The interview started with a warm-up question – why did the people of Malaysia decide they wanted a change after 6-decade under Barisan Nasional government. Najib responded by claiming that his regime lost because of first, false promises by the opposition and second, propaganda war unleashed. Perhaps Najib thought Mary Ann Jolley would move on to questions more favourable to him.
However, the reporter, the same person whom Mr. Najib kicked out of the country in 2015 while she was pursuing a story on the Altantuya Shariibuu murder, was incredibly well prepared. On the topic of opposition’s propaganda brought up, she asked Najib about the accusation that his government was based on kleptocracy – involvement in the biggest heist in the world’s history to the tune of US$4.5 billion theft from 1MDB funds.
Taken aback, Najib paused momentarily, babbling, before saying it was not true. He argued that he had returned US$620 million, hence disagreed his was a kleptocratic government. Miss Jolley quickly stopped Mr. Najib from his gibberish talk and reminded him the money (US$681 million) that flowed into his personal account in 2013 came from an account in Singapore linked to a very close business associate of Jho Low.
Najib explained that there were two main sources of money which flowed into his private banking accounts. The first was direct contributions from the ministry of finance of Saudi Arabia. Before he could continue, Jolley once again interrupted and cut the cock and bull story, reminding Najib that according to the U.S.-Department of Justice report, that money originated in an account controlled by Jho Low.
Subsequently the money went to a Saudi account before going to Najib’s personal account, said Jolley. At that moment, Najib, started to feel nervous, tried to use Saudi King Abdullah as his shield. Chokingly, he claimed that the Saudi king had committed to support him, so he “assumed” everything would be done in a proper way, therefore, he would not have any knowledge of who owns the funds.
Najib’s explanation appeared to not only use a dead man to clear his name, but also to push all the blames (if there’s any) squarely on the Saudi government. However, the Al-Jazeera interviewer reminded him that he was the prime minister, the finance minister as well as the chairman of 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Berhad) advisory committee, hence his denial was laughable.
Like a naughty teacher trying to troll a student caught lying through his teeth, Mary Ann Jolley asked Najib should not he know more where the money was coming from. The former Malaysian leader then gave an excuse that since he received the commitment from the late King Abdullah and letters (which have yet to be proven genuine), he “assumed” everything would be fine.
Miss Jolley must be in a really jolly good spirit after Najib brought up the issue of letters supposedly from the Saudi royal house. She highlighted a series of questions about the authenticity of the letter produced by Najib (apparently to prove his innocence) – supposedly from a Saudi prince (signed off by one “Saud Abdulaziz Al-Saud) gifting him the money.
She asked Najib the mind-boggling fact that the Saudi prince’s letter was using exactly the same phrases as an earlier letter written by a close business associate of Jho Low. She then read out a part from the letter which says – “The gift should not in any event be construed as an act of corruption. I personally do not encourage such practices in any manner whatsoever”.
Yes, you don’t need a rocket scientist to tell that the letters were most likely produced by the same person who did it as a result of “afterthought” – after the 1MDB scandal was exposed. That person would be Eric Tan Kim Loong, the close business associate of Jho Low. It was like a thief writing a letter to himself saying the discovery of stolen goods should not be considered as an act of thievery.
Something weird happened when Miss Jolley read out the similarities of both letter, as if they were being “cut and paste” by the same lazy person. Najib’s head, tilted to his left all this while, suddenly turned to the opposite side as if he was surprised by the in-depth analysis from the interviewer. Jolley then suggested there could be fabrication or cover up on diversion of 1MDB funds.
Unable to explain, Najib repeated the same bullshit – that he had assurance of support from the King Abdullah and therefore his assumption that donations would come from the ministry of finance of Saudi Arabia or sources linked to the royalty. He claimed he was not privy to letters from Jho Low and suggested that the authorities be allowed to examine and investigate.
Najib said if Jho Low is found to have siphoned the funds, he must be held accountable. Defending himself like a lawyer, he said the question was whether he was aware of the source of the money when he received the funds. He then tried to blame the Central Bank for not alerting him, but sensing the ex-premier was beating around the bush, the impatient Al-Jazeera interviewer cut in.
Although Miss Jolley wasn’t a finance minister like Mr. Najib, she lectured the politician that when she gets a cheque from Al-Jazeera, she would know instantly who the sender is because the account information would be obvious. To put Najib back on track, she reminded him that the account that sent him the money came from Singapore, controlled by Jho Low’s close business associate (Eric Tan).
