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Lawyers for Liberty express concerns over reduction in PM Najib’s sentence

Lawyers for Liberty expressed deep concerns about the Pardons Board reducing Najib’s 12-year jail term to six years, highlighting potential harm to Malaysia’s global reputation. They warn of a critical moment and question the constitutionality of the process.

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Lawyers for Liberty express concerns over reduction in PM Najib's sentence

MALAYSIA: The Pardons Board announced a reduction in former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s initial 12-year jail term, slashing it to six years on Friday (2 Feb).

Consequently, this adjustment implies an earlier potential release date of 23 August 2028.

In addition to the sentence reduction, the Pardons Board decided to decrease his original RM210 million (approximately US$44.5 million) fine to RM50 million (approximately US$10.6 million).

However, the condition for his early release is contingent upon the full payment of this revised amount.

“If he fails to pay the (RM50 million) fine, a year will be added to Najib’s sentence, meaning he would be released on 23 August 2029.”

The secretariat of the Federal Territories Pardons Board, in a statement, revealed that Najib’s application was one of five it deliberated on during its meeting on Monday (29 January).

This partial royal pardon is connected to Najib’s involvement in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) case. It comes after he served more than one year and five months at Kajang Prison since 2022.

However, factoring in parole for good behavior, there is a possibility of his release as early as August 2026, having completed two-thirds of the revised jail term.

Najib, who began serving his prison term in August 2022, is expected to be released by 2028, possibly even earlier if eligible for parole on good behavior after serving two-thirds of the six-year sentence.

Najib was initially sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined RM210 million on 23 August 2022, following his conviction for abuse of power, criminal breach of trust, and money laundering in the SRC International Sdn Bhd case.

Lawyers for Liberty express concerns over Najib’s reduced sentence impact on Malaysia’s global reputation

Lawyers for Liberty expressed concern that the reduction in Najib’s sentence would harm Malaysia’s international standing and image on Saturday (3 Feb).

Zaid Malek, the director of the organization, emphasized that the 1MDB corruption scandal had global implications, involving corrupt transactions in multiple countries.

This move, he stated, marks a dangerous turning point for Malaysia, causing incalculable damage to its international reputation.

Zaid highlighted the immediate impact on the current government, stating that it has suffered a devastating loss of moral authority due to Najib’s reduced sentence.

He referred to the then Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, who chaired the Pardons Board, emphasizing that the King acted on advice provided to him.

Quoting Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s statement on Najib’s pardon, Zaid argued that Anwar was attempting to shift the responsibility for the reduction of Najib’s sentence to the King, which he deemed constitutionally incorrect.

According to Zaid, the power of pardon is exercised by the King based on the advice of the Pardons Board for the federal territories, as outlined in Article 42 of the Federal Constitution.

Zaid clarified that, according to Article 40(1A), the King must act in accordance with the advice provided.

He emphasized that the King has no discretion in the matter, citing case laws that show the royal prerogative of pardon is not justiciable in court but emphasizing the King’s obligation to follow the Board’s advice.

Questioning Anwar’s statement suggesting that Najib could appeal further to the Pardons Board against his reduced sentence, Zaid deemed it unusual.

He emphasized that such decisions are premature and should be left to the prisoner and legal counsel.

This, he noted, could potentially set the stage for further reduction or a full pardon.

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The global response is the sliding Ringgit. Now which investor is going to come?

Sets a POOR eg. Rm50 mill equals 1 year jail.

Show me who makes 50 million in 1 year? Any currency!

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