DEPUTY Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi faces a lose-lose situation regardless of whether incarcerated former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak receives a royal pardon or not.
That is the view of fugitive blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin (RPK) as the country is swept up with rumours of the former Pekan MP receiving a royal pardon for his 12-year jail sentence after being found guilty of all seven charges related to the misappropriation of RM42 mil of funds belonging to SRC International Sdn Bhd (he was also fined RM210 mil).
If Najib was pardoned, RPK reckoned that this could pave the way for the disgraced ex-prime minister’s (PM) return to lead UMNO – the lynchpin of Barisan Nasional (BN) – which had ruled for 61 years prior to be defeated in the 14th General Election (GE14) in May 2018.
“Najib is more popular. Even for kampung folks who are not UMNO members, they support Najib more. Najib’s pulling power is far better than Zahid whom many see as a traitor to the Malay race,” the opposition-slant mercenary blogger pointed out in his latest video clip.
On the contrary, if Najib’s application for pardon is rejected, Zahid could remain as UMNO president but this would not placate UMNO members who had been promised that Najib would be released by the Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim administration.
Elaborating, RPK said UMNO leaders like Datuk Lokman Noor Adam had promised UMNO grassroots that Najib would be released one week after the formation of the unity government in November 2022. But that time-frame kept being postponed.
“There were promises that Najib would be freed in 2022. It’s already 2024 and UMNO grassroots’ patience is running thin,” warned editor of the Malaysia Today news portal which is not accessible in Malaysia.
Should Najib’s pardon application be rejected, UMNO grassroots would become even more infuriated, leading to a possible mutiny against Zahid. And should Zahid be ousted from UMNO, the fate of the unity government could hang in the balance considering BN has 30 MPs in the Dewan Rakyat, including 26 from UMNO,
As for Anwar, RPK cautioned of the damage to his reformist credentials should Najib be freed.
After Zahid received his DNAA (discharge not amounting to acquittal) for the 47 corruption charges pertaining to his Akalbudi Foundation and the action against twice former premier Tun Dr Mahathir and former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin, having Najib freed made bad optics, according to RPK.
“What reformasi are we talking about? If there’s reformasi, Zahid and Najib should be behind bars. This sends the wrong signal and shows that Anwar is not sincere. It shows that `all my enemies are jailed while my allies are freed from jail’,” observed the self-exiled blogger from his Manchester, UK home.
Yesterday (Jan 30) the country was swirling with rumours of Najib’s release following a royal pardon. This was fuelled by an article in Utusan Malaysia which claimed that the Pardons Board had decided to grant a pardon following its meeting on Monday (Jan 29). The Malay daily later pulled out the article from its website and apologised.
Following this, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Federal Territories) Dr Zaliha Mustafa who attended the meeting has asked the public to wait for an official statement from the Pardons Board. – Jan 31, 2024