Najib Razak will remain a free man, just “like an innocent person” for at least another year pending his appeal against his conviction and sentence at the Federal Court, Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.
Dr Mahathir said the stay of execution was the judges’ prerogative but thought it was inappropriate.
“There has never been a case as big as the crime committed by Najib. It is a world record, according to the United States Department of Justice.
“Even people who are found guilty of minor offences have never received a stay of execution like this,” Dr Mahathir wrote on his blog.
Dr Mahathir also asked, in a cynical manner, whether Najib would continue to be active in politics and contest in the next election.
“If while waiting for (the appeal) he is allowed to continue to be a member of the Dewan Rakyat, will he also be able to contest in GE15?
“If he wins and once again becomes a member of the Dewan Rakyat, could he become the prime minister as well?” the elder statesman asked.
If that happens, said Dr Mahathir, Malaysia will set a world record for having a prisoner become a prime minister.
“Every part of the rule of law must be respected,” he added.
The Court of Appeal today allowed Najib’s application for a stay of execution while a notice of appeal was filed in the Federal Court.
A three-man Court of Appeal bench headed by Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil had earlier unanimously upheld the conviction and sentence of Najib on seven charges of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust, and money laundering related to RM42 million of SRC International Sdn Bhd funds.
The Court of Appeal affirmed all factual and legal findings made by the trial judge, Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, who handed down Najib’s sentence on July 28, 2020.
Najib, who is also the Pekan lawmaker, faces the possibility of disqualification as a member of Parliament if the sentence against him is upheld after the appeal.
In his immediate reaction, Najib defended his innocence and said he did not know about the origins of the RM42 million that went into his personal accounts. – TMI