Who is Najib Razak?
Dato Sri Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak was born on 23rd July 1953 and is the eldest son of Abdul Razak Hussein who was Malaysia´s second Prime Minister.
Najib Razak is the sixth and current Prime Minister of Malaysia and succeeded former Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on 3rd April 2009.
Furthermore Najib Razak is the President of the United Malays National Organisation, which is the leading party in Malaysia’s ruling coalition Barisan Nasional. Barisan Nasional= BN has ruled Malaysia since its independece in 1957.
„Najib’s tenure as Prime Minister has been marked by economic liberalisation measures, such as cuts to government subsidies, loosening of restrictions on foreign investment, and reductions in preferential measures for ethnic Malays in business. His Barisan Nasional coalition was re-elected at the 2013 election, albeit with a reduced majority due in large part to a substantial movement of urban voters to opposition parties. After the election his government was marked by the pursuit of a number of its critics on sedition charges and the imprisonment of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim following a conviction for sodomy.“ (Thank you Wikipedia!)
Najib Razak has had a long political and questionable career. Here are some of the most interesting things you should know about the Malaysian Prime Minister. You could also call them fun facts, but actually they are quite depressing at the same time. Nevertheless, if you´re dealing with politics in Malaysia you should develop a special sense of humour. Otherwise you won´t be able to stand the political system, it will just get you down.
Fact Number 1
1987 Kampung Baru ethnic tension
Following ethnic tensions anti-Chinese sentiments were expressed at a UMNO Youth rally held in Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur in 1987. As UMNO Youth Chief, Najib was seen threatening to bathe a keris (= dagger) in Chinese blood shortly before the government launched a crackdown on extremist elements termed Operation Lalang.
Rising tensions soon lead to fears of ethnic violence and eventually resulted in a security operation known as Operasi Lalang, that included numerous administrative detentions.
These people were arrested under the Internal Security Act and didn´t have access to lawyers or became a proper trial.
In spite of his reputation as a Malay nationalist, Najib has made efforts that seem to be intended to reduce ethnic tension.
In a speech in April 2009, Najib congratulated the ethnic Chinese for playing an important role in Malaysia’s development. In June 2009 Najib overturned a rule that required 30% Malay ownership in corporations, and allowed non-ethnic Malays, like the Chinese and the Indians to exercise more financial control in Malaysia. Najib Razak has also worked to improve relations with Singapore, which is seen by many as Chinese-dominated, to encourage it to invest more heavily in the Malaysian economy.
Fact Number 2
Arms and equipment
During his stint as Malaysian Minister of Defence a number of scandals were revealed involving a number of arms and equipment procurement deals.
Fact Number 3
2008 The Eurocopter Deal
Opposition figures pushed for an investigation of Najib’s involvement in the procurement of 12 helicopters that they contend was conducting improperly. It is claimed that the Defence Ministry massively overpaid when buying aircraft from Eurocopter for the Royal Malaysian Air Force. On October 14 in 2008 opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim called for an investigation into the Eurocopter deal.
Soon after the opposition Pakatan Rakyat Youth lodged a formal complaint against Najib for alleged wrongdoing in the Eurocopter deal. The complaint claimed that Malaysia signed a letter of intent to acquire 12 Eurocopter EC725 Cougar helicopters for the sum of RM2.3 billion while Brazil paid only US$1.2 billion for 50 units of the same model. A Malaysian parliamentary panel, The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), composed of government and opposition lawmakers, investigated
Fact Number 4
Scorpene Submarines & Sukhoi Fighters
The Malaysian opposition has also accused Najib of involvement in the receipt of large commissions for the purchases of two Scorpene submarines and 18 Sukhoi fighter jets.
The fighter jet deal, worth US$900 million (RM3.2 billion), was through a Russian state company, Federal State Unitary Enterprise ‘Rosoboronexport’ on May 19, 2003.
