By M Santhananaban
Former Prime Minister Najib Razak has failed and fumbled again.
Najib should have expressed his heartfelt and humble gratitude to the former Agong for the substantial reduction in his sentence: his prison sentence was halved and his fine slashed from RM210m to RM50m.
That would have been the acceptable, courteous and civilised approach in our society, where polite, proper decorum and protocol is observed in a constitutional monarchy.
He should have also expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim for the latter’s indulgence in facilitating the whole pardon exercise, which was somewhat premature, risky and rushed.
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Instead, Najib went into a frenzy, expressing his disappointment and ratcheting up a ruckus in his effort to obtain a premature pardon.
Najib’s actions have further divided the country between various groups, including a well-informed intellectual, educated and responsible group, as well as various components of the silent majority.
The convicted ex-PM also speaks of “haters“.
No sane person would hate Najib. But no one can believe his foolish cluelessness and naivety in accepting the RM42m and flaunting it like his own hard-earned money.
Najib’s pursuit of a pardon so soon after the recent decision of the Pardons Board suggests he views the country’s investigation, prosecution and judicial apparatus as completely flawed.
There was clearly much restraint and respect shown to Najib throughout the entire process from the time he was first charged.
Najib has to bear in mind that SRC International took a RM4bn loan from KWAP, a retirement fund which manages the pension scheme for Malaysia’s public employees. Yet, until now, it has not been shown whether that loan was put to some responsible use.
It is lamentable that Najib has now resorted to using Umno – the grand old party which had first-rate illustrious leaders like Onn Jaafar and Tunku Abdul Rahman – to push for a full pardon.
This is most unfortunate. It seems to be an attempt to replace the rule of law with the rule of raw mob rule. It has to fail.
Najib should learn to place the nation’s overarching interests above his pathetic personal interest.
Dato’ M Santhananaban is a former ambassador with 45 years of public sector experience