PETITION FOR PARDON
Constitutional law and human rights lawyer New Sin Yew explained that the second option – the petition for pardon by the king – is not a judicial, but an executive process.
“The judicial process ended with the Federal Court. This is an executive process where the executive may choose to remit, suspend or commute the sentence,” he explained.
This power can only be exercised by the king, Mr New added, after having consulted or been recommended by the Pardons Board.
This pardon will only be in relation to an offence for which Najib had been convicted, and will not affect other court cases the former prime minister is involved in.
“There is no time limit for Najib to do so, but if he does not do it within 14 days, he will be disqualified as a member of parliament.”
“If he files it, he will only be disqualified if and when his petition is denied,” Mr New explained.
According to Regulation 113 of the Prison Regulation 2000, a prisoner could petition the king or the state ruler on the matter of the prisoner’s conviction or sentence twice – once as soon as practicable after his conviction, and another after three years from the date of his conviction.
Following that, such petitions from the same prisoner would be granted at two year intervals unless there were special circumstances.
On Wednesday, Najib’s supporters gathered outside the national palace in Kuala Lumpur to submit a memorandum to palace officials, Malaysian media reported.
They have two demands – a royal pardon for Najib, and for Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief to meet the king to present the evidence that there was a conflict of interests in regards to Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, according to the Star.
Judge Mohd Nazlan was the High Court judge who found Najib guilty in July 2020. Najib’s legal team had argued that there was an alleged conflict of interest as the judge did not disclose his previous role with Maybank while the bank was 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) strategic advisor.
Malay daily Sinar Harian quoted House of Representatives speaker Azhar Azizan Harun as saying on Wednesday that Najib must submit an application for royal pardon within 14 hours or he will lose his Pekan seat.
This is in line with Article 48 of the Federal Constitution, which states that a person is disqualified for being a member of either house of the parliament if he has been convicted of an offence and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than one year or to a fine of not less than RM2,000, and has not received a free pardon.
Meanwhile, electoral watchdog Bersih launched an online petition to appeal to the king not to grant a pardon to Najib.
The petition on change.org said: “With all our hearts we appeal to Your Majesty to consider our request to deny any appeal for pardon by Najib, who has brought shame to the country.”
“As a nation, we must not tolerate corruption or the corrupt, whoever that person may be,” it added.