KUALA LUMPUR: A small group of supporters of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak carrying placards with Chinese (and also English) writing drew curious onlookers at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex here on Wednesday morning (July 4).
The signs, which read "Free Najib" in Chinese, were carried by business consultant Philip Loh, 53 (pic - with pink sign) and his friends, to show solidarity for the embattled former premier, while he was being charged in court for corruption and criminal breach of trust.
A group of Malays (below pic) were also seen holding up the same signs, written on manila cardboard.
While there was an outcry from Umno on the usage of Chinese for a press statement by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, Loh said what his friends and he did was a non-issue as they were not in the government.
"The constitution has given us the right to use our mother tongue.
"We can use it in the private sector and in schools, but it's different when it comes to the government, which must always use Malay as the official language.
"If we allowed it to happen (using Chinese in government statements), then Indian and Kadazan ministers will also use their own language and there will be a mess," said Loh when met at the courthouse Wednesday (July 4).
Loh said he came to show support for Najib independently and was not aligned with any groups. He claimed to be "standing up for ordinary Malaysians".
"There was no evidence (of Najib's misconduct) and what we see is harassment and humiliation.
"His arrest was inhumane and I'm for human rights, so I'm here today.
"He is a former prime minister and they treated him like that, we as ordinary citizens, how will the government treat us?" said Loh.
He added that it was unfair to discount Najib's contributions to the nation over his nine-year tenure as prime minister.
"I'm supporting him because he has done so much for Malaysia, especially in development and the business sector," said Loh, who runs his own business.
Najib was charged with misusing his post as prime minister and finance minister to receive a RM42mil bribe from the pension fund Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (KWAP) as inducement to provide a sovereign guarantee on behalf of the Malaysian Government for a loan of RM4bil to SRC International Sdn Bhd.
He also faces three other charges of criminal breach of trust (CBT) in his capacity as Prime Minister, Finance Minister and Advisor Emeritus of SRC International, in which he was entrusted with RM4bil.
Najib was arrested Tuesday (July 3) afternoon at 3pm in relation to transactions involving SRC International, a former subsidiary of troubled state investment arm 1MDB.