AG must clarify why Najib’s partial pardon statement bears PM Dept’s logo, not Istana Negara’s emblem

AN oddity has been detected on the letterhead of the recent media statement which unveiled a discounted or partial pardon for incarcerated former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Lawyer and human rights activist Charles Hector discovered that the former Pekan MP’s pardon statement was issued using the letterhead bearing a logo of the Prime Minister’s Department when it should have borne the emblem of the Istana Negara (National Palace) “as it is the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (YDPA) who pardons as opposed to the Pardon’s Board”.

“Compare (that) with the media statement issued by the Istana Negara when Anwar (Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim) was pardoned (dated May 16, 2018). Rightfully, shouldn’t it be the Agong or the palace that issue a media statement?” Hector posed the question in his latest blog.

“It is just a media statement about the pardon but interestingly, there is no name of the person who issued the media statement on behalf of the Pardon’s Board. Is there even an urusetia or secretariat for the Pardons Board?”

Added co-founder of the NGO Malaysians Against Death Penalty & Torture (MADPET): “The Pardons Board is definitely not under the Prime Minister (PM) or a department under the PM. It is and/or ought to be independent of the PM or the executive arm of government.”

Hector’s reaction came about as former Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Latheefa Koya asserted that the Agong should not be blamed for consenting Najib’s so-called 50% discount in jail sentence (12 years to six years) and 76% reduction in fine (from RM210 mil to RM50 mil) instead of granting a full pardon.

“His Majesty is bound by advice of the Pardons Board. Article 40(1A) of the Federal Constitution states that the Agong ‘shall accept’ advice. When the Pardons Board gave the advice, he had to accept. That advice clearly was to reduce the sentence. Simple as that. So, stop spinning.”

Latheefa who is a lawyer-cum-human rights activist was commenting on PM Anwar’s call for all quarters to respect the Pardons Board’s decision to commute Najib a more lenient sentence.

On this note, Anwar further stressed that in the decision to reduce Najib’s sentence, a huge consideration was not a matter of law but of the prerogative of the YDPA.

Speaking at the Prime Minister’s Department’s monthly assembly, Anwar also said it was not true Najib needed to serve at least three years of his sentence before his pardon application could be heard.

Latheefa who was first woman to be appointed head honcho of the MACC (from June 2019 to March 2020) further expressed disappointment that Najib’s reduction of sentence came as the graft buster agency “is still trying to recover 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Bhd) monies overseas”.

“I was involved in this process and I know the difficulties. Those other countries are carefully watching – will they cooperate now?” wondered the 51-year-old PKR member.

Meanwhile, former PKR Padang Serai MP N. Surendran hit out at the unity government by describing as “quite shameful” that Pakatan Harapan (PH)/DAP has remained “mostly silent (over the) sedition probe on Tony Pua (former DAP Damansara MP).

“How low my old comrades have sunk. Below is Anwar sitting next to me and condemning the Sedition Act when we were in opposition years ago. Promises easily made – after getting power all forgotten,” lamented the 58-year-old lawyer and politician. – Feb 6, 2024

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