So Merpati (the purported code name for Najib Razak) has indeed taken flight: it turns out that the swirling ‘rumour’ outlining the plan to move the convict Najib from the Kajang Prison to the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital had more than a grain of truth to it.
Many people are speechless at the latest development. Perhaps we have all stepped into an alternate universe – where rumours have a way of making things happen! As one observer said, the only way to read the news in Malaysia is apparently by doing it upside down.
This RM342m Cheras hospital is relatively new, having opened in 2012. The hospital is equipped with a high-tech rehab gym and hydrotherapy pools.
According to a post in the director general of health’s blog in 2017, for inpatient services, “the referral must be from a specialist to HRC [Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital] specialist in charge, whereby there must be a discussion between referring and accepting specialist so that the necessary arrangements can be organised to accommodate the patient”.
Was this done and who were the specialists involved in Najib’s case?
As this is a matter of national interest, the Ministry of Health – in particular, the Kuala Lumpur Hospital director and the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital director – must justify Najib’s admission to the Cheras hospital for physiotherapy treatment instead of receiving outpatient treatment.
This is to allay any suspicion of abuse of power and double standards between Najib’s treatment and the treatment of other prisoners and patients. For instance, the public needs to know how Najib is able to receive such prompt medical attention, including specialist examinations.
The public must be informed what advantages the Cheras hospital has over the Kuala Lumpur Hospital in terms of facilities and expertise for Najib’s condition, whatever that may be.
The public also needs to know how long the physiotherapy at the Cheras hospital is expected to last.
The Kajang Prison director must be transparent and explain if other prisoners are allowed to receive similar inpatient physio treatment in Cheras.
An independent audit investigation should also be held to verify if there is any truth to the allegation that a large sum of public funds is being spent on improvements to Najib’s prison cell in Kajang.
The fact that Najib has checked into the Cheras hospital has given some credence to the Merpati tale on social media and messaging platforms, hence the need for a thorough investigation.
The authorities who have made all these decisions are accountable to the public, as they are civil servants.
The public are understandably flummoxed over the latest developments. After all, it was not long ago that Najib seemed to be in robust health traversing all over the country on his “Bossku” campaigns.
And only a week ago, the Ministry of Health confirmed that Najib was healthy before he was discharged from the Kuala Lumpur Hospital.
Many are wondering what’s going on. Can someone in government verify what is really happening to allay the public disquiet?
The authorities must be transparent and accountable and avoid any hint of double standards in the treatment of prisoners. Most importantly, many want to know whether Najib is being treated as a VIP with privileges beyond what a prisoner is normally allowed.
As a convicted prisoner who has been found guilty of massive corruption by the highest court of the land, Najib must be treated no differently from any other prisoner.
Aliran executive committee
21 September 2022