On Tuesday (23 August), the Federal Court decided to uphold convicted prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s guilty verdict over the misappropriation of RM42 million belonging to government-owned SRC International Sdn Bhd and he was sent to jail immediately.
However, it was not the end for Najib and he is still facing 4 charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.
The hearing of these cases was scheduled on last Thursday (25 August), where Najib is required to be present at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex for the trial.
Nonetheless, many netizens were puzzled as to why the jailed former prime minister is allowed to return to court in his suit and ties rather than in jail garb and without handcuffs.
According to The Star, Senior lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla explains that the leeway on the attire and the mode of transportation is up to the Prison Department.
He said that inmates from prison are allowed to be in plainclothes when they arrive at court.
When commenting on Najib’s arrival to the court in a coat and tie, he said that it is not fair to expect him to come in pyjamas, but he would need to change into prison attire once he is back behind bars.
“The same goes for the mode of transportation,” he said, emphasizing that it is up to the prison authorities to decide what is the best in terms of the safety of the inmates.
“I wouldn’t make it an issue or call it a VVIP treatment. It is important to understand that the safety of the inmates and the situation in prison is in the hands of the prison authority.”
“They will not be putting him in a normal cell shared with four other inmates. We won’t be able to ensure his safety.”
“What if something happens to him? The prison authorities will have to answer,” Mohamed Haniff said.
He added that prime ministers are always the centre of attention and there are bound to be people who hate them and those who like them. However, he hoped there would be no “special treatment” which could be deemed as abuse.