Move to not interfere in Najib trial increases PM’s standing in public eye

(The Sun Daily) – The move by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to not interfere in court proceedings involving former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak has increased the former’s standing in the public eye.

Political analyst Prof Dr Barjoyai Bardai said Ismail Sabri has defended not only his integrity but also that of the government and this has rendered a tremendous boost to how the public views him.

He said the prime minister’s standing with the public is very high but sadly, Umno is divided as there are two factions – one which supports him and the other, the pro-Najib faction, which is unhappy with him.

“Generally, the public’s view of his standing is very high but whether this translates into votes remains to be seen. This is because it is still very early to gauge what impact his stand will have in the long term.

“Voters can be persuaded to change their views or opinion come the general election,” he told theSun.

He said the prime minister’s support among young voters is very high but the question is how long it will last.

“The increasing cost of living may have an impact on voter sentiment as people are trying to survive any way they can, and Ismail Sabri has to come up with programmes to help them,” Barjoyai said.

He added that the prime minister has been doing a good job helping the lower income group, and the more help he provides could translate into higher support for him in the next elections.

Universiti Malaya political analyst Assoc Prof Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi said Ismail Sabri has helped reaffirm the trust and confidence in the judiciary by refusing to get involved in the court cases involving Najib.

He said the building of confidence that the judiciary is impartial and independent bodes well for the country.

“There are people in Umno who will be unhappy with Ismail Sabri, especially those who support the former prime minister. The main issue within Umno at present is not Najib, but to get the Barisan Nasional-led government to call for early elections,” Awang Azman told theSun.

He said Ismail Sabri’s standing with the public would have gone up after he stood firm against pressure to get involved in Najib’s cases.

Whether it will make a difference remains to be seen as most of the public are more concerned about bread-and-butter issues rather than the political scenario in the country, Awang Azman said.

He added that they are more interested in how the increase in the cost of living will affect their daily lives.

Former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said he had voiced concerns since 2015 about the abuse of power and large-scale corruption involving Najib linked to the misappropriation of 1MDB and SRC International funds.

He said although he was punished with dismissal from the government and the party at the time, he continued to stick to the principle of upholding the truth.

“Now, Malaysians who consistently fight corruption can breathe a sigh of relief with the decision of the Federal Court to uphold Najib’s conviction.

“It has been proven the country’s judicial system is independent and has been able to guarantee justice and restore the country’s damaged dignity.”

He said he defended the independence of the judicial system when he became prime minister, although there was political pressure on him to intervene in certain cases.

He added that the independence and integrity of the judiciary is the axis of a democratic country.

Muhyiddin said without an independent judiciary, the democratic system will fail to function and Malaysia would become an authoritarian, corrupt and morally bankrupt nation.

Ismail Sabri has helped reaffirm the trust and confidence in the judiciary by refusing to get involved in the court cases involving Najib.