Najib and his domineering wife Rosmah Mansor are busy digging into the taxpayers' pockets and an end must be put to this.
The country celebrates its 54th independence next month. Incidentally, the freedom brings with it a bitter reminder of how with passing time, greed has become second nature to Barisan Nasional in general and Umno in particular.
With their conscience long traded in for a lavish life all at the expense of the rakyat, former leader Dr Mahathir Mohamad and current Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak shamelessly emptied the nationâ€™s pocket time and again for their personal benefits.
During his 22 long years as premier, Mahathir for one almost depleted the resources of Petronas, the countryâ€™s national oil company. Petronas became the â€śpiggy bankâ€ť to fund mega projects like the Petronas Twin Towers and the shifting of the federal administration to Putrajaya, among others.
As DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang put it, â€śMahathir did not bat an eyelidâ€ť to misuse funds to â€śbail out dubious projectsâ€ť, the most infamous being the RM2 billion bailout of his son Mirzanâ€™s shipping concern Konsortium Perkapalan Bhd which fell into billion-ringgit debts.
Now, it is Najib and his domineering wife Rosmah Mansor who are busy digging into the taxpayers’ pockets. First, it was reported that this couple chalked up RM17 million in travelling expenses since Najib assumed the premiership in April 2009.
Then, it was revealed that the federal government wasted RM48.7 million of taxpayers’ hard-earned money on the official residences of Najib and his deputy, Muhyiddin Yassin, between 2006 and 2010. Of that amount, RM33 million was spent on rent. Both Seri Perdana and Sri Satria in Putrajaya are owned by local authority Perbadanan Putrajaya.
The damage to the nationâ€™s purse seems to be limitless. The premier and his deputy wasted away RM10.2 million on electricity bills and another RM3.5 million on maintenance. Both Najib and Muhyiddin, it appears, are the least bothered about the amount of water their families seem to waste, the bill amounting to RM1.96 million.
(These figures were revealed by Minister in the Prime Ministerâ€™s Department, Nazri Abdul Aziz, in response to a question by Rantau Panjang PAS MP Siti Zailah Mohd Yusof.)
The latest news is that Najib used up US$24 million (RM73.48 million) of the taxpayers’ money to gift his wife Rosmah a diamond ring that came all the way from America.
With so much of the peopleâ€™s money being abused, it is disgusting to pay heed to Najibâ€™s drum- beating of his 1Malaysia â€śpeople firstâ€ť slogan.
Taking the rakyat for granted
Could Najib or his wife Rosmah, who is said to â€śwear the pantsâ€ť, explain the need to renovate their official residence, which, by the way, is a rented property?
As DAP Youth chief Anthony Loke pointed out, both Najib and Muhyiddin spent an average of RM171,000 a month on electricity, when an average upper middle class family spends between RM150 and RM300 monthly.
It is alarming that Najib and Muhyiddin are far from being judicious in their spending, making it clear that they have been taking the rakyat for granted, using the peopleâ€™s money for their own personal gratification.
When it comes to wasting so much electricity, does Najib, Rosmah or Muhyiddin understand the harm their unreasonably lengthy and irresponsible power consumption is doing to our environment?
Clearly, the dangers of global warming and climate change are loss to them. Maybe, it is those fancy chandeliers of theirs that are kept alight irrespective of the time of the day â€“ a show of pompous arrogance that best characterises these two leaders.
Does life seem very much comfortable for Najib and Muhyiddin with air-conditioners blasting from every corner of their copious houses? Sipping tea in their finest chinaware? Do both these leaders bother sparing a thought about the fate of some Malaysians who at best can only afford one meal a day or of those villagers who struggle without the aid of tap water and electricity?
Does it prick Najibâ€™s conscience that while he hops onto his king-sized bed decorated at its best, many families cramp up like sardines in their pigeon-hole-sized City Hall flats, which at best are an insult to the basic needs of the low-income earners?
Greed has to end
History seems to be repeating itself, with Najib and Rosmah both conveniently emptying the nationâ€™s deposit box through their expensive travels.
Figures released by the Prime Ministerâ€™s Department in Parliament recently, thanks to a query by PKR MP Tian Chua, showed Najib and the flamboyant Rosmah spent over RM17 million of taxpayers’ money on travels, from the time Najib assumed premiership in 2008 up to June this year.
Najib and his wife showed no concern over their lavish travel expenses which have never stopped increasing. In 2008, this couple blew RM1.7 million, in 2009 it increased to RM4.81 million, in 2010 their spending rose to RM5.41 million and for the first half of this year, the Najib-Rosmah splurge stood at RM5.42 million.
What is shocking is that the Prime Ministerâ€™s Department has no specified allocations when it involves the expenses of a prime ministerâ€™s wife.
Does this mean that the PMâ€™s wife can use up as much money as she wants from the countryâ€™s reserves? Is there any justification needed on why the money is needed or does Rosmah enjoy absolute immunity by virtue of her being the PMâ€™s wife?
