FORMER premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s legal team said they are “seriously thinking” about submitting a second application for a full royal pardon for his SRC International conviction and sentence.
Speaking to reporters at the court complex in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday (Feb 7), Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Mohamed Shafee Abdullah said they wanted to wait for the right time to file the petition.
“We are seriously thinking about another petition of pardon, a full pardon. I don’t want to (submit the new petition) too soon because the new King hasn’t warmed his seat yet, and I want to wait for Najib’s instruction,” he was reported as saying.
According to Shafee, the former Pekan MP did not get a fair trial during the RM42 mil SRC International case, especially at the Federal Court in 2022, adding that this was because the apex court did not allow an application by Najib’s legal team for adjournment of the hearing to prepare for the appeal proceedings.
On Feb 2, the Federal Territories Pardons Board announced a reduction of Najib’s prison sentence in the SRC International case from 12 years to six.
His fine was also reduced from RM210 mil to RM50 mil, but with an additional year added to the sentence if he failed to pay the amount.
Najib filed his first application for a royal pardon on Sept 2, 2022, just days after starting his jail sentence on Aug 23 in Kajang prison.
Under the Prisons Regulations 2000, a prisoner can send a second petition three years after their conviction, and subsequently one every two years, barring special circumstances.
Shafee said Najib might not have to serve three years in prison before submitting a second application, citing the provision for “special circumstances” in the Prisons Regulations 2000.
“(Certain lawyers) forgot there are exceptions,” he said.
He also reiterated that they were seeking a full or “free pardon” by which Najib would be deemed not guilty, similar to the pardon granted to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in 2018.
Shafee further noted that it is unclear if the process of the Pardons Board and the decisions made thereto are regular or not, reiterating that it is the full prerogative of the mercy of the Agong with sole discretion to decide whether to give a full pardon or otherwise.
The lawyer claimed that members of the public pointed out alleged inconsistencies in the process that took place at the Pardons Board.
“As a result of these unsatisfactory features, we are looking at another application for a full royal pardon (free pardon). We will decide when we will put in the application. We will have sufficient grounds including some new ones,” he stated.
When quizzed on whether his client might be granted parole, Shafee noted that it was possible if the former prime minister’s terms of imprisonment remained, although the decision would lie with the prisons department.
Shafee also said Najib had yet to pay the reduced fine of RM50 mil. – Feb 7, 2024
Main pic credit: The Star