Despite the mountain of graft and power abuse charges brought against him, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law, said Deputy Law Minister Mohamed Hanipa Maidin.
In a Facebook posting today, Hanipa said he often received questions with regards to why Najib has not been jailed over his alleged offences related to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.
He said the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government cannot act based on the “law of the jungle” or out of “vendetta” but must remain firm in upholding the rule of law, irrespective of the crime and those who are being accused.
“The PH government under the New Malaysia which wishes to highlight ‘the rule of law’ cannot operate at all in the paradigm of the rule of the jungle. That is the old order. Therefore, we respect, for example, the principle of ’presumption of innocence’ to our political enemies. Despite our hatred of him, we cannot act unfairly to him.
“Just because the ex-PM is charged with dozens of criminal charges does not mean we do not have to prove his charge first. Since the offence he is accused off is called a ‘bailable offence’, he is entitled to be released if he or she is able to pay bail and comply with the terms of the bail,” he said.
“When he is out on bail, he is free to move. That’s the process. Bail can only be cancelled if he violates the bail’s conditions,” he said.
Najib is facing 42 counts of graft and power abuse as of January 28 this year.
Despite this, the Pekan MP has been frequently seen with the common people and on social media, and in the recent Cameron Highlands by-election, where PH was defeated, he was actively campaigning.
Dr M unfazed by Najib’s growing popularity
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today dismissed the growing popularity of his former protege turned nemesis Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Dr Mahathir told reporters today that the former prime minister is only popular on social media and he has no real impact, dismissing that Najib had influenced the Barisan Nasional (BN) victory in the recently concluded Cameron Highlands by-election.
When the press pointed out that Najib had been criticising the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration over some of its policies, the world’s oldest elected official hit back, asking why Najib did not do what he is saying now when he held the reins of power.
“Why didn’t he do all those things he asked us to do when he was in power? If he had done all those things that he wants us to do, he would still be prime minister,” said Dr Mahathir.
He added that during Najib’s regime many people were arrested and prior to being charged, they already had to wear the yellow prison uniform and sleep in “dark rooms”.
He cited Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal and MP and former activist Maria Chin Abdullah as those who were imprisoned by Najib.
“We allow him to continue making his speeches. He is a kleptocratic dictator, unlike us,” said Dr Mahathir.