Britain will never humiliate Najib


By Mariam Mokhtar, FMT

The United Kingdom expelled the remaining Libyan diplomats from the London Embassy on July 27, but it had little to do with democracy despite the British claims.

The announcement was more a calculated move to protect British interests in Libyan oil and minerals. Plus the fact that the EU, including Britain, found that Muammar Gaddafi was a good repeat customer for arms.

Hopeful Malaysians thinking that Britain would mete out the same treatment to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak should desist from harbouring such thoughts.

Britain will never humiliate Najib. After the red carpet treatment and the various receptions at Mansion House, Downing Street and Buckingham Palace, Najib is practically the “golden boy” of the Far East.

Malaysians yearning for a democratic Malaysia will be searching for parallels with the Libyan people. There are many.

The Libyans have had 42 years of tyranny under Gaddafi; we had 54 years of Umno-BN. Gaddafi is famed for his tent meetings where leaders glorify him. His portrait is draped over buildings and in public places. No one dares to criticise him in public.

It is no different for Malaysians. Any dissenting voices are silenced with our draconian laws. Najib’s lieutenants distinguish themselves by singing praises in public about him. Didn’t Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob claim that he could mobilise three million people to support Najib on Facebook?

When Najib returned from Europe last week, having cut short his vacation, thousands turned up at the airport to welcome him.

The more intellectually challenged in this crowd thought Najib was magnanimous. If they cared to think a bit deeper, Najib was panicking about William Bourdon’s visit, the French lawyer who was in Malaysia to lecture about the Scorpene scandal. Najib subsequently deported Bourdon.

Nevertheless, it is common knowledge that the busloads of people greeting Najib are handsomely rewarded for their efforts.

Another similarity between Libya and Malaysia are the personal links the two leaders have with western nations. Gaddafi’s son, Saif, graduated from the London School of Economics and is closely linked to rich and powerful people in Europe and America.

In a British government trade and investment guide, Najib is described as an economics graduate from UK and someone whose rule is transparent – mere window-dressing to attract investors. There is no mention of Malaysia’s human rights abuses.

The driving force

One critical similarity between Libya and Malaysia is the rejection of the democratic ideals of their people by the two leaders. Gaddafi’s response to pro-democracy marchers has been particularly brutal, leaving hundreds of civilians dead.

The Malaysian government’s response towards its own pro-democracy march has been violent though not with the same brutality as Libya’s.

The repression of the Bersih 2.0 marchers has been condemned worldwide. Najib has brushed these concerns aside and claimed that the march was illegal, that there was a communist plot to topple the King and that the police were provoked. He stressed Malaysian elections were clean.

British Prime Minister David Cameron would be naïve to believe these excuses. However, any Malaysian who thinks Britain will intervene on our behalf will be disappointed. The driving force is trade and economy.

Britain’s economy is in the doldrums so when Najib touts for business between the two countries, he is welcomed. Libya, just like Egypt, procured arms on a large scale from Britain. Malaysia is no different.

The Brits would not risk Najib shopping elsewhere. Might there be a slim chance France is prepared to drop all charges in the Scorpene scandal provided Najib purchases French armaments? Who knows.