There is a real problem with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
And the PM seems to have found a way to hold public office without being called or being seen, or even getting prosecuted as a public officer!
The Independent asked a Malaysian lawyer of international standing his opinion on this sizzling matter:
“Of course he is a public officer under the tort of misfeasance.
“And under the MACC Act, former Selangor Chief Minister Khir Toyo was convicted as a person holding public office,” said the lawyer.
Global definition of Public Officer
By definition, in the global standards – which Malaysia is striving to follow – a public officer is a person who has been legally elected or appointed to office and who exercises governmental functions.
Now, the Najib regime will defend the PM on the basis that in Malaysia (not in the rest of the world), a public official is not a person who is in charge in Putrajaya.
But again, in general terms and these terms are accepted across the globe – or at least across the civilised world – a public official is anyone in a position of official authority that is conferred by a state, i.e. someone who holds a legislative, administrative, or judicial position of any kind, whether appointed or elected.
But that does not seem to be the case in Malaysia, and it is a major fail!
Last Friday, the High Court Judge Abu Bakar Jais struck out a suit brought by former Umno leaders Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Khairuddin Abu Hassan and Anina Saadudin as they could not prove that Najib was a public officer in public office.
While a court ruling must be respected, it is essential to discuss the matter since there is a confusion in Malaysia over who is and who is not a public official.
The judge said public officers under the Federal Constitution did not include any member of the administration in the federation or state.
The judge cited Article 160 (2) which he said clarified that such member of the administration in Putrajaya is meant to be a person holding the office of minister (which includes prime minister), deputy minister or parliamentary secretary and political secretary.
If that is the case, then Najib will also be cleared of the accusation of being Malaysia Official Number 1 or MO1, who is duly mentioned in the US Department of Justice (DOJ) papers as the main person responsible for the 1MDB scandal.
But going by the international standards and the calls by Najib for the world to respect Malaysia, there is a big problem here.
And there is none but former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to turn to, in order to get some clarity on the situation involving Najib, 1MDB and his official position as a public figure in the local political sphere.
Mahathir wrote in his blog chedet.cc that:
“The world press is asking why Najib is still the Prime Minister of Malaysia, and no investigation has been made by the police over reports of Najib’s wrongdoings by Bank Negara, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Auditor-General.
“That these reports have been made official secrets is something that is difficult for the world to accept. Hiding evidence is a crime in any country. But in Malaysia the Government of Najib does this with impunity.”
Mahathir not public officer?
With the court ruling that Najib is not a public official, and thus he cannot be prosecuted for alleged crimes done with 1MDB while he was chairing the sovereign funds and was signing checks worth billions of dollars, it also calls into question the role of Mahathir and other political figures in Malaysia.
In that case, it is clear then that Mahathir was never a public official and the attempt by the Najib regime to pin a claim on the former PM over the loss of money in a failed foreign exchange transaction in the 1980’s will also fail.
If there is no case to answer for Najib Razak, then there should be no case to answer for Mahathir Mohamad but then how did Anwar Ibrahim get into jail as a public officer in the 1999 abuse of power case?
Abuse of Power
If political figures and elected members are not public officials or public officers by law, then all the high profile political cases in Malaysia were fake?
Should these political figures not get their images cleared for being wrongfully persecuted as public officers while the law says they are not public officers?
Something is really wrong somewhere in this theory, that is very clear!