Friday Jottings: The wolf that cried wolf

EXCEPT for politicians and sycophants of the current administration, surely the rest of the Malaysian populace who stood up against the shenanigans of Najib Razak and his ilk in the 1MDB infamy would today feel disgusted and sick to the gut.

And lest those in the present Government and their supporters forget, it was the 1MDB scandal that caused more than half of the nation to rally around Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Pakatan Harapan to bring an end to Najib’s and Barisan Nasional/Umno’s rule in 2018.

But before they succeeded in their quest, what the nation had to go through was horrendous with persecutions being carried out against those brave enough to stand up and be counted.

Again, lest the present administration forgets, the quest was not only during the campaign period leading to the polls, but it was a lengthy, twisted path that was unforgiving, vindictive and punitive which took nearly four years to end.

When Najib and BN/Umno were defeated, except for their supporters, the rest of the nation rejoiced.

When Najib was charged in court, it was hoped that justice would be served and if he was guilty, he must pay the price like any other criminal. Simply put, “you do the crime, you do the time.”

Tried by three levels of courts and in front of a total of nine judges, Najib was found guilty and again, the nation rejoiced because justice is served.

But less than two years into his 12-year imprisonment, much to the chagrin of the nation, his sentence was halved by a pardon in late January this year.

Public outbursts questioning the justice and fairness of such a pardon were all over the place, something that was obviously difficult to miss, especially by those in the Government.

It was not surprising that the leaders refused to take responsibility for the partial pardon, hiding behind the Ruler’s prerogative and such, rendering the public impotent to protest.

Prior to that, there were rumours that Najib was going to be given a full pardon and that he still had to serve half the sentence was still better than being freed altogether.

Such tactics are indeed nauseating as it is simply done for political expediency.

Now, Najib claims that apart from the partial pardon, there is an addendum from the King then that decreed he served the remaining sentence under house arrest.

To add weightage to this application, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had signed an affidavit affirming Najib’s claims on the existence of the addendum.

Zahid, in his declaration, named several Ministers and heads of departments as respondents, who knew about the existence of the King’s addendum which decreed Najib’s house arrest, but had refused to execute the decree.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim when asked about the royal addendum said he did not want to be involved as it was under the purview of the Pardon’s Board.

What does the nation have in their hands?

First, a group of Ministers and head of departments who are being accused by the Deputy Prime Minister of hiding a royal decree which had been issued more than three months ago.

Secondly, a PM who refused to be involved in a matter of national concern and who had kept silent over the royal addendum which had existed since end of January.

The nation is being led through a charade in which the present administration is pretending it is not in cahoots. But when cui bono is applied, obviously, the one to gain from the Najib’s pardon apart from Najib would be the PM and his Government.

It would seal the support of Umno, which had never accepted Najib’s guilt, for Anwar’s Government.

If that is the case, why didn’t the Government announce the house arrest decree alongside the halving of Najib’s sentence?

Obviously, as pointed out earlier, public outcry over the halving in January was quite threatening to the longevity of the Government which, had the house arrest decree been revealed, may not have even lasted into February.

It is simply dishing out the bad news in doses so that the pain to stomach it is somewhat more tolerable.

Does the extra couple of months in making the house arrest addendum make much difference?

After witnessing the preparedness of the PH apologists to go the extra mile to justify the halving of Najib’s sentence, the ineffective Opposition and the distractions that were created that seemed effective, all involved must have felt that the time was quite right to make it public.

Furthermore, to hold it for too long may result in Najib running out of patience and Umno losing patience with Zahid for not doing anything to get Najib out of jail.

That sums up the whole surreptitious deception of Najib’s tale, committed by self-serving liars and led by a PM whose interest is only about holding on to power.

A former diplomat who was obviously incensed with the whole episode said what little credibility Anwar had left is now completely gone and that he doesn’t deserve to be PM.

Some would have pointed out that Anwar did not deserve to be PM even before that but then, he needed to be one to prove that point exactly.

To paraphrase Bertrand Russel – when does leaders get to lie and get away with it – “First, they fascinate the fools. Then they muzzle the intelligent.”

Obviously, the fools are fascinated and they are many.

  • Shamsul Akmar is an editor at The Malaysian Reserve.