Loke: Pardons Board’s decision to reduce Najib’s sentence final, but he remains guilty

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DAP has reportedly called for the public to remain calm following the Pardons Board’s decision to reduce former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s sentence.

Its secretary-general Anthony Loke was quoted saying that the Pardons Board’s decision on the matter is final and thus cannot be challenged in any court but does not in any way absolve Najib of his conviction.

“We understand that some Pakatan Harapan supporters are upset over Najib’s sentence reduction.

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“But the Pardons Board decision is final, and the Cabinet is not in any way involved in the decision,” Loke was quoted as saying by Malaysiakini in Negeri Sembilan.

Loke later said the move would not impact DAP’s relationship with Umno-Barisan Nasional in the coalition government but admitted that he does not know how this would impact the coalition’s chance in the next general election.

Explaining further, Loke said the country’s existing law accorded every person, including Najib, the right to request a pardon for their crimes.

“[In this case] he was not pardoned. He remains guilty of his charge, but only the sentence is halved,” Loke reportedly said, referring to Najib.

“The reason for [the sentence reduction] is only known to the Pardons Board.”

He further stressed that Najib still had other court cases.

Meanwhile, DAP MP Ramkarpal Singh urged the Pardons Board to explain the reasons behind its decision.

“It’s a matter of public interest. Hence, I urge the board to explain its reasons.

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“Failure to do so will fuel speculation that the said decision was unjustified,” Ramkarpal said in a statement.

He added that the reduced sentence of six years’ jail and a RM50mil fine is inadequate given the gravity of Najib’s crime.

The Bukit Gelugor MP called on the Pardons Board to explain its rationale for the reduction of the sentence imposed on Najib, who was now serving time in jail.

He also said this could result in the perception that the government did not take the menace of corruption seriously.

He pointed out that Najib was convicted by a total of nine judges from the High Court to the Federal Court, with one judge describing his defence as a “national embarrassment”.

“The findings of guilt made against him in this case are beyond doubt.

“The position was further compounded by the fact that Najib committed the offences when he was head of government with utter disregard of the consequences of his actions to the nation and her people.

“Najib’s case is no ordinary one and the Pardons Board ought to disclose its reasons for commuting Najib’s sentence,” said Ramkarpal.

The former law and institutional reform deputy minister further contended that Najib’s sentence of 12 years’ imprisonment and a RM210 million fine was already less than what he should have received for his crimes.