It’s a proven fact that capital punishment is a detergent to crime – All in the Family’s Archie Bunker
A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car but a man who has gone to university may steal the whole railroad – President Theodore Roosevelt
The family that steals together stays together.
It’s the apparent moral underscoring the outcome reached in Kuala Lumpur’s High Court last Thursday.
Judge Zaini Mazlan threw the book at the accused, and it may as well have been Crime and Punishment given the weighty sentence. Rosmah Mansor, the wife of ex-Premier Najib Razak, was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to ten years in jail and RM970 million in fines. The latter is the highest in Malaysian legal history.
Barely over a week ago, Najib began serving a 10 -year sentence for abuse of power and money laundering. He also faces a fine of RM210 million which, if unpaid, increases his sentence by another five years.
If you were to include the former premier’s tax bill, the once-rampant First Family is looking at a potentially crippling RM2.8 billion in fines.
That’s a lot of Cartier watches.
But spare a thought for the condemned. Their only support comes from some sections of Umno and others dazzled by Najib’s “wealth.” But it’s abundantly clear that the Razak family themselves were either too embarrassed or ashamed because none of his brothers showed up courtside. Even his first cousin, the minister, has remained deafeningly silent.
These people have led sheltered, pampered lives. It was Rosmah, after all, who thought that a RM1,200 haircut at home was “normal.”
In short, they have no clue how the common man, let alone the convict, lives and so the prospect of prison must surely fill them with unspeakable dread.
So why did they do it? The answer lies in the arrogance of a ruling party that has never lost an election in over 60 years.
They thought they’d never be held accountable because they would always remain in power, the better to sweep everything under the carpet. As Newsweek columnist Gerry Wills famously observed: “Only the victors determine what the war crimes are.”
But the hubris remains. After he delayed paying his tax arrears, there were moves to declare Najib a bankrupt. The former PM furiously called it a move to “end my political career.” If he still thinks he has a career, he’s a bigger optimist than Johnny Appleseed!
Meanwhile, Jho “Felonious” Low, the ample architect of the 1MDB fraud, gnawed his nails anxiously as he watched the grim proceedings in Malaysia. He had decidedly mixed feelings about the whole debacle.
What was happening to his friends was terrible.
But it could have been worse, it could have been him.
Now he had two, new worries. One, Tom Wright, the author of Billion Dollar Whale, was using crowd sourcing to find him.
Worse were the fines that his friends now faced. Would he be asked to share in their burden or could he safely invoke the old “I’m not my brother’s keeper” clause?