Speculation of Najib’s pardon baseless – Lawyer

Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s lawyer said that the report on the royal pardon against the former prime minister, in the case of misappropriation of RM42 million in funds belonging to SRC International Sdn Bhd by an international media is baseless speculation.

(Sinar Daily) – Through a press release, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah also stated that he did not know the identity of the unnamed source from the news portal, Channel News Asia (CNA).

Shafee, who also led Najib’s defence team in the case of corruption and money laundering amounting to RM2.3 billion of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds said the report created a sensational issue that kept various parties busy, including the local media.

“Najib himself did not know about the media allegations, so the defence team reminds the media and the public that the royal pardon in this case, is the prerogative of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as an unbound and absolute power.

“Therefore, it is an act of disrespect to second-guess the activities of the Pardon Board, whose nature of work must be carried out in secret to be effective in giving advice to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

“Breach of confidentiality can also be said to violate the Official Secrets Act 1972 and can be punished,” he said.

Shafee added his team was never informed about the steps taken by the Pardon Board in relation to the pardon petition of this former Pekan MP.

He said the meeting of each Pardon Board was conducted in secret at the highest level, and even the names of the members involved nor the date of the meeting, would not be publicised.

He said the public only knows that the permanent members of the Board of Pardons are the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the Federal Territories Minister (in the case of Federal Territories Pardons) and the Attorney-General.

“The names of members can change, are always kept confidential and never revealed, so if the Pardon Board meets to consider Najib’s pardon application, it will be conducted in private as it is controlled by the Official Secrets Act 1972.

“According to the CNA article, it is said that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong will decide whether a royal pardon will be granted to the former Umno leader in the near future,” he said.

Hence, the lawyer said, it was awkward when the author of the article stated that the Pardon Board met in December last year, but was postponed to this month (January) to convene again.

Shafee said Najib’s pardon petition was submitted to the Pardon Board through the Legal Affairs Division (BHEUU) of Putrajaya Director General on Jan 1, 2022.

He said the petition was followed by an addendum or addition on Oct 18, 2022 and Apr 20, 2023 which contained more information for consideration by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong regarding the pardon petition.

However, he said, until almost the end of last year, Najib’s defence team did not receive any news regarding the petition.

He said Najib then instructed the lawyers to remind BHEUU on Dec 4 last year, while the petition had been filed for more than 16 months and the 71-year-old leader had been jailed for a year and four months.

“As lawyers, we are more concerned with the client’s position, considering that the only reason to apply for amnesty is on the basis that he never received a fair trial,” he said.

On Wednesday, a CNA news report speculated the news titled ‘Malaysia set to decide on jailed former PM Najib’s high-stakes bid for royal pardon’ by Leslie Lopez.

The media reported that the Pardon Board was scheduled to make a decision regarding Najib’s application for pardon at the end of this month.

According to the report, the application by the imprisoned former prime minister would be heard in a board session scheduled for the third week of January.

This came after the matter was postponed at a meeting last month as the six-member board decided they needed more time to make a decision, the report said.

The upcoming meeting, the news site claimed, would be among the last duties of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah before being replaced by the Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar at the end of this month.