Najib Abdul Razak’s liberal access to the outside world lends credibility to the allegation that the former premier, who is serving a 12-year prison sentence, has been accorded preferential treatment, alleged PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli.
He was referring to an anonymous message making rounds on social media, which referred to Najib with the codename “merpati” (pigeon).
Among others, the message alleged that Najib’s cell in the Kajang Prison complex has been renovated and there are plans to move him to the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital (CRH) to allow more access to visitors and VVIP facilities.
Speaking to Malaysiakini, Rafizi said he was disinclined at first to comment on the matter since it concerned an anonymous message.
However, a posting on the former premier’s Facebook page yesterday taking a swipe at Rafizi announcing PKR’s plans to engage undecided voters changed his mind.
“I’m confused now. The public is being told that Najib’s health is not good but on the other hand, he seems to be doing fine and can even post messages on Facebook.
“Even if he says the posting was made by his Facebook page administrator, we know Najib shouldn’t have any interaction with the outside world.
“So how did he pass the message to his Facebook administrator, let alone know what I said during the PKR machinery launch on Sunday?” he asked.
PM and home minister must respond
Rafizi also said that it would corroborate the “merpati” rumours and therefore, urged the government not to remain tight-lipped on the matter.
“Najib does appear to have some access to the outside world, to follow developments and pass messages.
“If it is true that he will be relocated to the rehabilitation hospital, it indirectly confirms the viral message.
“This is a serious issue. The prime minister, home minister and government must respond,” he added.
Malaysiakini has reached out to the Home Ministry, Prisons Department and Najib’s representatives for comment.
Najib landed behind bars late last month after the Federal Court upheld his conviction in the RM42 million SRC International Sdn Bhd case.
Anwar’s case was different
PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, during his imprisonment, had also issued media statements and spent the last six months of his incarceration in the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital due to a shoulder injury.
Commenting on this, Rafizi said Anwar was kept abreast of developments and issued statements via his lawyers, verbally.
“For Anwar, there were thorough checks on materials brought in and out of prison, the authorities would check papers and lawyers’ notebooks, and did not allow any kind of material to be brought out of prison.
“So, there is a clear precedent for a high-profile politician in prison, and it should be consistent throughout,” he said.
As for the PKR president being relocated to the rehabilitation hospital, Rafizi said Anwar spent several years in prison before being transferred and this was done due to legitimate medical reasons.
“That is not the case for Najib if the allegations are true,” he added. MKINI
Najib’s senior at Kajang prison swoops on ‘privileges for pigeon’
Amanah vice-president Mahfuz Omar, who described himself as Najib Abdul Razak’s senior at Kajang prison, is also demanding answers from the government over an anonymous message claiming that the former premier has been accorded certain privileges.
Calling on the authorities to treat all prisoners in the same manner, he said: “I was imprisoned in Kajang myself. I am more senior than Najib in Kajang but I did not get any special treatment.”
Mahfuz (above) said the public must know the truth if the government is spending taxpayers’ money on the former premier, who is serving a 12-year prison sentence for corruption.
“The government must explain the real situation and status,” he told Malaysiakini this afternoon.
The Amanah leader said if the allegations are true, the government must explain the rationale for forking out more money for Najib when there is no guarantee that the nation would recover the losses incurred in relation to the SRC International and 1MDB scandals even after the former premier is released.
Mahfuz was commenting on the message making rounds on social media, which referred to Najib with the codename “merpati” (pigeon).
Among others, the message alleged that Najib’s prison cell has been renovated and there are plans to move him to the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital (CRH) to allow more access to visitors and VVIP facilities.
Failing which, the Pokok Sena MP pointed to former chief secretary to the government Mohd Sidek Hassan, who testified in Najib’s RM2.28 billion corruption trial that he thought 1MDB was meant to provide political funding for BN.
“This means the civil service was hiding the truth. If Najib was not charged, I believe that nobody would have known about the real situation of 1MDB, SRC and others.
“The Prisons Department is only following orders from the top… But it should not repeat the same mistake. If there are court cases related to this issue later on, it will implicate the prison officers and taint the department’s image,” he added.
Earlier today, PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli called on Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin to comment on the allegations.
Najib, 69, began serving his sentence on Aug 23 after the Federal Court upheld his conviction in the RM42 million SRC case.
Malaysiakini has reached out to the Home Ministry, Prisons Department and Najib’s representatives for comment. MKINI