Last month, former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was the focus of local and international news following the Federal Court’s decision on 23 August to sentence him to 12 years in prison for misappropriating millions of ringgit from a company that was linked to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

However, Najib may face further charges as he is still currently attending trial for two other criminal cases, and has two other criminal cases that have yet to go on trial. Malaysian who have been following the news regarding the former PM may have noticed that he has been making intermittent trips to the hospital.

Although Najib is usually known by the moniker ‘bossku’, he may possibly be putting his own spin on the idiom to have ‘flown the coop’ even if only by temporary visits to the hospital. This is because there have been claims that he has that he is known by the codename ‘Merpati’, as part of an alleged ‘plot’ to give him special treatment while in prison.

You may want to take these tweets with a pinch of salt, as they come from an unnamed source, but a Twitter user posted a series of lengthy tweets regarding Najib and his movements.

This is the rundown according to the user:

23 August: He (Najib a.k.a Merpati) entered the Kajang Prison calmly dressed white shirt and black pants.

24 August: Home Minister Dato’ Seri Hamzah Zainudin then apparently entered the prison around 10.00p.m. on and met with ‘Merpati’ at the pharmacy of the prison clinic. Together with the Malaysian Prisons Department director-general Dato’ Haji Nordin Muhamad, the three had discussions for over an hour. Dato’ Haji Abdul Aziz Abdul Razak, Deputy Director General of the Prisons dept then announced that RM50,000 would be allocated for his room renovation.

27 August: Merpati’s lawyer announced that he was ill but the uhh…’bird’ was found to be healthy with no complains of stomach aches or active ongoing bleeding symptoms. His vital signs were also found to be normal. A memo of the report of the health check was sent to the director-general which was to be sent to the Prison Headquarters.

The confirmation that Merpati would not be sent to hospital because he was in stable condition was delivered to ‘Team Merpati’ made up of people such as his personal doctor Dato’ Dr. Muhammad Rayyan as well as prison officers that was made up of two men named Rosli and Zakri ––– and they seemed disappointed upon receiving the news.

The unnamed source overheard that Team Merpati had made plans for him to be sent to the Serdang Hospital and arrangements had already been made there. The plan following that was for him to be sent to the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital and for him to spend the rest of the duration of his sentence there.

1 September: A meeting was held between the members of the management of the Prison Headquarters, and they allocated RM3.5 million from the Ministry of Home Affairs to make life for Merpati more comfortable including allocations for a vehicle for him, his health, and lodgings. The amount had jumped from RM50,000 on the second day to millions in a matter of days.

4 September: At 8.10am, the Ketua Jabatan Persekutuan (KJP) was already demanding to know the condition of ‘Merpati’.

At 10.40am, Merpati complained that his nose was only blocked and has no other symptoms such as blood in his stool. However, soon after, they were informed that the Home Minister had called the Director General to send Najib over to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) on the same day. When he arrived, he was admitted into the first-class ward which was meant for royalty. Five minutes after the prison team arrived, Team Merpati arrived as well. Dato’ Dr. Muhammad Rayyan was also present.

Members of the hospital seemed uneasy because Merpati had been sent over without any prior notice. But apparently orders to send him over had not been from the prison but from higher ups. Apparently, everyone involved were afraid to take any responsibility in the event that any issues were to arise in the future.

The physician then took Najib’s blood, and when the blood tests proved that everything was well with him, he was discharged. Merpati then complained of neck and back pain and the orthopedic experts were sent for ––– but he was finally discharged that same afternoon, which shocked Team Merpati. Merpati himself had not wanted to leave but after the Director General of the prison insisted, he changed from his hospital clothes to the clothes that he had arrived in.

5 September: At 9.10 am, ‘Team Prison’ attended a meeting at the HKL on the same day together with representatives of the Ministry of Health and Director of HKL to discuss the issue that had occurred the previous day.

During the meeting, they were informed that the Minister of Health (which is currently Khairy Jamaluddin) had given orders to the orthopedic experts to admit Merpati to the ward again and the meeting ended around 4.30pm.

Around 8.15pm, the Minister of Health sent orders through Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah - who is the health director general – to send Merpati to the ward that very night to HKL but those from the prison refused.

9 September: The original plan was after wrapping things up at court around noon, to send Merpati directly to HKL but the court proceedings ended in the afternoon. He then entered the ward for around six hours. The officers that escorted him had no idea that he was heading to HKL except for their leader.

11 September: All his health tests had been completed and Merpati was discharged from the ward in the late afternoon. Through his officer, Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had asked to keep Najib there longer but the officer did not agree as there was no reason to and it was hard to answer to the court why Najib should continue to be kept at the hospital.

12 September: There was ruckus in court as Merpati had high blood pressure. The prison staff were blamed as they allegedly gave him the wrong medication but in fact, the medication that had been received was from HKL. Furthermore, blood pressure results did not usually warrant a hospital visit and normal civilians would usually be told to go home and rest.

Team Merpati continued insisting on sending him straight to hospital and although ‘Team Prison’ was reluctant to, their Director General gave instructions for him to be sent to HKL again and in the end, he was there for over two hours.

That afternoon, the prison authorities informed that the ‘higher ups’ had ordered to keep Merpati at the ward today and to do what was necessary.

17 September: Merpati was to be sent to the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital upon orders from the Minister of Health. The motive was to come to an agreement between the hospital and ‘Team Merpati. The civil servants were apparently stressed and disgusted by the whole matter as they would have to take responsibility if an issue were to arise even though they had little choice but to follow instructions.

18 September: Multiple instructions came from the higher ups to send Merpati to Cheras but the problem was, HKL had no strong reason to send him over. The physiotherapist said that he could do outpatient services two to three times a week and that Najib would not be required to travel to Cheras personally for physiotherapy. The Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital had also insisted that HKL issue a referral letter on the main reason that Najib was to be transferred to Cheras ––– but HKL had no actual excuse except that the Ministers had ordered them to, which they obviously could not put in writing as they did not want to take responsibility. There was now a conundrum amongst everyone involved but no one dared to step forward to take charge.

The summary on Merpati’s move to the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital:

It would ease travelling for his family members, political secretaries and any outsiders who wished to meet him.

It was easier to meet outsiders compared to the Kajang Prison and political negotiations could be made more easily.

The hospital facilities included a VVIP ward

Meanwhile at HKL, he had utilised the first-class ward

The experts would have to take responsibility if there was no reason for him to be sent to the Cheras hospital.

That was a crazy ride from start to finish!

Reports then came out in the news that Najib was sent to the hospital on 19 September. After these claims from the Twitter user were released, the prison department then issued a statement saying that Najib would be sent back to the Kajang Prison from the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital after receiving clearance from the medical experts.

Again, Twitter isn’t so much a reliable news source as it is a public dumping ground.

Authorities have not responded to claims that Najib is receiving preferential treatment and we can see why.

On one hand, why respond to baseless claims on Twitter? But, if it’s completely fake news, why not release the courtesy “Don’t spread fake news rhetoric”?

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