Jika Menteri Dalam Negeri, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi boleh menjamin raja judi Paul Phua yang berpangkalan di Macau, maka tidaklah terlalu sukar baginya untuk mengesan Jho Low yang dipercayai berada di Hong Kong.
Wartawan veteran A Kadir Jasin membuat cadangan secara menyindir, berikutan permintaan Pemuda Umno supaya Jho Low disiasat kerana penglibatannya dalam membebani hutang 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
"Jika Ahmad Zahid seolah-olah tahu si raja judi Phua Wei Seng atau Paul Phua yang terkenal seantero dunia , dengan cukup baik hinggakan sanggup mengeluarkan surat jamin kepada FBI.
"Saya pasti ia tidak akan menjadi masalah bagi kita untuk mencari seorang ketua kongsi gelap sama sekali dihormati dan boleh dipercayai di Hong Kong untuk mengesan Jho Low. Atau sebagai 'pro quo quid', kita boleh minta FBI untuk membantu.
Desakan Pemuda Umno supaya Jho Low atau nama sebenarnya Low Taek Jho disiasat, selepas jutawan muda itu membidas UMNO kerana menuduhnya bertanggungjawab dalam masalah 1MDB.
Jho Low menuduh Umno bermain isu perkauman dengan menuduhnya sebagai "orang Cina (yang) mencuri wang dan bergelumang dengan najis arak".
Kadir, yang merupakan rakan rapat bekas perdana menteri Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, telah merujuk kepada surat Ahmad Zahid kepada FBI pada Disember tahun lepas.
Surat Zahid mendakwa si raja judi itu telah membantu Malaysia dalam hal-hal keselamatan negara dan menggesa agar beliau dibenarkan kembali ke Malaysia.
Kadir berkata tuduhan Jho Low bahawa Umno menjadi putaralam("spinmasters") adalah sederhana berbanding dengan kata-kata kesat Najib yang telah digunakan untuk menggambarkan penentang2nya.
Sebagai contoh, Najib menggelar blogger upahan UMNO dengan panggilan 'bangang'. Najib juga mengakui bahawa terdapat pembodek2 dan 'jemuan' dalam UMNO.
"Dia juga melabelkan orang yang dianggapnya sebagai tidak tahu berterima kasih kepada kerajaan sebagai 'haram Jadah.
"Jadi apa yang begitu teruk dan menyakitkan hati jika Jho Low melabelkan pengkritiknya dalam Umno sebagai "putaralam" tanya Kadir.
'Bukankah Najib bersihkan Jho Low?'
Kadir turut mempersoalkan mengapa Umno begitu marah pada Jho Low sedangkan Najib, dalam jawapan bertulis parlimen, telah menyatakan bahawa jutawan ranggi tersebut tidak terlibat dengan 1MDB.
"Namun demikian, Jho Low boleh menjadi jauh terlibat dalam skandal 1MDB itu.
"Dia tidak mungkin bekerja dengan 1MDB dan semua keputusan 1MDB dan urusannya dilakukan oleh pihak pengurusan dan lembaga pengarah 1MDB, tetapi siapa boleh menghalang Jho Low bertindak sebagai ejen bebas atau fasilitator" katanya.
Kadir menyamakan keadaan dengan syarikat2 yang dimiliki oleh Abdul Razak Baginda, seorang rakan rapat dengan Najib, yang memperolehi komisen USD$200 juta daripada penjualan kapal selam bernilai USD$2 bilion.
"Abdul Razak juga tidak bekerja untuk Kementerian Pertahanan dan, saya pasti bahawa semua keputusan dan urusan di kementerian itu telah dilakukan oleh Menteri Pertahanan dan jeneral2nya, tetapi itu tidak menghalang Abdul Razak untuk bertindak sebagai seorang ejen bebas bagi pembelian kapal selam jenis Scorpene.
"Beliau dikatakan memperolehi kira-kira USD$200 juta komisen untuk mengatur pembelian bernilai USD$2 bilion," kata Kadir.
Kerajaan telah menafikan bahawa pembayaran itu bukanlah komisen, tetapi adalah untuk "perkhidmatan sokongan dan koordinasi".
Mahathir telah mempersoalkan Najib mengenai beberapa isu termasuk pengurusan beliau dengan 1MDB dan hubungannya dengan Jho Low, keengganan beliau untuk menangani motif pembunuhan Altantuya Shaariibuu, dan kekayaan keluarganya.
