Media blackout and pathetic excuses on damning allegations by US Justice Dept

Media blackout on the DOJ

Why the fanfare, you ask?

Because, as one reputable international newspaper put it, this is “one of the largest attempted asset seizures in Justice Department history”.

The refusal to report substantially on the DOJ investigations – and the damning allegations about the involvement of people close to Najib Abdul Razak – aside, there have been two other noticeable features.

First, the lack of stature of those who have immediately come to Najib’s defence. These have been virtually second-stringers. Like Salleh Said Keruak with his alleged ‘tin kosong’, insipid opinions and the eternally embarrassing Gerakan Youth leader, Tan Keng Liang.

Tan, in trying to dismiss the DOJ document, implied that, like the US lies about Iraq, the DOJ’s allegations comprise a pack of lies as well. It is quite evident he had not read the document before shooting his mouth off.

These lightweights aside, what’s apparent is that none of the Umno and BN heavyweights seemed to want to have their thoughts reported, which really is surprising, given the severity of the allegations. Which leaves us with the sneaking suspicion that many want to distance themselves from this latest revelation.

These are revelations not, mind you, by news media which could be sued (but which, incidentally, haven’t, after all these months of threats and hot air) but by the US Department of Justice, led by attorney-general Loretta Lynch and supported by the FBI.

Lack of substance in these defences

Second, less surprisingly, has been the lack of substance in these defences.

Sure, the AG quickly came up with a statement defending Najib and sounding very much like his personal lawyer rather than the attorney-general of Malaysia. As DAP stalwart and lawyer, Gobind Singh Deo has asked, “Is he the defence lawyer for the prime minister or is he the public prosecutor of Malaysia?”

But many others have been more feeble with their responses and defence. Most of these, like Tan Keng Liang’s, are too inane to repeat.

But the one by possibly Najib’s new BFF, Hadi Awang, deserves mention because it is said to be so ‘bodoh’.

In response to the DOJ documents, Hadi is reported to have “opined that 1MDB should be probed by Malaysians rather than foreigners”. Implying very strongly that the DOJ is interfering in Malaysia’s affairs.

In supporting the statement of some inconsequential Umno minister, Hadi entered the realm of absurdity that many a blind ‘nationalist’ loves to enter. For him and the minister, the DOJ action and investigations amount to US interference in Malaysia’s affairs.

Hadi, and even some not-so-young academics I’ve talked to, would do well to consult the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), which Malaysia signed in 2003 and ratified in 2008.

But even before doing that, are these people saying that if a crime is committed by a Malaysian in another country, arresting and trying her in that country would be tantamount to ‘interference in Malaysia’s affairs’? And that she should instead be brought home to be tried? Like that fella in New Zealand who crapped outside the victim’s house and then attempted to sexually assault her?

Yet another silly retort is that Najib has not been named in the DOJ report hence doesn’t need to be investigated. Not named, perhaps, but certainly fingered.

So, as we move into another week of interesting times, let us remind ourselves that, with new communications technology, we are no longer hidden from the rest of the world. Yes, every time a new critical report or analysis comes out in the international media, it would seem that some pathetic sod in Cyberjaya is rushing about trying to block it.

But, as they say, the genie is already out of the bottle.

Media blackout on the DOJ
26 July 2016


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