M'sian prison inmates not allowed to issue GE15 campaign statements

All documents have to be vetted first.

Tan Min-Wei | October 20, 2022, 06:45 PM

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Malaysian prison inmates may not issue statements regarding Malaysia's 15th General Election (GE15).

Prisoners can't issue statements

Speaking at a Malacca prisons event, Malaysia Prisons Department Director of Prison's policy Supri Hashim was quoted by the New Straits Times as saying that "so far, no statements can be issued by prisoners from prison".

Supri said this in response to a question about whether former Malaysian prime minister turned incarcerated felon, Najib Razak, was allowed to issue any statements, including statements about the upcoming election.

"They (prisoners) are not allowed to issue any statements, in fact any letters or documents need to be censored first," Supri added. All documents, including letters to family members, have to be vetted by the prisons department first.

Supri underlined the apolitical nature of the prisons department, saying that they had nothing to do with political programmes, and that they were only carrying out their duties.

No special treatment for Najib

This is in line with a statement given on Oct. 11 by Prison's Director-General Nordin Muhammad, who said that Najib did not receive any special treatment.

As a result, Najib would not be allowed to leave prison in order to campaign in GE15.

Najib applied for a royal pardon within 14 days of his imprisonment, therefore retaining his Pekan Parliamentary seat. But parliament was dissolved on Oct. 10, meaning that he is no longer an MP.

The Pekan district UMNO party has nominated Najib for the seat, but he will not be able to take it up. But should Najib attain a royal pardon, the seat will be relinquished to him.

He is currently serving a 12-year term for corruption in the SRC International Case.

Frivolous and vexatious

Najib has appealed against not being allowed to attend parliament. But on Oct. 19, Senior Federal Counsel Sahmsul Bolhassan told the courts that Najib's application should be rejected on the basis that parliament has been dissolved.

Bernama quoted Shamsul as saying that there was no longer any need for Najib to attend parliamentary sittings or observe aides doing work. He said that the application should be dismissed for being "frivolous and vexatious".

But Najib's lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah countered that the issue was still alive, where Najib might seek damages, nominal or otherwise, for being deprived of going to parliament.

The decision on Najib's leave application will be delivered on Oct. 27.

Meanwhile, the date of the Malaysian election has been fixed for Nov. 19.

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Top image via Mohd Rasdan/AFP/Getty Images