Well, it’s been a weird week for what was formerly seen as an UMNO party mouthpiece, Utusan Malaysia — our country’s only Malay-language broadsheet.
On Sunday, their editors issued a critique of former Prime Minister Najib Razak following what some thought was a rather squirm-inducing and excruciating one-on-one interview with Al-Jazeera’s 101 East.
Using the nome de plume Awang Selamat, the paper called the former PM dishonest, and called for him to apologize for having lied to the people over his connections to 1MDB. If you’d like some context, it’s like Fox News’s Sean Hannity asking Donald Trump to apologize for being, well — Donald Trump, it’s like Pravda calling Stalin a maniac, and asking him to say sorry for the gulags while he was still alive: It’s wild.
Now, DAP leader Lim Kit Siang has come out to throw his support behind the broadsheet, echoing the editor’s concerns over observations that Najib had never publicly acknowledged a so-called Saudi royal “gift” of RM2.84 billion (US$681 million), only bringing up the ostensible donation after the sudden injection into his personal accounts was called into question.
“This had provoked Awang Selamat to refer to the old story which said that not all thieves are liars, but all liars will always steal!” Lim wrote today.
“Let Najib reply to Utusan Malaysia, and every Opposition MP take a stand on the latest Utusan position on Najib when Parliament reconvenes next week.”
However, some stalwart Najib supporters have condemned the party mouthpiece, with one division chief asking the paper’s editor-in-chief to apologize for the piece and questioning whether the UMNO-owned paper was now in the pocket of Prime Minister Mahathir.
Other UMNO party members, like party secretary-general Annuar Musa, preferred to give no comment, telling Free Malaysia Today: “There is nothing from UMNO.” He did say that Utusan was entitled to press freedoms, “so the issue of whether it should, or should not [publish the piece] does not arise.”
UMNO’s former propaganda chief was far less measured, and urged a boycott of what the Malay Mail calls an already “financially distressed publisher.”
Having previously maintained that the multi-hundred million dollar gift was a donation from a Saudi Arabian prince, Najib admitted in his 101 East interview that the money could potentially have come from 1MDB, and at the time he assumed it was from a legitimate source.
So at best — wildly alarming that more due diligence is given to what is inside our luggage when we travel than how Malaysia’s former PM kept tabs on the hundreds of millions flowing in, at worst (and most logical for anyone with a modicum of cognitive thinking) — he’s probably lying.
Either way, sounds like next week’s Parliamentary session is gonna be lit!