My view on Najib’s pardon plea

Wong Chin Huat

1. If Najib is pardoned, Zahid can expect the same if he is convicted later. This may also be used to send a message to the judges: why send them to jail if they would be pardoned later? Why make enemies with politicians who may make a comeback?

2. A pardon for Najib would hurt both UMNO and PH in Malay votes. It would not bring net increase in Malay votes for UMNO. Here’s why. For Najib sympathisers, whether or not Najib gets pardoned, they would still vote for UMNO. They have no other political home, so to speak. For Malays who are angered by Najib’s corruption, this would send them to vote PN or simply stay out in the upcoming state elections. So, this push is sacrificing the party (UMNO) for individuals (Najib and Zahid).

3. If Najib gets the pardon, whatever Anwar says, it would be seen as a deal blessed by Anwar. Anwar is politically damaged and can say goodbye to his reformist credentials. He would be comparable to Aung San Suu Kyi defending the Myanmar army’s ethnic cleansing of the Rohingyas. While Aung San suffered only international repugnance, Anwar would see his political base fragmented. PH’s political legitimacy was based on multiculturalism and rejection of corruption, PN positions itself on Malay-nationalism and against UMNO’s corruption. Najib’s pardon would severely demoralise PH base from voting and electrify PN’s base to win more swing Malay voters. Anwar would be finished before 5 years. Hence, Anwar would be the biggest winner if Najib’s pardon plea is thrown out by the Palace.