In three words I can summarise everything I’ve learnt about life – it goes on. –Poet Robert Frost.
Najib Razak would, no doubt, agree.
Malaysia’s First Felon, affectionately known in high society criminal circlers as Fearless Leader, has been fearlessly dishing out advice left, right and centre – and people are taking heed, it seems.
Indeed, he’s morphed into a latter-day Svengali to the United Malays National Organisation, the party he once headed. Fearless is, to be sure, the Boss-Who-Needn’t-Feel-Any-Shame-at-All.
And he doesn’t, not a jot.
Even so, the shameless ex-boss continues to be deferred to as a leader. Nowhere was this more evident than in a recent video showing the party faithful celebrating its win in the recent Johor state election: it showed party president Zahid Hamidi elbowing Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob aside to bring Fearless up-front, to the head of the throng.
It’s no wonder Ismail’s been looking especially doleful of late.
As I write this, I read, with astonishment, that Fearless just concluded a keynote address to the Penang International Business and Investment Summit.
The report went on to say that during his “two-day trip” to Penang, Fearless was expected “to meet the Chinese community” and “the state Umno liaison committee.”
Ye Gods! Who invites a person found guilty of defrauding his country to launch an “international business and investment” seminar?
That’s like inviting Bernie Madoff to launch a Rotary business event in, say, Seremban. Let’s face it, on the Jho Low Scale of Mammoth Larceny, Madoff is a minnow to Fearless’ whale.
Meanwhile, why is Fearless being lauded about, and bowed and scraped to, as if he were leading his party into the next general election?
Do they know something we don’t?
The absurdity of it all is made preposterous by the testimony coming out of a Brooklyn courtroom. It stars Felonious, Fearless’ less-than-trusty sidekick and co-stars greedy bankers and everyone else who fed at the 1MDB trough. Their numbers, to quote the Bible, are “legion.”
By all accounts, Felonious was the mastermind and the biggest thief of the lot. But he could not have pulled it off without help from the top.
How did Fatboy convince everybody, even people already rich as Croesus, to participate in a grand plan to loot an entire country? The US trial in Brooklyn was told that the rotund robber siphoned US$4.5 billion (RM18.9 billion) of 1MDB’s money into his own account.
Fearless has been convicted of only one crime that involved a sum of RM42 million which is peanuts in terms of Felonious’ colossal theft. But it sets the stage. His big trials are ongoing and he has a lot to answer for.
Which is why it is sheer lunacy to continue to fete Fearless, to extol him and assure him he needn’t feel shame. To do so would be to exonerate him. Even worse, it’s a tacit nod towards corruption, even its encouragement, so long as the loot is shared.
1MDB was and remains the largest theft in the history of white-collar crime. That is an absolute fact and no amount of dissembling, artifice, advice or keynote speeches at investment seminars can diminish its magnitude.
The Appeals Court described him as “a national embarrassment.”
There is also that.