KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 3 — Malaysia’s progress in halting its decline on the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) could be undone by the decision to halve former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s sentence related to the 1MDB scandal, Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh said today.
The DAP MP said the move implied that Malaysia did not truly consider corruption to be a major problem, noting that Najib was not only convicted of all charges in his SRC International case, but also labelled a “national embarrassment” by a Federal Court judge during his appeal.
Ramkarpal 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.
“Given the above, there can be no doubt that Najib’s case is no ordinary one and the Pardon’s Board ought to disclose its reasons for commuting Najib’s sentences.
“As the matter is one of public interest, I urge the Pardon’s Board to explain the reasons for their decision forthwith as a failure to do so will fuel speculation that the said decision was unjustified,” he said in a statement today.
Yesterday, the Federal Territories Pardons Board announced that Najib’s prison sentence will be reduced by half while his fine will be cut from RM210 million to RM50 million.
The decision meant Najib, who began serving his prison term in August 2022, would be released by 2028.
He is likely to be released even earlier than that as he would be eligible for parole on good behaviour after serving just two-thirds of the six years.
Earlier today, Najib’s Umno party said it accepted the decision but maintained that he was innocent and should have been fully pardoned.
On Tuesday, Malaysia rose to 57th in the 2023 CPI, ending three straight years of decline on the global corruption ladder.