Crime & Courts

Najib to Bersih: 'Hold' your protests

KUALA LUMPUR: Bersih should accept the challenge to participate in an open forum with incarcerated former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, before choosing to hold protests over his reduced prison sentence.

In a post on his Facebook page today, Najib said the electoral watchdog should use the platform to explain why they opposed the Pardons Board's decision to grant him a shorter jail sentence.

"Seeing that Bukit Gelugor member of Parliament Ramkarpal Singh and Sepang MP Hanipa Maidin have rejected (the invitation) while Tony Pua has remained silent, this invitation has been extended to Bersih yesterday.

"If Bersih's reasons to disagree with the reduced prison sentence are correct, then this platform can help with their intentions of building the momentum for a demonstration," he said.

Earlier, Bersih chairman Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz told online news portal Malaysiakini that the non-governmental organisation had discussed the possibility of holding a protest against the Pardons Board's decision.

"During the meeting yesterday, we are heading towards that direction (of a protest)... but we need to build the momentum first," he was quoted as saying.

Muhammad Faisal had said Bersih would call for a press conference on the matter, alongside several civil society groups, student groups, and other youth movements.

On Feb 2, the Federal Territories Pardons Board chaired by then-Yang diPertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah decided to reduce Datuk Seri Najib Razak's fine as well as halve his 12-year jail term to six.

Najib will be released from prison on Aug 23,2028.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the board's decision to reduce Najib's jailtime and fine was due to the "mercy and compassion" of Al-Sultan Abdullah.

Najib was sentenced to 12 years' jailafter he was found guilty of one count of abuse of power in the Retirement Fund Inc's RM4 billion loan to SRC International Sdn Bhd.

He was also found guilty with three counts each of criminal breach of trust and abuse of power involving RM42 million of SRC funds.

Apart from being jailed, he was also fined RM210 million.

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