I have noticed that none of my fellow columnists here have touched on the jailing of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak over the past week.
So, let me take on this sensational national affair as a matter of interest but I will focus on one important aspect post-the SRC International appeal – that is whether Najib should be pardoned or not?
Before discussing whether the convicted Najib should be pardoned or not, let’s take a glimpse at the clemency procedures.
It must first be understood that while the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or state rulers have the power to grant pardons, they are advised by a pardons board.
The board will consider applications and then advise the king or state ruler. There is a process in place which needs to be followed.
Cases involving federal prisoners will be heard by a federal pardons board, comprising the Attorney-General (AG), the federal territories minister and three lay members, and chaired by the Agong.
The most important voices on the board are those of the AG and the minister. It is the AG who asks the king to convene a meeting, at which the king receives the advice of the board.
The Agong is free to act contrary to this advice, but a convention exists in federal cases whereby he accepts the board’s advice, in accordance with his ceremonial role.
Najib has been in Kajang Prison for less than a week and it is interesting to see the clemency issue being discussed and hotly debated.
As expected, supporters of the former prime minister want the Agong to pardon Najib as soon as possible while others gave a vehement ‘No’.
An online petition initiated by Bersih asking the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah not to grant Najib a royal pardon has garnered more than 100,000 signatures within four days.
I have also received the petition but I decline to sign it because I believe it is an exercise in futility. With Najib’s incarceration, I feel that justice has been served.
Najib has been found guilty of seven counts of corruption and money laundering and he is now paying the price for his mistakes and blunders (and greed as well). A total of nine honourable judges could not be wrong.
For the moment, I am somewhat satisfied that the guilty man has been punished. I wish the same for all the corrupt, greedy and power-crazy political leaders
At this stage, I feel it is a little too early to send such a petition to the king. It is jumping the gun and is not necessary for now.
I also believe that a pardon for Najib is a foregone conclusion. It’s only a matter of timing. Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad should know better when he commented that it was “highly likely” that Najib would receive the royal pardon.
Already, a group of Umno supporters had submitted a memorandum to Istana Negara on Aug 24 seeking a royal pardon for Najib.
The group, Pertubuhan Jalinan Perpaduan Negara, also demanded that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob send a letter to the king to seek a pardon for Najib.
Both sides have the freedom and right to register their demands and let their voices be heard. Even Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi thundered his ‘pardon Najib’ call at a party briefing recently.
Well, Zahid has his right too but he should also know that if found guilty of the corruption and money laundering charges against him, he must also serve time first. Clemency, if it takes place, only comes later.
Although I have refrained from affixing my signature to the online petition, it does not mean that I am not supporting its objective.
I can agree with many that getting a royal pardon for Najib now would make a mockery of the judiciary. It is paramount to ensure that in this country, no one is above the law and that this rule of law must be maintained.
So, should Najib be pardoned? I have opined that it’s a foregone conclusion and only a question of timing.
All criminals, even those on death row, are entitled to a pardon or have their sentences commuted. Hence, Najib is also entitled to it.
The Agong also has the constitutional power to pardon with the advice of the pardons board. Who are we to say that he should not exercise that right to pardon Najib or anyone else?
However, I believe that the majority of Malaysians would be able to accept a pardon for Najib if he has served a few years of his 12-year sentence in prison.
It is without doubt that an immediate pardon for the convicted felon is unacceptable to the people at large.
We trust that the Agong, in his wisdom, knows best what to do in dealing with this delicate and high profile case.
The views expressed here are those of the columnist and do not necessarily represent the views of New Sarawak Tribune.