By Aathi Shankar
Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad seems hell-bent to get Pekan MP Najib Razak, by hook or by crook.
Mahathir can’t forgive Najib for sure.
As the country’s 6th Prime Minister (2009 – 2018), Najib stood up against Mahathir and pushed him to the corner.
Mahathir has attacked and brought the downfall of all prime ministers while they were still in the office.
He pulled off the same trick on Datuk Seri Najib in the 14th General Election (GE14).
But not before he was sent to the political wilderness, albeit momentarily by Najib’s political shrewdness.
For a while, the 94-year-old nonagenarian was shaken and stirred.
Mahathir’s multiple plans to oust Najib failed to materialise.
When Najib retaliate with his own plots, a sulking Mahathir left Umno and became a political wanderer.
After much thoughts, Mahathir then decided to swallow his pride and embrace his staunch political enemies – the DAP and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
He was forced to work Lim Kit Siang and Anwar, much to his chagrin.
Although it irked him, it worked in GE14.
Barisan Nasional was knocked off its perch from Putrajaya, and in came Pakatan Harapan and the return of the 4th Prime Minister Mahathir as the country’s 7th Prime Minister.
Now time for revenge without any mercy and boundaries.
No one will be spared.
Trumped Up Charges?
As for now, Najib faces 42 charges of corruption, money-laundering, abuse of power and criminal breach of trust.
Rumours claim that the BN advisor could face a further 49 similar charges!
His wife Rosmah Mansor is facing 20 corruption charges while her son Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz faces 5 charges for money-laundering.
Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, former Najib’s deputy, faces a record 87 graft charges, the highest of them all and former Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman faces 51 corruption charges.
Many Pakatan supporters would welcome these charges, bragging that Mahathir is cleaning up the country.
But the truth is far away.
Mahathir wants to send Najib, his family and his friends to jail through criminal proceedings.
Based on the previous 22-year premiership, many Malaysians would bet that Mahathir would have his way.
No one can try to lecture to Mahathir and supremacy of the constitution, rule of law, independence of the judiciary, fair play, sovereignty of law and fair trial.
Those who know Mahathir will acknowledge that the two-time prime minister will abuse his power and bend all rules to achieve his agenda.
Thus, no one can blame ordinary Malaysians to assume that no matter what happens at the respective trials, the judges will convict the accused even if there case facts and evidence tell otherwise.
Take the example of Najib’s trial pertaining to SRC International Sdn Bhd.
Strong evidence have emerged that businessman Low Taek Jho, commonly known as Jho Low had collaborated with certain Ambank officers and SRC International directors to manipulate Najib’s private bank accounts presumably for money-laundering activities.
The manipulation was carried out beyond Najib’s knowledge, let alone his consent.
Transcript of BBM conversation between Jho Low and former Ambank relationship manager Joanna Yu Ging Ping confirmed this.
This particular BBM transcript evidence was not included in the pile of digital evidences that the prosecution submitted to Najib’s defence team before the start of the trial in January.
Nonetheless, the transcript was part of the full report prepared by investigators from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) on BBM digital evidence obtained from communication devices seized from several Ambank officers, including Joanna Yu.
The prosecution hid the Jho Low – Joanna Yu’s transcript from the knowledge of the court and defence because it would clear Najib from any crime.
By right, Najib should not be charged at all.
Moreover, without court testimonies from Jho Low and SRC International former CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, the judge can never conclude the trial.
But hearing is going on!
This is called miscarriage of justice and mockery of rule of law, by definition travesty of the justice system.
All these are hallmarks of Mahathir’s previous regime.
Now all have returned.
Mahathir fears Najib re-emergence as a popular political leader via ‘Malu Apa Bossku’ platform.
In fact, Umno and BN now are riding on Najib’s ever-growing popularity.
Many Malaysians believe that Mahathir always wanted his Mukhriz to be the next prime minister.
So presumably he doesn’t want Najib to be the stumbling block on his grand plan, hence piles of court cases.
Mahathir has always blamed Najib for the failure of Mukhriz to become Umno’s vice-president.
That’s the start of Mahathir-Najib feud.
Now Mahathir wants to avenge by sending Najib to jail forever.
Perhaps sensing that court cases may not be enough to jail Najib, the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) had filed a civil suit against Najib to pay RM1,692,872,924.83 allegedly owed between 2011 and 2017.
A whopping RM1.69 billion is probably the largest imposed against an individual in the country, said tax and customs law practitioner S Saravana Kumar.
LHDN filed the suit on June 25, 2019.
The legal position on taxation in Malaysia is that all due amounts must be settled before a person files an appeal.
If Najib fails to lodge an appeal against these assessments, the taxes become final and conclusive within 30 days.
However, an appeal would not stop LHDN from commencing civil proceedings against a taxpayer who has not settled his or her taxes.
This is provided for under Sections 103 and 106 of the Income Tax Act 1967.
Case management for the lawsuit against Najib has been fixed for July 25.
It is learnt that the writ of summons was served on Najib as the sole defendant on July 4.
The suit was initiated after Najib failed to act on LHDN’s initial demand in March this year for additional tax assessments of RM1.47 billion.
This resulted in a 10% hike of RM147 million in April and another compounded 5% hike of RM80 million in May.
The 10% increase was imposed under Section 103 of the Income Tax Act after Najib failed to pay the initial RM1.47 billion within 30 days of the date the assessment notice was issued.
The former prime minister also failed to settle the renewed sum within 60 days under the same provision, which resulted in the compounded 5% hike.
The country’s economy definitely not doing well while the value of Ringgit is ever depreciating.
National debts increasing by the day.
Public assets being sold and privatisation are back to haunt Malaysians.
But Pakatan government seems not prioritising its efforts to resolve these issues with progressive long term plans.
Putrajaya is more keen to resolve them through short term solutions, in other words, short cuts, which in long term will have serious repercussions on the country’s well-being.
Mahathir’s government is unconcerned about it though.
He is more focused to finish off Najib.
He believes once Najib has been put away, the path is clear for Mukhriz to grab the coveted premiership.
Thus by hook or by crook, Mahathir is determined to send Najib and Co to jail.