KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 3 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is currently serving a 12-year jail term in Kajang Prison, has asked the Prisons Department that he be allowed out “once in a while” to visit his parliamentary constituency of Pekan in Pahang, his lawyer said today.
Najib’s lead defence lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said his client had written to the department’s director-general on September 19, but insisted that his client was not seeking to be accorded the same privileges as MPs who are not prisoners.
In the same letter, Najib had asked, in his capacity as Pekan MP, to be allowed to attend Dewan Rakyat sittings in Parliament despite being imprisoned, as well as meet his constituency aide a few times a week.
“We have told the prison, at least two to three times a week, his political aide from the constituency should be able to visit him to take instructions, what to do in his constituency, so that the people in his constituency can be serviced, because otherwise the people do not have an MP that can function for their benefit. So we wrote also for that.
“And thirdly also, this may be a little bit more difficult to manage, but it is not impossible, once in a while, he should be able — as long as he is an MP — he should be able to be escorted to his constituency in order to hear the grouses of his people. And then to delegate the work to his aides whether there is any solution to their problem and to render assistance,” Shafee told reporters during a press conference at the court complex here.
Lawyer Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah speaks to reporters at the Kuala Lumpur High Court October 3, 2022. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Kajang Prison, where Najib is currently incarcerated, is about four hours’ drive from Pekan.
Since Najib was imprisoned on August 23, he has been brought to the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex by a convoy of cars from the prison to attend his other ongoing trials. He attends the trials under heavy security with multiple prison officers deployed in court.
Today, Shafee claimed that only Najib’s lawyers and relatives are allowed to meet him at present.
Asked if the existing prison rules and prison laws only allow for family members and lawyers to visit a prisoner, Shafee instead insisted that Najib’s political aide should still be allowed to meet him.
“No, this is what I’m saying, he is an MP, treat him as MP. What is the use of being an MP in name only? And what security problem would you have? I would say it is zero.
“If a political aide is coming to prison, give him the right to see Datuk Seri Najib, whether using the telephone, face to face, or contact visit. One or two or three of them or one at a time, it is up to the prison, and they can take instructions as to what to do next in the constituency of Pekan; otherwise Pekan is not being serviced by an MP,” he said.
“If he’s still an MP, make sure treat him an (sic) MP for purposes of his duties. I’m not saying you must give him the privileges, all the privileges a free MP gets, but his duty as an MP — the main one is to attend Parliament and to contribute towards the discussion in Parliament — that we think, is the most important one,” Shafee also said as he stressed why his client should be allowed to attend Parliament as a prisoner.