Court Clusters shaking, may face similar end as Najib

29 Aug 2022 09:43am
Political analyst Dr Edmund Terrence Gomez - Photo from Sinar archive
Political analyst Dr Edmund Terrence Gomez - Photo from Sinar archive

AMPANG – The imprisonment of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak last week is unprecedented and marks as a historical event in the Malaysian political realm.

Political analyst Dr Edmund Terrence Gomez said the Pekan MP imprisonment signifies that Malaysia does have an independent judiciary.

This, he said means Umno leaders who were charged for corruption may also be facing a similar end as Najib.

“If we follow the due process, those who are facing charges in court today... there's a likelihood of them going to jail.

“The charges against senior leaders like Umno President Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and others like Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor looks very serious and the number of charges is also quite large.

“So, the next question is if convicted will they react with a pardon?” he told Sinar Daily.

Rosmah’s corruption trial linked to the RM1.25 billion Sarawak rural school’s solar energy project decision will be delivered on Sept 1, while ex-Tabung Haji chairman and Baling MP Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim's appeal to strike out his corruption and money-laundering charges will be read on Sept 5.

Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin and his wife and former actress Datin Seri Zizie Izette Abdul Samad corruption trial decision has been set for Sept 2, while Zahid’s is Sept 15.

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Gomez commented that Najib’s imprisonment was the first in Malaysia’s political history where a former prime minister went to jail for corruption.

He said there was no other political leader that was jailed for corruption since the imprisonment of former Selangor MB Datuk Harun Idris in the 1970s.

“And yet we know from the 1980s to now a series of major scandals have been happening in this country,” he said.

When asked regarding Najib’s pardon petition, he said it was a serious issue that Umno was currently trying to raise.

He questioned the kind of message Umno was trying to convey to the public when a leader of the government was found guilty of corruption and was now being asked by the party that he should be pardoned immediately.

“If you are convicted of a serious crime but because of who you are, you can be pardoned. That in itself, the message that they are sending is a wrong message.

“What about the rule of law in this country if that happens?” he said.

Gomez said Umno’s retaliation in seeking Najib’s pardon was not to be seen as tricks but rather as their reaction to the current situation.

He also added that Umno leaders who were charged are worried about their court case but at the same time, also thinking if there would be any possibilities for them to not serve a jail sentence.

“They are also thinking, what do we do about Najib if he gets a pardon? That will be another avenue for them if they are convicted, how can they may not serve a jail sentence?” he said.

Gomez said Umno special meeting held on Saturday only reflected the party leader’s worries and consequences of former prime minister’s imprisonment.

He said the meeting should be remembered as proof that there exists a division within Umno itself on how to deal with the jailing of Najib.

“This as their response to try and circumvent any possible outcome in the pending cases of other (Umno) politicians who are also facing serious charges of corruption,” he said.

He also added that the party were well-aware that Malaysians were upset with the level of corruption that is currently happening in this country thus the special meeting was not the right move to address the problem.

“This looks like an attempt to circumvent any attempts to curb the corruption in this country and surely the prime minister himself seems to be aware of it,” he said.

The term “court cluster” was introduced by opposition critics to refer to Umno leaders like Zahid, Najib and others who were facing trial for various charges.

It was alleged that these ‘court clusters’ have been pressing for an early General Election as a way to defeat these charges.

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