Najib's family 'disappointed' with sentence reduction, says he's innocent & should be released immediately

Fun Fact: Najib might be released before he originally eligible to have his pardon heard.

Tan Min-Wei | February 03, 2024, 11:23 PM

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Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s family has lamented that he only received a partial reduction of his jail term, rather than a full pardon.


On Feb. 2, it was officially announced by the Malaysian Federal Territories Pardon Board that his jail term would be reduced from 12 to six years.

His fine was also reduced from RM210 million (S$59.3 million) to RM50 million (S$14 million). If he fails to pay the fine, he will receive an extra year in jail.

Despite this, the family of the former PM expressed their disappointment that he was not given a full royal pardon.

Najib’s daughter Nooryana Najib posted a screenshot of the official pardon announcement on Instagram, with a post saying her family appreciated the reduction of sentence after much consideration of opinions and advice.

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A post shared by yananajib (@yananajib)

However, the family was still disappointed that Najib was not granted full amnesty and immediately released.

Najib’s family still maintained his innocence, saying that they stuck to their original position.

Referring to the dissenting opinion by Chief Justice of Sabah and Sarawak, Abdul Rahman Sebli, during Najib’s failed 2022 appeal, Nooryana said that a huge injustice had been done to Najib, and that the correct decision was that he deserved to be released.

She then followed up the post with a picture of her resting her head on Najib's shoulder, with the caption “false hope… is worse than despair”.

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A post shared by yananajib (@yananajib)

Sole dissenter

Najib was found guilty in 2020 in the RM42 million (S$11.97 million) SRC misappropriation trial, and in 2022, his final appeal was rejected by a federal court panel four to one. He was sent to Kajang prison to serve out a 12-year sentence.

The sole dissenting vote during his 2022 appeal was that of Sabah and Sarawak Chief Justice Abdul Rahman Sebli.

According to Malaysiakini’s report, Abdul Rahman said that he was inclined to acquit Najib at the time, specifically citing the fact that Najibs then lawyer had chosen to discharge himself, leaving Najib without representation.

Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, Najib’s lawyer at the time, had an adjournment of three to four months saying that the appeal was very complex and that he had not had enough time to prepare the case.

Ultimately this adjournment was rejected by the court, and Najib’s sentence was upheld.

Reactions and transparency

The decision to grant Najib a partial pardon has set the cat amongst the pigeons for the current PM Anwar Ibrahim.

Former health minister and now political commentator Khairy Jamaluddin, previously of UMNO, has said that the pardon board should explain the reasons for reducing Najib's sentence, as reported by the Malay Mail.

Otherwise it would give rise to speculation as to why different sets of rules were being applied to different people.

Anwar has said that the pardons process should be respected, and that it was beyond the PM or the government, according to  Free Malaysia Today.

He respected the decision of the-then king, Abdullah of Pahang, who chaired the pardons board on Jan. 29, one of his final official acts in office.

Anwar also said that Najib's pardon application was no different from what was available to any Malaysian.

Anwar's explanations were rebutted by former law minister under Abdullah Badawi, Zaid Ibrahim, who retorted that transparency was required for Malaysians to trust the Pardons Board.

MUDA, the youth-oriented political party, formerly part of the government coalition has called for the federal territories. Minister Zaliha Mustafa to be sacked as a result of the pardon, according to the New Straits Times.

Zaliha pushed back against these calls, saying that the decision to partially pardon Najib was a collective decision by the pardons board, and that calling for her sacking was immature.

MUDA, whose former leader Syed Saddiq left the governing coalition after the discharge not accounting to an acquittal (DNAA) of UMNO President and Deputy PM Zahid Hamidi, is himself facing charges of corruption.

Thanking Anwar

The UMNO Supreme Council met for an emergency session on Feb. 3, to discuss the partial pardon of the former president Najib.

Supreme Council member Lokman Adam spoke to the press after the meeting, expressing disappointment that the pardon was only partial, according to the Malay Mail.

But Lokman said that due to the efforts of the PM, Najib’s petition for pardon was heard early.

Najib has currently served just over a year out of his original 12-year sentence, and by right, his petition could not have been heard until one-third of his sentence had been carried out, meaning 2026.

As it now stands, Najib could be out of jail by that point.

But despite Najib’s jail term being reduced, the former Malaysian PM is still facing further 25 charges of corruption and money laundering in yet another 1MDB related case, where his partial pardon will not apply.

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Top image via @ yananajib/Instagram