Malaysia cabinet discusses Najib’s pardon bid in the midst of speculation

Najib’s appeal for a royal pardon was initiated shortly after he commenced serving his sentence in 2022, following the exhaustion of all other legal avenues.

In a recent incident in Malaysia, the country’s cabinet convened to deliberate on a request by incarcerated former Prime Minister Najib Razak for a royal pardon. However, the cabinet clarified that it lacks the authority to disclose any outcomes arising from the discussion, as affirmed by Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail during a press conference on immigration and labour matters. The media, keen on updates regarding Najib’s clemency plea, swarmed the event, eager for insights into the situation.

Najib, who is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence for corruption related to the state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), has steadfastly maintained his innocence. Allegations suggest that $4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB, with over $1 billion purportedly funnelled into accounts linked to the former premier. Najib’s appeal for a royal pardon was initiated shortly after he commenced serving his sentence in 2022, following the exhaustion of all other legal avenues.

While Malaysia’s Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Zaliha Mustafa, disclosed that the Pardons Board convened this week and hinted at an impending official statement, no specifics regarding Najib’s plea were disclosed. The ambiguity sparked a frenzy of media speculation, with a prominent local newspaper retracting a report that prematurely claimed Najib had been granted a full pardon.

Despite numerous attempts to seek clarification from Najib’s legal team, representatives, and Malaysia’s attorney-general, who also serves on the pardons board, no responses were forthcoming. Government officials remained tight-lipped on subsequent reports, with Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil urging prudence and professionalism in reporting, emphasizing the importance of awaiting official statements.

The saga surrounding Najib’s involvement in the 1MDB scandal persists, with the former premier maintaining that he was misled by fugitive financier Jho Low and other 1MDB officials regarding the origin of the funds. Najib asserts that he believed the funds were legitimate donations from the Saudi royal family. Despite his ongoing trial in various corruption cases linked to 1MDB, Najib’s daughter, Nooryana Najwa Najib shared a poignant image of her father, accompanied by a caption expressing her enduring hope for his return, regardless of the duration of his absence.

Nevertheless, the nation eagerly awaits an official announcement from the Pardons Board regarding Najib’s plea while the spectre of the 1MDB scandal continues to loom large over Malaysian politics, highlighting the significance of transparency and accountability in addressing allegations of corruption at the highest levels of government.