Three rationales why Bossku’s royal pardon hits a major stumbling block

NOW that Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s royal pardon is ‘rejected’ (no discussion by the pardons Board on the matter), the question is “Why?”

Anyone observing closely the drama will be able to piece together the jigsaw puzzle that this is nothing but a ploy to de-stablise the unity government helmed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PMX).

The fact that UMNO president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who is also Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman supports the unity government – and this being the humble request of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (YDPA) Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah himself – makes it difficult for BN to exist as a coalition.

The dissenters will have to live with it that the palace wants a unity government to run the country for a full five-year term.

As pointed out by Tian Chua in an earlier article, the unity government set up by PMX has to be pragmatic with the inclusion of Zahid as a key cabinet player.

It is also not easy for Zahid to play the balancing act between supporting the wishes of his party and yet being a member of the unity government since the palace is involved. A change of Agong next January should technically not affect the stability of the unity government set up by the present King.

Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah

Therefore, the UMNO faction that once supported former PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin – including MCA – has no choice but to tag along with Zahid till at least the end of the full parliamentary term (2027). Voters do not want yet another snap election.

Why royal pardon?

Put simply, the campaign for Najib’s royal pardon is a poorly concocted game plan which was bound to fail. The party was already told that UMNO as a political party has no locus standi to appeal for Najib’s royal pardon.

However, the fact that the campaign still went ahead shows that the real reason was to destabilise and discredit Zahid as UMNO president. Once Zahid is removed, the next president may not necessary support the unity government.

In their attempt to shake Zahid’s position, Najib’s loyalists have unwittingly mixed their loyalty to the party with their loyalty to a former comrade.

In fact, reliable sources had earlier hinted that the present Agong is unlikely to grant the royal pardon to Najib due to possibly a number of reasons.

Firstly, the incarcerated former Pekan MP has only been in prison for less than a year. This – being a case of public interest – would make a mockery of both the palace and the nation if Najib’s crime was granted a royal pardon.

Secondly, Najib’s first appeal was already made last year, hence a subsequent appeal could only be granted once every two years.

Thirdly, the SRC International case is not the only case that Najib is involved in. With a number of other on-going cases – if Najib were to be found guilty – he would have to serve the full prison term. One can only receive a royal pardon once – not twice or more.

Therefore, Najib for now would have to sit still until his opportunity for a royal pardon comes knocking on the door – and that is – also if he shows true remorse.

Above all else, this is not about the Agong’s whims and fancies but the wise King is well-aware that Malaysians are fed up with the prospect of another national poll so soon after the recent one on Nov 19 last year. – April 30, 2023

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