Mariam Mokhtar: When Najib goes “in”, the Rakyat’s morale will soar.

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Each time, the convicted criminal, Najib Abdul Razak, humiliates the court, it is the judiciary which ends up in the spotlight and is scrutinised by the rakyat for their lack of action, or the speed of their response.

It won’t be the felon, Najib who will be on trial. It will be the judiciary that the rakyat will put on the stand.

The more time the convicted criminal spends outside prison as a free man, spewing more lies about his “innocence”, introducing doubt into his followers’ heads, making the rakyat lose faith in their institutions, public confidence plummets.

We do not need to be reminded twice, that the convicted criminal, Najib Abdul Razak, is guilty.

If you or I were proven guilty in a court of law, it’s the slammer for us; but not the felon, Najib!

With his police outriders, his passport, and the confiscated goods returned, he can travel overseas, canvass elections, give press conferences.

All the time, the authorities wonder why the rakyat is furious with the administration and ALL of the Malay elite.

Why did I specify Malay? Well, aren’t the Malays the political leaders, the heads of GLCs, the heads of the departments, ministries, and enforcement?

Malaysians are not the only ones watching. The foreign investors, foreign governments and rogue elements are also keeping a close watch.

So, each time, the convict Najib humiliates the court, it is the judiciary which ends up in the spotlight and is scrutinised by the rakyat for their lack of action, or the speed of their response.

It is not just Malaysians who are watching, but the whole world is also witnessing and taking a keen interest in Najib’s appeal.

The Coronavirus is responsible for closing borders, vacating offices, shutting down factories, forcing lockdowns and cancelling weddings & funerals, but the desperate convict, Najib, thought that he could use the Coronavirus pandemic, to further delay his appeal.

The rakyat sees through his time-wasting and delay tactics

What the convict Najib did in 1MDB was the equivalent of selling off the family silver for quick personal gain. He stole the rakyat’s money, then pretended he did not know.

He blamed everyone, but himself, for bankrupting the nation, and sadly, the Malaysian rakyat, and at least three future generations will bear the cost and have to pay for his folly.

On 8 December, the Court of Appeal delivered its decision on Najib’s appeal to quash the High Court’s guilty verdict, as well as the 12-year jail term and RM210 million fine in the SRC corruption case.

A desperate Najib, keen not to be the first Malaysian former prime minister to go to jail, has tried to delay the appeal date.

A week earlier, Najib had tried to tender new evidence to support his defence.

That tactic did not have the desired effect, so, he tried again, and on the eve of the day of his appeal, to quash his conviction in the RM42 million SRC International corruption case, Najib and his lawyer claimed that both Najib and members of his legal team, had been exposed to someone who had Coronavirus.

Najib and his lawyer tried too hard. They thought that after years of mismanaging the nation, they could be careless and attempt to hoodwink the panel of judges. They failed. They only courted the panel of judges’ displeasure.

The lone defence counsel, Harvinder Singh Sidhu, and one bailor present during the proceedings, received a public reprimand from the panel.

The panel rebuked Harvinder, who told them that Najib was absent from an alleged close contact with a person who tested positive for Coronavirus.

The panel was further incensed when the lone bailor, Faizal Shamsuddin, failed to tell the panel of Najib’s whereabouts.

The judge, Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil, reminded him and Harvinder, that more proof was needed to justify an appellant’s non-attendance at criminal court proceedings.

He said, “Today’s hearing date has already been informed and two of Najib’s bailors have been informed. We can cancel the RM2 million bail and issue a warrant of arrest for Najib’s non-attendance. You yourself (bailor) do not know why Najib is not here. You are just guessing.

“This is not a coffee shop, this is the court of law, do not just play guessing.” (sic)

The judges may have the patience of a saint, but Malaysians are weary of Najib’s game of hide and seek.

If ordinary Malaysians had humiliated the courts and treated it with disrespect, just like Najib had done, an arrest warrant would already have been issued for them.

Najib should not be given any leeway. The disrespectful and arrogant convict needs more than just a tongue lashing. He needs to be arrested, jailed, and forced to face up to his criminal past.

Najib may be the one who was on trial, but it is the court which the public will judge.

The manner in which Najib has behaved and toyed with the court is similar to the cat which catches a mouse and plays with it before it is killed.

To Najib, it is just a game; but Malaysians who have been at the receiving end of a long list of injustice, are simply tired.

They just want justice to be served. Their money was stolen. Their future, and the futures of their children, and grandchildren have been stolen.

Money that could have been used to pay for schools, affordable homes, hospitals, good infrastructure, public security, adequate healthcare, and care for the elderly are in short supply because of Najib’s crimes.

The implications for the judiciary are many. The rakyat will note if the judiciary can mete out justice, fairly and squarely, and without fear or favour.

Taxpayers’ money was stolen. Several raids on Najib’s homes were conducted. Items and money were confiscated. These were not monopoly money or just items obtained from the local pasar malam. These were items totalling several hundred millions of ringgits. Malaysians did not dream or fabricate these events.

Malaysians will see if Najib’s pedigree, meaning the name of this political family will preclude him from going to jail.

If Najib is set free, the world will react. The Malaysian ringgit will suffer. Foreign investors’ confidence will plummet, as will local investment.

Malaysians will be plunged into the depths of despair. This will not augur well for the country’s future. Freeing Najib will dent the confidence of the nation.

The rakyat needs to be self-assured and to be able to have renewed trust and faith in its institutions for the country to move forwards to battle the insecurities of the recession and the Coronavirus. – Rebuilding Malaysia