COMMENT | Let me make a confession. I don’t have a degree in journalism. Like almost all my successful peers and colleagues, we attended the “University of Hard Knocks” and came out with flying colours. But I must also say that I attended summer courses at the Centre of Investigative Journalism at London’s City University and obtained a law degree at the ripe age of 47!
Call it hunch, intuition or instinct. With our experience and knowledge, we can spot a fib almost immediately after it is uttered - that is, if we are monitoring a particular issue. The journalistic traits in many of us can sometimes run wild, but be assured that all of us are trained to think on our feet. We ask difficult and sometimes embarrassing questions to get to the bottom of an issue. That is why some of us are persona non grata at certain media conferences.
This morning, between glimpses on the television screen (Iran vs Spain) and the computer keyboard, I read, re-read and digested former premier Najib Razak’s interview he had given to Reuters.
These days, the foreign media is the darling of BN leaders who suddenly feel alienated by those they had cultivated. No more Ashraffs; no more Jalils; no more Wongs and Tans; and no more Vincents to do the bidding. Pre-election, they were untouchable and regarded themselves as “blind loyalists” who would ask: “How high, Sir?” when asked to jump.
Najib, on reading your interview, I could not help recollecting my late Tamil-speaking mother’s proverb on being told to stop being untruthful. “Don’t try to hide a whole pumpkin in your plate of rice” she would chide each time I was up to no good and came up with all kinds of unacceptable excuses.
Najib said he would have acted if he knew 1MDB funds were being misappropriated. Really? Utter bunkum! For more than four years, right-minded Malaysians were telling him about the nonsense that was going on, his involvement and events taking place under his nose.
Although he banned the local media from even mentioning the phrase “1MDB” in their publications, there was ample incriminating stuff in cyberspace. Even the international media was highlighting every deal made by 1MDB (with documents and pay-in slips) and Najib’s direct involvement. He ignored all of them. Now, he has the cheek to claim that he would have acted! Come on, we are not born yesterday...