Veteran Umno yang bertekad untuk menyingkirkan Perdana Menteri, telah berkata bahawa parti itu akan kalah pada pilihan raya umum akan datang jika Najib masih kekal sebagai presiden Umno.
Read - K.Jasin - Jho Low Vs Khairy Vs PM
If Zahid can get Paul Phua, why not Jho Low...
Veteran journalist A Kadir Jasin made the sarcastic proposal, following Umno Youth's demand for Jho Low to be investigated over his involvement in the debt-ridden 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
"If Ahmad Zahid seems to know the internationally wanted alleged gambling kingpin Phua Wei Seng or Paul Phua well enough to vouch for him in a letter to the FBI...
"I am sure it will not be a hassle for us to find a totally respectable and dependable triad chief in Hong Kong to track down Jho Low. Or as a quid pro quo, we can ask the FBI to help.
Umno Youth's call to probe Jho Low, whose real name is Low Taek Jho, came after the young billionaire lashed out at the party for accusing him of being responsible in 1MDB's woes.
Jho Low had accused Umno of playing the racial card by painting him as the "Chinaman (who) stole the money and blew it on alcohol".
Kadir, who is a close associate of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, was referring to Ahmad Zahid's letter to the FBI in December last year.
Zahid's letter claimed the alleged kingpin had helped Malaysia in matters of national security and urged that he be allowed back in Malaysia.
The minister was embroiled in controversy after the letter was leaked to the public; its content also insisted that Phua was not a member of the 14K triad.
The FBI, which believes Phua to be a triad member, has pinned him on charges of running an illegal gambling operation.
Kadir said Jho Low's accusation of Umno being "spinmasters" was mild compared to the words Najib has used to describe his opponents.
For instance, he (Najib) called paid Umno bloggers 'bangang' (stupid). He admitted that there are apple polishers and 'jemuan' (undesirable people) in the party.
"He even labelled people whom he considered as ungrateful to the government 'haram jadah' (illegitimate child).
"So what’s so terribly offensive if Jho Low followed suit by labelling his critics in Umno as spin masters?," asked Kadir.
'Didn't Najib clear Jho Low?'
Kadir also questioned why Umno was so incensed at Jho Low when Najib, in a written parliamentary reply, had cleared the flamboyant billionaire of any involvement with 1MDB.
"Then again, Jho Low could be chest deep in the 1MDB muck.
"He may not have worked with 1MDB and that all 1MDB decisions and dealings were done by the management and board of directors, but there was nothing to stop him from acting as a fee-earning agent or facilitator," he said.
Kadir likened the situation to companies owned by Abdul Razak Baginda (left), a close associate of Najib, which made a US$200 million commission from a US$2 billion submarine deal.
"Abdul Razak too did not work for the Defence Ministry and, I am sure that all decisions and dealings at the ministry were done by defence minister and his generals, but that did not stop Abdul Razak from acting as a fee-earning agent for the purchase of the Scorpéne-class submarines.
"He reputedly earned some US$200 million in commission for brokering the US$2-billion deal," said Kadir.
The government has denied the payment was a commission and that it was for "support services and coordination".
Kadir, along with other Mahathir's associates have been firing salvos at Najib and his supporters after the former prime minister declared open war.
Mahathir had questioned Najib on several issues including his management of 1MDB and relationship to Jho Low, his refusal to address the motive of Altantuya Shaariibuu's murder, and his family's wealth.
The Umno veteran who is bent on removing the prime minister, has said that the party will be defeated at the next general election if Najib remains as Umno president. - mk
Why I believe Najib will eventually step down...
This being his sixth year as the sixth prime minister of Malaysia may see him stepping down by October in short, his sixth month this year. Someone has cleverly suggested the numbers in one of the articles that I read.
Although I was initially not convinced, when both celebrities Siti Nurhaliza and Rozita Che Wan whipped up their support for Dr Mahathir Mohamad, it became apparent that this may well be the end of Najib’s era in power.
This may sound superstitious - and it is never intended to be - but frankly, I do not see Najib surviving Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s onslaught beyond his sixth month in his sixth year in office.
Six is not Najib’s lucky number
On one hand, it is his six percent goods and services tax (or better known as GST) which hits all Malaysians below the belt; on the other hand, it is because grassroots support in Umno is waning away, with Dr Mahathir leading the attack.
