The ‘farce’ of Najib Razak’s pardon bid

Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s SRC International case – for which he was convicted of abuse of power, money laundering, and embezzling RM42 million – and his pardon bid, has been turned by Umno into a cause celebre.

This high-profile ex-prime minister has courted so much attention through the propaganda churned out by his cybertroopers and Umno.

For Umno members, their leaders are above the law. For them, the due process leading to Najib’s conviction is a farce, and smacks of political persecution.

Not a day goes by without Najib’s pardon bid being highlighted.

His team of lawyers, political cronies, and cybertroopers are shaping public opinion – that he was wrongly incarcerated for a crime he did not commit – despite the due process that conclusively reaffirmed his conviction.

For a party that has ruled the country for 60 years and had used the rule of law to its advantage, it is difficult for Umno to reconcile the fact that they are no longer the power behind the government, but a spent force that has had no choice but to submit to the demands of a coalition to ensure its survival.

But old habits die hard. And they think they are still a force to be reckoned with, and somehow, are not subject to the same due process and the appeals procedure by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, to pardon Najib.

Umno is trying to shape public opinion of Najib as a victim of political persecution by muting his criminal activities of malfeasance, abuse of power, squandering public funds, and being complicit with fugitive Jho Low in defrauding the nation.

On the other hand, they are painting him as a statesman who brought much prosperity to the nation during his tenure as prime minister. Of course, they conveniently omitted his 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fiasco, and the controversial Scorpene submarine scandal, all of which brought disrepute to the nation and burdened the people.

Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and several party leaders have warned the public not to post adverse comments on the party’s plans to submit an application to the Agong to grant Najib a full pardon.

It is as though Ahmad Zahid has the power to curb freedom of speech/expression. In fact, the people are free to express their opinions, as long as they are within the ambit of the law.

Datuk Mohd Puad Zakarashi recently chastised Amanah’s communications director, Khalid Samad, for appealing to the Agong not to entertain Umno’s request to pardon Najib, as it would make a mockery of the judicial system.

Mohd Puad warned that Khalid’s comments could put a strain on the unity government and jeopardise its fragile cooperation. He also attacked Muda for taking the same stand, of opposing any pardon for Najib.

Such vehement threats and arrogance from the Umno top echelon is reminiscent of the time when they controlled the government.

What is the real intention behind Umno’s appeal to the Agong to grant a pardon for a convicted person?

Is it a quest by an ignorant bunch of people who cannot fathom the concept of rule of law, or is it just bravado and the audacity to challenge the system for a sinister motive?

They have some advanced inane reason that Najib’s release would somehow strengthen the unity government and revitalise and rejuvenate Umno in garnering Malay support.

How can a convicted person who abused his powers and made Malaysia the laughingstock of the world, be able to attract foreign investments, reduce the RM1.5 trillion national debt, strengthen the ringgit, emplace good governance, and shore up the image of the unity government?

The notion is both absurd and ludicrous.

It appears that the real reason is to distract the public from focusing on the ongoing political turmoil within Umno, as well as the multitude of corruption charges against its leaders, specifically Ahmad Zahid, and Kinabatangan MP Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin and his wife, Datin Seri Zizie Izette Abdul Samad. Many others escaped the corruption dragnet because of poor prosecution and insufficient evidence.

But Ahmad Zahid has been ordered to enter his defence on 47 charges. He is in an awkward situation, having been appointed one of the two deputy prime ministers, and Rural Development minister, while facing corruption charges.

Despite Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s incessant and unceasing exhortations of an all-out war against corruption, he chose, as his deputy, someone who is tainted.

The irony is not lost on many.

Ahmad Zahid’s body language betrays his awkwardness, for he has no locus standi to stand on the moral high ground and to advance Anwar’s quest of good governance and end the scourge of corruption.

Najib’s pardon is also to deflect the turmoil within Umno, which has become undemocratic and totalitarian, evidenced by what transpired at the party’s recent general assembly.

To secure his iron grip on the party, Ahmad Zahid allegedly ‘instructed’ the assembly to pass a no-contest motion for the president’s and deputy president’s posts.

He purged the party members who threatened his position, namely Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Khairy Jamaluddin, Tan Sri Noh Omar, Tan Sri Annuar Musa, and Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim. Ahmad Zahid then put in place more ‘pliant’ men and women in the Supreme Council and the divisions.

Together, this will result in Umno, which has never held the moral high ground, to sink deeper into the cesspool, making it even more difficult to regain the trust and support of the Malay voters.

It might even adversely affect the party’s performance in the coming state elections.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13. 

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