Najib claims in court application former Agong decreed that he be allowed to serve time at home

TheEdge Wed, Apr 03, 2024 01:59pm - 2 weeks View Original


KUALA LUMPUR (April 3): Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has filed a judicial review application that would allow him to serve his already reduced jail term under house arrest, as allegedly stipulated in a purported addendum by the then-King in his pardon.

Najib is seeking a copy of the speculated addendum dated Jan 29, 2024 which, if it exists, would compel the government to release him from Kajang Prison to his known residence here. The application was filed by his solicitor Messrs Shafee & Co on Monday.

Also named as respondents in the application are the Prisons Department commissioner general, the home minister, the director general of the law division of the Prime Minister’s Department, and the Attorney General's Chambers.

Najib is currently serving a six-year jail sentence and a RM50 million fine since Aug 22, 2022, which were reduced by the former King from 12 years in jail and a RM210 million fine. He received the partial royal pardon last month.

He is now seeking a mandamus order to compel the production of the original copy of the main pardon order, along with the rumoured appendix by the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong as well as costs of the action.

Royal pardon matters, however, are protected by the Official Secrets Act.

In his affidavit in support of leave from the court to consider the application, Najib claimed that he received information that Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah had issued an addendum order that he serve the reduced sentence of imprisonment under condition of "home arrest" instead of confinement in the Kajang Prison.

In judicial review applications, a petitioner has to obtain leave, or permission, from the court before the merits of the application are heard.

Messrs Shafee & Co was then instructed to confirm the existence of the addendum via a letter to the attorney general of Malaysia on Feb 14 this year, which was also copied to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Letters to former and present Kings

Further letters were sent to the home affairs minister, the Pardons Board, and the minister in charge of law and institutional reforms, and other respondents over the existence and lack of enforcement of the King's order between March 22 and 29, 2024.

None of the parties responded, according to Najib, and the failure to provide answers about the existence of the addendum as well as their inaction was considered as irrational, unreasonable, illegal and arbitrary, and breached the Federal Constitution, in particular Article 42, which concerns the Yang di-Pertuan Agong's prerogative to grant pardons.

"This is unfettered discretion, unchallengeable in any court of law by any process, as this is the prerogative of the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong," the former PM said, stressing that the King's orders are not merely administrative but reflections of the legal and moral authority vested in the monarchy.

"Therefore, the respondents' disregard of my request constitutes a direct intrusion of my basic right as provided in the Constitution and the laws generally," the former Pekan Member of Parliament said. "Over and above this, the defiance of the respondents constitutes a direct contempt of the institution of His Majesty."

He said that based on general principles, the court ought to compel the respondents to confirm, execute and provide the original version or a copy of the main order and the alleged addendum order.

In Najib's additional affidavit in support, the former PM said he had written to Al-Sultan Abdullah and the current King of Malaysia, His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim, in a letter dated March 25 this year of his intention to file a judicial review application.

However, Najib said he is not producing this letter in the affidavit in support due to confidentiality and propriety.

The application is scheduled to be heard by High Court judge Datuk Amarjeet Singh on Thursday and April 16.

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