The convicted prisoner Najib Razak, found guilty by none other than the highest court in Malaysia, continues to rock the nation.
More so, the post-verdict developments skirting him could have earth-shattering consequences for both Umno and even Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
This is no exaggeration. The public are up in arms questioning several matters relating to Najib’s special treatment by the authorities.
Why no prison attire?
Is Najib enjoying special conveniences? Does he have access to communications technology and the means of staying connected to the free world outside the prison, hospital or courtrooms, including enjoying social media?
How did he receive special and express medical attention?
If Najib is truly critically ill, as it is made to seem, how did doctors discharge him with a clean bill of health only last week? What about all that noise in the pro-Najib camp about a change in prescription of his medicine?
How was he put on express admission into a modern rehabilitation hospital in Cheras?
While the list of public questions is growing, Ismail Sabri must know that his fate too depends on how he will respond to Najib’s post-verdict circumstances, and to the public concerns, questions, speculation and perceptions.
Umno warlords too must be wary that all these uneasy questions raised by the people will bear heavily on the party and its leadership in the coming general election.
Yes, this Najib factor could eventually drag down Umno and Ismail Sabri if they dismiss public opinion and perceptions without transparency and accountability. It could get even worse if the powers that be try to cow the public with threats of repercussions.