA, MIC, Gerakan, PPP and the rest of Barisan Nasional do not know this? Do you think those ex-Barisan Nasional people who are now in PKR, PAS and DAP do not know this? Do you think Anwar Ibrahim who was once equally guilty of this does not know this? Why the fook do you think they are keeping quiet and are not talking?
It seems Daim was smart enough to transfer out everything that his nominees were holding on behalf of Umno. Dr Mahathir, however, has not done so yet and Najib is making sure that he cannot do what Daim has done — transfer out those assets. And while Daim may have been smart enough to transfer everything that his nominees were holding into his name, he, too, refuses to surrender everything back to Umno.
And that is why Dr Mahathir and Daim want Najib ousted. It is not about 1MDB. It is about making sure that Umno and Barisan Nasional no longer have a source of finance. If Najib dissolves Parliament and calls for a new general election he is going to need around RM2 billion or more. And Dr Mahathir and Daim are going to make sure that Umno and Barisan Nasional do not get this money unless Najib resigns.
So let us see whether Dr Mahathir and Daim are prepared to kill Najib by killing Umno and Barisan Nasional in the next general election by starving the ruling party of funds. Let us see whether Dr Mahathir and Daim are prepared to allow Pakatan Rakyat to take over just so that they can get rid of Najib. I really want to see this happen. – Raja Petra Kamarudin