Sondakh certainly owed Najib the favour. Sarawak Report and others have reported on one of BN’s most egregious scandals, which has been the use of hundreds of millions from the FELDA settlers’ fund to bail out the tycoon’s dodgy Eagle Plantation for at least double its actual worth. But, how did Najib think he could get away with it so late in the day? Plainly, he had woken up long after the rest of Malaysia had smelt the coffee over the demise of UMNO. The news of the flight manifest found its way into the hands of PKR activists within no time and soon news organisations and social media, including SR, were alerted to the issue. News of Najib’s planned escape, timed for a 10am take-off the following day, went viral and once again it was popular determination that made the outcome of these nerve-wracking developments, in restrospect, inevitable. They were assisted by Malaysia’s newly liberated and unshackled news media, which has been joyfully doing its proper job at last, covering events even-handedly as possible and accurately, without fear.
At first, since they could not deny being caught in the act, the couple issued a statement to say that they had only been planning a little holiday for a couple of days, whilst Najib drew up the list for his opposition line-up. They would be back next week, the couple assured. Fat chance! The authorities seemed too slow and indecisive at first. Were there suspicious signs that Najib still had his allies in key decision-making roles, people wondered? The immigration department’s online access suddenly went down inside Malaysia and enterprising journalists had to call up sleuths abroad to track down the PM’s travel status. At first, relief. The couple had been blacklisted (orders of the new PM). However, mysteriously, as dark drew in, their names evaporated from the list – they were free to travel after all. The nation spoke with one voice – Najib must not be allowed to leave! Hundreds of people even took themselves down to the airport to vet arriving passengers overnight – one couple only in their sights!
The population watched, sleepless with bated breath…. then names of Najib and Rosmah returned onto the blacklist; police took over the job of vetting arrivals at the airport; the new Prime Minister confirmed that he had ordered the couple must not leave the country (pending serious matters being investigated) and the ex-Prime Minister issued a statement to say that he respected the decision of the authorities to ban his travel. Phew! As Saturday rolled on and it was announced the flight was cancelled. It finally became apparent, even to Najib, that the game was finally up. Early evening and, at last, the once all-powerful, all-terrifying, untouchable UMNO President cum Prime Minister cum Finance Minister announced his resignation. It was accepted with good grace. The over-arching triumph of these extraordinary, historic events has been their peaceful nature. Malaysia has provided a magnificent example to the world and to countries round about that enormous changes can be achieved without violence or hatred as a nation has united around a single purpose, to return the rule of law.
No one could have doubted the determination of the people to see their will carried through. The numbers were there and the will to move solidly onto the street if needed, but that was enough. And the worst fears were never realised. There were no Red Shirts or angry communalists or fist fights – everyone had got the message, since the people had spoken across races and religions, in favour of a leader they could trust. There await plenty more episodes to watch around the demise of UMNO’s power couple. A thousand cover-ups to be unravelled and billions of dollars to be unearthed – handbags, diamonds, will all come tumbling out. But, the danger is now over – Najib is gone. The thieves of UMNO have meanwhile done their nation one big favour. They, like the people, have acted with dignity and restraint. There has been no violence and the people are too happy to be churlish. The new PM has called for orderly transition and the rule of law. No need for abitrary actions. This has been democracy in action.