Sabah and Sarawak, having suffered internal colonisation since 1963, support Full Pardon for former Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, with or without restoration of the rule of law!
Commentary and Analysis . . . Senate President Tan Sri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar didn’t mince his words in an interview with Twentytwo13 on the plight of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak still awaiting Full Pardon in jail.
The former British Borneo territories suffer great loss with Najib in jail, unrepresented, since Tuesday 23 August last year. The former Prime Minister merits Full Pardon, having suffered lack of representation before jail, and plagued by legal incompetence. Local lawyers, lawyer in Singapore and two lawyers in India — all consulted by Najib — explained legal incompetence in the media.
Earlier, it was Sarawak Minister Datuk Nancy Shukri who said immediately in the days following GE14, on Wednesday 9 May 2018, that the Borneo Territories — Sabah and Sarawak — want ousted Prime Minister Najib back in Putrajaya. Also, she notoriously added that the Bumiputera will steal “if the government doesn’t help them”.
Najib, for Shukri and Wan Junaidi, was the best thing that ever happened on this side of the Southeast Asia Sea — mistakenly called South China Sea — where China has aggressive designs on Sabah and Sarawak waters as the Federal government looks the other way.
Nancy, like other leaders and common folk in Sabah and Sarawak, caution against Borneons being victims of the bitter power struggle splitting Malaya down the middle between Malay/Islamic and Chinese-led groups. The latter, in act of treason, refuse to condemn China on its encroachment in Sabah’s Spratly Islands and Sarawak’s Beting Patinggi Ali Atoll off Miri.
The Orang Asal (Original People) see nothing in common with the Chinese locked in “do or die” political struggle, under multicultural euphemism, with the “Islamic” bogeyman and Malay, whether in or out of government.
Full Pardon Ends Weaponisation
They remember it was Lee Kuan Yew who betrayed them on 10 August 1965 when Singapore left Malaysia. It was Lee who persuaded Donald Stephens that Malaysia would be good for them. Stephens perished in the fiery aircrash on 6 June 1976 after open warfare with the Federal government on oil and gas reserves in Borneo.
Patently, the Borneo Territories, having suffered non-compliance on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA’63) and Borneo rights, and lost oil and gas rights, want the weaponisation of the judiciary ended and the rule of law, the basis of the Constitution, restored.
It’s also about regaining oil and gas rights, among others.
The jury may no longer be out on whether the court in Malaysia was swearing by the letter of the law by itself, as law, and ruling with impunity on Najib, amidst concerns about the weaponisation of the judiciary.
If the nature of human relationships need regulation, it can be done by the rule of law or other approaches. Other approaches, except for out of court settlements and prerogative and discretionary powers, may be unsustainable. The war in Ukraine refers.
Chief Justice Tun Richard Malanjum’s Farewell Address, schooling the court and lawyers on the rule of law, refers. There could be no greater proof that the rule of law was being observed in the breach in Malaysia when Najib was jailed.
Already, Borneons are unhappy that the court in Sabah and Sarawak has been given the short end of the stick by the Judicial Ethics Committee (JEC) and the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) in Putrajaya when they have their own Attorney General (AG) in Kota Kinabalu and Kuching.
The social media in Borneo feel that it was the weaponisation of the judiciary by dictatorial Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad which saw Najib jailed, unrepresented, on Tuesday 23 August last year. At the same time, they see the US President granting Pardon, every Tom, Dick and Harry getting them, during the last days in office.
The Pardon covers even those who did no wrong.
Sabahans and Sarawakians can’t believe that Najib, as former Prime Minister would actually “rot in jail” for 12 years, creating dangerous precedent in the process. If so, they agree with the Johor Sultan that Najib should either not be in jail alone or should be released. The Sultan hinted at big names — read Mahathir — who should be in the cell next to Najib.
Consensus On Full Pardon
Therein also lies the consensus in the social media on Full Pardon for former Prime Minister Najib. It was Najib who recognised Malaysia Day — 16 September 1963 — as public holiday in 2010, initiated the RM30b Pan Borneo Highway before GE14, and began the process of reversing, by devolution, the British transfer of Borneo’s Administration to the central government in Malaya.
Sabah and Sarawak, the political grapevine whispers, also support Umno’s Memorandum on Najib’s Petition for Full Pardon. The Memorandum, some insider sources confide, will be placed before the Conference of Rulers. The Memorandum isn’t the Petition for Full Pardon. It will have persuasive authority, in mitigation, on Najib’s sterling record of public service on both sides of the Southeast Asia Sea.
The Memorandum will also persuade the Agong and brother Sultan that the weaponisation of the judiciary — read Mahathir — continues and was behind Najib’s plight in several court cases. Obstruction of justice remains a heinous crime in Commonwealth jurisdisction. There would be blood bath if heads roll.
