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Donations for Najib – the rights and wrongs of it

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Gauging from social media reaction, few believe that Najib is poor and cannot afford the bail amount, says JD Lovrenciear.

Media reports state that former Prime Minister Najib Razak has managed to raise enough money in a short span of time to post the remaining RM500,000 of his bail.

Apparently, this was achieved through the efforts of his party members and various individuals who contributed to the crowdfunding that was set up.

Now, we also note that many Malaysians including corporate entities stepped forward to contribute towards a national fund, Tabung Harapan, to help raise money to pay for the huge government debts left behind by the previous government.

Is there a difference between these two cases of fundraising? It is time that Malaysians searched their conscience. Our value systems, which are often influenced by religious inclinations and cultural bearings, deserve to be examined in-depth if we are to know the difference. We need to decide how Malaysians, who are desperately trying to wipe off the baggage of corrupt practices, should respond to such funding needs.

The donation drives for Najib’s legal costs and Tabung Harapan are poles apart.

Giving for a national fund to help relieve the country’s financial obligations hinges on patriotism. It is a kind of national service to give a good part of what you can afford to help save the country.

On the other hand, the donation drive to raise funds for Najib’s bail and legal costs is a shame. A leader of a nation, known for his extravagance or shall we call it privileged-living flowing from a wealthy background, as personally claimed by him and or his family members, should not be asking for or accepting public donations.

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The bail imposed was the result of acourt process operating based on the rule of law. It was served on an individual. If you cannot post bail, you go to jail first. So it is worrisome and a shame that Najib – a former prime minister, mind you, has to resort to fundraising, which in all likelihood looks like a staged attempt to shape a desired public perception.

The public are asking – as can be seen from the numerous comments posted by netizens – is Najib not wealthy? What happened to all the money he earned during all these years of public service?

Considering how his children have been living a jet-set lifestyle and the kinds of businesses they are into, are we saying that it is all right for him and his family to depend on a public charity drive to save him from the brunt of the law? Gauging from social media reaction, few believe that Najib is poor and cannot afford the bail amount – especially after news and a video went viral exposing the questionable conduct of his son so close to to Najib’s bail fundraising story.

And so for him and his family to even announce and showcase their seeming sadness or how “touched” they are by the gestures of well-wishers sounds just too phoney. For Umno members to even publicise that they are willing to give their precious jewellery to help save their former leader is just too much drama to take.

We certainly cannot help asking why Najib and his family members and followers are shaming this nation with such acts and gestures. Malaysians need to take stock of ourselves as such actions are sending out the wrong message to the global community.

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