Najib: Finally, Seen You in Court

OPINION

Najib: Finally, Seen You in Court

Ensuring prosecution, not persecution is the fate that awaits Datuk Seri Najib Razak as the former Prime Minister has his day in court.

Did you realise today (Wednesday) is the 4th of July? I had reason to have this date etched forever in my heart because I was not party to a rather wild shindig that was all the rage last evening at some posh hotel near Pavillion in Kuala Lumpur.

I have video evidence that large sections of the American community in Kuala Lumpur jived and jiggied the night away at a soiree where the ravers let their hair down as only a crowd of unnaturally-energized Yanks can.

We should be lenient to our American friends – they have enough of a burden having to cope with snide asides from their peers in the local diplomatic community who find delight in sneering at the tweeting twit currently occupying the Oval office.

They after all, were celebrating the freedoms afforded by independence following successfully dumping – rather than brewing – of tea in Boston harbour, more than two centuries ago.

Najib’s lead lawyer Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah to apply for, which was granted, a gag order to prevent media and public speculation surrounding the case

Back to local matters - in one corner were one-time ministers, corporate czars, politicians, cybertroopers and government appointees who chose to remain loyal to Najib, stout in his defense.

On the opposite side were those doggedly prodding with revelations and exposes on 1MDB – supporting the likes of Tony Pua and Rafizi Ramli who suffered the sticks and stones meant to break their bones.

That was before GE14. It has been more than a month since the ground shifting events that ousted the Barisan Nasional from the seat of power. It is only now that the investigations into abuse of power and criminal breach of trust at the highest levels of government is finally culminating in a much-awaited maiden court action.

Amid the euphoria in finally seeing prosecution, Najib’s supporters cry persecution.

This prompted Najib’s lead lawyer Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah to apply for, which was granted, a gag order to prevent media and public speculation surrounding the case. The media of course is banking on a reversal as the AG is expected to challenge this interim order.  A case management hearing on has been scheduled for August 8.

In the meantime, both sets of lawyers will have their hands full preparing for when this case comes to trial in February next year.

Already this has been dubbed a 7-11 test of legal might. Najib’s team lead by Shafee is a high-powered team of seven lawyers while the prosecution can call upon the service of 11 from the AG’s chambers, excluding Thomas himself.

There was drama at the court complex when an impromptu press conference held by the AG was disrupted by Najib supporters.

They objected the AG addressing the media scrum in English and hollered that he used the Malay language instead. They had earlier broken out in singing chants which was nipped in the bud before it became a full-blooded football-style boorish chorus. A senior ranking officer sternly reminded them that they were not in a karaoke club but a courthouse.

This being Thomas’ maiden case as AG, he managed a show of magnanimity – telling the media that the prosecution did not insist on instant detention even though the accused was not entitled to bail.

He also pointed that the quantum of bond was set at RM1 million from the regulated RM4 million, and allowable to be paid in two separate sureties.

So, after the courtroom exertions of the day, Round 1 can perhaps be awarded to the defense. There will be plenty more drama to be played out before the match proper starts.

Back to the significance of the date – 4th of July.  While those who were not invited and missed the American party celebrating freedom, spare a thought for our former prime minister who lost his – albeit temporarily.

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