Najib, or no Najib, the Conference of Rulers cannot look the other way on the weaponisation of the judiciary phenomenon allegedly created by Mahathir. The facts, the issues arising, and the law/s applicable on the phenomenon are in the public domain. It merits the Father and Mother of all Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on weaponisation of the judiciary. It includes returning Borneo rights.
Full Pardon Based On Petition
If Najib’s Petition for Full Pardon was filed properly, it would not be under the Pardons’ Board. The Petition could have been decided by the Agong long before Friday 31 March when the Federal Court Review Panel ended with the Ruling on DNA (discharge and acquittal) by Federal Court Review Panel Head Judge Datuk Abdul Rahman Sebli. Najib did not reinstate the Judicial Review in the High Court for Order on the DNA.
Full Pardon probably cannot be based on the Federal Court Review although Judge Sebli had opinion. It’s unthinkable that the court of law influences the discretion of the Agong on Ful Pardon. It’s pertinent that the other four judges, led by Judge Datuk Vernon Ong on the Federal Court Review Panel, could not find jurisdiction.
Lawyer Shafee Abdullah allegedly argued the Review, despite being cautioned by Judge Ong on 27 February this year, as Appeal for another bite at the cherry. Lawyer Shafee can perhaps file Originating Summons (OS), based on certificate of urgency, for declaration on a point of law on the Judge Sebli ruling. There’s always a first time.
It’s better that the court of law sort out Judge Sebli’s Ruling and not belabour in the delusion that the Agong will rectify their mistakes. The court as in India for example should have kept the widespread ramifications in mind when Ruling, or not Ruling, on the Najib case. Malaysia does not belong to Mahathir and Family for political Dynasty.
Basic Features Doctrine
There should be no breach of the Basic Features Doctrine (BFD) which, written or implied, permeates the Federal Constitution on “acts in office”. Najib stands indemnified, has immunity, and implicit Pardon for “acts in office”. The Federal Court, sitting as the Constitutional Court, should rule on the matter which has been left hanging since Merdeka (independance) on 31 August 1957 and Malaysia Day on 16 September 1963.
The BFD should be read together with the Federal Court ruling recently that Attorney General (AG) Tan Sri Tommy Thomas breached Article 145 and committed abuse of power on the Asian Arbitration case. Najib was twice denied this approach and may make another attempt.
Based on what the Pardons’ Board said on Friday 28 April in a media statement, they would look at the Petition for Full Pardon. There are procedures on this. In law, under Article 8, there can be no discrimination, save as provided by law. In that case, i.e. discrimination allowed by law, there must be sunset clause.
It can be argued that the Petition, based on specific criteria, comes under the Agong’s sole discretion. Najib’s Petition for Full Pardon can’t go through the Pardons’ Board if conviction hasn’t been perfected in law for perfection in law. The Petition was probably not filed properly. In that case, we will only have an inkling when the Petition was re-filed. The Agong can even decide on the Petition within a week as with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Alternatively, the Agong can disregard parts of the Petition, and grant Full Pardon before he steps down on Monday 30 January next year. The controversy, if any on Full Pardon, would fizzle out when the Johor Sultan becomes Agong. Hopefully, there would be tsunami in the Southeast Asia Sea and the media would stop reporting on Full Pardon for Najib.
Filing the Petition properly means not including matters which should not be included. Agong must be persuaded that there was miscarriage of justice arising from Tainted Ruling based on mistrial. He would not accept complaints against specific judges although they may have been found wanting in more ways than one. He can’t be seen as condoning “collateral attack” on the RM42m SRC International conviction no matter the merits.
Weaponisation of the judiciary, a phenomenon allegedly created by Mahathir, can be included in the Petition as Affidavit in Support (weaponisation).
Full Pardon cannot be hyped by the media, an unthinking animal which can be manipulated, as sending the wrong message. The Pardons’ Board exists. Agong has discretion. The court has nothing to do with Pardon, Full or otherwise. Again, Full Pardon isn’t an attack on the judiciary or the “conviction” on the RM42m SRC International case.
Subject matter experts caution that if an issue in the media doesn’t end in two weeks, it will become controversial. The controversy will not end unless there’s closure. The last word must come in as all thoughts flow and the Debate goes back and forth. There must be finality in litigation as well.
The UN Review will come in before Christmas this year. It can only find, based purely on the rule of law, that the SRC case was incomplete before “conviction”. — NMH
Longtime Borneo watcher Joe Fernandez has been writing for many years on both sides of the Southeast Asia Sea. He should not be mistaken for a namesake formerly with the Daily Express in Kota Kinabalu. JF keeps a Blog under FernzTheGreat on the nature of human relationships.