Najib was also reminded – again – that the U.S.-DOJ had traced the money back to 1MDB. Najib’s head tilted back to his left side again, thinking hard how to wriggle out of the persistent tough questions. As a serial liar, Najib repeated his bullshit story – that he assumed it was a genuine donation. He claimed that he does not have any knowledge beyond that.
The disgraced ex-premier was then asked why he was cleared of any wrongdoing when he was the prime minister but is now not only banned from leaving the country, but also slapped with 38 charges of CBT (criminal breach of trust), money laundering and abuse of power. Najib said it was simply because the new government has to fulfil its political promise to arrest and punish him.
It was a red herring when Jolley asked Najib an easy question – his relationship with Jho Low. When the interviewer highlighted that six investigations are going around the world related to corruption in 1MDB, Najib, without realizing that he was defending his partner-in-crime Jho Low, revealed that there were “other international figures” involved in the 1MDB scandal.
The liar Najib thought he could outplay the reporter when he said investigation must be carried out to determine who had benefited the most from the 1MDB scandal. Jolley quickly answered that Najib would be that man, giving the example that the US$620 million Najib had returned was in fact used to purchase a 22K pink diamond pendant worth US$27 million for his wife – Rosmah Mansor.
Najib claimed that the pink diamond was a gift from a United Arab Emirates prince, Sheikh Mansour, the brother of Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, who is also the chairman of International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC). Insisting it was a gift which his wife did not receive, he said – “We know that Jho Low was a close associate of Sheikh Mansour.”
However, Jolley was not born yesterday. She said the U.S.-DOJ had already traced the money (US$27 million) and possessed the conversation of the purchase involving the jeweller (Lorraine Schwartz), Najib’s wife and Jho Low – evidence that it was not a gift but was bought by Jho Low for Rosmah using 1MDB money. Najib, however, insisted it was a gift from the U.A.E. prince.
When pressed that he should be concerned that accepting such expensive gift would look bad on him, considering his annual income of less than US$70,000, Najib said it is part of the Middle East culture to present others with “expensive” gifts. He insisted of not knowing the value despite being pointed out that his wife had actually tried the US$27 million diamond pendant on herself.
Najib also denied that there are laws requiring civil servants or lawmakers to declare any expensive gifts they have received, despite Jolley saying gifts worth more than US$120 must be declared (according to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, MACC). Najib has a more interesting cock and bull story when comes to his stepson Riza Aziz.
On his stepson Riza Aziz’s funding of the Hollywood hit movie Wolf of Wall Street and the massive properties he acquired using funds the U.S.-DOJ alleges are from 1MDB, Najib has offered a spectacular tale. He said Riza had always been a movie buff and was already into the industry when the movie was made. So when then-PM Najib visited Abu Dhabi, his stepson hit the windfall.
Apparently, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed wanted to invest in Riza Aziz’s movie as if he was Steven Spielberg, never mind Najib’s stepson had zero experience. The U.A.E. crown prince must be a moron because Riza would use the money to purchase US$100 million worth of properties around the world. Najib was reminded again that the U.S.-DOJ investigation shows the money was from 1MDB.
Again, Najib said he had assumed the money was from U.A.E., ignoring the U.S.-DOJ report entirely. Miss Jolley mocked Mr. Najib for keep saying “I don’t know where the money came from” while 1MDB plunged into deeper mess. The shameless former premier even insisted his stepson was not guilty despite agreed to pay US$60 million to U.S. in lawsuit settlement.
Why would Riza Aziz agree to pay US$60 million if indeed he was innocent in the first place? Najib’s twists and spins, unfortunately failed to convince Jolley. When the interviewer hinted that his story was beyond belief, Najib said – “In all honesty, that’s the truth. I mean there’s nothing I can do if people don’t believe it but that’s the honest truth because my track record as prime minister.”
When the Al-Jazeera journalist wanted to continue with questionnaires about raids on Najib’s private properties which led to the biggest seizure in Malaysian history – worth over RM1 billion in jewellery and cash – Najib started throwing tantrums. He told Jolley – “We are supposed to talk about the economy. You are going too much about this. I do not want to talk too much about it”.
