Two days ago, an opposition portal reported that 1MDB lost RM670 million for year-end 31st March 2014 compared to a profit of RM878 million the year before, a swing of RM1.5 billion. It also reported that this loss was against a backdrop of an increase in revenue from RM2.6 billion to RM4.3 billion.
While 1MDB’s assets grew from RM45 billion to RM51 billion, its debts increased to RM42 billion from RM36 billion previously, reported the portal -- which also questioned how much of this increase in assets came from asset revaluation, meaning only paper gains?
The criticism or attacks against Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak by the opposition social media is quite expected. Even if 1MDB reports a positive performance they will still ask, “Why are the profits so low; why not higher than that?”
The concern, however, is not about the attacks from the opposition, which will still attack the Prime Minister never mind what he does and how well he performs. The concern is the attacks by Umno leaders themselves, past and present, in particular from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Daim Zainuddin.
Tun Daim even said that if Najib is not careful 1MDB might result in his downfall.
One thing that is very clear is that Tun Daim’s (and Dr Mahathir’s) comment was aimed at the Umno members, not for the consumption of the opposition supporters (who will still not support the Prime Minister even if Tun Daim says positive things about Najib) and it is targeted for the coming Umno General Assembly.
Basically, those in Umno opposed to the Prime Minister hope that this will set the stage for an orgy of Najib-bashing during the Umno General Assembly. Hence Najib needs to nip the move in the bud by explaining the financial results of 1MDB so that it becomes a non-issue and no longer needs to be the main focus of the assembly.
If the Umno General Assembly gets bogged down by issues such as 1MDB, that will distract the delegates from the more important issues such as how can Umno reform from within to give the voters more confidence to throw their support behind Barisan Nasional come the next general election.
This is what is going to determine Umno’s future and make it still relevant. And there are enough positive things that Najib has done, but which are not being highlighted, to convince the voters that Umno is moving in the right direction.