When Najib goes around beating the drum of his 1Malaysia under the guise of â€śpeople firstâ€ť, the intention honestly has never been to champion the peopleâ€™s welfare. Rather, it is all about the wants of Najib, Rosmah and their cronies.
More recently, Najib and Rosmah once again dug deep into the pockets of the rakyat to finance their trip to Kazakhstan to attend their daughterâ€™s engagement to a rich and powerful Kazakh official. The couple took along an entourage of 200.
Was it not the taxpayers’ money which Najib found handy to pay for the 200 people who tagged along? Dare Najib refute it as otherwise? The truth is that nepotism, not rakyat, is Najibâ€™s priority.
The selfish Najib-Rosmah team
While Najib foolishly goes about usurping the peopleâ€™s money, wife Rosmah does so in an arrogant manner.
Rosmah cared less when questions were raised about the FLOM (acronym for First Lady of Malaysia) unit based in the Prime Ministerâ€™s Department. The unit with a six-member staff was tasked with looking into the operational needs of Rosmah.
Just what comprised the operational needs of a PMâ€™s wife is a mystery, as was the vision of such a unit equally hazy. Najib, however, denied that such a unit existed in his department.
If there was one objective of this unit that was apparent, it was that of digging into the nationâ€™s purse and lavishly organising glamorous events, be they the Islamic Fashion Week or visits to Europe, Middle East and New York.
Soon after Najib assumed the premiership, Rosmahâ€™s pet project, the Permata Pintar programme, set up to identify gifted children, was allotted a budget of RM150 million, to facilitate the setting up of 300 centres nationwide.
Rosmah has never been transparent on how the millions meant for her Permata Pintar programme are truly used.
Abusing taxpayers’ money
Can Najib account for the US$24million (RM73.48million) allegedly spent on a frivolous purchase of a diamond ring? This claim was made by a pro-Pakatan blog, â€śMilo Suamâ€ť which said the ring was sent to Rosmah by the New York-based fine jewellers Jacob & Co. The controversial ring passed through the Kuala Lumpur International Airport and found Customs clearance without any hassle. There was also no import duty imposed on the ring.
All this gives credence to allegations of Najib having abused his powers and trust accorded by the rakyat, from the very day he assumed duty as prime minister on April 3, 2009.
It means, too, that Najib and Rosmah are one greedy and insensitive couple who are busy plundering the countryâ€™s savings. If this is untrue, can Najib then explain this highly expensive indulgence?
Does Najib have no conscience abusing the taxpayers’ money to satisfy his wifeâ€™s material demands? Little surprise then that some people have decided to re-name Najibâ€™s National Key Results Areas initiative to Najib Kerja Rosmah Arah!
Najib, it seems, is not a leader who is willing to learn and grow from his mistakes. The people are is still very angry with him for abusing his powers and punishing participants of the â€śWalk for Democracyâ€ť, organised by election watchdog Bersih 2.0 last Saturday. The people are now asking that Najib step down as prime minister.
As for Rosmah, she continues to shamelessly display her opulent lifestyle. There was talk that Rosmah, who is patron of Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC), demanded that MAC pay for her RM2,000 hairdo if the NGO were to use her picture and patronâ€™s message for its bulletin.
When hubby Najib took over as Malaysiaâ€™s sixth prime minister, Rosmah, charmed by the sweet words of Hollywood veteran actor Robert de Niro, extended him an invite. It remains unknown how much money she lavished playing host to de Niro during his weekend stay in Malaysia. Next, Rosmah blew RM4.5 million on a three-day First Ladies Summit which Malaysia hosted in 2010 and will be hosting again next year.
Have the nationâ€™s coffers dried up?
Before the Najib-Rosmah duo go berserk with taxpayers’ money, the people have to wisen up and demand the A to Z of how and where their monies are spent. Najib, for one, is certainly not a chip of the old block. Unlike his late father Abdul Razak who put the rakyatâ€™s needs first, Najib with all his talk about caring for the people vis-Ă -vis his one too many strategies for the rakyat, has only one goal in mind â€“ to stay in power for a long, long, time.
Najibâ€™s father loved swimming and once even contemplated building a swimming pool in his house. But when Abdul Razak weighed the cost involved, instead of abusing the rakyatâ€™s money, he decided to continue going for his swims at the Royal Lake Club swimming pool.
As for Najib, his goals do not reflect his sensitivity towards the rakyat. For all one knows, Najib might be harbouring an entry into the Malaysia Book of Records, as the man who ruled Malaysia the longest, overshadowing the record at present held by Mahathir.
But July 9, 2011, has put the brakes on Najibâ€™s wishful thinking of making Putrajaya his â€śsecond homeâ€ť. The people have had enough of him and they have a very good reason for wanting to kick him out as their leader.