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Malaysia is in the news again but not in a good way. US investigators examining how foreign governments tried to influence former US president Donald Trump, revealed that former prime minister Najib paid USD259,000 (that’s over a million ringgit) to stay at the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC during his 2017 working visit to the US

That was the visit when Najib told Trump that he had come to help make America great again. Turns out he was making America great again on the backs of hard-working Malaysian taxpayers.

The detailed hotel bill which the New York Times made public, shows just how lavishly Najib and his entourage lived at the expense of tax-payers. The presidential suite he stayed in cost more RM40,000 a day. Coffee breaks for the delegation amounted to RM36,000 while three in-room lunches cost taxpayers RM32,000. There was even a charge for RM6000 for a personal trainer and RM112 for movies! 

What Najib spent in Washington during those few days was equivalent to what 400 Malaysians earn in a month on average. This is but one example of how UMNO-BN bigwigs lived opulent lifestyles at the expense of taxpayers; part of the culture of entitlement and privilege that has come to characterise UMNO-BN.

The history of UMNO-BN is, in fact, littered with scandals and the wholesale looting of public funds. One cabinet minister left behind a RM2.1 billion estate; ever wonder what those who have been there for years are now worth? Is there any doubt that all these UMNO-BN bigwigs and their families are all billionaires courtesy of taxpayers? 

And you know what else is sickening? Despite all his profligate ways and his criminal behaviour, UMNO-BN still stands by Najib, calls him “boss-ku” and wants him pardoned. It is telling that till today, neither Zahid Hamidi nor Ismail Sabri has condemned Najib for his involvement in the 1MDB scandal. They still don’t get it that it is criminally and morally wrong, a great betrayal of voter trust, to abuse public funds. 

So my question to you as you ponder how to vote is this: Is UMNO-BN the kind of government you can trust to be good stewards of public finances and to manage our economy? If you are, like me, sick and tired of all the corruption and sleaze of all these UMNO-BN politicians, let’s use our vote to rid our nation of them once and for all.

We’ll be fools not to seize the moment!

[Dennis Ignatius |Kuala Lumpur |15th November 2022]