Faced with country-wide fury over the imposition of GST at the very moment his side-kick Jho Low has been caught stealing billions from 1MDB, Najib has responded with a series of ‘popularity events’ designed to shore up his authority.
Today it is the turn of Kuching Sarawak, where the stadium has been hired for the latest show of adulation for the leader – 10,000 people are scheduled to attend.
The crowds on these occasions are, of course, entirely organised events.
Attendees are rounded up by BN party organisers with makan, t-shirt and transport provided – as well as a RM25+ reverse ticket fee (handout) for each person.
In short, each of these ‘I Love Najib’ events is costing millions of ringgit.
Buses trundling into Kuching from Sibu, Sarikei, Julau and Bintulu were packed with hundreds of people who had endured an overnight journey for a payment of RM35 each. UPP had provided the payment, with a free BN t-shirt on top of course.
So, how is it funded?
We can rest assured that the auction of Rosmah’s shocking pink crocodile leather and diamond studded Birkin bag for RM300,000 earlier this week has not been placed towards the cost.
Insiders at the PM’s office have now confirmed to Sarawak Report that these party rallies are being largely funded out of the public purse.
The budget allocation for the Prime Minister’s Office has rocketed exponentially since Najib Razak took power. In the past three years alone it has gone up from RM14.6 billion, to RM16.5 billion to RM19.6 billion this year.
Yet, there is decreasing accountability on how these billions are being spent.
What is certain is that party political rallies is not a legitimate use of public money and even less acceptable is this financing of the internal political agenda of one individual within a single political party, as Najib struggles to hang on to his leadership.
It is entirely illegal for Najib to be raiding public funds in order to finance his own power battles and leadership rallies within UMNO in this way.
Meanwhile, Sarawak Report has received insider reports on a separate agenda planned by Najib during this visit to the state.
Midday Wednesday, just hours before the Prime Minister and his wife arrived in Kuching in their private jet, the PM’s super-close business pal, Bustari Yusuf, was already ensconced in advance negotiations with the Chief Minister, Adenan Satem.
Bustari, who is an old friend of Rosmah, has become one of Najib’s closest companions in recent years, insiders have disclosed. He regularly joins the couple on their holidays abroad.
And we can reveal that Yusuf is the other major funder of this week’s Kuching events, having first made his fortune as PBB party treasurer under Taib Mahmud.
On Wednesday night the ‘first couple’s’ opening engagement was scheduled as an adulatory Gawai Dinner event at the Dayak Bidayuh National Association. Just last year Bustari funnelled a hefty RM300,ooo into this ‘representative’ association through his intermediary the state minister Michael Manyin.
Clearly, Bustari therefore expects his protege to be welcomed with a very grateful clap and equally clearly this businessman has a lot invested in the continuing leadership of Najib Razak.
Sarawak Report has already reported how Bustari has been handed the entire management contract for the federally funded Pan Borneo Highway project, for reasons which are hard to explain in practical terms.
His brother Fadillah is of course the Minister for Public Works, which makes the conflict of interest doubly unfortunate.
Since Bustari stands to make another personal fortune out of his middleman role over the Borneo Highway, evidently the odd RM300,000 deposit with the DBNA counts as a small deposit.
So, what was the subject of Bustari’s ‘pathfinding’ talk with Adenan Satem?
Sarawak Report has learnt that his mission at this meeting was to encourage Adenan to move forward quickly with the next state election – to bring it forward by many months in fact.
Polls have suggested that the new Chief Minister’s ‘big show’ of rejecting Taib Mahmud’s style of government and his recent anti-corruption gestures have been effective in improving BN’s rating in the state and that prospects for the up-coming elections are considered to be good by the ruling parties.
As a result, Najib has decided he could use some of the reflected glory of a successful state election in Sarawak to claim a personal vindication for his own leadership on the wider stage.
It is for this reason that he has started to press Adenan to change his current plans to hold the Sarawak State election next year and to rush it through in the next few months instead!
And not only that, Bustari and Najib have a further agenda which is to use their good friend Adenan to push forward the long term agenda to establish UMNO in Sarawak, say dismayed insiders who have tipped off Sarawak Report.
“Bustari is going to be pressing Adenan to lay out his own list of loyal and dependable candidates to strengthen UMNO in the state” explained one extremely well-informed insider.
It is this agenda that will dominate the back room discussions during the Kuching visit, say our sources, as Najib pressures Adenan to call elections as soon as possible.
We have been released the list of ‘approved candidates’ whom Najib and Bustari are going to be secretly pressuring Adenan to support for the next election.
The list of approved loyalists are as follows, say our inside sources:
List of State Assemblymen Supported by Najib Razak, Rosmah Mansor and Fadillah/Bustari Yusuf
*Fadillah Yusuf’s Strongman.
List of Member of Parliament Malaysia Supported by Najib Razak, Rosmah Mansor and Fadillah/Bustari Yusuf:
This is a grouping that hangs closely around an inner circle dominated by Satem, Jabu and the Fadillah brothers who have all developed a close link to the long term agenda of strengthening UMNO’s influence over the state.
“If you are not on the list consider yourself out of the picture” one source confided Wednesday night to Sarawak Report.
So, perhaps Sarawakians should resist being used in such a way to force Najib’s agenda on the rest of disenchanted Malaysia and their own local parties?
The Dayak are known by BN as ‘obedient’ and ‘easy’ folk, who readily give up their precious votes for a bowl of rice at election times.
They have for years sneered that Borneo is their dependable “fixed deposit”, while the rest of Malaysia has increasing rejected the party’s notorious corruption issues.
However, there is always a time to say enough is enough and to prove that money cannot buy everything all the time.
Sarawakians could start by showing Najib a Penang-style reception at Kuching Stadium on Thursday night – instead of cheering “We Love Najib” why not cry out “Where Has Our Money Gone?” and “Give it Back!”