You can’t make it up. Over the weekend, politics and the 1MDB scandal mirrored the controversy at the Malaysian Film Festival 2016 where movie awards are segregated by language.
But you already know this. Take a scandal, spin it to add a racial element, fake a siege mentality and let your people believe the entire world is against you although it is essentially a matter of swindling and cheating your own people.
The first instance of spinning the Department of Justice lawsuit to recover US$1 billion in assets from the Wolf of Wall Street movie and its producers Red Granite Pictures came from none other than Malacca Chief Minister Idris Haron.
He said the DoJ complaint which involved 1MDB was part of a political ploy to topple a democratically-elected prime minister.
“We want to tell the Americans that this is Southeast Asia… this is Malaysia. Our country is our responsibility. What credibility does the DOJ have (in meddling in our affairs)?” he said when opening the Ampang Umno division meeting.
“You cheated the Iraqis, you killed the Iraqis, and now you want to kill the Malays in Malaysia. “This is nothing more than a political ploy to topple Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak,”
There, you have it. According to Idris, the DoJ is only interested in toppling Najib, who has said the American action has nothing to do with him. He is also not the Malaysian Official 1 described in the DoJ complaint.
Najib too alluded to the DoJ complaint and efforts by critics to link him to it, urging his Umno members to defend the party presidency, and not just him.
The Umno president said it was acceptable to have differences of opinions but that did not mean those differences could be used to betray or tear down the party.
“There are proper channels that can be used to settle differences within the party in accordance with the Constitution and the Malay culture. Differences of opinions are normal, even a husband and wife can sometimes pull a long face,” he was quoted as saying by the Malaysian media during the opening of several Umno divisional meetings yesterday.
“(But) don’t bring down the institution of Umno. We can have disagreements, but do not betray the party’s sacred struggles.”
Najib reminded members of the need for moral principles. Members need to take care of both the party and its institution, and “not take care of Najib’’.
He added: “Love me as the president because one day my successor will take over (the post and duties of the party president).”
Nowhere in their explanations is the essence of the DoJ complaint or to reassert that 1MDB has not had its funds pilfered by anyone as alleged by the US authorities. There is just spin and bluster.
It has now become a matter of the US against the Malays, as far as these Umno chaps are concerned. The US is now a bogeyman to the Bugis man, which is eerily similar to when Dr Mahathir Mohamad was running the country.
The playbook is the same through the generations, money is lost, civil liberties shackled, progress delayed and some people still keep getting wealthier. The only change is the characters who do it.