Malaysia under siege – a despot’s continued machination

The pathological lies and constant attack on Najib and the consequent pairing with a fractured opposition gave Mahathir a comeback platform under the guise of “reform” in 2018

Anand Murgun, Firstpost

The sage wisdom of the Father of the Nation

Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s first Prime Minister and the Father of the Nation, aptly depicted the ultra-Machiavellian machinations of Mahathir Mohammad who had totally destroyed the independence of the Malaysian judiciary in the 90’s.

“You see, the whole trouble today is, when he took over, he was trying to make sure he would stay on in power”‘. “He then imposed his rule of despotism or tyranny on this country, at the expense of law and order”.

“They set up a dictatorship. To be a complete dictator, you’ve got to take control of
everything. But the judiciary is still independent. There’s only one thing blocking his way, the independent judiciary. Now he wants to compromise that independence.”

“The time will come. We will have to find a way to put this man in his place.” “We cannot at the moment because he controls the law – what do you do with a man like that? But the time will come..”

Disruption to install the “prodigal son”

This is the despotism of Mahathir Mohamad that was unleashed upon the nation for 22 uninterrupted years till 2003. He then relented by handing over the reins to his Deputy, Abdullah Badawi. However, within a span of three years, Mahathir was back with his evil machinations to eliminate Badawi and to replace him with Najib Razak, the son of Malaysia’s second Prime Minister, in 2009. Then in 2013 Mahathir, who actually wanted his son to be set in line to inherit the Premiership, set upon to ouster Najib Razak.

The pathological lies and constant attack on Najib and the consequent pairing with a fractured opposition gave Mahathir a comeback platform under the guise of “reform” in 2018. This led to Mahathir having another 22-month stint as Prime Minister. During this 22-month stint, he re-aligned key institutions, namely the Attorney General’s Chambers, the Anti-Corruption Commission and most importantly, the Judiciary.

Musical chairs to further destabilise a nation

Malaysia, a rising Southeast Asian economy blessed with natural resources, has experienced severe economic lethargy since the re-emergence of this nonagenarian as the Prime Minister. From 2018 to the present time, Malaysia has played political musical chairs with unabated party-hopping instigated by Mahathir. This has resulted in Malaysia actually having three different governments headed by three separate Prime Ministers in a short span of four years.

Justice gone awry

While the 1MDB and SRC court proceedings of Najib Razak are well documented, they never really reflected the true substance of the judicial process.

Najib was denied several basic defences enshrined in the constitution, namely:

1. Not having access to Zeti Akhtar’s, the governor of the Malaysian Central Bank, criminal investigations. This was the case highlighted by the Singapore authorities who had seized her family accounts in Singapore due to large payments received from Jho Low, the principal operator of 1MBD.

2. No actual criminal proceedings were undertaken on Nor Mohammad Yakub, the cabinet member under Najib’s administration who was principally involved with raising the required financing for 1MDB and who was also implicated by the Singapore authorities for payments received from Jho Low.

3. Justice Nazlan Ghazali, the judge who presided over Najib’s SRC trial and who initially sentenced him. Justice Nazlan was actually the legal advisor for the bank that oversaw the financial transaction on SRC. He was also later found to have been directly involved in the raising of funds for SRC through the bank and to also said to have received gratification(s) from Jho Low.

Despite a formal investigation conducted by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission on Justice Nazlan, and the overt media acknowledgement by the Attorney General, no-less, it was not admitted to Najib’s defence due to a later veiled retraction by the Attorney General himself.

Just to note, Justice Nazlan never recused himself from adjudicating on Najib’s case nor has he recanted.

4. Najib’s application for an outside counsel in January 2022, a Queen’s Council from the UK, was summarily dismissed by the Federal Court in July 20022, after 7 months, giving him very little time to reorganize his defence enshrined in the constitution.

5. In late July, having very little choice, Najib hired a fresh set of Malaysian lawyers who had expert advice from several senior Indian legal experts. These lawyers set upon to study voluminous documents. The size and depth of these documents was recently corroborated by the former Attorney General, Tommy Thomas in his latest interview in the Malaysian media.

On 15 August 2022, this new legal team representing Najib requested the Federal Court of Appeals, presided by the Chief Justice, for an extension of time to familiarise with the voluminous documents. This was summarily rejected by the Chief Justice. Najib’s legal team had no other option but to withdraw from the case leaving him unrepresented.

The Chief Justice pushed through the appeal and fast forwarded the judgment 3 days earlier than the set schedule.

6. Throughout the trial, several key personalities intimately involved with SRC were never produced in court, namely Jho Low and Nik Faisal (the CEO of SRC). Both of these individuals are believed to be absconding from Malaysia. Although, Wall Street Journal journalists who wrote the book “The Billion Dollar Whale” on Joh Low, have recently confirmed the sighting of Jho Low who is unabashedly enjoying life in China.

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