By Yin, Wad 5, Tanjung Rambutan
When news of Najib’s pardon surfaced it brought a collective howl of protest by Malaysians not seen in a long time. Why? Malaysians ask in a collective gasp.
Then it turned out to be untrue. Utusan Malaysia could not retract the news fast enough. But who fed the rag this news of Najib’s pardon? Utusan Malaysia could not have fabricated it out of thin air, thin smoke perhaps . . . be careful what you smoke. I suspect the government’s department of disinformation has been working overtime on this.
Call me cynical if you want but I am convinced it was a deliberate “mistake” to test the water.
This is an old trick. First tell the people of a great disaster and when this did not happen they will be more acceptable of a smaller disaster. Had Malaysians remained unconcerned, apathetic or even faintly forgiving, Najib would have been given the full pardon.
As it is, he got his jail term halved and a 76% discount on his fine.
If the government was banking on Malaysians being happy that Najib has not been fully pardoned it has grossly miscalculated.
What has Najib done to deserve to have his sentence reduced to six years instead of the twelve passed by the court and his fine of RM210 million reduced to RM50 million?
Malaysians from all walks of life and across all communities howled at the travesty of justice.
Will the Pardons Board commute the sentence of a poor mother who stole money to feed her children? Why are ordinary Malaysians subjected to one rule and crooked politicians to another?
In the case of Najib it’s not just the amount of money he stole from the people, there are many other question marks about the man. For instance, many Malaysians are still unconvinced about the Altantuya case.
On top of all this Najib has several cases pending. Where is the speck of decency in this man that begs forgiveness? Where is his show of remorse? Has he even tried to pay back some of the money he stole? Then allegedly he has the cheek to complain that he should have been given the full pardon.
Malaysians can take a lot and still forgive; we are a forgiving people. But to be forgiven one must have merit in one’s case and I see nothing in Najib as the prime minister and as a human being that Malaysians should forgive him.
He has stolen from parents who cannot afford to send their children to school with a full stomach. He has stolen from the homeless who need a roof over their heads. Stolen from those who have no piped water or electricity. Stolen from children who slog miles to school in ankle deep mud because there is no money to build a proper road.
He has stolen from those of us who depend on the National Health System because now there is less money for medicine or to buy that much needed piece of equipment. He has robbed the country and burdened the future generation with a debt that will take a long time to repay. And we commute his sentence? What is the rationale?
A Political Decision:
UMNO: Boss, sorry to call this secret meeting on short notice, but cannot tahan anymore, pressure from Jib’s mahchai; too much lah. Jib must get pardon before the next person takes over lah. The new man no talk wan, very strict, already said he will jail the corrupt even if he is 100 years old.
PKR: Sorry lah friend, how to pardon, I already told everyone I am cleaning the country of corruption.
UMNO: Try lah boss, my people are pressing me lah, pressure so much I kepala pusing.
PKR: Ayoh, susah lah; already the DNAA has caused so much controversy. I am going for the mamak and his partner; and now you want me to forgive Jib. The mamak will scream personal vendetta. DAP you biggest party what you think?
DAP: Hey UMNO, very susah lah. We campaign for clean government and now you want us to forgive the Billion Dollar Man. Already broken so many election promises, how lah?
UMNO: Ha ha ha , have you not heard the saying “promises are made to be broken”. What is one more? Don’t pretend lah, you and I and PKR and every politician knows what we promise at elections and what we do after we get elected are two different things.
DAP: It’s up to PKR we made him boss so let him decide.
UMNO: You are right, why talk to the monkey, better talk to the organ grinder. Organ Grinder, what you say?
PKR: I already said I will not interfere in judicial matters or have anything to do with pardon or not pardon. When his case comes up let the Pardons Board do its work
UMNO: By the time his case for pardon comes up it would be too late. Okay, like that, I leave to my party whether to remain in this Madani Government or not.
DAP and PKR in unison: Ayooh don’t be like that lah, bro.
UMNO: Sorry out of my hands if I go back to say I failed to get a pardon for Bossku. You just face election lah or maybe PN form government when we remain neutral outside of PH. No need for Dubai Move.
There was a long silence.
UMNO gathered up his notes and dragged his chair back ready to leave the room, mumbling to himself. “Ask small thing also cannot, why bother to stay. When you lose your perks and privileges see how you like it”
PKR: Cool down man, no need to be so drastic. What if I put him front of the queue?
UMNO: And pardon?
PKR: Cannot lah, I already promised not to interfere.
UMNO: Podah! No deal!
DAP: Hold on bro, not so fast. I got idea. What if we give Jib discount?
UMNO: Discount what you mean?
DAP explained the plan to the other two.
UMNO: Now you are talking. Police give discount for traffic offences, people get discount for parking fines so why not?
PKR: Apa pun kita boleh kautim. Now we “dinajibkan” the denda and sentence.
UMNO: “Dinajibkan”, I like the word.
They congratulated and back slapped each as they leave the room for this brilliant idea.
The Prime Minister defended Najib’s right to appeal to the Pardons Board and admitted that he fast tracked the hearing. Isn’t this interfering with the system?
Would Anwar do the same for another convicted criminal? Anwar has helped Najib jump the queue. What is his reason for this special treatment for Najib? Did he not say he would not interfere in the case?
And as to the legality or otherwise of the decision, Tommy Thomas in his interview with Malaysiakini gave a very clear idea of what the proper course of action should be.
Is Anwar disputing the ex-AG’s opinion of the pardon procedure – for instance, that a person must have already served two thirds of his sentence before he can be considered for pardon and a person is not allowed a pardon if he has other cases pending in the courts.
This is another blot on Malaysia’s already muddy reputation – biggest theft by a prime minister and now the biggest “discount” ever given to a convicted criminal.
Someone in a posting that has gone viral compared Najib’s sentence to a petty thief’s:
Where is the justice Anwar?
This decision has made a mockery of our judges who acted bravely and fairly only to see their decisions “dinajibkan”. Anwar has made Malaysia the laughing stock of the world
Malaysians now wonder what will happen to the pending cases Najib faces. If this is how justice is carried out we may as well forget the whole thing and stopping wasting the court’s time and money. Just forgive him. What Anwar has done makes the pursuit of Daim and Mahathir’s sons look more like a vendetta.
Anwar should have more faith in Malaysians, that they will vote for a good and upright government, should this government be toppled. Anwar has failed in this test of moral courage.
PH will find Malaysians much less forgiving in the next election. We will not forget this betrayal of the people’s trust.
To have Malaysians united in their anger at the partial pardon, in a country deeply divided by race and religion, says a lot about how they feel. Decency and justice is colour blind.
This is a political pardon nothing less. Politicians have always put their self-interests first; why should we be surprised?
G25 has demanded that the partial pardon be rescinded. Every Malaysian should support this demand. We have marched for justice before in Bersih 2. Civil Society is so angry with this political pardon any call by Bersih or other organisations to march will have a full house.
Count me in!
(The views expressed are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Rebuilding Malaysia.)
By Yin, Letters from Ward 5, The Happy Place, Tanjong Rambutan