Najib is serving his jail term after the Federal Court upheld his conviction and sentence by the High Court in a corruption case involving a former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) unit, SRC International.
In Pekan, many residents still feel indebted to him.
The Pahang-based seat of Pekan has been held by Najib’s family since 1959, first with his late father and the country’s second prime minister, Abdul Razak Hussein. Najib replaced him in 1976, after winning the election unopposed at the age of 23.
Mr Mazlan Esa, who owns a restaurant in Pekan, said: “Pekan still loves him, Pekan still needs him. He has contributed a lot for the country in almost two terms (as prime minister).”
Another Pekan restaurant owner, Ms Sheila Frijan Ali, said: “He’s helped single mothers, orphans, indigenous people in Pekan a lot. Everyone has a weakness. We don’t know whether he’s truly guilty or not.”
NO NAJIB FAMILY MEMBER FOR PEKAN PARLIAMENTARY SEAT
Earlier, there were rumours that Najib’s son Nizar would likely replace him and contest in Pekan. But some observers said the Pekan UMNO youth chief lacks the experience to stand as a candidate for a parliamentary seat.
Retiree Sakri Hamzah, who lives in Pekan, agreed and said: “He is not Tun Razak’s son, he is Najib’s son. There is a difference. Pekan people respect the late Tun Razak, regarded as the father of development, who contributed a lot to the country.”
Mr Nizar, however, was on Wednesday morning unveiled as a candidate contesting for a state seat in Peramu Jaya. It is one of four state seats under the Pekan constituency.
“Bossku” was heard across the hall when his name was announced.