Several Opposition lawmakers took to social media to air their unhappiness about former prime minister Najib Razak debating Budget 2021 in Parliament, despite having been convicted for graft.
Jerlun MP Mukhriz Mahathir tweeted whether it was a new norm to allow the Pekan MP – who was convicted of abuse of power, money laundering and criminal breach of trust – to debate the national spending plan in the Dewan Rakyat.
“For the life of me I don’t understand how a former PM convicted of seven counts of abuse of power, CBT and AMLA breaches can still speak about the national budget in Parliament! New norm?” the former Kedah Menteri Besar said in his tweet.
Meanwhile, Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah said she walked out of the Dewan Rakyat in protest.
“Najib Razak was convicted of corruption. But today he was present as BNBBC chief and debated the Budget 2021 as if nothing happened.
“I protest and I walked out! #NotMyNewNormal,” Maria tweeted.
When contacted, Maria declined to comment further to critics of her tweets who, among others, argued that she should have raised her objections in the Dewan Rakyat instead of walking out.
“I walked out because he is convicted. I have made my point. If they (critics) can’t see it, I have nothing to say about it,” she said, adding that there were other MPs who had also walked out or aired their protests.
Batu Kawan MP Kasthuriraani Patto said she had personally opted to not be in the Dewan Rakyat during Najib’s debate.
“Since there is a rotation system, we wait for one person to leave to get the pass to enter the hall,” Kasthuriraani said.
Earlier in the House, Jelutong MP RSN Rayer had questioned the 90-minute privilege given to Najib for his debate, in comparison to 15 minutes for other MPs.
Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun urged Rayer to not further raise the issue, explaining that Najib was given 90 minutes as BNBBC chief, which is the same amount of time allocated to opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.
Najib was sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined RM210 million by Kuala Lumpur High Court on July 28, which found him guilty of abusing his power in receiving RM42 million in funds from SRC International in 2014 and 2015.
He was convicted on seven charges: three counts of criminal breach of trust, three counts of money-laundering, and one count of abuse of power.
He was appointed as Barisan Nasional Backbench Club chairman ahead of the current parliamentary session.