G25: Pardons Board should provide clear reason behind decision related to Najib

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The Pardons Board should provide the public with a written reason for its decision related to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, says civil society organisation G25.

Lim Huey Teng/Reuters

In a statement, the group expressed shock at the decision of the Pardons Board to grant Najib a 50% reduction of his 12-year sentence of imprisonment and a substantial reduction of his fine from RM210mil to RM50mil.

“As such, we respectfully request that the Pardons Board provide the public with a written reason for such a decision.

“Or, at the very least, furnish the public with the written opinion of the Attorney General to the Pardons Board pursuant to Article 42(9) of the Federal Constitution,” it said in a statement on Monday (Dec 5).

The Pardons Board announced the decision on Friday (Feb 2), reducing the convicted former prime minister’s jail term from 12 years to six.

According to a statement by the board, Najib will be released on Aug 23, 2028, and the fine has been reduced to RM50mil from RM210mil.

The group also pointed out that a substantial amount of energy, time and resources had been expended by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the office of the Attorney General to investigate and prosecute Najib before the Courts – from the High Court right up to the Federal Court and to secure a conviction.

“A total of 13 judges had found Najib guilty of all the charges preferred against him.

“In considering the reasonableness or otherwise of the Pardons Board’s decision, we also must not lose sight of the fact that Najib has only served 17 months of a 144-month sentence. He has three other pending criminal cases,” noted G25.

The former prime minister was also currently on trial to answer charges of abuse of power that allegedly brought him financial benefit to the tune of RM2.28bil, believed to have been 1MDB funds.

“We fear that the Pardons Board’s decision would create a bad precedent and result in the justice system in Malaysia being ridiculed internationally,” added G25.

The group also wanted clarification on whether the Prime Minister or Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, was involved in fast-tracking the pardon review.

“Further, by fast-tracking Najib’s application for pardon before the Pardons Board, whilst there are many other prisoners in the queue waiting for their pardon applications to be heard, isn’t this inconsistent with Article 8 of the Constitution, which provides for equality before the law?” asked G25.

“Irrelevant considerations must be cast aside. The law is no respecter of persons.

“Justice must always be upheld no matter what. Those entrusted to uphold justice and the law must not on any account betray that trust. We, in G25, earnestly hope that what has happened will never recur in the future,” it said. – The Star