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Dec 8 Judgement Day – All signs show court of appeal likely to free Najib Razak...
Mahathir Mohamad has expressed his displeasure over “special treatment” accorded to Najib Razak despite his conviction for abuse of power, criminal breach of trust (CBT) and money laundering. On July 28, 2020, Mr Najib was sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined RM210 million for the crimes involving RM42 million stolen from SRC International Sdn Bhd (a subsidiary of 1MDB). Writing in his blog, Mahathir, who had served twice as prime minister, has criticized the lame duck administration of Ismail Sabri for discrimination in the practice of the rule of law. He specifically compared the different treatment between Anwar Ibrahim and Najib Razak. Of course, Mahathir was the man who sacked Anwar in 1998, and promoted Najib as prime minister in 2009.
He wrote – “While the police broke Anwar’s door and arrested him, handcuffed and thrown into a police car to be detained before he was charged in court, Najib was never arrested or handcuffed or taken to a lockup in a police car. He goes to the court in his car and after the hearing he went home. Yet the charges against him are more serious.”
Did the senile old man admit that during his 22 years iron-fist rule (from 1981 to 2003), he had brutalized his former deputy prime minister Anwar? Or was it an admission that it was his fault for corrupting the judicial system, so much so that Najib could not be arrested, let alone handcuffed, when the world’s biggest crook was allowed to walk like a free man even after he was charged?
Has Mahathir forgotten that when Najib was charged in July 2018 after his Barisan Nasional government was defeated in the May 2018 General Election, he was already installed as the prime minister for the second stint? So, why was Najib not handcuffed and thrown into a police car to be detained before he was charged in court, the same way Anwar was being treated?
In fact, millions of Malaysians were waiting and yearning for the moment to see Najib dressed in the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) iconic orange uniform. But it didn’t happen largely because Mahathir wanted to show off that he was a bigger man above everyone. However, with his latest ranting, indirectly Mahathir has shown his double standards, if not hypocrisy.
Perhaps Mahathir was cocksure that his protégé-turn-nemesis Najib would end up in the prison under his watch. But did he not anticipate that Najib could be freed by the same judiciary that he had corrupted during his 22-year-rule when he recklessly – or deliberately – resigned without consulting allies in the Pakatan Harapan coalition on Feb 24, 2020?
Yes, on the coming December 8, the Court of Appeal is scheduled to deliver its decision on Najib’s appeal to throw away his conviction. If he succeeds, not only will he crow for months that he has been innocent all along, but he will be able to contest in the next 15th General Election. If fails, he still can try his luck at the Federal Court, the highest court and the final appellate court in Malaysia. But all signs appear to show that the Court of Appeal will likely free the 68-year-old former premier, reversing High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali’s verdict in sentencing Najib to 12 years’ jail last year. The crook should have been jailed the moment he was found guilty. However, he was allowed to walk away a free man pending appeal, a lengthy process that has so far taken a whopping 16 months.
Mahathir was absolutely right to argue that since the Court of Appeal has not decided whether Najib is innocent, he is guilty and should serve his sentence until the court says otherwise. Had Mahathir not perverted and corrupted the rule of law in the first place, Najib and his team of lawyers would not have mocked and wasted the time of the courts with endless deliberate delays.
While Mahathir’s grumbling was particularly targeted at the ridiculous decision of the Sabri government in rewarding “convicted” Najib with RM100 million worth of land the size of two soccer fields, along with a mansion to be built with taxpayers’ money, the old man should realize that the entire stinky issue of Najib toying with the rule of law has continued even during Muhyiddin regime.
Following the collapse of Pakatan in February 2020 after Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin, together with PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, betrayed their own government when they conspired and plotted with defeated UMNO and PAS extremists to form a backdoor government, then-PM Mahiaddin alias Muhyiddin had closed one eye, kept quiet, and even freed many crooks.
