Amid claims by Najib’s lawyer over former king’s decision, UMNO chief says party is pushing for his release

Amid claims by Najib's lawyer over former king's decision, UMNO chief says party is pushing for his release

“We are moving towards fulfilling Najib and his family’s request, and the steps to be taken later should consider our respect for the (current) Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

“This is because His Majesty also has powers as outlined in the Federal Constitution,” Mr Ahmad Zahid – who is also UMNO president – was quoted as saying by Malay Mail.

Responding to claims made by Najib’s lawyer – Mr Muhammad Shafee Abdullah – Mr Ahmad Zahid said that the public should honour and respect the decision by the former king to grant Najib a commuted sentence.

“Any individual, including lawyers, should respect this decision. Subsequently, let’s take legal and necessary steps to pursue this defence for Najib,” he was quoted as saying by Malay Mail.

Earlier on Wednesday, Malaysian media reported that Shafee had claimed that the former Agong had contemplated a full pardon for Najib but later chose for a commuted sentence during the Pardons Board meeting which he chaired on Jan 29 – a day before he officially ended his five-year reign as Malaysia’s 16th king.  

The Edge Malaysia reported that members of the Pardons Board had instead recommended for the former prime minister to continue serving his sentence.

While the awarding of a pardon or any consideration of clemency is the sole prerogative of the king, administration sources previously told CNA that sensitive matters of huge national importance are typically discussed in private by the Conference of Rulers, which counts the nine heads of the country’s royal households.

On Wednesday, Shafee also claimed that discussions on Najib’s pardon began on Dec 8, 2023.

“The actual detailed (pardon) discussions started on Dec 8, 2023. (It’s) very detailed, I think. It went on for a couple hours, and they discussed Najib’s matter and so on,” he said, according to The Edge Malaysia.