Malaysian Bar bids for judicial review of Najib’s partial pardon

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, April 30—The Malaysian Bar has applied for judicial review of the Federal Territories Pardons Board decision to reduce Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s sentence from his SRC International conviction, alleging preferential treatment for the ex-prime minister.

In the application filed on April 26, the Bar asserted that the board acted unconstitutionally in granting Najib a hearing before he was due for one, effectively violating other eligible prisoners’ right to equality under the Federal Constitution.

The Bar further argued that the board’s decision did not take into account other circumstances surrounding Najib, such as other ongoing criminal trials for which he may be sentenced to further imprisonment.

It also argued that the board did not consider additional matters including Najib’s lack of remorse for his actions in the SRC International case and other conduct related to the 1MDB global corruption scandal.

"Najib's action, for which he was found guilty in the SRC trial and appeals, have brought massive disrepute to Malaysia, damaged investors' and burdened taxpayers with his siphoning of RM42 million, and for which no reparation has been made.

Najib has never shown any repentance, remorse or contrition. He has not, in truth, sought pardon, forgiveness, mercy or clemency. He has not accepted the outcome or finality of the judicial process against him. On the contrary, he has publicly maintained that he was unfairly convicted of all three levels of the Superior Courts. He has repeatedly accused the Courts of miscarriages of justice," the affidavit read.

The Malaysian Bar added that presently, Najib is still facing more criminal charges in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) money laundering trial linked to Tanore Finance Corporation and Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Co, exceeding RM2 billion.

"Foreign jurisdictions and the Malaysian authorities have, and are still seeking to bring to justice, those involved in the 1MDB scandal," the document read further.

The Malaysian Bar also expressed shock at the Pardons Board's decision, adding that it is "so unreasonable that no reasonable Pardons Board would have made them."

On February 2, the Pardons Board announced that Najib’s initial 12-year jail term has been halved to six years, which means he can be released earlier on August 23, 2028.

The Pardons 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.

If he fails to do so, his early release date will be a year later on August 23, 2029.

Hearing for Bar’s application for leave has been set for July 2.

The Malaysian Bar is being represented by Messrs Amir and Rajpal Ghai.

At the Malaysian Bar’s 78th annual general meeting last month, members of the legal professional body for peninsular Malaysia adopted the resolution for the Bar Council to urgently file the court challenge.

The motion for the resolution was proposed by former Malaysian Bar president Zainur Zakaria and seconded by another former Malaysian Bar president Yeo Yang Poh.

The proposed motion had argued that Najib’s application for a pardon should not have been processed and decided as he had only served one-and-a-half years of his 12-year jail term and that he had not paid the RM210 million fine on him, among other things.

The proposed motion had also stated the Malaysian Bar as viewing the Pardons Board to have acted “ultra vires” or beyond Article 42 of the Federal Constitution and against the law when the Pardons Board decided to reduce Najib’s jail term by half and to reduce his fine to RM50 million.