Politics, much like celebrity, is all about re-invention. Where is an alleged kleptocrat currently awaiting his fate on nearly 50 charges lodged against his name to go other than to the hand that once fed him: The rakyat.
Former prime minister Najib Razak is working overtime to present a self-deprecating image to the public, specifically a young, Malay male demographic. One imagines that his number crunchers worked overtime isolating a group that may or may not have forgotten that he’s been accused of some incredibly serious crimes, or rather — never believed their veracity in the first place.
His latest effort in endearing himself as the victim in this whole post-election debacle is to release a single. Yes, you read that right — like a music single, with an accompanying video, complete with a group of children in the sound booth singing along.
Today is the saddest day of my life
After 9th May 2018 I was ousted
All this time I’ve been fighting so hard for my people
But lost because of Pakatan Harapan’s non-stop malicious lies
Najib whispers before ruining The Manhattan’s Kiss and Say Goodbye forever.
It’s not every day that you see a disgraced politician corral himself into a tiny room with a dozen children and force them to sing, but lucky for us — this Blood Moon is causing all sorts of wild things.
If you’d like to save yourself the schadenfreude of watching children barely old enough to grasp the concept of global banking graft sing their hearts of for a senior citizen accused of misappropriating billions, the tl;dr of it all is that Najib is being persecuted by the current government.
Prosecuted, you mean.
No — persecuted. And what’s a renegade to do but get in the recording studio, and make the world a song we never asked for.
While we may collectively laugh, and shake our heads at Najib’s musical efforts, it’s hard to deny the tides turning among some of the public: His Facebook posts have been more popular than ever, setting his sights on DAP leader Lim Kit Siang with as much fervor as LKS sets on Najib himself.
Then there was the impromptu grocery store trip with his youngest son — just picking up a few things for the house, as it were type of content, posted smiling to social media.
However, the most impactful in Najib’s substantial media blitz would have to be last week’s biker meet-up, that bore decals, and images of the former PM next to his latest hashtag: #MaluApaBossku (Why embarrassed, boss?).
Sporting a hoodie, and riding a bike with the plates 8055KU (BOSSKU, geddit?!), the disgraced former statesman revved the cars engine and recreated the cartoon in front of him. It was liked over 63,000 times on his official Facebook page, along with comments of encouragement.
One particular user wrote that Najib’s page hit his naysayers where it hurts, and that they would be finding it harder to put food on the table.
Previously, he had baited his followers by asking them which bikes they preferred to ride. To the best of the public’s knowledge, this was the first time the former PM reached out to ask for boss hog advice. In recent days, he was photographed in a mob of riders, signing their helmets.
To give you some context, it’s the equivalent of getting Donald Trump to sign your Jordans — two unrelated signifiers brought together in some kind of unholy semiotic union.
Many see Najib’s attempts to ingratiate himself with “the people” as a move not only in rebranding his public image, but also a deft play in the lead-up to the highly contested Cameron Highlands by-election set to take place this Saturday.
Only time will tell, but one thing is certain — keeping his luxury-loving Birkin bag totting wife far from the public eye certainly is doing him some favors.
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