Some weeks ago, Tun Dr Mahathir, in his characteristic sarcasm said of Najib, who pleaded ignorance to all the shenanigans in 1MDB, that “Najib always assumes that people are stupid.”
This week speaking at the opening the UMNO Pekan Division delegates meeting, Najib said,
“In the last general election, we lost to a party that did not spend much money; we did not know where their divisional offices were, their canopies were the earliest to close, but even when we flocked to our canopies, we still lost.
“When we are not paid, we get annoyed; when money is given, we say we did not receive it. There were candidates who kept for themselves the money meant for spending (in the election campaign). How could we have not lost? If we had such an attitude, then we were the cause of our party’s defeat.”
In other words, it’s all about money.
There was an old Hong Kong movie where firemen, at a burning building, told the occupants, “Got money, got water. No money, no water. Got money, water will flow. No money, water will stop.”
We are here for the money. We invest money to get us into positions of influence in UMNO to get more money. Money must flow before we will do your bidding.
And very likely his assessment of UMNO is spot on. After all, despite the scandals that surrounded his administration, Najib was firmly in control of UMNO. So much so he was able to expel the second most powerful man in UMNO, for daring to question his actions.
Najib was famous for saying that “Cash is King“. And it seems that what he learned about how to work UMNO, was what he believed is how to work Malaysia. If I give you enough money, you will let me continue to do as I please. Or, as he was famously quoted, “I help you, you help me.” My own impression of Najib’s administration was that he throws money at problems. Even his last campaign promise, at the last day of the GE14 campaign, was about money.
Najib said that if his Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition wins the election, people aged 26 and under would no longer pay income tax and any that had paid in the past would be reimbursed.
He also promised to add two public holidays at the beginning of Ramadan, which starts next week, and said toll roads would be free for a period of five days starting two days before the Muslim Eid festival, which marks the end of the holy month.
Perhaps it is possible to conclude that Najib always assumes that everyone has a price.
This view, where money is at the centre of everything, is a corrupt worldview, and will corrupt all who comes under its influence. It is utterly cynical. It’s proponents will seek to corrupt those around them, or else replace them with more pliable persons. Such a worldview at the apex of a nation, could destroy that nation.
The ongoing effort by the PH administration to weed out the corrupt from positions of influence is vital. Because the corrupt will seek to corrupt. That is how they amass power and money. We must really pray for those working to free the administration from corruption.