Najib’s case proves no one is above the law, says Sithambaram

Ravin Palanisamy

Prosecutor V. Sithambaram says the Federal Court's decision will send a message to all would-be offenders that there is no escaping the long arm of the law. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Afif Abd Halim, March 31, 2023.

THE Federal Court’s decision to reject Najib Razak’s application to review its dismissal of his final appeal is proof that no one is above the law, prosecutor V. Sithambaram said. 

He said today’s events should send a message to all would-be offenders that there is no escaping the long arm of the law.

“I must say there is no joy in a successful prosecution except that the Attorney-General Chambers has been able to ensure that the rule of law has prevailed in this case,” said Sithambaram in a press conference.

“The SRC persecution’s biggest message to politicians or other likely offenders is that this prosecution has shown that no man on this land is above the law. 

“And I want to stress, this successful prosecution must send a chilling message to all would-be offenders that the law will catch up with you and punish the guilty.”

Earlier today, the apex court rejected Najib’s application to review its guilty verdict, sentence and fine for corruption.

Judge Vernon Ong said there was no miscarriage of justice in the Federal Court’s hearing of Najib’s appeal in the RM42 million SRC International case last year.

He said the verdict was made after considering the submissions and evidence presented in the trial and appeal.

He also said Najib was the “author of his own misfortune”.

“Having considered all the records, the court finds that all earlier convictions against the applicant are safe and that the sentences imposed against applicant are not excessive and, therefore, affirmed,” he said.

“While the applicant feels that there was a breach of natural justice and an abuse of court process in the court’s decision to uphold the applicant’s guilty verdict last year may be genuine, this cannot dictate the conclusion made by the panel hearing his review application.

“In this respect, we are constrained to say that the applicant is the author of his own misfortune.”

Sithambaram said the Federal Court’s decision also debunks the claim that the charges against Najib were politically motivated.

He hopes that this will bring closure to the SRC International case. 

Sithambaram said Najib still has the option of asking for a review of today’s court decision but suggested he was unlikely to do so.

“If you want a review upon review, then there is no stopping the number of reviews,” he said.

On the petition filed by Najib to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD), Sithambaram said it was outside of the Malaysian judicial system.

“Whatever decision (made by UNWGAD) is not binding on Malaysia,” he said.

“Unless the Malaysian government wants to accept it.”

Earlier this year, Najib filed a petition with UNWGAD asking for his release or a retrial of the SRC case.

Najib will continue serving his 12-year prison sentence after the apex court dismissed his review application. – March 31, 2023.

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