Umno has the right to fight for Najib’s pardon, but all this has to be done in accordance with due procedures without exerting any additional pressure on the royalty.
The Umno supreme council has resolved to seek His Majesty Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s consent to grant royal pardon to former prime minister Najib Razak, as provided under Article 42(1) of the Federal Constitution.
The entire Umno has been unusually consistent this time on this matter. All 191 party divisions nationwide, including also the Wanita,Youth and Puteri wings, have all fought in one accord for Najib’s royal pardon.
And this speaks volumes of the reality that after the recent party elections, the Zahid-Najib camp has been firmly in control.
Najib was convicted and sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment and RM210 million fine in July 2020 over the RM42 million money laundering case involving SRC International. His subsequent appeal failed to get the Federal Court to reverse the verdict, and he was sent to jail last August to serve his sentence.
The jailed former PM applied for judicial review, but following the Federal Court’s 4-1 decision against his appeal, Najib has now exhausted all available legal channels; his only chance now lies with a royal pardon from the King.
The incredible thing about the former PM is that his political force has not withered considerably because of his incarceration. Last month, Khairy Jamaluddin, the former Umno youth leader who has been sacked by party, said we should not underestimate the influence of Najib.
Indeed, from the fact the entire party is now fighting to secure Najib’s pardon, Khairy’s postulation is now substantiated.
As a matter of fact, this is not the first time the party has sought Najib’s pardon. When he was first sent to jail last year, hundreds of his supporters petitioned for his pardon in front of the Istana. They did not succeed then, but this time, with the entire party backing him, the party’s move has become all the more eye-catching.
The heat of the Najib royal pardon has now spread across the cyberspace with two different camps filing their own petitions. On the one hand, Bersih, through change.org, has petitioned to His Majesty not to grant royal pardon to Najib; while on the other hand, netizen Ariff Lias has also taken to charge.org to seek Najib’s release through royal pardon.
Both have their own advocates, but from the numbers of signatories, it is obvious that Bersih’s petition has an absolute upper hand.
As deputy prime minister Fadillah Yusof has said, Umno has the right to fight for Najib’s pardon, as this is the party’s freedom. However, in doing so, the party should not slam the judges or the country’s judiciary but should go as per the procedures to allow the King to make his decision at the advice of the Pardons Board.
Democracy emphasizes the total independence of the three branches of government. Where this is concerned, the integrity and credibility of the judiciary is of paramount importance.
The judicial system’s image will invariably be impacted if the supporters of Umno and Najib have gone overboard, hitting out at the judiciary in fighting for the freedom of Najib. This will have a detrimental effect on the overall Malaysian society.
High Court Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, who convicted Najib in the SRC hearing, has since come under criticism, and this is something that shouldn’t have happened at all.
Lately, 14 senior lawyers called on “irresponsible actors” to stop criticizing Nazlan, saying continued criticisms amount to an attack against the judiciary.
Indeed, these people should stop “splashing dirty water” on the judiciary for political reasons.
Umno’s uncompromising stand in seeking Najib’s pardon has given the issue a strong political overtone.
PN chairman and Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin says Umno is using a kind of political trick to pressure His Majesty to grant Najib royal pardon. And we all know that things will become complicated many times over once politics is involved.
In short, while Umno has the right to fight for Najib’s pardon, everything has to be done in accordance with due procedures without exerting any additional pressure on the royalty. Unwarranted external noise and implication of the judiciary will only create more problems.
Eventually the Pardons Board and the King will decide whether Najib deserves a pardon. As for the rest of us, there’s no point creating more hoohah to complicate things further.