The ongoing legal struggle surrounding Malaysia’s imprisoned former prime minister, Najib Razak, has taken a dramatic turn, with Umno President Ahmad Zahid Hamidi arguing that if a leaked memo circulating is legitimate, charges relating to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) crisis should be dropped.
Following a growing desire for justice in the case, Malaysia’s deputy prime minister emphasized the necessity of Najib receiving “the justice he deserves.”
Memo’s Authenticity at the Core
Ahmad Zahid’s call for a reassessment of the charges hinges on a leaked internal memo that has purportedly emerged from the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC).
Addressed to former attorney general Tommy Thomas and dated September 10, 2019, the 12-page memo highlights concerns voiced by the prosecution team regarding the viability of establishing a strong prima facie case against Najib Razak and former Treasury secretary general Irwan Serigar.
Critical Examination of Charges
The charges against Najib and Irwan center on alleged payments made to Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company while Najib was prime minister. Both were charged together with six counts of criminal breach of trust under Section 409 of the Penal Code, involving 6.6 billion ringgit (roughly US$1.43 billion) in government monies routed to the Abu Dhabi firm. Najib was arraigned in the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court on October 25, 2018.
Ahmad Zahid expressed the collective sentiment of Malaysians, including Umno leaders and members, by voicing their reliance on the Attorney General’s Chambers to ensure a just outcome.
Characterizing the charges against Najib as a form of “persecution,” Zahid called for prioritizing justice and implied a belief in AGC’s capability and credibility to undertake a comprehensive review of the case.
He asserted that should the memo’s authenticity be validated, the AGC should promptly drop the charges against Najib.
Attorney General Idrus Harun addressed the controversy on August 17 by acknowledging that the AGC is actively investigating the matter.
However, he refrained from affirming the memo’s authenticity. As public anticipation and scrutiny intensify, the AGC’s role in navigating this complex legal terrain and resolving the 1MDB scandal’s intricacies remains pivotal.
The leaked memo has ignited a firestorm of debate and speculation, prompting Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to advocate for a reevaluation of the charges against Najib Razak. As Malaysia watches closely, the nation’s pursuit of justice in the 1MDB scandal continues, with the spotlight trained on the Attorney General’s Chambers and its potential decision to review, modify, or uphold the charges based on the validity of the alleged memo.