Pressure to interfere in Najib’s case test of Ismail Sabri’s mettle: analysts
PM in bind between preserving nation’s reputation, damaging own political career
(The Vibes) – Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob is caught in a bind on whether to relent to internal pressure for him to meddle in the court process involving former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Accede to the demands, and he would tarnish the country’s image and his own, and make a mockery of the judicial system. Refuse them, and he risks party action that could potentially put a serious dent in his political career.
Observers say the current quandary would serve as a true test of Ismail Sabri’s resolve, as pressure continues to mount on him from within his own party, where he is a vice-president.
This follows The Vibes’ report that an emergency meeting of Umno division chiefs chaired by party president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi yesterday had supposedly demanded the prime minister’s intervention in deferring Najib’s ongoing final appeal on his SRC International conviction.
The meeting also wanted Ismail Sabri to pressure the attorney-general to proceed with the probe into judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, who found Najib guilty in 2020.
However, it was also learnt that the majority of division chiefs did not attend the meeting – an indication of their reluctance to ask the prime minister to interfere in the judicial process.
Speaking to The Vibes, National Professor Council senior fellow Prof Jeniri Amir said he does not see the Bera MP interfering in the judicial process by bowing down to these demands simply to save a single individual.
The academician believes it would be well within Ismail Sabri’s knowledge that any intervention in the ongoing case could have far-reaching implications, not only for him and his party, but Malaysia in general.
“For Umno to ask the prime minister to intervene is totally against the separation of powers.
“Never in history has anyone asked openly for the prime minister to intervene, particularly not in a case of international interest.”
Jeniri said while there is every reason for Ismail Sabri to toe the party line, particularly in a bid to secure his position and avoid discipline, the demerits far outweigh the merits in this situation.