Shafee: No idea when Najib’s pardon bid will be heard

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A news report speculated that the pardons board will meet soon to determine Najib’s fate.

It is disrespectful to second guess the activities of the pardons board, says Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s lead lawyer following a news report speculating that the body will meet soon to determine the fate of the ex-prime minister.

Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah also said that neither Najib nor his lawyers had been informed of the status of the latter’s petition for a pardon over his 2021 conviction for embezzling funds in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.

“Until almost the end of 2023, we received no news or clue whatsoever about the petition for our pardon,” Shafee said in a statement on Wednesday (Jan 10) in response to queries sparked by a news channel article on Tuesday.

Quoting sources, the article claimed that Najib’s pardon petition would likely be heard in the third week of this month after it was deferred from December.

“Our client was anxious about the status of his petition for pardon and has therefore directed us to remind the Legal Affairs Division on Dec 4 (last year) of our client’s pending pardon petition, which has received no response so far,” Shafee said, adding that the petition was filed 16 months ago.

Given that neither his client nor his office has been updated on the pardon petition, Shafee found it “baffling” how the news channel and its reporter could get news of the application.

“We do not know who the unnamed sources they relied on for such a sensational story. We can say unequivocally that Datuk Seri Najib is clueless about the claims.”

“Lastly, we remind the media and the public that under Article 42 of the Federal Constitution, the power of pardon, in this case, is a prerogative power of the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, unbridled, unfettered and absolute in nature,” Shafee said.

“It is therefore disrespectful to second guess the activities of the Pardons Board, whose nature of work must be undertaken in absolute secrecy for it to effectively advise the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong”.

Najib is currently serving a 12-year sentence after being found guilty of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering in relation to RM42mil that had been siphoned from SRC International, a former 1MBD subsidiary. He was also fined RM210mil.

The ex-prime minister is also currently in the dock to answer charges of abuse of power that allegedly brought him financial benefit to the tune of RM2.28bil, which is believed to also have been 1MDB funds. – The Star