This is surely a case of either life imitating art or art imitating life – more likely the latter – as hidden hands seem to have written the 1MDB life script and the timing of the airing of Man on the Run seems planned
If you were to watch the so-called documentary, Man On The Run, currently airing on Netflix, and if you were to follow the proceedings of the various trials related to 1MDB both here and abroad, you will be gobsmacked to realise that both are most likely following the same script.
Some friends and I have always wondered the role of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) behind the intricate web that is 1MDB. After all, the sudden role of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) in what was initially a domestic sovereign fund matter was unjustified, to put it mildly.
Of course, the justification by the DOJ that they had to investigate the 1MDB allegations as it involved US currency and US financial institutions have earned them the right to intervene and in the process take down a sitting Prime Minister and a government that had proven to be better than any of its successors.
DOJ And 1MDB
The fact that Goldman Sachs has been investigated by regulators in at least 14 countries for its role in underwriting the 1MDB bond issues made it sweeter for the DOJ. Apparently the 1MDB work earned the bank $600 million in fees and led to large bonuses for some of its executives.
As for the script for Man On The Run, it is interesting to note that the interviews and ‘disclosures’ came from individuals who have always been hounding the then sitting Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to step down. Therefore it was not difficult to create an illicit trap to attract the honey bees.
While the title of the documentary is Man On The Run, ie about Jho Low being the mastermind of the 1MDB scandal, what the programme featured on mostly was Najib.
Throw in a Hollywood movie and stars, an Arab royal monarch or two, bankers and more bankers, one or two media personalities, a former Attorney-General who was obviously not fit for that position as he seems to love running at the mouth and in his Memoirs too, and voila, you have an intricate but convoluted storyline that most people will not bother to question and just accept it for what it is.
Oh, not to forget, throw in a murder case or two and point it towards Najib, and again, voila, you not only have an alleged corrupted Prime Minister, but a serial murderer too, as quoted by Najib’s lawyer, Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah at a press conference on Monday.
Although Najib has oftentimes denied his involvement in the dubious transactions that have been the focus of the court trials, the programme chose to point fingers at him, obviously following the script they have been given which were part of the reports by investigating officers. The thing is, this programme was documented some three years ago. The investigation reports were part of the trials process. So who then passed them all the reports that enabled them to prepare the script and the interview questions?
Both in the programme and during the trials, Najib was accused of having transactions into his personal account. But the programme conveniently left out the fact that around 90% of it was returned as Najib knew that the money was from the Arab Saudi King for purposes of the election and it was not 1MDB funds, yet they made it seem to be.
The Elusive Jho Low
Interesting to note too that it seemed like a piece of cake for the FBI and their counterparts in related parts of the world to look for evidence and witnesses to proceed with the 1MDB investigations, yet till today they could not find the location of a nondescript Chinese Malaysian man in hiding.
The fact that Low Taek Jho (Jho Low) looks like any man in China should not be a deterrent for the FBI, CIA, MI5, Special Branch, whatever, to look for this dude, even if he may have done some plastic surgery to his face and physique. After all, his infamous lavish lifestyle could give them some clues. We watch enough investigative movies to know how great they are at joining the dots and nabbing the bad guys.
Unless, of course, these so-called authorities do not want him to be found for fear that he would sing like a canary and we will then know who are behind this whole shenanigan that has put a former Prime Minister behind bars and has turned the country upside down from the time his party lost the 2018 election until today as his successors are clueless on what to do to bring the country out of the doldrums.
Interestingly, one of those Malaysians who was interviewed was the leader of the opposition then. He was speaking about reforms, kleptocracy and doing right for the people. Today, he is the Prime Minister by virtue of pairing up with the very ‘kleptocrat’ party which is very much a part of Najib, despite being incarcerated, and his Cabinet is made up of some Ministers who had a slew of court cases to their name, himself included.
Sleeping With The ‘Enemy’
With due respect, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim did not have a crystal ball then to see that he would have no choice but one day, in November 2023 specifically, he would have to swallow his pride and go to bed with Umno, the very party that Najib was once President of.
Perhaps Anwar does not realise then, but till today, despite being incarcerated, no major decisions affecting Umno are made without first consulting with Najib – out of due respect, if not for anything else.
This can be seen from the scores of Barisan Nasional/Umno leaders and division heads who visit Najib at the Kuala Lumpur High Court whenever there is a 1MDB-related trial, especially when there is an election coming up.
After all, when it comes to campaign strategy, Najib has proven to be the best as can be seen from Barisan Nasional’s resounding victories in the Melaka and Johor State elections and the former PM led the BN campaigning.
That Crystal Ball
Another character interviewed was the once President of MUDA and a member of Parliament, Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, who said that we could turbocharge to make Malaysia a developed and dignified country. Interestingly, he has also been found guilty of corruption.
As for Tony Pua, who took much pride in the fact that he was hounded for his comments on 1MDB, he too forgot about looking into the crystal ball then. If he did, he would realise that today, he is a political has-been, both with his party, DAP, and with Anwar.
I will not talk about Sarawak Report editor Claire Rewcastle Brown and former AG Tommy Thomas as Shafee had said at the press conference that his client will take defamation and contempt of court proceedings against them respectively.
As for Ho Kay Tat, Editor of The Edge, he sounds bitter during the various interviews. Well, can’t blame him as he felt unjustified about what happened to The Edge during the time Najib was PM, but hey, has he forgotten what it was like during the 22 years Tun Mahathir Mohamad was PM and how the media was treated then? During Mahathir’s time, it was noted that the media was used to strengthen his political hegemony, a far cry from the time Najib became PM later when the media was not controlled at all.
The producer of Man On The Run also used a lot of images of villages and the poverty-stricken areas in Malaysia to show that the country is doing so badly while it was run by fat-cat, corrupt politicians.
Perhaps someone should do a follow-up documentary and show the spillovers from 1MDB – like the TRX building which has now become the most popular shopping mall and financial district in the country. Merdeka 118 which is set to be a global icon this month. Those are just two of the notable products from 1MDB, there are many more where that came from.
As I wrote in a Facebook post. Man On The Run is a work of fiction made to look like a documentary. – NMH
Datin Hasnah is the co-founder and CEO of New Malaysia Herald based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
With an extensive background in mass communication and journalism, she works on building up New Malaysia Herald and it’s partner sites. A tireless and passionate evangalist, she champions autism studies and support groups.
Datin Hasnah is also the Editor in Chief of New Malaysia Herald.