Najib's name game may cost him GE nomination

Mat Zain Ibrahim

Modified 10 Dec 2011, 5:49 am

I have been asked by several people to clarify a couple of my remarks in particular, what I meant when I wrote, "...the prime minister is in a bind following his affidavits in support and in reply dated Sept 21 and 23 respectively," as reported by Malaysiakini on Dec 5 ( Peaceful Assembly Bill mala fide, says ex-top cop ).

Quite simply, it means that our prime minister who is 58 years old, and going on 59, is still uncertain and unsure of his own name.

If he now declares his name as just ‘Najib’ with no ‘Mohd’ (pronounced as Muhammad) before the name Najib, then some of the following scenarios can happen:

a. He can be accused as having lied or misled the agong and all Malaysians, when he affirmed his name as Muhammad Najib during his swearing-in ceremony as the 6th  prime minister of Malaysia on Apr 3, 2009. He should know that the people are also mindful of the fact that he affirmed his oath in the name of Allah and which has been put on official records.

b. The validity of his oath can be challenged, as well as whether he is legally our prime minister or otherwise and the various other  issues that could be raised as a result of this.

c. It can also be taken to mean, that the PM formally denounced the name ‘Muhammad’ from his name. Personally being a Muslim I can't help feeling sad and sorry over what the PM has done for whatever reasons.

If now he declares his name as ‘Mohd Najib’ instead, then some of the following can and should happen:

a. That both his affidavits affirmed before a commissioner of oath on Sept 21 and 23, and that of his wife Rosmah Mansor, affirmed on Sept 21, can be declared not only as null and void, but as false affidavits as well, based on the issue of his name alone, without having to touch on the other averments in question.

b. The PM is liable to be charged for making false declarations and knowingly using the said false declarations in a judicial proceeding. This is in line with previous actions taken by the AG against Sharma Kumari Shukla, who subsequently was handed a three years jail sentence for each one of the two offences.

That being the case, can we expect the AG to charge PM Najib then? The answer is absolutely not. For so long as Gani Patail is still the AG, the chosen few can get away with murder or rape or daylight robbery or all of the three put together.

If this AG has been a fair person, then he would have charged Rahim Thamby Chik for making a false statutory declaration during the same time that they had taken actions on Sharma Kumari. After all, Sharma was the one who had endorsed the proposed charges against Rahim, but later twisted the evidence instead.

What are the rakyat's options then? My view is still, taking to the streets at this juncture is not the option. Some people may get hurt and many would be arrested. You cannot fight fire with fire. What the rakyat can do in the meantime, are to be composed and wait for nomination day which is just around the corner, amongst others.

When PM Najib files his nomination papers, most likely in Pekan, he is expected to state his name as Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak as in previous elections. If he does that this time, then he faces the risks of being disqualified for filing his nomination form using a name that is not his name. For all intents and purposes, he has formally denounced the name Muhammad as his name, by way of two affidavits. The Returning Officer (RO) shall take the affidavits as evidence to this effect.

Say this time around PM Najib states his name as Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, to neutralise the setbacks of the affidavits, still he can be disqualified for not using his full name in the nomination form.

The recordings of the oath taking ceremony of April 3, 09 where the PM affirmed in the name of Allah before YDP Agong that his full name is Mohd Najib can be produced to the RO as evidence.

So whichever name he chooses, whether Najib or Mohd Najib, it is still contentious, and the RO can disqualify him from contesting, although everybody knows, this is unlikely to happen. But God works in mysterious ways they say. It has happened many years before, in one little State up north, where the future MB was disqualified on nomination day and an unknown took the seat uncontested.

What I am trying to highlight here is that the issue of the PM's name is not just a minor problem that can be easily fixed. At least one ordinary citizen, a woman, have gone to jail for this. We cannot take this matter lightly, just because this time around the person involved is the prime minister. No one is above the law; we are all equals before the law, which our PM is very fond of saying.

Had he gotten confused with some technical or medical terms or legal jargon, the rakyat can understand. But for a prime minister to be confused or to forget his own name, something must be very wrong somewhere and the rakyat ought to be concerned. For that matter, it is incumbent upon the cabinet members to view this matter with utmost urgency.

The PM cannot say that it was due to some typo errors, or that someone else prepared his notes and he just read or signed them. If he says that, then he must also be prepared to admit publicly, that he knows nothing of the 2012 Budget; that he merely signed and presented it. That he too is not aware what's inside the Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011, that he simply approved and read it out in Parliament.

When the PM is uncertain and unsure of his own name, then he has no right to claim to be certain or sure what is good or what is bad for the rakyat. Let alone to lead our beloved country going forward.

The PM cannot keep on maintaining a deafening silence on matters such as this. He must come clean on the confusion and fast. He must be made aware that there's no expiry date for any affidavits once filed, and there's no such thing as time-barred for any criminal proceedings. No amount of pledges or gatherings of loyalists to show the so called undivided support can indemnify the PM of his culpabilities.

He should be accountable to some of his own misjudgements. He cannot continuously throw the burden for others to shoulder or make the rakyat pay for his and his ministers' blunders.

He must also realise that should he be fortunate enough to be allowed to contest and win again this time, he will be invited to take his oath of office as prime minister again before the new Yang Di-Pertuan Agong.

When the agong himself is bound by the constitution to state his full name when the monarch takes his oath of office soon, so which name will PM Najib use then? Damned if he chooses Najib, damned if he choses Mohd.Najib.

Unless, if the Umno president says, he takes precedence over our Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, then I rest my case.

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