Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s lawyer, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, has explained that the former prime minister is undergoing his PhD studies while in prison.
Asked in the Keluar Sekejap podcast about how Najib can access his studying materials, the lawyer said Najib’s assistant would bring him the necessary materials but they would be subject to assessment by prison authorities.
“The assistant brought materials with him, including books to read. However, the books will be filtered and he cannot just accept them.
“It makes me happy that he is doing something. It shows that the mind is not idle,” he told the podcast hosted by former health minister Khairy Jamaluddin and former Umno information chief Shahril Hamdan.
Shafee also asserted that Najib is serving his sentence in prison, amid speculations by the public due to several social media posts on his accounts despite being deprived of internet access.
“He is at the prison, a regular one but due to safety concerns, he is isolated from others.
“If he is with others, anything can happen,” he said.
In March, Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail confirmed that Najib has not been allowed any access to gadgets while imprisoned, and he has signed up for post-graduate studies while serving his 12-year jail term over the misappropriation of SRC International Sdn Bhd’s RM42 million.
Saifuddin confirmed that Najib is not allowed to use a laptop or access the internet while in Kajang Prison but suggested that it was still possible for him to post social media posts through his social media team doing so on his behalf as long as they can access his social media accounts.
During the podcast episode, Shafee spoke extensively on the Altantuya murder case that made global headlines in 2006.
He said that a review of the death sentence on Sirul Azhar Umar should be filed by the government through the Attorney General.
He said that provisions under the newly enacted Abolition of Mandatory Death Penalty Act 2023 allowed the court to revise sentences based on the application submitted by individuals.
Shafee said there was an overwhelming reason why Sirul’s death sentence should be reduced to life imprisonment.
He also agreed with Khairy who said that the onus on filing the review lies on the government.
“(The ball) is in the government’s court, correct. Previous governments have been sitting on it and it has been 13 years.
“It is not fair to the Malaysian public, the deceased’s families, and also to Najib who had been accused continuously,” added Shafee.