Under Muhyiddin regime, the people had already suspected that all the crooks charged under the now-collapsed Pakatan Harapan government will be freed – one after another. For example, Riza Aziz, the stepson of Najib who was slapped with 5 charges of money laundering on July 5, 2019, was stunningly discharged not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) on May 14, 2020. The Muhyiddin government’s settlement with Riza was incredibly ridiculous because after stealing US$248 million, which were misappropriated from sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), the crook just needed to return about US$107.3 million (RM465.3 million) worth of overseas assets first stolen by Najib – or 43% of his loots.
Less than a month after freeing Riza Aziz, Muhyiddin’s appointed Attorney General Idrus Harun decided on June 9 to let go of another big crook – former Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman (to help Muhyiddin snatch Sabah via a coup). Under the instruction of the Attorney General’s Chambers, all 46 corruptions and money-laundering charges against Musa were suddenly dropped.
Heck, even RM114 million in cash seized during a high-profile raid on May 17, 2018 at luxury Pavilion Residences owned by Najib Razak’s children has been returned to the crook on August 5, 2021 during Muhyiddin administration. Strangely, the prosecution was not interested in appealing a High Court’s decision to dismiss the forfeiture of the RM114 million cash.
Exactly why didn’t Muhyiddin’s appointed attorney general challenge the court’s ruling to return the extraordinary amount of cash discovered in Najib’s family property? The High Court said the prosecution has failed to prove the monies were obtained from illegal activities. Attorney General Idrus has also failed to present any evidence that the cash originated from 1MDB.
Obviously, not only A.G. Idrus Harun was instructed by PM Muhyiddin to screw up the case on purpose, but also not to file any appeal when the court decided to return the RM114 million cash to crooked Najib. From the beginning, Muhyiddin was not interested at all to send Najib to jail, despite his lies and rhetoric that he was against kleptocrats and corruption.
When Muhyiddin criticized his boss Najib in 2015 over the 1MDB scandal, it was not because he genuinely wanted to fight corruption. Rather, the “Malay first” opportunist saw the golden opportunity to overthrow his boss, hoping he could emerge a hero and become the prime minister. But Najib decisively sacked him instead, forcing Muhyiddin to run around crying for justice.
Hilariously, days after Muhyiddin administration helped to return RM114 million cash to Najib, he was toppled by Najib and UMNO president Zahid who withdrew support for the fragile backdoor Perikatan Nasional government, ending the 17 months of Muhyiddin’s illegitimate government. Till today, traitor Muhyiddin remains a very angry and bitter man over how he was betrayed.
When Muhyiddin was eventually forced to resign on August 16, he again repeated his pledge – “I will never conspire with a kleptocratic group”. But his support for UMNO vice-president Ismail Sabri as the new PM would also mean the inclusion of UMNO crooks like Najib and Zahid in the government, without which the power-hungry Muhyiddin will be left in the opposition.
After Ismail Sabri took over, Najib was overjoyed because the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) has returned to power. Not only Najib has remained free, allowing him to undermine the High Court’s decision, the world’s biggest crook was practically given free access to the lame duck prime minister, whose survival depends on Najib’s kleptocratic group.
PM Ismail Sabri was so weak that Najib was almost appointed as a special economic adviser with ministerial rank. Najib became the first VIP criminal in Malaysia, screamed Mahathir, after the High Court allowed the crook to travel overseas to Singapore to visit his daughter. Prior, other crooks linked to UMNO were also given special privilege – access to passports.
Zahid Hamidi, Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, and his lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah were among several VIPs faced with corruption charges, but were granted access anyway to passport to travel abroad under the lame duck Ismail Sabri administration. In the same month, Najib and his son Nazifuddin were allowed to defer the payment of tax arrears amounting to RM1.69 billion.
During Mahathir’s second stint and Muhyiddin administration, the crooks were blacklisted from travelling abroad and applications to delay paying taxes were never entertained. It’s not rocket science that when Najib is excluded from paying taxes owed, given freedom to travel, accorded police escort, and even awarded RM100 million in land and a mansion, he is waiting to be acquitted.
And there’s absolutely nothing Mahathir and people can do when PM Ismail Sabri quietly interfered to help Najib and other UMNO crooks, while the power-crazy Muhyiddin pretended nothing had happened. When it’s as clear as crystal that Najib is making a return to the premiership, do you really think there are any judges in the corrupted Judicial who are brave and courageous enough to go against the next most powerful man? - FT
Has Najib’s campaign to annul his case gone royal?...
