No, Jho Low’s not responsible for Umno’s downfall

Veteran Umno politician Rahim Thamby Chik recently blamed Jho Low for the losses suffered by Umno and Barisan Nasional in the 14th general election.

In a Facebook post, he said Jho Low had ended the career of “a very popular prime minister” and terminated 60 years of Umno rule in Malaysia. Rahim also said Jho Low had tarnished Malaysia’s reputation, causing the international community to refer to it as a “super corrupt country”.

As chairman of the body for Malay economic policy, also known as Gagasan Badan Ekonomi Melayu, Rahim claimed to have urged former prime minister Najib Razak’s administration and then-attorney-general (AG) Abdul Gani Patail to investigate Jho Low.

He claimed he had been urging the AG since August 2016 to bring Jho Low to book, and that the failure to act had allowed the problems in 1MDB to escalate, leading to the downfall of Najib and Umno.

Are we to take Rahim seriously?

Jho Low is not the cause of Najib and Umno’s fall from power. The party and its members are responsible. They were in denial, and were so busy enriching themselves and enjoying the power they wielded that they refused to listen to the public.

Umno corrupted the minds of the Malays with its ideology which made them feel extra special and rewarded them with money, power and special privileges to the extent that they lost the ability to be fully functioning Malaysians.

While those from other races had to work doubly hard to prove themselves in the world of academia, commerce and industry, the Malays breezed through without facing the same obstacles as everyone else.

Not all Malays are beholden to Umno, but the average Malaysian is unable to cope in 21st century Malaysia. Look abroad. Many Malays have proven themselves and excelled. There is no NEP or Ketuanan Melayu in those places.

How can Malays based in Malaysia understand the problems associated with a particular task when all the obstacles surrounding it are removed? How can they cope with the mental challenges that are faced by non-Malays when they are unaware that such challenges even exist?

For decades, corruption was an open secret in Umno’s administration and the government, but no leader wanted to nip the problem in the bud and punish both giver and taker.

Today, it is easy for Rahim to claim that he asked Gani to prosecute Jho Low. What did he say about the RM42 million from SRC International which ended up in Najib’s personal account? What were his views on the RM2.6 billion donation from a so-called Arab prince?

Rahim, like his Umno peers, should stop being in denial. Now, all of a sudden, they have become vocal and have started to “see the light” – but only after they were dismissed from power.

Mariam Mokhtar is an FMT columnist.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.