A company called IMT Defence Sdn. Bhd. was appointed the local agent for the Russian company and received 12 percent of the purchase price, US$108 million (RM380 million). The principal figure and chairman of IMT Defence is Mohamad Adib Adam, the former chief minister of Malacca, the previous Land and Development Minister and a longtime UMNO stalwart. The involvement of IMT Defence only became known because in March 2005, a former director of IMT, Mohamad Zainuri Mohamad Idrus, filed suit against several Adib-related companies, alleging that Adib and his sister, Askiah Adam wanted to prevent him from exposing the Sukhoi deal. In 2006, Mohamad Zainuri lodged a police report alleging that Adib had stolen the US$108 million commission that was supposed to be channeled to the company while Najib was the Defence Minister.
Fact Number 5
Naval Patrol Boats
PSC-Naval Dockyard was contracted to deliver six patrol boats for the Malaysian Navy in 2004 and complete delivery by April 2008. Those were supposed to be the first of 27 offshore vessels ultimately to cost RM24 billion plus the right to maintain and repair all of the country’s naval craft.
But only two barely operational patrol boats had been delivered by mid-2006. There were 298 recorded complaints about the two boats, which were also found to have 100 and 383 uncompleted items aboard them respectively. The original RM5.35 billion contract ballooned to RM6.75 billion by January 2007. The auditor also reported that the ministry had paid out RM4.26 billion to PSC up to December 2006 although only RM2.87 billion of work had been done, an overpayment of RM1.39 billion, or 48 percent.
In addition, Malaysia’s cabinet waived late penalties of RM214 million. Between December 1999, according to the Auditor General, 14 progressive payments amounting to RM943 million despite the fact that the auditor general could find no payment vouchers or relevant documents dealing with the payments. The auditor general attributed the failure to serious financial mismanagement and technical incompetence stemming from the fact that PSC had never built anything but trawlers or police boats before being given the contract by Najib and the Ministry of Defense.
Fact Number 6
Missing Jet Engines
Two fighter aircraft engines from the Royal Malaysian Air Force went missing in May 2008 and a police report was lodged in August that year during Najib’s tenure as Defence Minister in Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s Cabinet.
According to Najib there is no cover up on the theft of the jet engines. It was reported that a brigadier-general and 40 other armed forces personnel had been sacked over the incident.
DAP’s Lim Kit Siang on December 22, 2009 called on the government to release a full report to the public on the missing Royal Malaysian Air Force jet engines as it has seriously damaged the Najib administration’s government transformation programme. He stated that Malaysians are entitled to a full, uncensored and unvarnished account of the two missing RM50 million jet engines and why the various authorities seem to be super-slow in their remedial responses.
Fact Number 7
Perak (=federal state in Malaysia) Crisis
While the Perak crisis reflected a struggle over control at the state level, opposition figures focused on Najib’s alleged role in securing the defections from Pakatan, and demanded new elections in the state. In turn, Najib stated his position that Malaysia’s political system required rule of law to be followed, and that judicial decisions would determine the outcome of the Perak crisis, which should be based on existing laws and regulations.
Pakatan Rakyat’s lawyers in highlighting their case stated that the ruler, was duty-bound under the Perak Constitution to take advice only from the MB and no other, except when the legislative assembly when it is in session which was not the case at that time. The Sultan at that time acted on the advice of Najib which they said was unconsitutional.
Fact Number 8
Murder of Shaariibuugiin Altantuyaa
Shaariibuugiin Altantuyaa or Altantuya Shaariibuu was a mongolian model, who was born on 6th May 1978 and was murdered on 18th October 2006 in a deserted area nearby Malaysia´s capital Kuala Lumpur. She was either murdered by C-4explosives or was killed first and her remains destroyed.
Many questions about this case haven´t been answered yet, but it´s significant in contemporary Malaysian politics due to the alleged involvement of persons close to Prime Minister Najib Razak. It was alleged that she was introduced by Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak, to Abdul Razak Baginda, a defence analyst from the Malaysian Strategic Research Centre and had a relationship with him while accompanying Abdul Razak to Paris to work as a translator during his negotiations to purchase submarines from France for the Malaysian government.
