Najib's reduced sentence not commensurate with gravity of crime, says Ramkarpal

PETALING JAYA: The reduced sentence of six years' jail and a RM50mil for Datuk Seri Najib Razak is inadequate given the gravity of the former prime minister's crime, says Ramkarpal Singh.

The Bukit Gelugor MP called on the Pardons Board to explain its rationale for the reduction of the sentence imposed on Najib, who was now serving time in jail.

He also said this could result in the perception that the government did not take the menace of corruption seriously.

He pointed out that Najib was convicted by a total of nine judges from the High Court to the Federal Court, with one judge describing his defence as a "national embarrassment".

"The findings of guilt made against him in this case are beyond doubt.

"The position was further compounded by the fact that Najib committed the offences when he was head of government with utter disregard of the consequences of his actions to the nation and her people.

"Najib's case is no ordinary one and the Pardons Board ought to disclose its reasons for commuting Najib's sentence," said Ramkarpal in a statement on Saturday (Feb 3)

The former deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Department (law and institutional reform) said the reduction of the sentence would also have a negative impact on Malaysia's future performance in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) and likely to hamper the government's efforts in its war against corruption.

"No doubt various factors are taken into account in deciding the performance of a country in its war against corruption, but surely the most important are the rate of arrests and convictions and the severity of sentences which ought to be commensurate with the offence committed.

"The efforts of the government in combating corruption have been seriously undermined by the developments in Najib's case as the seriousness of his offence is known the world over," he added.

In a statement on Friday (Feb 2), the Pardons Board announced it had commuted Najib's jail term 12 years to six, with a release date of on Aug 23, 2028, and his fine reduced from RM210mil to RM50mil.

"However, if the fine is not paid, a year will be added to the jail term, and the release date will then be on Aug 23, 2029," the Pardons Board secretariat said.

The statement added that the Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya Federal Territories Pardons Board met on Monday (Jan 29) to deliberate five pardon applications, including Najib's.

"A total of five pardon papers were considered by the board chaired by then Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah," it said.

Najib was serving his jail sentence after being found guilty of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering in relation to RM42mil that had been siphoned from SRC International, a former 1MBD subsidiary.

The former prime minister is also currently on trial to answer charges of abuse of power that allegedly brought him financial benefit to the tune of RM2.28bil, believed to have been 1MDB funds.

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