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Najib is not out of the kampong yet

Not everyone is happy with Najib’s pardon outcome. His family is not.

Nooryana Najib, his daughter, lamented: “While we appreciate the reduction of sentence from 12 years to six years by Pardons Board, we are disappointed that Datuk Seri Najib was not granted a full pardon and was not immediately released.”

For context, the Pardon Board halved his 12 years to 6 years, which means that he will be freed sometime in August 2026, for good behaviour. That’s just about 2.5 years later.

As for the fine, he got a reduction from RM210m to RM50m. I guess money is not his greatest worry. Freedom is. And he is not out of the kampong yet.

So far Najib has served 17 months after being convicted of graft linked to RM42m, belonging to a former subsidiary company of 1MDB. He is currently facing three ongoing criminal trials for illicitly receiving US681m of 1MDB funds via British Virgin Islands shell company.

Second, Najib is also charged with laundering RM27m belong to a former 1MDB subsidiary and third, a CBT charge amounting to RM6.6m is yet to be concluded.

Will he go the way of his deputy Zahid Hamidi, who walked free of 47 graft charges mid-trial after being granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal? Fingers crossed.

The Pardon Board didn’t give any cogent justification for the decision. It just released a 5-sentence statement, claiming that they have weighed opinion and advice from relevant authorities. Nothing substantial was said. It kept everyone holding their breath for nothing. Most are still reeling in a state of shock.

One citizen said, “We voted for Najib and trusted him, but our money was stolen for his family’s enjoyment.”

All PM Anwar could say was this: “Whatever one feels, of course, it is very political - some support, some didn’t. But they cannot ignore the fact that you must respect the right of everyone convicted to appeal to the Pardons Board.”

And for some trivia knowledge, you may like to know that a private Umno FB user had invoked higher powers: “Pray for Datuk Seri Najib Razak to be released so it can help to increase the country’s economy.”

Well, he did increase the country’s economy. That’s not the issue. The issue is its distribution.

Lesson? With all due respect, PM Anwar’s words are puzzling. He said it was all “very political”. Isn’t he voted in to clean up that realm of government? Maybe it’s all very privileged?

Anyway, I believe it is about the rule of law. The law is fixed (or else, democracy is hopeless. But the Nuremberg Racist Laws are another kettle of fish altogether, and it’s for another day of discussion).

We know that you do the crime, you do the time. The time ranges, but the time ought to fit the crime.

As far as Najib’s ordeal is concerned, the law did its job, as best as it can, within the penal code. He was and is held accountable. He still faces the court, charged for the millions he had siphoned to line his pockets, which he once admitted was a gift from royalty.

The issue is what rule governs the law? What are the limits to these rule? No one is above it. But yet, some are above it, it seems. And the handful above it hold power to lower the bar for some and raise the bar for others?

Or, put it another way, equality for all is the rule of rules, but with exception? Is there fair and equal representation then? Or some just warrants special (exceptional) attention, because of some un-utterable reasons?

Let me end with Aunty Bersih, the lady of liberty. Many Malaysians know her. She come by another name, Anne Ooi. She is in her late sixties now. She was a school teacher. She is a frail old lady, determined to make a difference, regardless of age, language and religion.

At 64, she was the symbol of the Bersih movement (“Operation Erase Bersih”). She was fired at, stung and gassed, at the 9 July 2011 protest; the most violent protest in Malaysian history.

Aunty Bersih said: “I cannot stand rubbish. The country today has become like a house full of dirty things. We need to clean our house, clear up the mess.”

“An old woman like me had lived a full life. I’m not scared because I have nothing else to lose. But the young people still have a future ahead of them. They have everything to lose.”

That sums it up, right? The young borrow wisdom from the old, and draw strength from their courage or defiance.

Never underestimate the power of weakness, because people like Aunty Ooi, can move even the most entrenched mountains.

Some history ought to be repeated, like the indefatigable spirit of Aunty Ooi, the lady of liberty. Others, well, should not, or never. But I guess it’s wishful thinking, because mankind is really one kind.

But the spirit of Aunty Ooi will always be our lodestar, our guiding light even in the darkest skies. For the weak is made strong by the young and the poor is always rich in the youthful spirit.

No mountain stands before them will remain standing for long in the wake of their borrowed courage and prevailing wisdom. Across the generations, we are a force of nature to reckon.

 

Michael Han

 

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READER COMMENTS BELOW

5 Responses to “Najib is not out of the kampong yet”

  • 50 steps/100 steps:

    Our monies are not stolen. They disappear openly, legally, knowingly or unknowingly.

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  • Dalai Says "Read My Lips":

    Speaking of “legal frameworks”, I was once reminded not to expect “justice” in the courtroom but to expect “a verdict”. The realities of law and justice are created and dispensed by human beings, all of whom are subject to conscious or unconscious bias. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary…In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men…you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. Like “ownself check ownself”. hahaha….

    Further, one of the obstacles to being just, as the author points out, is the human tendency not to see oneself as one really is, which can lead to receiving more than one’s due (or less). The same goes for the tendency not to see others as they really are, which can lead to their receiving less than is their due.

    Philosophy seems to confuse individual conduct with systems of government……at least in this odd discussion. Justice is not an *operative abstract*. It is a rough approximation of notions of fairness based on the reality that men and women, especially when dealing as political operatives including elected or appointed judges deal from a departure point of self interest, a truism established by until now.

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  • Smart move:

    Wise outgoing King…Smart move.Half Pardon.

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  • Harder Truths:

    This website so full of virus now – worse that mRNA…

    AAAAAARRRRGHHHHHH……

    Tech: There are no virus on the website, what u see are just ads. We have alerted the advertising network about this and they are working on it.

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  • 2Daft2Live:

    We are again reminded that all these politicians cannot be trusted. Anwar keep on harping on the fact that the King had absolute right under the Federal constitution to pardon anyone. But failed to mentioned that the King must heed the advise of the Cabinet before doing so. So who is heading the Cabinet and advising the King on Najib’s pardon? It is just like the SG President had to obey the words of the SG PM and his Cabinet.

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