The attack will continue for months to come to the point that Umno’s own grassroots support will be eroded away. It is after all Dr Mahathir’s strategy when he goes on the offensive.
Najib’s biggest mistake was to remove Anwar Ibrahim from the political scene. Najib’s other mistake was to use the draconian laws against politicians and activists, unleashing the dark forces of the Mahathir era which the people have long resented.
Najib is also nowhere near to the icon that the late Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore was. Lee’s stature as a statesman cannot be disputed, having built Singapore from nothing to a country that is richer than its neighbours in Asean.
With the jailing of Anwar, now, it is a feud between Dr Mahathir, the ‘prime minister slayer’, and Najib himself. Dr Mahathir waited for the best time to unleash his forces against Najib.
If Najib survives beyond October, I will be the first to salute him. This is because in the next few months, we can expect Dr Mahathir’s attack to intensify. If Najib defies the urging to resign by one man, soon, he will face even a bigger urging from the country.
Dr Mahathir appears to have the upper hand. Since attacking Najib, Dr Mahathir’s website has tripled in terms of number of hits.
As one pundit put it, Dr Mahathir is not one who backtracks once he started his scathing attack on Najib.
There are a number of lessons one can learn from Najib’s own failure in winning the people’s support. After Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (or better known as Pak Lah) stepped down, Najib assumed the office of prime minister, promising transformation.
He should have realised that people were angry with Dr Mahathir’s dictatorial style of leadership after 22 years. And the reason why Pak Lah was able to rally the people as one nation in the 2004 general election is because Pak Lah was more liberal in his policy.
Hence, Najib came out with the 1Malaysia slogan, and offering the same promises to remove draconian laws.
However, he changed his policy midway due to the pressure from certain quarters within Umno who were playing on race and religion to pit one group of people against another.
Because he did nothing to stop these extremist NGOs from causing a rift between the people and the ruling party, Najib got all the brickbats.
Anyone looking at the history of Najib’s own term of office will be able to understand that had he taken the approach used by Pak Lah, Najib would have been able to strengthen his own position, heal the nation, and win the people’s support.
But Najib has failed. When the controversies over race and religion rocked the nation, Najib kept silent, despite his promises that Malaysia would adopt the policy of moderation. People could see through Najib’s hypocrisy that he was merely paying lips service and did not provide the leadership necessary to put the country on the right path.
Dr Mahathir is right in pointing out that both Sabah and Sarawak can no longer be considered BN’s vote bank. On one hand, Najib signed the 10-point agreement with the churches; on the other hand, even the Iban-language Bibles were confiscated from the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM), and when the Attorney-General’s Department cleared the BSM leaders from any wrongdoing, Najib did not order the Bibles to be returned.
The same flip-flop could be seen when Najib signed a memorandum of understanding with one of the leaders of the Hindraf movement, P Waythamoorthy (left in photo). After making him a deputy minister, Najib did not step in to help Waythamoorthy to look into the plight of the poor Indian community.
Instead, what we see today is the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) which we know will burden the people. This gives Dr Mahathir the leverage to hit out at Najib’s administration.
If anything, I believe it is Najib’s flip-flop policy that will eventually drag him and the entire BN down. The jailing of Anwar Ibrahim has strengthened the opposition’s resolve to remove BN from Putrajaya.
What’s worse is that the people have abandoned both Umno and the Barisan Nasional. In the last general election, only 47 percent of the country’s eligible voters voted for BN despite Najib’s efforts to woo the people.
When Umno continues to lose the support of grassroots support, it will be a tough choice between Najib or the Malay population at large.
Someone like Siti Nurhaliza and Rozita Che should not be underestimated, especially when they declared their support for Dr Mahathir in the feud between Dr Mahathir and Najib.
If Najib continues hanging on to the top post, even those in support of him will find themselves losing their own grassroot support and the party will continue to slide further down. This is why even Cheras Umno’s divisional leader, Syed Ali Albabshee is also trying to be seen in the good books of Dr Mahathir after showing his full-fledged support for Najib.
Most in Umno know that Dr Mahathir is no small fry within the party itself; they would rather not offend him or be blacklisted by him. Najib’s own report card or ‘Key Performance Index’ (KPI), as pointed out by Dr Mahathir, shows that Najib performed worse than a ‘snoozing’ Pak Lah. No one can dispute Dr Mahathir on this, can Najib? - Stephen Ng, mk