So Najib Razak has been sentenced to jail. He is now ensconced in Kajang Prison and will be there for the foreseeable future, apart from the days he is required to attend his other court hearings.
I wonder what his thoughts were that first night in prison.
Did he think of his immediate surroundings – that he would have to sleep on a mattress that had been used by umpteen prisoners before him, that he would have to eat prison food like all the other prisoners, that he would have to wear that terrible orange-coloured jumpsuit?
Would his prison attire be specially made for him or would he have to wear hand-me-downs? Would he have his own cell or would he have to bed down in the company of others?
It looks as if he’ll have to forgo all the niceties of the life he used to have, like special cotton or monogrammed sheets and chinaware. Instead, he will now have to eat from plastic prison plates and cups.
It is a mighty big fall from where he used to be to where he is now. Ah well! Maybe, in time to come, a room might be specially prepared for him with all the luxuries of home to make him feel more comfortable?
OK, enough of the wisecracks and let’s be serious.
So, has justice been done? Yes, it has, and many have been full of praise for the courts for being consistent in their judgments.
Let’s also be mindful of the threats that were made to the Chief Justice. What a strong and brave woman she is. No wonder the scales of justice are held by a woman!
When we think or look back at the last few years, months and weeks of what seemed like a never-ending saga, this trial and sentencing should be a wake-up call to all politicians who may still be awaiting their day of justice – that this can happen to them as well. It should also be a deterrent to others – that justice will be served no matter who they are.
What are Najib’s chances of keeping his parliamentary seat and will he be able to contest in the coming general election?
With this on the line, his lawyers will surely be filing for a review while hoping for clemency. His status as MP remains intact for 14 days. So a flurry of lawyers will definitely be working diligently (overtime!) to get him pardoned and out on the streets again. Maybe this is what his daughter meant when she said, “Bossku does not end here”!
If this is the case and supposing he is pardoned, where then is the rule of law? Many might say that the rule of law was done. Najib was sentenced and jailed! But he also has the right to seek a review or request a pardon. Does this review and, especially, plea for clemency apply to everyone or just politicians and those in high office?
What does this convey to the people – that one can get caught but because of who one is (in this case, a well-known public figure), one can be pardoned? What about the other three pending cases? Would a pardon, if he receives it, cover the these three cases as well?
Bersih has an online petition for Najib not to be pardoned. Article 42(1) of the Federal Constitution essentially says that a pardon would give him a reprieve from any punishment and he can start over with a clean slate.
Najib has been given a fair trial – although his lawyers and detractors will say otherwise – and he has been sentenced. He has brought shame to the country. He has enriched himself (and his family) and deprived the nation of wealth that could have been used for the people and the country.
So is it fair to pardon such a person? Hopefully, those responsible for reviewing pardon requests will think wisely and choose the right thing for the people and the country.
Politics should not be allowed to intrude into our system of administration of justice. The rule of law will only be of value if it is upheld with no interference from anyone. It is only when sentences like this are upheld by the judiciary, fairly and impartially, that people will believe in the judiciary.
Those who hold high positions in government, government-linked companies or private organisations must realise that everyone is equal under the law. They must realise that if they are caught, they will be tried and sentenced accordingly.
Equality under the law is a cliché, to be sure, but isn’t that what the scales of justice represent? Otherwise, all the convictions in cases of corruption and malfeasance involving politicians and those in high office will be just a farce!
Jem, an Aliran reader, still cares deeply about Sabah, despite having lived in the peninsula for some time