Should Kak Ros be likened to Mother Theresa or is she even anywhere close?

TAKING a swipe at Datuk Mohd Nizar Najib – the eldest son of ex-premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak with this ex-wife Tengku Puteri Zainah Tengku Eskandar – veteran journalist R. Nadeswaran was spot on with his view that one cannot compare a statesman who stood up against an oppressive regime with a thief who plundered the nation’s wealth.

In the same light, “Citizen Nades” as the journo was known during his The Sun heydays, wondered if Nizar would compare his step-mum Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor to Mother Theresa.

Well, whether that accolade is deserving for the self-proclaimed “man of the house” ever since her husband found temporary lodging at the Kajang Prison, her lawyer Jagjit Singh must be forgiven for using argumentum ad misericordiam or a fallacy by appealing to pity or sympathy to safeguard his client’s interest after the Kuala Lumpur High Court meted out a RM970 mil fine which “is unprecedented, the largest in Malaysian legal history.”

Aside from the near RM1 bil fine, Rosmah, 70, was also sentenced to 10 years imprisonment after being found guilty of all three counts of corruption charges in connection with the RM1.25 bil Sarawak rural schools’ solar energy project.

While Jagjit is just doing his job to defend Malaysia’s “former first lady” (no other wives of Malaysian Prime Minister – past or present – come close to her), many have described the quantum of the fine as “chicken feed” to her.

After all, so soon after being found guilty of corruption, Rosmah is proceeding with another trial to reclaim 2,436 pieces of jewellery and 29 luxury bags at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Sept 26 and 27.

Recall that in 2019, the prosecution filed a forfeiture application to seize various items, including 11,991 items of jewellery, 401 watch straps and 16 watch accessories, 234 pairs of spectacles, and 306 handbags as well as cash in various denominations amounting to RM114.16 mil that were discovered during a raid at the Pavilion Residences in May 2018.

At the same time, Rosmah has also filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal to reverse the High Court’s decision on grounds that she was dissatisfied with the entire court verdict by Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan on Sept 1.

Given the brouhaha surrounding Rosmah’s conviction, it will be interesting to compare her case with that of head teacher Lee Wai Teng, 58 who was charged in the Sessions Court in Kuantan on Aug 18 on charges of making false claims worth RM900.

This is a tiny fraction of Rosmah’s single charge of soliciting RM187.5 mil and two charges of accepting bribes – RM1.5 mil and RM5 mil – from former managing director of Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd Saidi Abang Samsudin.

Just like in Rosmah’s case, the offence allegedly committed at Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (C) Sg Lui in Raub (Pahang) on Dec 6, 2017 provides for an imprisonment of up to 20 years and fine of not less than five times the value of the gratification that is the subject matter of the offence or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

Lee was allowed bail of RM8,000 with one surety and was ordered to surrender her passport to the court and report herself at the nearest MACC office every month. The court then set Sept 15 for mention.

Obviously, two wrongs don’t make a right but while one can feel sympathetic for Lee – especially for getting herself on the wrong side of the law for a mere RM900 – the same cannot be said for Rosmah unless one is truly beholden to her in one way or another. – Sept 7, 2022

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