Dr M: If Convicts Can Speak in Parliament, Then They Can Speak in Court

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Court proceedings can go on if convicts are allowed to speak in Parliament, Langkawi MP Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

“It is strange that court proceedings were stopped but a convict can speak in the House of Parliament,” he said while debating Budget 2021 in the Dewan Rakyat today.

“If it is possible in Parliament, then it is also possible in court.”

While Dr Mahathir did not name anyone, it appears he is alluding to Najib Razak, as the remarks immediately followed his reference to the “cash is no longer king” advice by a certain “cultural expert”.

Najib, who is also Pekan MP, had debated the budget on Tuesday.

Shahidan Kassim (Arau-BN) interjected Dr Mahathir’s speech to ask if the convict he is referring to was Najib or opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

The former prime minister, however, refused to entertain the question.

“Yang berhormat, I don’t need to answer that,” he said before resuming his speech.

Anwar who was convicted for sodomy, had served his prison sentence from February 2015 to May 2018.

This was his second sentencing after having been imprisoned from 1999 to 2004 over another sodomy case.

Najib, meanwhile, is appealing a high court verdict meted out to him in July.

Najib was sentenced to 12 years’ jail and fined RM210 million by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on July 28 after being found guilty of abusing his power in receiving RM42 million in funds from SRC International in 2014 and 2015.

He was convicted of seven charges – three counts of criminal breach of trust, three counts of money-laundering and one count of abuse of power.

The court has scheduled the hearing of the appeal for February 15 next year.

He is also undergoing trial for a other charges related to 1Malaysia Development Bhd scandal.

The court hearings, however, have been temporarily halted since the enforcement of the conditional movement-control order (CMCO) from October 14 to December 6.

Dr Mahathir said the trials will be prolonged if courts do not resume their hearings.

“Reduce observers and media, practise physical distancing of 1m among those who have to be present for proceedings,” he said.

“If we wait till Covid-19 (ends), it will take years,” he added.

Besides Najib, other BN MPs are also facing trial over criminal charges, including graft and money laundering, involving funds related to 1MDB.

They are Umno president and Bagan Datuk MP Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor (Putrajaya), Bung Moktar Radin (Kinabatangan) and Ahmad Maslan (Pontian).

Dr Mahathir also disagreed on the ruling to cap the number of MPs attending a Parliament session to 80 to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

He said sufficient precautionary measures, including Covid-19 tests, quarantine and installing dividers between the seats of MPs, have been taken.

He also said limiting the number of MPs is unnecessary as there are no changes to seating positions in the House.

“What is the need to reduce the attendees to 80 if the distance between the members are same as 222? Hence, 222 members can enter the House,” he said. – TMI