The Asian Voice

Move over, Najib, the judge is the real boss: Sin Chew Daily contributor

The writer says it is unwise for politicians to attempt to put their hands into the judiciary, in particular the Chief Justice.

Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak waves as he arrives at the federal court in Putrajaya on Aug 23, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (SIN CHEW DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Federal Court has denied the appeal of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and upheld his conviction in the RM42 million (S$13 million)SRC International case, finding him guilty of all seven charges.

This means the former prime minister will have to be sent to jail immediately. Earlier the day, Najib's lawyers unsuccessfully sought to recuse Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat from hearing the case. Najib has kept holding back the court, but the court has faithfully defended its bottom line.

Najib's "Bossku" image has made him an instant hit in the Malaysian social media, to a certain extent giving him new hopes of a political comeback having suffered a humiliating setback earlier on.

And thanks to Bossku's wildly popular image among the masses, Umno has seen a ray of hope to return to Putrajaya in a huge way. But sorry, Sir, you are not the "boss" in the court. The judges are!

The judges have performed their duties professionally without succumbing themselves to threats and pressure. The independent operation of the three branches of the government - legislative, executive and judicial - have been enshrined in the Federal Constitution to ensure a healthy checks and balances mechanism.

The status of the five-member panel of judges, in particular Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, must never be repeatedly challenged by politicians or intervened by the executive institution.

The final verdict in the SRC International case entails not just the interests of Najib alone, but also the country's politics right from the very start. In the absence of its former president and still a supremely influential figure, Umno's political deployment for the upcoming 15th general election will invariably be implicated.

Umno's top leaders, Ahmad Zahid and Mohamad Hasan in particular, who have been persistently pressurising prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob to dissolve the parliament as soon as possible to pave way of fresh elections, have made it very clear that they will stand by their former boss in the trial. They have pressured Ismail to intervene in the judicial process and defer the trial in a bid to advance their "political salvation" objective.

Unfortunately, judiciary is out of bounds to political intervention. Its priority is to serve public justice fulfillable only if the court and judicial institution are free from external pressures.

Najib, have you ever seen the portrait of Lady Justice? In case you have not, or have forgotten how she looks, allow me, a Bachelor of Law turned media practitioner, to give you a brief depiction of this Lady Justice.

Lady Justice is dressed in a white robe signifying moral integrity and impartiality. She wears a blindfold over her eyes because justice is done through reasoning, not sensory impressions. Her head is crowned in a tiara of justice and glory. She holds a balance in her left hand and a sword in her right, to denote total impartiality and the strict execution of law.

Under her feet stands a dog, and a snake encircling the fasces symbolising non-interference from ill-feeling or friendship in a judgement.

On the table lies a sceptre, several books and a skeleton, respectively representing authority, law and frailness of life which is the exact opposite of justice which is eternal. Such an "image setting" is profoundly meaningful for a Bachelor of Law like me, and I have applied what I learned in law on my job as Sin Chew Daily's lead writer as well as in my day-to-day life.

All that I want to tell you Najib in this article, be it in your capacity as the country's former leader or today's social media influence Bossku, has been impeccably interpreted by Lady Justice, to whom the five-member panel of judiciary reveres. It is therefore extremely unwise for politicians to attempt to put their hands into judiciary, in particular the Chief Justice.

But sadly in the appeal over the SRC case, we witnessed the occurrence of such anomaly. Seeing the assaults launched against the judicial institution by politicians, all Malaysians with a keen conscience, whatever your political affiliation may be, must rise up and rebuke such injustices. Whether you like it or not, the judges have been entrusted with the power to execute law.

Any accused, Najib included, has been accorded an opportunity to defend himself in the court, and no one can deny him of the right to a fair trial. Today, we have seen that the judges have made their unbiased decision in accordance with the laws, facts and evidences presented.

And this speaks volumes of the fact that you, Najib, are not the boss in the court. But the judges are!

  • The writer is a contributor to the paper. Sin Chew Daily is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 22 news media titles.

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