Najib house arrest pressure puts many in a bind


K. Kabilan

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has filed an affidavit backing his former boss Najib Razak’s application to be allowed house arrest. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, April 19, 2024.

AHMAD Zahid Hamidi delivered a shocker this week when he filed an affidavit backing Najib Razak’s application to be allowed house arrest.

No one expected the deputy prime minister to be the “critical witness” who would confirm the existence of an addendum in a recent royal pardon that ordered Najib to serve out his remaining jail term at home.

That Zahid used International Trade and Investment Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz’s name in his affidavit also came as a surprise.

Adding another twist to the saga was Zafrul’s statement, released hours after Zahid’s affidavit became public, that the former would also be filing an affidavit to “correct certain factual errors” in the Umno president’s.

The deputy prime minister had said in his affidavit that Zafrul had shown him a phone image of the supplementary royal order on January 30.

The existence of the order is the basis for Najib’s judicial review application on April 1 to be allowed to serve his jail term at home.

In his application, Najib said the addendum in a royal pardon allowed him to serve the remainder of his six-year jail term under house arrest.

He said the addendum was issued by the king on January 29.

On February 2, the Pardons Board halved Najib’s 12-year jail sentence over the RM42 million SRC International corruption case. This will see the former leader walk free on August 23, 2028. The board also reduced Najib’s RM210 million fine to RM50 million.

The board said it made the decision after a meeting on January 29. It did not give a reason for approving Najib’s request for a pardon.

The pardon was granted a day before then Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah stepped down.

Earlier this month, Najib’s lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah told reporters that a “critical witness” was set to file an affidavit to support Najib’s judicial review application.

As soon as Zahid’s affidavit became public, Zafrul said he would be “taking steps to obtain appropriate legal advice and seek to write to the High Court to ask for permission or leave to file an affidavit to correct certain factual errors contained” in the former’s affidavit.

On Wednesday evening, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) said it would bring Zafrul’s comments to the attention of the court.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court heard Najib’s application on Wednesday. The court set June 5 for a decision on whether to grant leave to Najib to proceed with the judicial review.

Questions aplenty

Zahid’s affidavit and Zafrul’s statement raise several questions.

Former Umno Supreme Council member Isham Jalil had asked Zahid why he had waited till now to reveal the existence of the royal order.

Remember, the statement about the royal pardon was issued on February 2 following a Pardons Board meeting on January 29.

Zahid said in his affidavit that he saw the royal order on Zafrul’s phone on January 30.

Najib’s application was filed on April 3 while Zahid’s affidavit was affirmed on April 9.

“What was Zahid doing for more than two months? He should have urged the government to obey the supplementary royal order as soon as he had discovered it.

“He should not have just kept quiet and only admitted to it when the matter came before the court,” Isham said on Facebook.

He also dismissed claims that Zahid was working quietly to ensure Najib gets his house arrest.

Another question that needs answering is how come Zafrul got a copy of the supplementary royal order on his phone, supposedly snapped from the original copy held by the former Agong.

Zahid also said that apart from himself and Zafrul, other members of the government have seen the addendum order, including Pahang Menteri Besar Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail.

He added that the six respondents in Najib’s legal application have also seen the supplementary royal order.

The six include Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution, de facto law minister Azalea Othman Said, the attorney-general, Pardons Board and Prisons Department director.

This means the government was aware of the royal order. If that is the case, why did Saifuddin deny ever seeing the order?

What about Federal Territories Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa, who also sat on the Pardons Board?

Why is there silence over the house arrest order?

So far, the Prime Minister’s Office has not commented on Najib’s claims.

Will Azalina, as the de facto law minister, or the AG, who represents the government and the Pardons Board, make a statement to clarify the issue?

Government’s image hit

Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia law professor Muzaffar Syah Mallow said the board must explain or justify its decision to pardon Najib.

“Since it is a very high-profile case and considering the severity of the crime committed by the offender, some explanation or justification needs to be given to the public.

“This is crucial to avoid misunderstanding,” he told The Malaysian Insight.

James Chin at the University of Tasmania said it was surprising that such a document could remain under wraps for so long.

“My suspicion is that the government wanted this to be pushed by the Najib camp so it looks like they’re reluctant to do it,” he was quoted as saying in Channel News Asia.

“They can say, ‘It’s really not us… We actually want to see Najib in jail.’”

He said the existence of such a royal document put Anwar in a difficult position as it would call into question his administration’s transparency.

“If he knew about the order, why was he not transparent with the people of Malaysia?” Chin asked.

Activist Ab Jalil Backer said the government’s image has taken a hit over the issue.

