To Najib Supporters, Loyalty Has No Price Tag

Despite former Najib Razak being still incarcerated, his scores of supporters who believe in his innocence stand by him as can be seen from their unflinching presence in the courts during his various trials

They may have been mocked, their presence vilified by the media, subject to restrictions by the court authorities, but supporters of beleaguered sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Najib Razak will always stand by him to ensure that he does not “feel alone”.

These supporters do not only come from within the court vicinity of Jalan Duta or its surrounding areas, some take the MRT and bus rides from Bangi and Kajang, others will car pool from Subang, but more awe-inspring are those who drive all the way from Kelantan, Kedah and Pekan, and sometimes, some of them fly over from Sabah and Sarawak.

For some of them, being able to just shake hands with their favourite ex-Prime Minister is worth all the effort they have put in to making their trip to the courthouse. Even if its just to wish him well and Selamat Berpuasa (Happy Fasting), as can be seen from the video captured today.

Supporters wishing Najib Razak well as he leaves the courthouse after the SRC International civil trial today, 14 March 2024 – Video credit: Nuriah Ibrahim

During Ramadan

Even during the month of Ramadan, these supporters make their presence felt by showing up at the Kuala Lumpur High Court in Jalan Duta here, despite the judge at the ongoing SRC International civil case trial not allowing members of the public to sit in the gallery. Patiently, these supporters will wait for him to leave the courtroom and wave to him at the corridor while he makes his way to the private elevator with the wardens. Then they will rush down to the entrance of the guardhouse just so they can wave to him when the prison vehicles pass by, even though they cannot see him through the closed, heavily- tinted windows.

Most notable among these supporters is Najib’s bodyguard for 32 years, Alias Yahya who was the first person to be seen standing alone outside the High Court in 2022 awaiting the arrival of Najib for a trial a few days after the latter began his jail sentence in Kajang Prison.

Najib's former bodyguard, Alias Yahya seen awaiting his arrival at the KL High Court a few days after the former Prime Minister started his sentence in Kajang Prison on 23 August 2022. - Pic credit: FB page Najib Razak
Najibs former bodyguard Alias Yahya seen awaiting his arrival at the KL High Court a few days after the former Prime Minister started his sentence in Kajang Prison on 23 August 2022 Pic credit FB page Najib Razak

Although he no longer serves Najib, Alias is still loyal and faithful to his former boss and is always seen at the courts or any events organised by the NGOs and supporters to honour Najib.

At one of these events, Alias, who was invited to speak, said he was saddened at the treatment meted out to Najib and his family by the authorities then (2018).

Extreme Move

“Imagine when they came to conduct the search of the former Prime Minister’s home in Langgak Duta on the first night of Ramadan 2018, it was such an extreme move.

“The raid, which began on the evening of 16 May, made it seem as though the former Prime Minister was a suspect in a case involving the mandatory death sentence,” said Alias, a former sub-Inspector.

Next is the much talk about Kak Roy, noted for her loud welcome to former Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin during his first court appearance for the charge against him sometime in 2023. “Selamat datang ke kluster mahkamah, Tan Sri,” said Kak Roy. (Welcome to the court cluster, Tan Sri).

Roy, who drives from Sg Buloh daily to show support to Najib does not see her daily attendance in court as a burden.

The 65-year old said that she attends court to give support, lifts his spirit, with the hope that it can give him strength to go through his trials and fight for justice.

She was present from the first day that Najib had to appear in court, sometime in July 2019.

Caring Najib

“DSN is a very caring person, he was always thinking of the public, his ‘rakyat’ (citizens). He was always worried about the smallholders, the fishermen, affordable housing for the second generation FELDA settlers, not to mention the graduates who had to pay off their PTPTN loans, about parents not having enough funds for their kids to start school.

“Yes, I do follow the court cases involving Datuk Seri Najib, mostly from the media and friends who are familiar with court cases. Even though I come to court, I don’t sit in the court room for long as I want to give chances to others, especially those who come from afar, to observe the trial proceedings as well.

