Both sides of Malaysia’s political divide unhappy with Najib’s reduced sentence

The seething unhappiness from both sides has damaged the standing of the Anwar administration, analysts say.

(Asia News Network) – Umno leaders said on Feb 3 that they will continue to push for former Malaysian premier Najib Razak to be released from prison, while his family has said it was “disappointed” that he did not receive a full pardon and immediate release.

Civil society groups, opposition parties and even some of Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s own supporters have taken the opposite stance, following the news on Feb 2 that the Pardons Board had halved Najib’s jail term to six years and cut the fine he must pay to RM50 million (S$14.1 million), from the court-ordered RM210 million.

The board was led by the former king, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah, who ended his reign on Jan 30 under Malaysia’s five-year rotational monarchy.

But Datuk Seri Anwar is being savaged by his critics, despite him saying the decision was “beyond” his or the government’s control.

In short, no one is happy.

“A very unsatisfactory decision by the Pardons Board for all sides – be they for Najib’s imprisonment or against it,” former Cabinet minister and former Najib lawyer Zaid Ibrahim told reporters on Feb 3.

“This is what happens when the government of the day wants to try to appease everyone – no one is happy.”

Both camps in the roiling debate are organising public petitions.

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