There are a significant number of people who simply adore Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak and yearn for his return as Prime Minister. Many of them are trying to put their fingers on the exact reason Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad despises him and are screaming foul day in day out. If you happen to be one of them, then, let me be the first to tell you, that your efforts to discover the reasons will prove futile as the number is just that big. If, however, your mission is to know what prompted Mahathir to zero in on the RM2.6 billion that ended in Najib’s personal bank account, then stick around, cos this article is definitely meant for you.
RM2.6 billion: The untold truth (Part 1)
Not many are aware, that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad wanted Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak gone by 2014 or sometime thereabouts. Right around the time Najib took over the reins of government, the former-premier-turned-world’s-oldest-premier made it tacitly clear to the son of Razak that he wanted two things – a presidential council to overlook Barisan Nasional’s affairs, and the rise of his son, Dato’ Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, to the second highest rung in the country’s leadership.
Najib did none of those.
So, when it became apparent to Mahathir that Abdullah’s successor was determined to hold on to the country’s premiership past the 14th general election (GE14), he contrived a plan to further erode Chinese support for the MCA and Gerakan to weaken the federal government. In 2011, a directive was passed to several of his cronies – the likes of Tan Sri Vincent Tan, Tan Sri Francis Yeoh and Tan Sri Ananda Krishnan – not to assist Najib in any way during general elections. That left Najib with the problem of stocking his war chests knowing that a general election would cost at least RM2 billion or so to hold.
Enter Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz.
Sometime between the years 2010 and 2011, the former Bank Negara governor facilitated the channelling of funds from Saudi Arabia into Najib’s personal Ambank account (hereinafter referred to as “Najib’s account”) by suggesting that the money be parked there. While it is unclear at this point in time if she knew the exact sum that was due to enter, it was made known to her by Najib himself that the money was from the Royal family of Saudi Arabia. A testimony by a representative of that family confirmed that the money comprised “donations” and a “gift” from the royal household to assist Malaysia in Islamic development.
Zeti’s “go ahead” paved the way for the eventual transfer of RM3,197,596,146.28 into Najib’s account in four tranches (hereinafter referred to as “the transfers”). Contrary to the former governor’s claim that she did not know how much money ended in Najib’s account, she herself was said to be in touch with the manager of Ambank Jalan Raja Chulan and knew the exact names of individuals and companies that channelled the funds. On the 3rd of August 2015, the MACC announced that “funds amounting to RM2.6 billion supposedly deposited into Najib’s personal account were campaign donations and not from 1MDB.”
The statement was pursuant to findings made in a 2015 investigation paper (hereinafter referred to as “the paper”) by the current head of the MACC, Dato’ Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull. Then the agency’s deputy chief, Shukri discovered that the transfers were arranged by a certain Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, who, not only was conferred the power of attorney by Najib to manage his account, seemed to be in direct communication with the said representative of the Saudi Royal family, Mohammad Abdullah Al Koman. The paper made clear mention of individuals and companies that facilitated the transfers, including Prince Faisal Bin Turkey Bin Bandar Al Saud (RM369,029,514.00), Tanore Finance Corporation (RM243,699,926.32) and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (RM2,061,476,926.00). It is the total RM2,674,206,366.32 from these transactions that Mahathir spent three years fussing about.
Mahathir was pissed that Najib had somehow acquired funding to bankroll a general election. Seeing that Mukhriz was nowhere near being named deputy premier, he had planned since 2011 itself to weaken Najib by effecting Barisan’s near defeat during the 13th general election. When he saw Najib stocking up some war chests with a great deal of money, he undertook one way or the other to leak information relating to the RM2,674,206,366.32 to the Wall Street Journal and Sarawak Report, ignoring completely the RM523,389,779.96 that Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partner Limited channelled into Najib’s account.
It coincided almost perfectly with the flow of a similar sum having to do with 1MDB.
To be continued…