This is the strategic dilemma of Najib: if war is not a policy objective, what options, including pre-emptive, are we left with? Conversely, the enemy can be sanguine that Najib will respond only when provoked by formal war.
There is good reason to believe that in Malaysia today, obnoxiousness is a legitimate virtue, made particularly attractive by the fact being good at it involves arresting one’s mental and emotional development at the age of four. One gets to throw tantrums, grab at whatever one wants, believe that one is the centre of the universe, make inflated promises and break them without second thought, and above all call other people horrible names all the time. All this, far from making you universally despised and shunned
Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s family friend Low Taek Jho had supposedly handled Najib’s personal bank accounts at AmBank, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
The report said Low had repeatedly emphasised the sensitivity of the bank accounts and stressed the need for secrecy.
He had reportedly even forbidden AmBank from sending the credit card statements linked to the accounts to the prime minister’s residence.
“Don’t let people outside the bank or more than a few people inside know about the accounts, he instructed. Use Gmail, not the bank’s email system, for communication. Whatever you do, don’t send credit-card statements to the prime minister’s house,” according to the WSJ report, which listed the purported do’s and don’ts from Low, who is widely known as Jho Low.
“‘No no no’ and 'Super sensitive'," Low wrote, according to transcripts of BlackBerry messages reviewed by WSJ.
“He instead had someone collect the statements by hand,” said the report published this morning.
Malaysiakini is unable to independently verify the report.
The report referred to purported transcripts between the Penang-born tycoon and an AmBank banker who acted as the main point-of-contact on matters concerning the accounts. Another senior AmBank executive supposedly handled the accounts personally.
Low had supposedly stressed that it is very important that no one but the two of them should get a hold of the bank statements.
“Cause if it gets on Internet where funds were from then headache,” Low supposedly said.
The messages also supposedly discussed how to deal with the then Bank Negara governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz (photo), in case she raises concerns about the 1MDB-related transactions.
In such an event, the senior AmBank executive is supposedly to see her and “let her know this is boss request”, which the WSJ claimed refers to Najib.
Najib had previously been accused of pocketing hundreds of millions of dollars in 1MDB funds, through intermediaries, into his personal bank accounts at AmBank.
However, he said he has done no wrong and described the transactions into his accounts as donations from a Saudi prince.
Attorney-general Mohd Apandi Ali agreed with Najib and decided not to press charges against the prime minister after an investigation.
Malaysiakini has contacted Najib’s press secretary for comment on today’s WSJ report and is awaiting a response.
'Najib had written over 500 cheques'
According to the report, Low’s lawyer declined to comment on the matter, as did AmBank and its two bankers supposedly involved in dealing with Low and Najib’s bank account. Zeti also reportedly declined to comment.
The report claimed that bank documents show Najib had written over 500 cheques out of accounts supposedly funded through 1MDB, totalling US$400 million.
It said that based on the documents and the message transcripts, the account was running short on funds at one point and this prompted fears that a bounced cheque could draw regulatory attention.
Low then arranged for US$4 million in cash to be deposited in Najib’s account to avoid this, it claimed.
The WSJ also reported that investigators believe someone in Low’s entourage had been crafting letters to vouch the transactions into Najib’s accounts as gifts or donations, citing unnamed sources said to be familiar with investigations in two countries.
It said one such letter, dated Feb 1, 2011, was signed by Saudi prince Saud Abdulaziz Majid al Saud and was sent to Bank Negara.
It vouched for US$100 million as a reward for Malaysia’s promotion of Islam, and “should not in any event be construed as an act of corruption".