Deputy law minister explains why Najib hasn’t been locked away

Datuk Seri Najib Razak is facing 42 counts of graft and power abuse as of January 28 this year. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Datuk Seri Najib Razak is facing 42 counts of graft and power abuse as of January 28 this year. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2 — Despite the mountain of graft and power abuse charges brought against him, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law, said Deputy Law Minister Mohamed Hanipa Maidin.

In a Facebook posting today, Hanipa said he often received questions with regards to why Najib has not been jailed over his alleged offences related to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.

He said the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government cannot act based on the “law of the jungle” or out of “vendetta” but must remain firm in upholding the rule of law, irrespective of the crime and those who are being accused.

“The PH government under the New Malaysia which wishes to highlight ‘the rule of law’ cannot operate at all in the paradigm of the rule of the jungle. That is the old order. Therefore, we respect, for example, the principle of ’presumption of innocence’ to our political enemies. Despite our hatred of him, we cannot act unfairly to him.

“Just because the ex-PM is charged with dozens of criminal charges does not mean we do not have to prove his charge first. Since the offence he is accused off is called a ‘bailable offence’, he is entitled to be released if he or she is able to pay bail and comply with the terms of the bail,” he said.

“When he is out on bail, he is free to move. That’s the process. Bail can only be cancelled if he violates the bail’s conditions,” he said.

Najib is facing 42 counts of graft and power abuse as of January 28 this year.

Despite this, the Pekan MP has been frequently seen with the common people and on social media, and in the recent Cameron Highlands by-election, where PH was defeated, he was actively campaigning.