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1:08pm 19/10/2022
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The topsy-turvy world of Azhar Harun
By:Mariam Mokhtar

Is the convicted felon Najib Abdul Razak whom some people claim is still an MP, still being paid the wages of an MP?

Let us clear the air once and for all.

Some misguided people strongly believe that Najib is still an MP despite his conviction, so could someone confirm if Najib still receives the perks, benefits and other allowances of an MP besides his salary?

One such deluded person who believes that Najib has done no wrong is the outgoing Speaker of Dewan Rakyat Azhar Harun.

He used to command the respect of the rakyat, but ever since democracy was crushed in Malaysia following the Sheraton Move, Azhar has become one of the most vilified and most untrustworthy characters in the country.

As Speaker, Azhar should uphold the interests of the rakyat, but he now acts as if his allegiance lies elsewhere.

Last month, Azhar said that Najib would retain his status as the Pekan MP unless his application for a royal pardon was rejected.

As if that was not enough to make Malaysians angry, the Speaker added that until the review of his conviction and sentencing in the SRC International case was disposed of, Najib would remain as MP.

Malaysians are aware that Article 48 of the Federal Constitution states that a person can be disqualified as an MP if they are convicted for an offense and sentenced to more than one year in jail and fined more than RM2,000.

Nothing could be clearer than that, and yet Azhar, who is a lawyer by profession, has brought shame on himself.

Why is he bending over backwards to ensure that Najib remains as MP?

Azhar’s appointment as Speaker was mired in controversy and he soon became one of the most divisive figures in parliament.

In his role as Speaker, he had to be politically impartial, allow every point of view to be considered in debates, and use his discretion in deciding who can address parliament.

Another important role is to maintain order in Dewan Rakyat. He failed in all of these.

Azhar’s appointment came soon after the death of democracy in Malaysia, when an unelected group of power-hungry politicians seized power and brought down a legitimate government which had won GE14 in 2018.

Why did Azahar turn? Why was he allowed to interpret the law according to his whims and fancies?

A lawyer who is charged with corruption and then sentenced is struck off and disbarred from practicing. A corrupt doctor who is tried and sentenced is also struck off the medical register and prohibited from treating people. A banker who is charged and sentenced for corruption is charged with CBT and is sacked. All of the above professionals will be fined and jailed. Why does Azhar imagine that Najib should be given special treatment?

On September 8, Azhar said, “Taking into account the petition for pardon and a motion has been made, Najib’s status as Pekan MP remains unchanged, and will only be finalized after both the petition for pardon and that motion are resolved.”

Azhar, the people of Pekan, and especially Umno-Baru Pekan fail to understand what crime and punishment entails.

Why is Najib still addressed as Datuk? Why hasn’t his title been withdrawn? Other legitimate Datuks know that Najib has cheapened the title of “Datuk.”

Are the people of Pekan and Umno-Baru Pekan not bothered about justice and the law? They nominated Najib as a possible candidate for GE15.

This is worrying because these people do not seem to realize what the law is for, what purpose it serves and why punishment is deemed necessary for people who break the law. Education has failed them.

A quick glimpse at what is going on in Malaysian politics shows that politicians, their cronies and allies have lost all sense of shame.

Senior politicians and those who hold important positions in public office often lie in parliament, lie to the rakyat, and lie to their electorate.

The rakyat must tighten their belts but ministers are at liberty to spend the rakyat’s money. People must obey the law, but politicians escape scot-free.

People like Azahar fail to think that if Najib were granted a pardon, if he were to be set free, if the governor of Kajang prison were to allow Najib leave to attend parliament, then the leaders who allowed Najib the freedom to do as he pleases are the ones whose reputations will suffer.

Thus, it will be the King, the judiciary and the director-generals of prisons whose reputations will be dragged through the mud.

Has Najib paid his RM210 million fine? Those of us whose income tax payments are delayed, or who owe the inland revenue a few hundred ringgits are hounded. Why is Najib allowed a lot of leeway?

Ministers and heads of institutions are supposed to set a good example to the rest of the population, but they have failed us.

Successive prime ministers could have instilled more discipline in parliament, but they failed to act.

If Najib, who is convicted of corruption and is now in jail, is allowed to attend and participate in debates in parliament, we will lose all our self-respect, not just with the locals, but also in the international community.

People like Najib and Azhar have no sense of shame!

Is Najib actually in prison?

Sources:

  1. Malaysiakini: Azhar: I don’t want to polemicize my rulings by explaining them
  2. Free Malaysia Today: Najib remains MP while review of conviction ongoing, says Azhar

(Mariam Mokhtar is a Freelance Writer.)

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Mariam Mokhtar
Najib Razak
Azhar Harun

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