By Phlip Rodrigues
Najib Razak and Rosmah Mansor have both been convicted of corruption – the husband has gone to prison and the wife would probably suffer the same ignominious fate if she loses her appeals.
It is clear as daylight that Najib committed crimes and that the severe punishment meted out to him is just and incontestible. Rosmah could meet the same fate if the appeals courts agree with the High Court conviction.
There was no way Najib could have fought back against the ‘might of the judiciary’. He had no solid legal argument that his lawyers could use to turn the course of justice in his favour.
Now that the couple have got their just deserts, the nation has let out a huge sigh of relief that the whole sordid story is almost over.
But there are some people who think the former “first couple” are victims of political persecution. They are unable to accept that Najib, once a mighty Prime Minister, could be reduced to the status of a plain criminal and probably a pauper.
Worse, they foolishly believe that most people are outraged at the allegedly ‘inhumane’ treatment the VIPs have received.
So, what do these misguided supporters plan to do? Take to the streets? Attack the judiciary via social media? Wreak vengeance on all those politicians who ‘betrayed’ Najib?
If Najib was jailed purely because of his political convictions, the story would have had a different ending. Many might have rallied to his cause in a bid to set him free.
But Najib is no hero nor Rosmah a heroine. Both stood before the seat of judgment and were convicted for their misdeeds. Their crimes are no better than a common crook who stole money and was caught.
The husband-and-wife team must not entertain any delusional hope that the majority of the people of Malaysia are standing with them or praying for their wellbeing. Or that their fortune would be resurrected through the ballot box.
After their fall from grace shortly after the 2018 general election, public anger against them has never lost its intensity – many were fervently hoping they would be brought to book.
Today, the anger has not abated despite the convictions. If people have had their way, they would rather see both of them dispatched without further ado long ago.
But Malaysia practises the rule of law. And so, the wheels of justice had to make several slow turns before the long-drawn-out cases came to a climactic conclusion amid public disgust over some courtroom antics.
Is there a final closure? Unlikely. The wounds inflicted on the country are too deep and long lasting. The scars will remain permanent even after the curtain finally falls on this despicable crime.
Najib has many more trials to endure, but one thing is certain: he will cut a lonely figure as he struggles to stay above the tidal waves of justice hitting him relentlessly. No one can save him. No one will save him.
Phlip Rodrigues is a former journalist