A full eight months on from that hearing, there has been no sound from the panel of three judges as to what their conclusions are. The case of the former prime minister, sentenced to 12 years for his outrageous thefts from the nation, is of the highest public interest and yet in Malaysia, we see him not only allowed to roam free whilst he appeals his conviction, but to continue to sit in Parliament.
Now, more than a year after the original conviction, the delay in progressing that appeal is itself becoming a national embarrassment and an indicator that behind-the-scenes efforts are being made to influence the outcome of the judicial process.
On this subject, please reference the warning of the former prime minister before Ismail Sabri elbowed him aside, which was that Najib’s party UMNO would indeed move to abuse its political power, if allowed back in office, in order to get its leaders off the hook over the swathe of criminal charges relating to their corrupted governance.
He revealed that he himself was put under pressure to do just this and at the same time conceded that a ruling prime minister does indeed possess the power to bring pressure on the courts. So much for Malaysia’s independent judiciary.
So far, a steady stream of senior UMNO power brokers have seen their charges dropped and the cases against them collapse following the backdoor coup. No one can be under any illusion, but that Najib’s present top priority is to join their escape route.
The party, meanwhile, not only have no shame in him continuing in their ranks but worse, having seized back political power through the backdoor and with the assistance of the present Agong (also the long friendly Sultan of Najib’s home state), the present UMNO prime minister has exalted this convict to a senior position advising on policy and leading campaigns.
Given that Najib’s present priority is no secret, there can be no surprise that the talk currently swirling around KL’s legal circles has been of increasingly thuggish pressure on his part to get the Appeal Court judges to overturn one of the most rock-solid judgements in Malaysian legal history, namely his conviction by Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali in July of 2020.
What other reason can there be for the quite extraordinary delay in the case following constant postponements and lengthy periods of silence? It took almost an entire year for the appeal to be even heard last May in what was an unusually long and laboured session with Najib’s lawyers pouring out their standard torrent of scatter-gun challenges and complaints.
Now, a full eight months on from that hearing, there has been no sound from the panel of three judges as to what their conclusions are. This is not normal nor acceptable and it has moved beyond excuses into the territory of dark suspicion.
Even in the most inefficient jurisdiction under the cosh of Covid the Najib case ought to have stood out as a case of national importance deserving the swiftest expedition. On all normal criteria, the production of this judgement should have gone to the front of the queue to give the nation closure. Instead, it has drifted into oblivion.
In consequence, the high-level perpetrator of one of the largest thefts in global history has been allowed to work his way back into a position of enormous power. Contrast the Malaysian judiciary’s treatment of the Najib case with the UK courts’ handling of the complaint that Boris Johnson had exceeded power by proroguing Parliament in 2019.
The UK case was raced through the Appeal Court and on to the Supreme Court judgement in DAYS. Meanwhile, the judgement on Najib’s appeal has yet to be pronounced one year and three months later. Dragging of feet gives legs to rumours.
This appalling dragging of judicial feet had given legs to all the rumours that are rife. The present widespread concern circulating in judicial circles is that not only has Najib used all his resources to bully the Appeal Court directly, but that in the face of the court’s evident and righteous reluctance to be strong-armed from its objective duty, he has now sought to engage the King to bring further pressure in his favour.
Since May, three judges have held out against giving a judgement that was plainly arrived at months ago. Were that judgement to have been in favour of this powerful kingpin of both the PN and UMNO governments, namely Najib, there would have been no reason for delay – those in charge would have been delighted and the judges would have trodden on roses.
Only if the judgement had been negative (in keeping with the powerful evidence that convicted Najib in the first place) would there have been the slightest reason for so much dilly dallying and postponement.
We can, therefore, guess what the Appeal Court judgement is. For the King to interfere on behalf of his home state friend and ally (and mega-kleptocrat) would be unconscionable and deeply damaging to the reputation of the nation and its leaders. He should not be asked to do so. – Sarawak Report
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