Petition for Malaysia’s king not to give Najib a royal pardon gains more than 80k signatures

Artwork by Project Brazen
Artwork by Project Brazen

In less than 24 hours, an online petition requesting Malaysia’s king to reject giving convicted former premier Najib Abdul Razak a royal pardon has gained more than eighty thousand signatures on Change.org. The petition was set up by The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) yesterday. 

As of 12pm today, the petition has gained 82,224 signatures. 

The 69-year-old became the first ever Malaysian prime minister to be convicted and jailed on Tuesday. He is currently serving time in Kajang Prison after the Federal Court dismissed his final appeal over his sentence and conviction in the SRC International case, which involved the embezzlement of RM42 million. 

“Najib Razak has just been found guilty by the country’s highest court but some parties are already thinking of applying for a royal pardon from DYMM YDP Agong. We cannot let this happen. Sign this petition to submit to YDP Agong,” Bersih said in its petition. 

According to lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, the Pekan member of parliament can seek a royal pardon if he wishes but he must serve some time in prison. 

“All individuals found guilty and sentenced are entitled to seek a royal pardon under Article 42 (1) of the Federal Constitution.

“However, they have to go through a prison sentence first for a certain period, then the Pardons Board, in regular meetings, will ask for reports from the prison to be prepared and advised to His Majesty, including a written report from the Attorney General before the pardon is granted,” Haniff told The Star

In Bersih’s letter to Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, it wrote: 

Daulat Tuanku, 

We, your loyal subjects, humbly appeal to Your Majesty, not to exercise your discretion to pardon former Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak for his crime against the Malaysian public. He has been convicted of stealing public funds in the SRC International case and had been given due process of a fair trial 

As the Rakyat, we had to suffer the impact of corruption by elected officials who enriched themselves with our national wealth instead of using it to develop this country. 

Even if Najib had no shame for what he has done, we the Rakyat had to live with the indignity of being known for the world’s largest case of kleptocracy. 

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 this country. As a nation, we must not tolerate corruption or the corrupt, whoever that person may be.  Let Najib serve his 12 years in jail and pay the RM210 millions fine so as to serve as an example to any leaders who think they can corruptly abuse their position of authority. 

Your Majesty, help us to uplift our heads high once again, to make us proud again as Malaysians.

A royal pardon is not an uncommon practice in Malaysia. Former Selangor menteri besar, the late Harun Idris, was given a pardon after he was convicted for corruption in the 1970s. 

Another example is the late former minister Mokhtar Hashim, who was sentenced to death for the murder of legislative assembly speaker Taha Talib in 1982 and was also given a pardon. 

The latest royal pardon was given to Pakatan Harapan leader Anwar Ibrahim in 2018 after he was jailed in 2015.

All three served some time in prison before they were pardoned. 

Meanwhile, in the 1MDB trial, Najib is being charged with corruption over the misappropriation of RM2.28 billion in 1MDB funds. He is facing 25 charges, four for abuse of power and 21 for money laundering, for offenses allegedly committed between 2011 and 2013.

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