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A tell-all on Najib that doesn’t count for now

A tell-all press conference by the cops on Najib doesn't make any case against him any stronger. The place to do this would be in court.

A tell-all press conference by the cops on Najib doesn't make any case against him any stronger. The place to do this would be in court.

Written by Aziz Hassan

June 28, 2018.

Recollections & Reflections – A commentary

THERE is no doubt that it’s a trial by the media and from what we have seen in the last several weeks, there could be more damning revelations relating to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Because of what has been spilled about him and his family by our national enforcement and investigating agencies even before a single case has been brought to court against him, Najib has every reason to feel hard done by, that he has already been made to look guilty of living a life of excesses to the extreme.

Why all the details about the seizures from raids at various premises linked to him should be revealed to all and sundry and reported all over the world is something only the police can answer but from a legal viewpoint, what is being done isn’t the rule of law as we know it.

This is however not about what you think of or feel about Najib, that’s beside the point. That Najib has chosen to react to these revelations by giving his own account is understandable and within his rights but really, it shouldn’t come to this.

It looks more and more likely that Najib will eventually be brought to court to face charges, if not linked to 1Malaysia Development Berhad then to how he has been able to afford the expensive items found at the premises searched, wedding or birthday presents notwithstanding.

That should be the day when the investigators present in court all they have, that should also be the moment when the press gets to report all it wants and the opportunity for Najib to dispute the allegations if he has the proof.

Najib reacting to the details outlined at the police press conferences is not going to make a difference if and when a case goes to court because it is only what is presented in court that counts.

What’s the real intention behind the tell-all against Najib at this point?

In the overall perspective of things, one then must wonder the intention behind the decision of the authorities to spread it all out to the public before a single charged has been crafted.

That Najib is already down no one can dispute but for someone who has been much maligned almost every other day, he appears calm and assured.

Having said that and knowing what we know so far after being fed all the stories at the press conferences, Najib appears to have a long battle ahead of him, especially in trying to clear his name and that of his family.

He has said that the latest police valuation of the items seized – between RM900 million and RM1.1 billion – did not truly reflect the real value, especially of the gemstones.

The fact is even if we agree to downsize that by half, the value would still be anything between RM450 million and RM550 million, by most people’s standards a staggering amount that could make Najib one of the richest government leaders in the world of his time.

And the reality is that even those who don’t have compelling reasons to not like Najib cannot comprehend the magnitude of the issue at hand, even if only half of it.

Najib has said that since some of the valuables actually belonged to others, action has been initiated by them to recover their possessions from the police. As of now we haven’t heard from a neutral party of any such case but this will definitely be reported by the press when there is one.

Will Najib’s wealthy foreign friends, including Middle-eastern princes, confirm officially they had gifted him some of the items?

How Najib has reacted to the stories being told about him by the authorities is understandable; everyone would do the same thing. Can you imagine someone in a similar position publicly declaring that he is guilty as alleged?

As the investigators move against more and more people, it makes you wonder too if what was said to be found by investigators about three years ago was good enough to merit prosecution.

We were told it was and that former attorney-general Tan Sri Gani Patail was only a day or two away from completing his charge sheet before he was unceremoniously removed from his job but from what we have seen since after the May 9 general elections, you get the impression that it wasn’t such a comprehensive investigation after all.




About the author

Aziz Hassan

A journalist since July 1976 with both the English and Malaya press and was with two newspaper groups before The Mole. Does corporate report-writing and translation in his free time. Currently also a contributing weekly rugby columnist for the New Straits Times.