Dr Mahathir says ‘highly likely’ jailed Najib will get royal pardon

Malaysia’s veteran politician Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said on Thursday that the disgraced former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who he helped bring down, was likely to receive a royal pardon and be released from a 12-year jail sentence for graft that he began this week.

(MMO) – Dr Mahathir, whose historic election victory in 2018 triggered Najib’s downfall, said delays in various trials related to the multi-billion-dollar corruption scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) would result in justice being denied.

Najib was first convicted in 2020 but he appealed to higher courts. On Tuesday, the country’s top court rejected his final appeal and upheld his 12-year jail sentence and a RM210 million fine for illegally receiving US$10 million (RM44.8 million) from a unit of 1MDB.

“For Najib, it is highly likely that he will be pardoned after being imprisoned,” the 97-year-old said in a statement.

He did not elaborate.

The palace of King Al-Sultan Abdullah, which received a petition for a pardon from Najib loyalists a day earlier, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Mahathir’s remark.

Najib is believed to be close to some of Malaysia’s royals, and in May, Najib’s social media posts showed him attending Eid celebrations with the king.

But, there has been no indication so far on how the palace would respond to any pardon application by Najib, who held power for nine years until 2018.

Nor has there been any sign yet of how Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob would regard a pardon for his old party leader, as he seeks to rehabilitate the image of the ruling United Malays National Organisation (Umno).

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