The Hong Kong website Asian Sentinel revealed in a series of photographs that Altantuya was in France during which time the two quickly became romantically involved. She reportedly became his mistress in Paris in 2005.
According to reports by the French newspaper Liberation, Altantuya found out that one of the parties involved in negotiations, paid out commissions of 114 million euros for the deal (reportedly one billion euros or RM4.7 billion for the purchase of three submarines). The commission was credited in the accounts of a company controlled by Abdul Razak, Perimekar.
A letter written by Altantuya and found after her death admits that she had been blackmailing Mr. Baginda, seeking a $US500,000 cut to remain silent about her knowledge of the deal. SUARAM secretariat, Cynthia Gabriel’s commented that the Paris Courts have “extended its investigations with circumstances that led to Altantuya’s death. However the French Courts are not investigating the murder of Altantuya as its focus is on the alleged corruption conducted by DCNS with regards to the sale of the Scorpene submarines, but would deliberate on the murder in the course of the inquiry.
On 25 June 2012, a French police investigation revealed that there were no immigration records of an “Altantuya Shaariibuu” entering France from 1999 to 2006. The same report noted instead the entry of a SHAARIYBUU Bayasgalan, who bore similarities to, but was not conclusively identified as Altantuyaa, as well as pointed out that Najib’s entourage might have entered France through diplomatic channels as there was evidence of his presence but no corresponding immigration record. During the trial into Altantuya’s death, Baginda told investigators that he had travelled with her to France in 2005. Records seized by French investigators from DCN’s former financial chief described Altantuya as Baginda’s translator. On the other hand, Rosana Weili, the Director of Perimekar claims that the negotiations were conducted in English as the French negotiators spoke English. Rosana also had “no knowledge of anyone by the name of Altantuya” in the negotiation team.
An article from The Star reported that when the deal was signed on 5 June 2002 between the Malaysian government and the submarine manufacturers, Abdul Razak Baginda had not met Altantuya as they only met two years after the agreement was signed.
After her bones were found in the jungle, the trial started. According to court testimony by Altantuya’s cousin Burmaa Oyunchimeg, Altantuya had shown Burmaa a photograph of 3 persons taking a meal together: Altantuyaa, Razak Baginda, and a government official. When questioned by the lawyer of the victim’s family, Karpal Singh, Burmaa identified the official as then Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
One of the persons who connected Najib Razak with the Altantuya murders is Raja Petra Kamaruddin.
He was editor for the newspaper „Malaysia today“ and was arrested and convicted under the Internal Security Act afterwards. The Internal Security Act was a law which empowered the government to arrest anyone without access to lawyers or a proper trial.
Of course Najib Razak denied all allegations as there wasn´t a concrete proof about him knowing Altantuya. Raja Petra retracted his allegation of the involvement of Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor after the case was brought to court. A former aide to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim – Muhamad Rahimi Osman claims that Sirul’s family was enticed to make a false statement that Najib was involved in Altantuya’s murder.
On 22 July 2008 Karpal Singh, filed a notice of motion to call 4 new witnesses, including Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, to testify in the trial, as well as sought to recall the first prosecution witness in the trial, private detective P. Balasubramaniam, for further examination.
According to Karpal, Najib’s testimony would be able to introduce fresh evidence to the case, and his requests were justifiable as per Section 425 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) which allows a court to “summon or recall any person as a witness in a trial”, as well as “summon or recall any such person if his evidence appears to the court to be essential to the just decision of the case.” On 23 July 2008 the petition notice was rejected by the High Court. High Court judge Mohd Zaki stated that “only the parties involved, namely the prosecution and the defense” had a right to submit the petition. On 31 October 2008, the High Court acquitted Abdul Razak Baginda of abetment in the murder of Altantuya, with the prosecution saying they would appeal the acquittal.To date, the appeal has yet to transpire.
