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Opinion

Malaysia: Najib fights back with soul ballad

To get out of a funk, the ousted PM sings soul, brother.



Euromoney has reported before on the problems of utilizing power ballads in Malaysian politics (no, really). But it appears the lessons have not been learned. 

Ousted prime minister Najib Razak has now taken to 1970s soul, translated into Malay Berhasa, as a way to try to bring public opinion back to his side.

It’s a long shot. Najib’s alleged corruption and abuse of power around the 1MDB sovereign wealth vehicle, one of the world’s greatest financial scandals of the last 10 years, is so serious that he could theoretically face 200 years in jail sentences.

So, naturally, he’s tried to correct things with a cover version of ‘Kiss and say goodbye’, by The Manhattans.

Local twist

The lyrics are not only translated but given a local twist.

“This has got to be the saddest day of my life” survives into the Najib version, not without reason; but The Manhattans never sang “hopes as high as mountains crushed to become dust: I believed in you, all your promises.” That might just be a sneaky reference to Mahathir Mohamad, his one-time mentor and eventual nemesis.

Najib’s version does not contain the words ‘Goldman Sachs’, perhaps because it doesn’t really rhyme with anything, except ‘wholesome snacks’, which scans but isn’t terribly relevant to the matter at hand.



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