“Will Najib’s sentence reduction benefit the opposition?”

WITH former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s sentence reduction, opposition Perikatan Nasional (PN) comprising PAS and Bersatu might not have obtained a better “invitation” to form the next government in Putrajaya.

The Federal Territories Pardons Board halfed the jail term for Najib from 12 to six years and the fine from a whopping RM210mil to RM50 mil. This is despite the fact that there are other pending corruption cases against Najib.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim conveniently distanced himself from the decision of the Pardons Board by saying that it was the prerogative of the former Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah

Never mind, the members of the board are high-ranking civil servants including the AG an appointee of Anwar.

Of course, Najib’s family members are not happy with the decision as they wanted nothing less than a full pardon.

UMNO members especially the diehard supporters of Najib or ‘Bossku’ think that the ultimate weapon for the resurgence of UMNO through his full pardon has been denied.

Meanwhile, pressure is building on UMNO president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for not doing enough for the full pardon of Najib.

However, it is yet to be established whether a full pardon for Najib will be able to resuscitate UMNO from its long, shady past.

UMNO leaders are still living in the make-believe world of a serious political comeback to wrest the support of the Malays.

I am not sure whether the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) recent investigations against the former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin and the sons of the former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad were intended as a balancing rehearsal for the reduction of Najib’s sentence.

Anwar cannot wiggle out of the responsibility of sentence reduction for Najib. He should stop passing the buck.

One wonders how the present government will be serious about ending corruption if Zahid could be given a discharge not amounting to acquittal for the 47 charges of corruption and money laundering.

Furthermore, Zahid is now looked upon by UMNO to continue his crusade to ensure that Najib gets full pardon within this year.

Malaysia is full of surprises. Anything is possible within the larger framework of politics for the ultimate quest for political power.

The grant of DNAA (discharge not amounting to an acquittal), the reduction of court sentences, the reduction of sentences by the Pardons Board and others are examples of how political expediency and opportunism can make mockery of the laws in the country.

The decision by the Pardons Board is an indication that crime pays in the country.

While the rich and powerful can get away, ordinary Malaysians are subjected to the full impact and are unmitigated by the law.

If I am not mistaken, Najib stands a good chance of getting a full pardon by this year; some are saying by August. Whether such a pardon will strengthen the Madani government remains to be seen.

It is naive to expect that a full pardon will strengthen Malay support for the government. UMNO is mired in the quagmire of the past to politically gain from the reduction of Najib’s court sentence.

Meanwhile, the opposition is keenly observing the events that are fast unfolding.

The question is whether the opposition will capitalise on the reduction of Najib’s sentence for its political buoyancy. With more than 80% Malay support, there must be no turning back on the road to Putrajaya.

A reduction in Najib’s sentence or even a full pardon will be a political bonus for PN. Najib’s sentence reduction makes a mockery of the justice system in the country. – Feb 3, 2023

Former DAP stalwart and Penang chief minister II Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy is chairman of the Urimai (United Rights of Malaysian Party) Interim Council.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.



Main photo credit: Reuters

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