The decision of the Pardons Board to reduce Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s sentence was influenced by Najib’s contributions to the nation, said Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
The Prime Minister explained that various factors were considered during the Pardons Board meeting, including Najib’s role, life journey, contributions to his family, prison life, services, and contributions to the community.
The discussion also encompassed details of the judicial process, the nature of the case, and the imposed punishment.
“The appeal process to the Pardons Board considers a holistic view of the individual’s life and contributions.
“Information is thoroughly presented before each board member provides their perspective, ultimately leading to the decision by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong,” he said at the Prime Minister’s Assembly with officials from the Prime Minister’s Department held today.
Anwar added that as the Prime Minister, he must ensure that every appeal application receives due consideration from the Appeals Board.
“Some argue that there must be a three-year gap (after sentencing to apply for a pardon), which is inaccurate. Anyone undergoing the process for the first time is eligible to submit an appeal.
“In the context of this case, when appeals are officially announced, I, as the Prime Minister, take measures to ensure their proper consideration.
“I acknowledge the weight of this responsibility. Upon receiving any appeal, I promptly request the Pardons Board to convene and deliberate on the matter,” he said.
Anwar noted that he participated in the inaugural meeting of the Federal Territories Pardons Board on Dec 9, given his responsibility for Federal Territories-related matters at that time.
Following a Cabinet reshuffle, Dr Zaliha Mustafa assumed leadership of the Federal Territories portfolio, representing Anwar in subsequent board meetings.
“While my attendance was limited to the Dec 9 meeting, subsequent sessions were presided over by the Federal Territories Minister and the Attorney General.
“Nonetheless, I remain actively engaged in reviewing the appeal submitted by the former Prime Minister,” he said.
Anwar also said the Pardons Board’s decision was due to the ‘mercy and compassion’ of the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.
“The decision of the meeting results from careful consideration and was an act of compassion. Whether His Majesty wishes to clarify the decision is entirely at His Majesty’s discretion.
“Members of the pardon board will express their individual perspectives, and anyone is entitled to appeal to the board for further deliberation.”
Anwar added that if there are lingering disputes among the public regarding the issue, they can submit a memorandum to the former Agong.
Meanwhile, Anwar has called for an immediate stop to all condemnation and criticism regarding the Pardons Board’s decision concerning Najib.
“I have spoken with the IGP, and in this case, before the relevant pardon board provides explanations, we should take a moderate approach because we understand that people have firm opinions.
“We should allow a bit of leeway (temporarily), but after the clarification on this decision is made, all of this should be stopped.”
Yesterday, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Razarudin Husain confirmed that DAP politician Tony Pua is the first to be summoned for questioning over his remarks on the decision to reduce Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s prison sentence and fine.
Razarudin said investigations have been initiated into Pua’s Facebook statements.
Pua recently took to Facebook to criticise the Pardons Board’s decision on Najib.
Pua posted a series of cryptic messages on his Facebook account, including one that read, “I beg your pardon?”
Anwar added that the public should not dwell solely on the Pardons Board’s decision, as numerous national issues deserve the attention of all parties.
“Many issues are yet to be resolved, economic problems, salary harmonisation problems, and those are the main priorities we must focus on. Governance issues are comprehensive.
“Our stance remains steadfast, unwavering; I faced the strongest attacks because I directed all agencies to be firm, and we managed to prevent leadership misconduct from burdening the nation with extraordinary debt.”