MP SPEAKS | Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak is trying to legitimise his global kleptocracy and the 1MDB scandal with a political comeback through a BN victory in the Cameron Highlands by-election.
This is obvious by two events.
Firstly, his “meet-the-supporters” session in Lembah Pantai yesterday, where he was introduced as “a prime minister on vacation”; and secondly, the appearance of his eldest son, Nizar Najib, on the BN campaign trail.
Although Nizar did not speak, he was introduced as one of the VIPs at an event at Pos Mensun, the hometown of BN candidate Ramli Mohd Nor.
Najib was asked during his visit yesterday whether he would campaign for BN in Cameron Highlands. He played coy, saying he was still considering whether to accept requests for him to do so from Pahang Menteri Besar Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail.
He should not be, for I have information that he will be campaigning together with Wan Rosdy on Jan 18 and 19.
The first thing that Najib should do when he campaigns for BN is to apologise to the voters of Cameron Highlands for BN's money politics and the corrupt electoral practices in the last general election.
This has resulted in the election result being declared null and void by the Election Court, which paved the way for this by-election.
Najib's appearance at the BN by-election campaign will be a proper occasion for Wan Rosdy, the state assemblyperson for Jelai, to explain why he failed to appear before the Election Court to testify and rebut earlier testimonies by Orang Asli witnesses of BN money politics and corrupt practices, despite the court hearing being postponed three times for him to do so.
These testimonies were adduced to prove that tok batin (village chiefs) were required to deliver Orang Asli votes for BN from their respective kampung – a clear violation and abuse of the democratic process.
Election Court judge, Justice Azizah Nawawi, named Wan Rosdy and MP C Sivarraajh as being involved in corrupt electoral practices in the constituency.
For instance, on May 6, 2018, Wan Rosdy and Sivarraajh visited Pos Lenjang, using a helicopter, and gave to the tok batin about RM25,000 to be distributed to Orang Asli voters in their respective villages, apart from the payment of RM200 to each chief.
Would Wan Rosdy give an undertaking that money politics and corrupt practices would not be repeated in the current by-election, and no BN leader, including Najib, would be using a helicopter to campaign?
Isn’t it true that Umno did not allow MIC to appeal the Election Court's judgment so that the corrupt practices of Wan Rosdy would not attract greater publicity?
Is Najib prepared to demonstrate “leadership by example” and apologise for the money politics and corrupt practices in Jelai and Cameron Highlands?
It would appear that Najib had played a central role in the selection of Ramli as the BN candidate, which explains many hitherto vexed and perplexing questions about the by-election.
Why did MIC president SA Vigneswaran acquiesce so easily to relinquish the party's traditional seat?
Why did MCA president Wee Ka Siong order a strong MCA show of force to support Ramli during the nomination yesterday, despite the party having earlier called for the dissolution of BN?
Irrespective of whether Najib will be stumping for the BN candidate, the 1MDB corruption and money-laundering scandal must be the key issues in the by-election.
This is why I am asking again whether Ramli is prepared to make the battle against corruption one of the foremost issues in the Cameron Highlands by-election, starting with his double condemnation of the 1MDB scandal and the Najib premiership.
LIM KIT SIANG is the MP for Iskandar Puteri.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.