Strengths and weaknesses of a new 'perfect case'

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COMMENT | Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad once affirmed that as a medical doctor, when he sees gangrene, he is trained to amputate the affected anatomy and ask the question(s) later. In other words, in any medical emergency, be decisive.

Why is this the case? It is more important to save the life of the patient than to waffle with indecision.

But with regard to the grand haul of hundreds of millions of ringgit in a myriad of forms, invariably cash, jewellery, gold bullions, expensive watches and other precious gems from the multiple residences of former prime minister Najib Razak, one wonders why the perpetrators have not been arrested.

Putting Najib and Rosmah Mansor on house arrest, indeed, being blacklisted from leaving Malaysia, are not the same as outright arrests of course. Malaysian are enraged by the massive haul and demand the law be applied to them as soon as possible.

Yet, Mahathir, ostensibly on the advice of attorney-general Tommy Thomas, still believes that a "perfect case," needs to be built against the former first couple.

Rightfully, Mahathir wants them to face the full music of the law. No quarter must be given to the duo and their accomplices (ie Jho Low and gang) to get off on technicalities.

To be sure, neither Mahathir nor the whole of Malaysia wants them to go scot-free on technicalities too. Indeed, there appears to be a few, and Najib seems to be hinting that his entire defence is built not merely on sheer denial (of the haul) but the sources of the gifts.

First, Najib claims that his son-in-law in Kazakhstan is a "man of some means". In other words, he is capable of buying several Hermes or Bijan handbags at the go and giving them to the wife Rosmah. And, after several years the gifts from him piled up, as did the gifts from some 41 businessmen who have been asked to account for these items.

And if all these are "gifts" from close kins, such as from the son-in-law to the mother-in-law, the Malaysian legal system probably cannot touch them. Since there is no regulation that says the son-in-law cannot provide the family with lavish gifts. Thus, it makes sense to exercise caution...

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