To pacify Najib, Miss Jolley said she wanted to ask about the re-investigation of several high profile murders brought up by the former premier himself. Najib gleefully consented to the topic, only for the interviewer to ask about the gruesome murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu in 2006. Najib appeared to be stunned momentarily but it was too late to run away.
Najib said the murder of Altantuya went through the judiciary system, and he had been cleared entirely and the then police chief can testify his innocence. Najib said – “I am totally, totally innocent of the Altantuya case. Absolutely!” Jolley asked why she was deported in June 2015 while filming a story about the murder of Altantuya.
“Good thing we deported you. You are a nuisance. Because as far as I am concerned, making lies, fabricating lies is not something we want to tolerate in this country” – the former prime minister told Jolley who interviewed him for Al Jazeera’s 101 East show. Mary Ann Jolley was deported by 5 Malaysian immigration officers and a man in military outfit due to her explosive report.
However, Jolley explained she wasn’t fabricating lies but merely seeking interview with the powerful Najib back then, arguing she had no political agenda but wanted to understand the scandal. In its documentary – “Murder in Malaysia” – Al-Jazeera revealed how Najib informed his buddy Razak Baginda that he had sexual relationship with Altantuya. Witness Balasubramaniam’s Statutory Declaration said it was “anal intercourse”.
So, just because Jolley was filming a story about Altantuya’s murder, Najib regime was so terrified that the reporter had to be kicked out of the country? For that, Najib put the blame on the authorities. Refused to give him an easy way out, Jolley reminded Najib that it was his office that gave the order to deport her. Najib kept babbling that he was innocent of the Altantuya’s murder.
Jolley tried her luck to go back to the 1MDB scandal but Najib, clearly irritated that the interview didn’t go according to what he had anticipated, said – “Can we go to the economy please? You have spent so much of this time (on 1MDB), otherwise, I’m going to walk out – no more, no more, please, no more.” But the interviewer wasn’t done grilling Najib.
Mr. Najib finally stood up, saying – “That’s it, I’m done. If you are going to talk about the economy I’ll sit down.” He then raised his voice – “Come on, you are not being fair to me. If you want to ask about the economy, what I did …” But the world’s biggest crook wasn’t serious about walking away. As he walked away, he also hinted that he will continue if Jolley wants to talk about economy.
He sat down when told a question about the economy was next, and Miss Jolley asked him about his legacy. By then, Mr. Najib had already lost his bearing. He spoke about his pride of having a legacy of strong economic growth in the last six years. The interviewer skillfully brought back 1MDB to the discussion, asking how the scandal has stained his legacy.
Pretended to be regretful, the stressful Najib replied as if he was about to burst into tears – “I wish there was no 1MDB issue whatsoever.” He stood up again when the question following this was on financier fugitive Jho Low (real name: Low Taek Jho), the partner-in-crime of Najib. He said – “You are coming back to Jho Low.” The interviewer tried her best to stroke Najib, hoping to persuade him to continue.
She told Najib the question about Jho Low was important because while the former prime minister was facing arrest, Jho Low is not. Perhaps Jolley was attempting to lure Najib with her last bait, sending a message that it was not fair that only Najib is facing the rule of law. Najib said he is not in contact with Low anymore. But does that mean he had only stopped talking to Jho Low recently or after his defeat in May 9th?
Najib, self-proclaimed Bugis Warrior, must have regretted his decision to attend the interview, which turned out to be a trap. He took the bait and swallowed the hook, line and sinker. Miss Jolley came well prepared for her sweet revenge while the ex-premier childishly hoped for an easy interview where he could twist and spin his lies.
But the crook who practised kleptocracy (stealing) has no one to blame but his idiocy. Exactly why Najib agreed to an interview where the interviewer, Mary Ann Jolley, was the same reporter he had deported 3 years ago is beyond comprehension. Did he actually expect the interviewer to ask about Auntie Rosie’s blood pressure or whether his cat Kiky missed him during his arrest?
Najib snapped whenever the keywords “Altantuya” and “Jho Low” were mentioned and his body language says one thing – he is absolutely guilty. His walk out was not only childish but shows his cowardice. Miss Jolley looked like she was about to break down and cry at the sheer level of dishonesty and stupidity displayed by Najib. Najib’s exposure of “international figures” and U.A.E. royal house will come back to haunt him later.
Source : Finance Twitter