Pardons Board not legally bound to disclose reasons

KUALA LUMPUR: The Pardons Board is not legally compelled to disclose its reasons for the reduction in Datuk Seri Najib Razak's sentence, a lawyer said.

Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Yunoos said the sitting of the pardons board periodically is a common matter in the criminal justice system in the country.

"Until today, we have never heard of any disclosure of reasons for the decisions made by the board.

"Thus, there is no legal requirement for the board to disclose its reason in Najib's case," he said when contacted today.

Earlier today, after being under fire for a few days, the Pardons Board issued a statement halving Najib's 12-year jail term to six.

This means that the former prime minister will be released from prison on Aug 23, 2028.

His fine, initially set at RM210 million, has also been reduced to RM50 million.

However, if the fine isn't paid, Najib's prison term will be extended by a year, which means that he would be released on Aug 23, 2029.

Calls for the board to disclose its reasons mounted following the decision, as the public sought transparency and accountability in understanding the rationale behind the reduction in Najib's sentence.

Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) in a statement called on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to explain the government's stance on the matter and grounds for the decision.

It also urged Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Federal Territories) Dr Zaliha Mustafa to be sacked as she has failed in her duty as a government representative in the board.

The Centre for Independent Journalism said the public has a right to demand transparency and disclosure of the basis of Najib's sentence reduction.

In a brief X post, it expressed disappointment and called for justice to be observed.

Najib is currently serving a 12-year jail term after he was found guilty of one count of abuse of power with regard to Retirement Fund Inc's (KWAP) RM4 billion loan to SRC International Sdn Bhd, as well as three counts each of criminal breach of trust and abuse of power involving RM42 million of SRC funds.

He was also fined RM210 million.

SRC is a former subsidiary of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

In August 2022, the Federal Court upheld the conviction.

The 70-year-old former Pekan member of Parliament is still facing four charges of abusing his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion of 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

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