With Zahid now kingmaker in Cabinet, Najib’s pardon could bring down Anwar’s gov’t

The fact that Azalina supplied Najib’s defence team with the leaked MACC documents, implies some form of implicit deal between UMNO president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Anwar.

Murray Hunter, Focus Malaysia

UMNO – the ‘de facto’ senior partner within Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s administration – is working hard to push for a royal pardon for PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

This issue cannot be dismissed lightly because the future of the Anwar administration could hang in the balance no matter what happens. There are consequences far beyond any pardon. There is already great public outrage just over the thought that Najib would receive a royal pardon.

The very thought of Najib being freed from jail and exempted the RM210 mil fine is just unpalatable for many. Senior Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders, including veterans Lim Kit Siang of DAP and Hassan Abdul Karim of PKR have warned that future of Anwar’s administration would be at stake should Najib receives a pardon.

Even Anwar’s predecessor Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has cautioned that there are now cracks within the coalition which could eventually lead to an irreparable break-up.

In addition, Malaysia’s legal and judiciary system is under treat of manipulation. De facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said provided information from a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) probe into the High Court judge who convicted Najib, concluding that the judge had breached the “judge’s code of ethics” and had a conflict of interest.

This appears to be weaponisation of the legal system to attack the judiciary as the MACC has no jurisdiction on such matters.

Zahid the cabinet’s kingmaker

The fact that Azalina supplied Najib’s defence team with the leaked MACC documents, implies some form of implicit deal between UMNO president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Anwar.

Zahid himself still faces 47 charges of criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering over his Yayasan Akalbudi charity foundation while Najib is in prison.

Any understanding on the above matters can only be speculative. However, there are deep expectations that Zahid will have the charges against him either dismissed or withdrawn. UMNO’s supreme council which is under the firm control of Zahid is demanding that Najib receives a royal pardon at the soonest possible time.

Too some, the ‘soonest possible time’ could mean around seven years. However, UMNO’s Najib supporters are looking for an immediate release. Although, it is known within his circle that he is personally against any royal pardon for Najib, Anwar appears to be held hostage by Zahid.

Zahid is effectively the most powerful person in cabinet. He controls at least 59 MPs in Parliament with the support of GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) and GRS (Gabungan Rakyat Sabah). This potentially makes Zahid a potential kingmaker in any government.

If Zahid doesn’t get what he wants, then unpredictable things can happen. Hence, if Anwar wants to keep his administration intact, he must give into the will of Zahid.

Under such a scenario (use your imagination), Zahid and 58 other MPs may switch allegiance to the Perikatan Nasional (PN) with Malaysia once again having a Malay-centric government.

A favourable speaker would interpret the ‘anti-hopping laws’ in their favour with a large section of the electorate – notably those in the Malay heartlands – would see UMNO as coming back to where they should be.

This is not unforeseeable as it has happened three times over the last five years. Anwar is not acting upon his own free will while Zahid is acting upon self-interest with many within UMNO would be pleased to be part of a Malay-centric government, once again.

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