Najib to ‘walk freely’ will be an uphill battle, says experts

(Sinar Daily) – Possibilities for former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to ‘walk freely’ will be an uphill battle, says experts.

Lawyer, Alex Anton Netto said the Najib who is currently serving a 12-years sentence may only have a small chance to be released from prison if the federal court decides to revisit the sentence

“Najib Razak was sent to prison because the federal court affirmed the decision on the SRC case, as they found no reason to reverse the decision that Najib was found guilty.

“Let’s say the federal court revisits or overturned its own decision (which means Najib’s conviction is overturned) that’s when he might walk away freely. There is a possibility,” he told Sinar Daily.

However, Netto, highlighted that only with strict circumstances, the apex court could exercises its right to revise the decision made.

On Wednesday (Dec 7), Najib’s daughter Nooryana Najwa on a social media post said her father will be free to return home if the SRC case review in 2023 is successful.

In her Instagram post, she said a new round of legal review for her father’s SRC case is scheduled to start on Jan 19 next year and by this time, “all hands are on deck” to make sure her father gets the justice he deserves.

She was referring to Najib’s bid to have the Federal Court revisit its previous decision to uphold his conviction of a 12-year jail sentence and RM210 million fine in the SRC case which will be coming up in the courts in January next year.

Asked if Nooryana’s statement could be possible, Alex confirmed that it was possible; “Noryana is not talking without basis, it is possible.

“The only last option left for Najib as far as SRC case goes, is for the federal court itself to review its own decision.

“If federal court for whatever reasons have made an error, the federal court can revisit its decision or else they will maintain it. So yes, Nooryana has basis for what she said,” he reasoned.

Commenting further, Lawyer Fatihah Jamhari said that Najib can walk freely but the chances are very slim.

“Judicial Review is very specific in its power to grant orders. Namely, the court can order to correct a public authority’s (including another judicial or quasi judicial body) decision that is based on ultra vires or unconstitutional or unreasonable or biased and so on.

However, Fatihah reminds that Certiorari order by way of judicial review can be very hard to obtain as it has very strict requirement.

“So, yes, ultimately if granted it is a sign that Najib can walk free but the chances are slim,” she added.

Another lawyer, Megat Syazlee Mokhtarom said even if the judicial review is successful, it does not necessarily mean that Najib can be released.

“It only would allow Najib to challenge the court’s previous decision in rejecting his application to adduce new evidence concerning the trial judge in the SRC case.

“Frankly speaking it a very steep uphill battle,” he said.

Najib is the country’s first former prime minister to be jailed for a criminal offence after the Federal Court here upheld his conviction, 12-year jail sentence and RM210 million fine today.

The 69-year-old was found guilty of misappropriating SRC International Sdn Bhd funds amounting to RM42 million.