Royal pardon? Najib’s overjoy may turn into gloom reality

BAD reporting can happen and we have seen this happening in the past 24 hours.

Both Channel News Asia and Utusan Malaysia have had to bite the bullet for jumping the gun.

Taking the cue from Utusan Malaysia, the New Straits Times has also carried the headline, “[BREAKING] Najib Pardoned.”

In the end, instead of a news break, they have had to change their story angle by asking, “Najib pardoned?”


Strong reactions from netizens

However, the news has indeed created waves with many netizens complaining because former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak is pardoned despite it taking more than five years to secure a conviction.

Most people could not palate the possibility of the former Pekan MP being released after spending only a fraction of his original jail sentence.

Whether this was done intentionally to test the public reaction is anyone’s guess but sources close to the Yang DiPertuan Agong (YDPA) Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said that, in the first place, the Agong had no intention to pardon the jailed former prime minister.

Although both Najib and Sultan Abdullah may come from the same home state of Pahang, a crime is still a crime to the Pahang ruler especially when the crime involves the nation’s wealth and reputation.

Malaysia did not secure an improvement in the ranking on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index for nothing. Last year, the ranking improved four notches from being No 61 most corrupted nation in 2022 to 57th position in 2023.

The SRC International’s case involving RM41 mil went through all three levels with a total of nine judges – one High Court judge, three Appeals Court judges and five Federal Court judges. All nine judges agreed that Najib was guilty.

Reduced jail sentence?

After all, Najib has only spent less than two years in prison – to be precise, only 17 months. It would be a mockery to the country’s judiciary system with the nation’s reputation ruined in the eyes of the international community if a conviction secured after five years of court battles ended with the convict being pardoned.

Other prisoners have to wait for many years before their applications reach the Pardons Board. In most cases, the appeals are rejected and the prisoner would have to wait for another two years before he can submit another appeal.

In the case of Najib, he has three other cases hanging like the sword of Damocles over his head; therefore, it is highly unlikely that Sultan Abdullah would go against the convention to grant the royal pardon. Usually, convicts do not have ongoing cases before their appeals are considered by the Pardon Board.

Word is going around that Najib may, however, see a reduced jail sentence, but for a case involving a former prime minister with such a bad track record, a minimum of two thirds of the original jail sentence may serve him right.

After all, no one is above the law, regardless of their positions or connections. In fact, Najib should set the example as a leader of the nation, that he would uphold the rule of law.

It is also learnt that a convict can only receive the Royal Pardon once. Najib’s best option, therefore, is to wait for all the other cases to be over before he seeks for a Royal Pardon; otherwise, if he gets his clemency now, he may have to spend the rest of his natural life in prison.

After all, which prisoner can get clemency for more than once? – Jan 31, 2024

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