Friday, November 26, 2021

Convicted Najib should be in jail, guilty until acquitted, says Dr M

Dr Mahathir Mohamad again questions the delay in Najib Razak's appeal process as well as the government's massive RM332 billion budget for next year.

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Dr Mahathir Mohamad today repeated once again his attack on Najib Razak, saying the former prime minister should already be serving his jail sentence following his conviction last year of seven charges linked to the 1MDB scandal.

“The court has found the sixth prime minister guilty. That’s the court’s decision.

“As long as he is not acquitted, he is guilty. He should serve the sentence. There are Malaysians who have not yet been charged but were detained, so why are those who have been convicted not serving their sentence? They are even allowed to leave the country,” the former prime minister said while debating the 2022 budget in the Dewan Rakyat today.

Najib, who was sentenced to 12 years’ jail and fined RM210 million over charges related to RM42 million in SRC International funds, had been granted a stay of execution pending his appeal in the Court of Appeal.

Mahathir has several times questioned the delay in the appeal process, and criticised the recent decision by the courts allowing Najib and other VIPs facing corruption charges to travel out of the country, including Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor.

“It has been almost a year since the appeal was made, yet there has been no decision. Justice delayed is justice denied,” he added.

Mahathir in his speech also questioned the government’s recent budget announcement totalling RM332 billion, saying some RM98 billion would be from debt.

He said while he understood the need to increase spending in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, the government must be serious about recovering funds stolen from 1MDB, the troubled state firm set up by Najib which was later plunged into an multinational investigation involving billions of dollars.

He said the authorities should not give the excuse that the money could not be recovered.

“The excuse is that the government does not have enough evidence that the money was money from 1MDB.

“But does the thief have proof of the origin of such huge sums of money as he received, supposedly a gift from the king of a foreign country?” he asked.

The government says that it has recovered close to RM20 billion in money embezzled from 1MDB during Najib’s rule.

Najib has meanwhile claimed that the billions found in his private account were a donation from the Saudi monarch.

Mahathir also called for a review of the 2022 budget, saying it will only burden the country with more debt.

“We should not take pride in having the largest budget in the country’s history. After all, it is huge because of the huge debt. Part of the money to be borrowed will be used to pay debts, not only by the current government but also by future governments because borrowing to pay back debts will not reduce the debt,” he added.

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