“From what I read and observe myself, especially regarding the SRC case, most of the trials involved the names of Jho Low, Nik Faisal and many others. Yet, only Najib was the one charged and jailed,” said the retiree.

“To me, it’s no biggie. When I am on the way to the courthouse, I imagine myself in Datuk Seri (Najib)’s shoes and try to imagine his feelings, leaving Kajang Prison accompanied by armoured vehicles and prison wardens and police officers,” said Sharifah Rofiyah who goes by her social media name as Pah Merah.

Pah, 60, travels to Jalan Duta via the MRT and then take the bus to the courthouse, although sometimes she is fortunate that one of her sons sends or fetches her, if their schedule permits. Pah uses her time at the courthouse to produce her Tiktok videos and FB posts about Najib’s arrival and departure at the courthouse.

Memories

“Why do I do this? To create memories. So that one day, our grandchildren will know that despite all the negative reports about DSN, there are still all of us who love him and want him back as our leader,” explained Pah.

“No, we were not paid a single cent to come here to show our support to Datuk Seri Najib. And yes, I cried, so what? It just shows I am human, and I have empathy,” said another social media activist, Nuriah Ibrahim.

Nuriah was responding to this writer’s question about some articles published last year which showed her crying outside the Palace of Justice after the Apex court denied Najib his freedom during the SRC Judicial Review on 31 March 2023. There were media queries whether the supporters were paid to attend and cry.

One of the articles that made fun of Najib Supporters crying outside the courthouse in March 2023 WOB pic

“I wasn’t the only one crying anyway. There were hundreds of us who knew that our leader was not given the right to fairplay while at court – he was not allowed an extension for his new lawyer to be given more time to study his case, as allowed for in trials, and he was not even allowed to present new evidence that would have a bearing on the judgement of the trial,” explained Nuriah, 60.

Nuriah Ibrahim Said There Were Hundreds Who Cried with Her, Both at the High Court in Jalan Duta (first Pic) and Outside the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya As They Felt Their Leader Najib Was Not Given the Due Justice. - Fb Pix from Various Sources
Nuriah Ibrahim said there were hundreds who cried with her both at the High Court in Jalan Duta first pic and outside the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya as they felt their leader Najib was not given the due justice FB pix from various sources

As for the allegation that they were being paid to attend or cry, or given allowances to attend his court sessions, Nuriah and the other supporters showed photos of them eating a potluck meal at the courthouse a day before Ramadan this year, all brought from home. They even showed photos of them going to the nearby food court to have their meals, all paid for on their own. They never even touched the food meant for him and his staff stationed at the courthouse.

Laying a mat on the floor of the staircase alley at the courthouse the supporters shared the food they brought from home to have a meal while waiting for Najib to finish the trial in the courtroom

For Hasnan Hasnie, this is the fifth year he is present at Najib’s trials, all the way from Pasir Putih, Kelantan.

“When I first appeared in court in Ramadan 2019, I was a bit worried that the trial was conducted in English and that I might not be able to fully grasp the essence of what was being discussed.

“And then I saw the former Managing Director of Ambank, Cheah Tek Kuang, in the witness box and he was asked by Tan Sri Shafee (Najib’s lawyer) about how the RM2.6 billion was placed into Najib’s personal account,” Hasnan recalled.

Interested

At that time, Hasnan was interested because Cheah then revealed everything. It was the former governor of Bank Negara, Zeti Akhtar Aziz who gave permission for the RM2.6 billion donation from the Saudi King to be put into Najib’s personal account.

“We were told that Zeti chaired the meeting, but when she finally took the stand, she claimed she was unaware of it,” Hasnan said.

This, as well as the statements of other witnesses, especially Joanna Yu ,the former Public Relations Officer of AM Bank, which prompted Hasnan, 60, to continue attending court, driving all the way from Kelantan and returning during the weekend to be with his family.

Despite his situation, it is obvious that Najib does not seem to be lacking of supporters who will stand by him through thick and thin. Yes, there is no price to loyalty and empathy, and definitely humanity. – NMH

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