For everyone who isn´t fammiliar with Karpal Singh: Karpal Singh was a Malaysian lawyer and politician, who was Member of Parliament and the former National Chairman of the Democratic Action Party (DAP).He was suspended from parliament numerous times, charged for sedition, and had been detained under the Internal Security Act. His reputation as a lawyer and opposition politician earned him the nickname “the Tiger of Jelutong”. In 2014 he was killed in a car accident.
However, chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar were ordered to enter their defence and testify under oath.
On 10 November 2008 it was announced that the murder trial has been postponed to January 2009 to allow the defence more time to prepare and gather witnesses. The witnesses sought included Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamarudin and private investigator P. Balasubramaniam, who was unlocatable at that time.
The request by the defence counsel for Sirul Azhar and Azilah to get statements from all prosecution witnesses was rejected with the reason given that “witness statements recorded under Section 112 of the Criminal Procedure Code is privileged”. This would have included the witness statement of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s former aide-de-camp DSP Musa Safri, which would have been used to rebut Abdul Razak’s affidavit.
On 3 February 2009, Sirul Azhar pleaded with the court to not pass the death sentence on him, as he was like “a black sheep that has to be sacrificed” to protect unnamed people who have never been brought to court or faced questioning. “I have no reason to cause hurt, what’s more to take the life of the victim in such a cruel manner… I appeal to the court, which has the powers to determine if I live or die, not to sentence me so as to fulfil others’ plans for me.”
On 9 April 2009, High Court Judge Zaki Yasin ruled that Sirul Azhar’s and Azilah’s statements were “unbelievable” as both of the accused only blamed each other. Both policemen were sentenced to death for the murder of Altantuya. Wrapping up the 159-day trial, Zaki said both of them failed to raise any reasonable doubt in the prosecution’s case. However, their lawyers planned to file an appeal.
Both policemen showed no emotion when they heard that they were sentenced to be hanged until dead. Their family members accept the court’s decision and denied any political elements in the verdict. The two policemen appealed their sentence in late August. The Court of Appeal has fixed a date for their appellate hearing for 10 June 2013.
Shariibuu Setev’s lawyers have applied for a review the Attorney-General’s decision not to appeal Abdul Razak Baginda’s acquittal in the murder of Shariibuu’s daughter Altantuya.The application was set to be heard at a High Court on 8 July 2009. Dr. Shariibuu later withdrew the application but said he would still proceed with the claim against Abdul Razak, Azilah, Sirul Azhar and Government of Malaysia for damages over Altantuya’s death.
Sirul and Azilah were acquitted on 23 August 2013 by the Court of Appeal.
Several reasons were given for the acquittal such as the failure of the prosecution to provide a strong motive for the two men to murder the victim and the failure to call for the cross-examination of Najib’s aide Musa Safri and Najib Abdul Razak. The acquittals have drawn the derision from many Malaysian, including Altantuyaa’s father.
The prosecution immediately made an appeal to the Federal Court over the acquittal of the Azhar and Sirul which was heard on 23 June, 2014.The Federal Court on 13 January, 2015 overturned the acquittal of both individuals, finding them both guilty of murder and sentenced both of them to death. It was later discovered that Sirul did not show up during the appeal hearing and was believed to be in Australia.
The Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has made an extradition request to Australia calling for Sirul, but faces difficulty due to Australia’s policy of not extraditing individuals to countries which have the death penalty. Sirul was detained by Australian immigration authorities in Brisbane, Queensland on 20 January, 2015 after Interpolred notice was issued for his arrest.
The former Malaysian police officer and bodyguard to prime minister Najib Razak Sirul Azhar Uman, said he was “under orders” to kill Altantuya Shaariibuu. Speaking about the ordered hit for the first time, Sirul told the Malaysiakini news portal that he shot the model twice before wrapping her body with military explosives and blowing her up.
“I was under orders,” he said. The important people with motive are still free.“
Fact Number 9
Playing golf with the American president
In December 2014 one of Malaysia´s worst flood catastrophes happened.
