Tengku Zafrul fails in bid to ‘correct certain errors’ about alleged order for Najib to serve out sentence at home

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, May 2 — The High Court today rejected Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz’s application for leave to file an affidavit to “correct certain errors” over a purported “supplementary order” the previous King issued for Datuk Seri Najib Razak to serve the remainder of his sentence under house arrest.

Najib’s lawyer, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, affirmed the matter after Zafrul’s application was heard in chambers before High Court judge Datuk Amarjeet Singh Serjit Singh.

Muhammad Shafee said the court refused to grant leave to Zafrul as there was no legal provision for someone not involved in a judicial review’s proceeding to file affidavits.

“He (Zafrul) is not a party (to the present proceeding). This is ex-parte (hearing) purely for leave,” he told reporters when met outside the court.

However, Shafee indicated the court also said Zafrul and his lawyers could try their luck again if Najib is given leave to pursue his legal challenge when the court decides on June 5.

The Attorney General’s Chambers, led by senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan and Ahmad Hanir Hambaly @ Arwi, did not object to Zafrul’s application to file his affidavit.

They noted as this was at ex-parte stage, a party not part of the proceedings need not file any affidavit.

“However, if the affidavit is deemed to assist the court, then the court may allow it,” Shamsul told reporters.

Lawyer Datuk Sunil Abraham appeared for Zafrul.

Previously, deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi filed a testimony in support of Najib’s legal bid to compel the federal government and the Pardons Board to produce a purported “supplementary order” from the previous Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

In Ahmad Zahid’s affidavit, the Umno president claimed that the existence of the “supplementary order” or Addendum Order had been affirmed by a fellow Cabinet member Zafrul who is the Investment, Trade and Industry (Miti) minister.

A total of seven respondents were named in Najib’s ongoing 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.

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.

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.