Zahid: Royal addendum for Najib’s house arrest is real

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Media barred from covering the hearing of Najib’s leave application, while Najib’s lawyer accuses government of concealing existence of royal addendum.

The Royal addendum from the former Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, which would allow Datuk Seri Najib Razak to go under house arrest, does exists, claims Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The Deputy Prime Minister said this in his affidavit in support of Najib’s application for leave to commence judicial review in relation to the royal addendum he claimed was granted to him along with his royal pardon.

In the document, the Umno president said he was shown the document by former Selangor Umno treasurer Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz at his (Ahmad Zahid’s) house at Country Heights on Jan 30.

Ahmad Zahid said Tengku Zafrul showed him a copy of the addendum order on his (Tengku Zafrul’s) phone which he personally photographed or scanned from an original copy as shown to him by the former YDPA.

“The contents of the addendum order expressly stated that the applicant (Najib) be allowed to serve the reduced sentence of his imprisonment under condition of house arrest, instead of the current prison confinement in the Kajang Prison.

“I further sighted that the addendum order is dated Jan 29 and has the seal and signature of His Majesty Seri Paduka Baginda the Yang di-Pertuan Agong XVI.

“I further confirm that the addendum order is genuine and in fact is the Royal Prerogative Order as the Main Order.

“I verily believe that for the sufficient period of time I sighted and read the addendum order, and I clearly saw the entire contents and that it forms part of the pardon process.

“Thus, I hereby confirm the existence of the addendum order dated Jan 29 issued by the former King,” Ahmad Zahid stated in the affidavit dated April 9.

The affidavit is accessible to the public on the judiciary website.

Previously, the court was told that a “crucial witness” would be supporting Najib’s application in his bid to go under house arrest.

Ahmad Zahid, however, stated that he did not have a copy of the impugned document due to confidentiality and propriety, especially in the light of the fact that the addendum order had by then not been executed or enforced.

He said he believed that other government members have seen the addendum order apart from him and Tengku Zafrul.

“Specifically, I am aware that Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail (Pahang menteri besar) has also seen a copy of the addendum order and can confirm the same.

“I am further verily informed that the Attorney General (AG) has the original copy of the addendum order for his legal input on the same,” Ahmad Zahid said.

Earlier, the High Court barred the press from covering the hearing of Najib’s leave application at the request of Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.

Muhammad Shafee said the matter should be moved in-chambers due to its sensitive nature.

Senior Federal Counsels Shamsul Bolhassan and Ahmad Hanir Hambaly did not object.

Justice Amarjeet Singh allowed the application.

A total of seven respondents were named in Najib’s suit, namely the home minister, Commissioner General of Prisons, the attorney general, the Federal Territories Pardons Board, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform), the Director General of Legal Affairs Division and the Malaysian government.

In the application, Najib alleged that he received confirmation on February 12 about the issuance of the “supplementary order” or Addendum Order, which would allow him to serve his reduced prison sentence under the condition of “home arrest” instead of Kajang Prison.

Najib also sought a mandamus order to compel the respondents to provide the original version of the royal addendum, costs, and any other relief deemed fit by the court.

He claimed in his affidavit to support the judicial review that his rights had been adversely affected and infringed upon by the respondents in ignoring his inquiries over the alleged royal addendum.

He claimed that the respondents’ disregard of his request constituted a direct intrusion of his basic rights under the Federal Constitution and also amounted to direct contempt of the Agong.

Najib further alleged that the respondents are trying to conceal the existence of the alleged royal addendum.

Back on March 4, Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail assured that Najib is not on the list of prisoners who will be serving time under house arrest.

The minister told Malaysiakini that only prisoners serving less than four years of jail time, senior citizens, pregnant women and people with disabilities will be on the home detention list.

“Najib is not included in that list,” he said.

Earlier, it was reported that Putrajaya’s newly proposed house arrest for prisoners was intended to reduce overcrowding in jails, not to be abused by convicted leaders.

Saifuddin reportedly dismissed the claim that the home detention policy was meant to allow Najib to serve his remaining prison term in the comfort of his home as ill-intentioned.

On February 2, the Pardon’s Board halved Najib’s sentence from a 12-year prison term to six years for misappropriating funds amounting to RM42 million, which means he may be released earlier on August 23, 2028.

Bernama

Najib has been imprisoned since August 23, 2022, after the Federal Court upheld his conviction for criminal breach of trust, power abuse and money laundering over the misappropriation of SRC International Sdn Bhd’s funds.

The Pardon’s Board said it had also decided to reduce his RM210 million fine to RM50 million, and his early release would be contingent on him paying this amount.

Other reliefs sought by Najib include for the court to compel the respondents to execute said supplementary order.

The judge fixed June 5 to deliver his decision.

When met outside, Shafee told reporters the present issue before the court was the “first of its kind” where an order purportedly issued by the former King was neither shown to Najib nor enforced.

“Those concealing (the supplementary order) are certainly committing serious wrong, you cannot conceal, this is the Agong’s order you have to obey,” he said.

“The addendum order curiously was not announced by any of the respondents when the announcement of the main order was made.

“It must be impressed that the addendum order was already in existence since Jan 29, but this anomaly was never revealed nor explained by any of the respondents,” he claimed.

Najib said he later instructed his solicitors to confirm the details of the addendum order with the AG by way of a letter dated Feb 14.

The letter was copied to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as well as his deputy Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The existence of the addendum order and its non-enforcement was escalated to the Home Minister on March 22.