Umno’s silence as Najib fights for fair trial wrong, says insider

(FMT) – An Umno leader has questioned the silence of party leaders as its former president and former prime minister Najib Razak faces an uphill battle in his SRC International appeal at Federal Court.

“The whole of Umno has gone quiet. No one is saying anything about what happened,” said the leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Umno leader was referring to the Federal Court’s decision to reject Najib’s bid to adduce fresh evidence relating to trial judge Nazlan Ghazali’s past employment with a bank.

Najib had said he was “shocked and bitterly disappointed” with the court’s decision but, according to the Umno leader, there was “nothing” on party chat groups.

“I think they don’t want to get involved. Some share his belief that he isn’t getting a fair trial, but they don’t think anything they say or do will change the outcome,” the leader told FMT.

The insider said the fact that no Umno leaders came out to demand that Najib gets a fair trial sets a bad precedent for the party.

“He (Najib) was alone in this fight and the rest (party leaders) are comfortable doing nothing just as they did during the Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Perikatan Nasional (PN) era.

“When everyone else was quiet, he dared take them (PH and PN) on. To me, the grassroots need to think carefully about who they choose to lead Umno. This ‘every man for himself’ culture is cancer to Umno.”

Still, the leader said, he doubts the situation will lead to a split in the party as “Najib himself would not allow it”.

Meanwhile, an Umno Supreme Council member who also declined to be named confirmed that some of the party’s WhatsApp groups were silent on the Federal Court’s decision.

“I think people are taking a wait-and-see approach.”

Another Supreme Council member, Puad Zarkashi, said he was worried that Najib was not getting a fair trial.

“I don’t understand why the court does not want to allow him to present new evidence that he feels is vital to his case.

“The court should let him adduce the new evidence and make their decision based on all the evidence presented. This will help in avoiding the perception that our justice system is flawed,” Puad told FMT.

Yesterday, a five-member panel of the apex court chaired by Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat dismissed Najib’s application to adduce additional evidence in his final appeal to prove that Nazlan was under a serious conflict of interest when presiding over the SRC trial two years ago.

She said the application to adduce additional evidence did not fulfil the requirements of the law.

Najib’s appeal hearing resumes on Thursday.