On 9 May 2015, I raised the question, “How long can Najib last?”
Two days ago, the Rulers issued a rare statement saying they want the government to complete the investigation into 1MDB asap and take “the appropriate stern action” against those implicated. This is hugely significant.
Let’s look at the Bernama report more closely. The emphasis in bold is mine:
In a statement, their royal highnesses stressed that all concerned should extend “real and sincere” cooperation for the investigation to achieve its objectives.
“The findings of the investigation must be reported comprehensively and in a transparent manner so that the people will be convinced of the sincerity of the government which shall not at all conceal facts and the truth,” they said.
The statement was released by the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal, Datuk Seri Syed Danial Syed Ahmad, after the pre-council meeting of the Conference of Rulers at Istana Negara on Tuesday. The 239th meeting of the Conference of Rulers is scheduled for two days from Wednesday.
The statement said: “The failure to give convincing clarifications and answers is feared to have resulted in a crisis of confidence.
“As a consequence, the people believe, whether basing on reality or perception, that this is among the causes for the plunge in the value of the Malaysian Ringgit, impacting the country’s financial market and economic climate negatively and at the same time adversely affecting the world’s view of Malaysia.“
According to the statement, the Malay Rulers were worried that if the issue was not wisely handled, and was allowed to drag on, it could jeopardise the country’s economy and the livelihood of the people.
Their royal highnesses feared that this could also threaten public order and national security.
“Hence, the Malay Rulers remind all leaders to always adhere to the Rukun Negara principles of Upholding the Constitution and the Rule of Law.
“To ensure that the government enjoys the people’s trust, that leaders are respected, that political stability is guaranteed and that the economy continues to grow, all leaders must constantly ensure that justice is meted out equitably and transparently based on the law,” they said.
For this, the statement said, enforcement agencies and regulatory institutions such as the Police, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Bank Negara, Attorney-General’s Chambers and the Judiciary, as well as related government bodies should be worthy of God’s trust and the people’s faith with transparency, credibility and integrity.
The Malay Rulers also want the leaders to always give priority to factors of security, tranquility, peace and harmony and place national and the people’s concerns above their personal interests.
“The Malay Rulers take seriously issues affecting race and religion and would like to remind leaders of political parties and non-governmental organisations not to sensationalise racial and religious issues to garner support from the people for their parties or for themselves,” the statement said.
Their royal highnesses said the long-prevailing inter-racial and inter-religious harmony and solidarity had been the main pillar for the stability of an independent, peaceful, progressive and prosperous Malaysia.
As such, they said, the harmony and solidarity of the people should be safeguarded at all times and never be sacrificed for shallow political aims.
“The Malay Rulers have the religious obligation of ensuring that peace and prosperity can continue to prevail in the country in a stable political atmosphere with the people living in harmony,” the statement said.
Five main points in the Rulers’ statement:
- Failure to resolve the 1MDB and give convincing answers has resulted in a crisis of confidence and contributed to the plunge in the ringgit
- This could affect the economy and the livelihood of the people
- So, conclude the 1MDB investigtions promptly and haul up those implicated
- All agencies – police, MACC, judiciary, Bank Negara, AG’s Chambers – must cooperate in the probe.
- In the meantime, political parties and NGOs shouldn’t sensationalise racial and religious issues to win support.
So where does this leave Najib? Day by day, he is losing more friends and his support base is crumbling. He is certainly not winning new friends.
Where does this leave Arul Kandasamy and 1MDB, whose audited financial statements have been delayed. How much does 1MDB really owe?
The PAC and MACC investigations have been disrupted. Who is actually probing 1MDB and the RM2.6bn donation now? Will all those agencies now heed the Rulers’ wishes and resume their probe?
Where does this leave the Royal Malaysian Police, which have gone after 1MDB whistleblowers, while key figures in the 1MDB debacle have been allowed to slip out of the country?
Where does this leave Jamal and Ali Tinju and their Red Shirts, who look increasingly isolated?
In fact, the open letter by the former deputy director of the Special Branch was particularly scathing. He described such tactics as taken from a stale script to divert attention away from the loss of public funds.
Just as we thought.
And where does this leave the government-controlled media, which have downplayed the impact of 1MDB?
Things have certainly picked up momentum since Bersih 4, while Najib looks increasingly like he is on borrowed time.