Pardons Board tried to appease everyone, but no one is happy, says Najib’s ex-lawyer

KUALA LUMPUR: The Prime Minister should make public the process of the Pardons Board, says Zaid Ibrahim, who was also Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s former lawyer.

“The proceedings of the Pardons Board are done confidentially - we do not even know who some of the members are. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim asked us to respect the process but how do we respect the process if we do not even know what went on?

“Pardons Board member Federal Territory Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa had stated that it was a collective decision but what was the Unity Government’s decision?

“What was Umno’s position on the matter? Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution had stated that there was a brief discussion by the Cabinet prior to the Pardons Boards decision but what was the brief discussion about?

“The pardon should have been based on his contributions to the country,” said Zaid.

The former law minister also said Umno speaking up for Najib’s pardon should not be seen as interfering with the Pardons Board.

“It is not about Umno interfering in the Pardons Board decision but the role that Umno should have played in influencing the decision of the Unity Government.

“In this country, everything is confidential. When the people are kept in the dark, then the people will be angry,” said Zaid.

He said this to the media after attending the launch of veteran Umno leader Tan Sri Shahrir Samad’s books “Dendam Orang Menang” (Vengeance of the Winners) and “Keputusan Akhir” (Final Decision) at the Seri Pacific Hotel here Saturday (Feb 3).

“A very unsatisfactory decision by the Pardons Board for all sides - be they for Najib’s imprisonment or against it. This is what happens when the government of the day wants to try to appease everyone - no one is happy.

“I personally think Najib should have been pardoned. The principle of the application should have been followed.

“If he had applied for a full pardon, then the answer should be ‘yes’ or ‘no’. If he had asked for a reduction of his sentence, then they can do that or not,” he said.

On Feb 2, the Pardons Board announced that it had decided to commute convicted former prime minister Najib’s jail term from 12 years to six.

According to a statement by the board, Najib will be released on Aug 23, 2028 and the fine has been reduced to RM50mil from RM210mil.

"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," said the Pardons Board secretariat.

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