“If the affidavit is not true, we then have a deputy prime minister who is ready to lie to the court.

“If the affidavit is true, we then have a government who lies and is ready to go against the royal institution,” he said on Facebook.

Senior lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla said the government could have spoken with the Agong if it did not wish to execute the order.

“If the order exists, it is in the hands of the king to officially cancel it. The government could have still met with the then king during this time,” he said.

Umno veteran Puad Zarkashi said the government must execute the supplementary royal order at once.

“The people believe such an order exists. Otherwise, why would Zahid, who is also the DPM, affirm the affidavit? Even the attorney-general did not deny it.

“Why is the government being defensive? It will only be criticised for ignoring the former king’s decree.

“(And) the good relationship in the unity government could be affected. Will there be claims of conspiracy? Does the AG fear accurate advice?” he said on Facebook.

One thing is certain. The matter is bound to keep simmering. More will be said in the coming days, and it is only wise for the government to address the claims quickly instead of waiting to rebut them in court. – April 19, 2024.


Sign up or sign in here to comment.


Comments


  • Our Judiciary is been made to look like a big laughing stock with changes made after a long trial and verdict granted, only to be shot by someone who's given the liberty to safe guard our country but to over throw these efforts made and reached collectively by the highest judiciary system of Bolehland. This type of loophole system only encourages criminals to roam around freely in Bolehland moreso from a previlage race or person with connections. I remember Tony Pua who first exposed this scandals and then the AG denied such money laundering and got paid 1Million when he retired....all for a single race based individual. I wonder if these were the other race person's, would the system works the same? I wonder!!! Anyway, with the latest house arrest, reduced sentence and fines, Bolehland has become a heaven for criminals plus a big laughing stock for the whole world to laugh at....only GOD save Bolehland

    Posted 1 month ago by Crishan Veera · Reply

  • I am speechless with what happened Malaysia. Such ridiculous events can be happened if the system is protecting the powerful and particular racesigh lost hope

    Posted 1 month ago by WK T · Reply

  • I want to publicly acknowledge the greatness and efficient services of A1 WIZARD HACKES, a
    professional PI and a certified expert in stolen cryptocurrencies and asset recovery, for the role they played in ensuring they recovered my losses in dubious cryptocurrency investment. An online crypto vendor artist who represented themselves as knowledgeable and experienced in the field of Crypto investments conned my wife and me. Thank you A1 WIZARD HACKES for your excellent assistance in getting my money back. I and my partner were tricked into losing $1.6 million USDT, but after my encounter with A1 WIZARD HACKES, it turned out to be a blessing because after successfully recovering my losses, I kept on hiring them for other services like Private investigating on my business associates and hacking their devices as well. You can reach A1 WIZARD HACKES via


    E-mail : A1wizardhackes (@)cyberservices(.) com
    whatsApp : +1 6 7 8 4 3 9 9 7 6 0
    Telegram : (@) A1wizardhackes

    Posted 1 month ago by Young jake · Reply

  • I want to introduce you all to the best private investigators on the planet working with them was an eye opener for me and i was left shocked, get in touch with [email protected], Whatsapp +14106350697 and you will be surprised with the result i can bet on that.

    Posted 2 weeks ago by Johnson Milner · Reply

  • My name is Nina Williams, and I am divorced. I have three kids with my ex-husband, who messed up my credit report before we got divorced. This made my life with my kids a living hell, and I felt frustrated. However, I met a friend in church who recommended H A C K M A V E N S CREDIT SPECIALIST. I contacted them, and within 7 days, they fixed my credit and increased my score from 515 to 785. Now, I can take loans, own a house, and run a business. If you have any credit-related issues, you can reach out to them via EMAIL: H A C K M A V E N S 5 @ G M A I L. C O M or Call/Text/Whats-App: [+ 1 (2 0 9) 4 1 7 1 9 5 7].

    Posted 2 weeks ago by Nina Williams · Reply

  • My name is Nina Williams, and I am divorced. I have three kids with my ex-husband, who messed up my credit report before we got divorced. This made my life with my kids a living hell, and I felt frustrated. However, I met a friend in church who recommended H A C K M A V E N S CREDIT SPECIALIST. I contacted them, and within 7 days, they fixed my credit and increased my score from 515 to 785. Now, I can take loans, own a house, and run a business. If you have any credit-related issues, you can reach out to them via EMAIL: H A C K M A V E N S 5 @ G M A I L. C O M or Call/Text/Whats-App: [+ 1 (2 0 9) 4 1 7 1 9 5 7].

    Posted 2 weeks ago by Nina Williams · Reply