Think of that award winning Mary Ann Jolly interview and then remember her questions were superficial and polite compared to the ‘full proboscopy’ that the ex-PM can expect once AG Tommy Thomas has him pinned down in the witness box and snapped on his latex gloves.
Why have there been so many changing stories from the PM in recent years? How could he not notice he had acquired millions in his account? Why did he not report the money and rather spent it on family luxuries instead?
Let us go through day by day and hour by hour the process by which this money arrived in Najib’s account, once he had ordered for a fund under his control to borrow it from a public pension fund for reasons yet to be properly explained.
The former PM will have to answer each and every one of these questions fully. He can’t just flounce off like he did for the TV show, complaining the questions aren’t fair or the ones he had agreed to answer.
Once he has sworn under oath to answer truthfully all relevant questions put by the prosecution then in that witness box he will have to stay. Day after day, given the immensity of this case. Lies and contradictions will count against him in the final judgement and one misstep in his story, could (were it not to be entirely true) cause the whole argument that has been carefully constructed by the defence to collapse.
The questioning by the AG will be guiding him towards just such a misstep with full malign intent – time and again, as that is his job. So, unless Najib has truth, the facts and a team of relevant and trustworthy witnesses on his side to support him every step of the way, it would be a suicidal journey to place himself beneath the glare of cross examination in a court case where every word will be followed by the entire country and assessed by an experienced judge.
So, Sarawak Report would be delighted to be proven wrong (after all, the event would be electrifying to report) even the most lousy legal team in the world will be urging Najib at this point to stick to the non-sworn written statement or better to zip his lips entirely.
That hasn’t stopped the politician grandstanding since he is being allowed to get away with it. He has claimed he can’t wait to give evidence and ‘clear his name’ (even though right up to the last minute he was trying to get the case thrown out altogether). However, when the day of the decision comes the wise bets will be on what excuses will be employed to avoid such reckoning after all.
Will he call sick? (quite possible). Will he claim the ‘political nature’ of the charges of theft against him render him unable to get a fair trial so he won’t cooperate? (very likely).
Whichever, it will be far easier to bring his doting dedak dependent followers to accept any such explanations than to subject them to the horror of his likely performance in the witness box.
There is an alternative potential scenario of course, which is that Najib swallows his own koolaid and over rules his lawyers or that they simply fail to support his best interests, being even more hopeless than they appear. Under this version of the future Najib will attempt to use the witness box as a campaign platform and sound-off, arguing his innocence, self-justifications and all the rest to adoring crowds imagined beyond the courtroom.
However, the court has rules and the witness will be told to obey them and be relevant in his answers by the judge. There will be no applause ringing in his ears and the crowds will only be in his mind. If he continues to disobey the rules and ignore the judge then strong men in uniforms with handcuffs will be ordered to remove him from the stand and he will be held in contempt at his own trial.
This may of course be what Najib decides to do, deluded perhaps till the end that his acts were justified and that adoring followers who love his heritage (and money more) will jump active to his rescue. He may decide to go down in flames.
Decent lawyers will be urging that for all his brave talk and present political posturing a dignified silence would be preferable in terms of long term consequnces when it comes to sentencing…. either way, of course.