AS image transformation goes, ex-Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak is second to none among Malaysian politicians. Disgraced after being ousted from power during the 2018 general election over a multi-billion global corruption network, Malaysia’s sixth PM has bounced back strongly as far as his public image is concerned.
His Bossku phenomenon has taken social media by storm as he posts in rapid succession daily on his various platforms, criticising the Muhyiddin administration on anything from the failure to contain the spread of COVID-19 to the various mismanagements in Putrajaya.
Najib has been hitting all the right notes and he’s on a roll. In his latest exclusive interview with a local news portal, he meticulously crafted an image of being the man of the hour for a country on the throes of one of its worst crises in history.
This contrasts sharply with the time when he was in power. Back then, he was perceived to be hen-pecked and lacking the courage and gumption to take tough choices head-on, such as his reluctance to address the 1MDB scandal until too late, or refusing to act against his Minister Tan Sri Shahrizat Jalil over the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) scandal.
Najib’s image transformation since losing power has been swift and thorough. His carefully scripted social media postings and trolls on the present government has won him legions of followers.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Najib is paving the way for his return to Putrajaya, despite facing a 12-year jail sentence, which he is appealing, and facing a litany of other corruption and abuse of power charges.
But if Malaysia welcomes him back in power through the ballot boxes, then this nation is a lost cause. A leader should be voted based on his or her track record, not ability to make snide remarks on social media.
By any standards, Najib’s track record as PM is appalling. He plundered the nation and was convicted for this. The Malaysian Official 1 caused the US Justice Department to label this country a “kleptocracy”, a term usually reserved for strongmen-led banana republics from Africa.
Under his watch, the most brazen multi-billion-ringgit transnational heist took place, sparking criminal investigations in more than half a dozen governments around the world.
As those behind the crime are one by one nabbed, charged and put behind bars in other nations, in Malaysia Najib is not just still a free man but a dominant political player, possibly seeking a comeback.
And he’s not alone. His ilk like Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan and Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Rahim, all of whom face corruption or power abuse charges, are similarly seeking to still shape Malaysian politics.
God forbid these “court cluster” politicians return to power. They’d surely come back with a vengeance, conduct a witch hunt on their political enemies and continue to suck the country dry with a fervour more intense than their previous stint.
For all the intents and purposes, we need to block the return of Najib and those in cahoots with him. If we don’t, we’d end up far worse than before.
By : Abdul Rashid Hasnol – FOCUS MALAYSIA
* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Stringer.