The trail of rewarding crumbs

IT SHOULD be quite damning for Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak (picture) and his supporters when Umno Advisory Council chairman Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said he was against politicians charged in court holding any responsibility, which was a direct reference to Najib’s appointment as chairman of Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club.

In addition to that, Tengku Razaleigh’s observation that Najib still thinks he is relevant, especially when he surrounds himself with large crowds of supporters, must have felt like the twisting of a knife.

Actually, what Tengku Razaleigh had remarked was not something new and it isn’t that others had not raised them before.

But coming from a veteran of Umno, it proved that there are those from Najib’s own party who are as disgusted by his participation in the nation’s political processes.

It is actually incomprehensible, despite the numerous damning proofs and evidence staring in the face, Najib’s supporters could still herald and place him on a pedestal.

While it is understandable that cyber troopers, both fake and real accounts, continue to do so, revelations from the courts showed that there is an allocation for them to function as such.

It is the volunteers, the unrewarded foot soldiers that baffle the mind. The American novelist Gaddis’ contention that “stupidity is the deliberate cultivation of ignorance” sounds just about right in any attempt to comprehend the phenomenon.

Whenever Najib’s critics raised issues on his attempts to “advise” the Finance Ministry pertaining to Budget 2021, his supporters would, in unison, tell them to move on.

In particular, when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad expressed his disbelief that a felon convicted for misappropriation of public funds was giving ideas on how to manage the nation’s finances, Najib’s supporters collectively vilified the former.

It is actually difficult for anyone, Dr Mahathir and Najib’s other critics, be they politicians or ordinary folks, to move on for as long as Najib continues to unashamedly, and without remorse, position himself as a people’s leader when proof of his misdeeds had been piling up from within the country and abroad.

His misdeeds involve public funds and the amount are by the billions and to expect the nation, of course with the exception of his supporters, to not feel insulted and repulsive when Najib decides to position himself as a leader concerned about public welfare would be an aberration.

An unrepentant Najib and backed by his coterie of supporters is not merely an irritation, but a symptom that ails the Malay community apart from giving Islam a bad name.

He stands as a stark reminder that some segments of the Malay community do not view corruption, abuse of power and breach of trust over public funds as revolting as consuming forbidden stuff, and such for as long as they are rewarded.

Unluckily, Najib’s relevance is now no more confined to his heedless supporters, but reaching out to the supposedly more worldly politicians.

If the supporters turned a blind eye to Najib’s misdeeds for a reward, these politicians too are prepared to do likewise for his support.

Any perceptive political observer would have noticed that the criticisms towards Najib had slowed down if not stopped completely among those who fought for his downfall.

Instead, they train their guns on those who are still consistent in their criticisms of Najib and continued participation in the political processes.

In fact, instead of being someone who is abhorred, Najib — knowing how desperate some are in wanting to be prime minister (PM) or remaining as one — has re-positioned himself to be a coveted trophy.

The past few weeks have seen him regaining much ground with those, and with the anticipated crucial voting on the budget next week that could make or break the government and whether those ambitious to take over can get the numbers, Najib and the other kleptocrats are beaming with importance.

There are those who are consistent in their rejection of the kleptocrats and refuse to work with Najib and the other kleptocrats, though that would help them regain the position of power. Yet, these are the ones painted as villains.

Unsurprisingly, the ones painting them as villains are not confined to the supporters of Najib but rather, vehemently coming from those who had been pining for their candidate to be the PM.

If the foot soldiers who continue to support Najib are perceived to be doing so from cultivated ignorance, the political players do so with the full knowledge of Najib’s crime as they were involved in exposing them.

In many ways than not, they are as mercenary as the paid cybertroopers and propagandists. Both are for the rewards. One for the cash, the other for the power and all centring on the person whose king is cash.

Lurking in the background is a once opportunistic political player who may still need Najib’s support to stay afloat. But at this point of time, he comes across as being undecided, albeit Najib seemingly being prepared to abandon him.

But he certainly prefers the emergency door rather than a dignified exit.

By : Shamsul Akmar – The Malaysian Reserve.

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