I experienced several floods in Southeast Asia while I was there but when friends sent me pictures during christmas time it was shocking. Everything, seriously everything, was flooded.
More than 100.000 people had to be evacuated, at least five people died and several people went missing. In some parts of Malaysia the water level was two metres high. Especially the Northeast was affected.
Although experts predicted the catastrophe the government didn´t declare a state of emergency to help devastated communities. Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin explained “Unless there was a total breakdown in electricity or water supply, or if the number of evacuees rises to over hundreds of thousands, we will not declare a state of emergency.”
While Malaysians were suffering and trying to help each other, Prime Minister Mr. Najib Razak spent his vacation on Hawai playing golf with Barack Obama.
Hey- such great leaders! If everyone would act in such a way the world would end tomorrow. It´s no big suprise that the Maya predicted the world´s ending. Maybe they just mixed up dates.
But Mr. Yassin also had a very reasonable excuse for the absence of the Prime Minister and was quoted by the New Strait Times “The PM need time to take a break,” and “He has been working very hard so let’s be fair to him as a human being. Don’t worry, I’m in charge.”
Fact Number 10
Conviction of the Opposition leader
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was convicted for sodomy and corruption after he nearly became Prime Minister and the opposition nearly the new government.
Further information: http://wp.me/p5epKh-56
Fact Number 11
Najib Razak´s private jet
The opposition party PKR has revealed that the Malaysian government ordered a new private jet for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s use.
Its secretary-general, Rafizi Ramli- who was arrested twice for the organization of the #KitaLawan demonstration (further information: http://wp.me/p5epKh-6t) told reporters that the government owns seven jets.
The new Airbus ACJ319 was bought for RM28.8 million yearly in hire purchase and RM5.5 million in yearly maintenance cost, which doesn´t include the cost of fuel. Furthermore its costs of 15 years of maintenance would total up to another RM690 million.
“Even the 1Malaysia logo has been painted on it.“ (Further information to the Satu Malaysia campaign: http://wp.me/p5epKh-40)
“This shows the Najib administration is continuing with its wasteful ways.“
While taxes are increasing, the money isn´t spent on the people.
Mr. Najib Razak explained „We are not like France which wants to increase it’s personal tax by 75%.”
“In fact, we aim to reduce it… but if you want to buy all sorts of things, then you have to pay more.” Another reasonable argument, especially because the Prime Minister and his wive are living such humble lives.
Imagine that Malaysia is an emerging nation. The new jet was paid with the taxpayer´s money. During the peaceful demonstration against the increasing taxes 83 demonstrators were arrested for a sit-in.
Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli (PAS-Kuala Krai) pointed out that given that the capacity of the jet is 200 passengers, there would be heavy costs involved in refurbishing the interior as it is not being used for commercial purposes.
“It is particularly sad for the flood victims, they have to grapple with so much hardship, especially in Kuala Krai where homes have yet to be rebuilt, but we are now exposed to these purchases.”
Steven Sim (DAP-Bukit Mertajam) said that while the opposition did not support the Sedition Act, if there were one person who had committed sedition, it was the prime minister.
“He had raised the anger of the people who have so many troubles to deal with, yet he buys another jet.”
Fact Number 12
RM 2.2 Million electricity bill
The opposition raised the issue of the RM 2.2. Million bill for electricity of Mr. Najib Razak´s private residence in 2012. Najib Razak explained that this amount was „unavoidable“ if he invites heads of the government. The billl has increased 30% within two years.
“If heads of government come, are we supposed to dine in the dark?
“If the Chinese prime minister comes, are we to dine by candlelight? I would say, that is romantic.”
The French writer and philosopher Voltaire (1649- 1778) realized very early “With great power comes great responsibility.” Seems that some leaders haven´t realized their role until today. It could be interesting to observe how much longer Najib Razak can try the Malaysian people´s patience. Many demonstrators already took in on the streets. “Undur Najib!” (= Remove Najib!) is one slogan of the #KitaLawan movement.