Najib's pardon issue does not affect Anwar's administration

His return may potentially regain the support of Umno members and staunch supporters who had previously left the party.

02 Feb 2024 10:08am
Najib Razak (inset: Tawfik).
Najib Razak (inset: Tawfik).

SHAH ALAM - Any form of pardon for former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will not hurt the administration of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the decision lies under the full authority and discretion of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Universiti Malaya political analyst Dr Mohammad Tawfik Yaakub said, that if Najib were to receive a full pardon in the next three to five years, it would not have a political impact on Anwar's government, although it might potentially regain the support of Umno members and staunch supporters who had previously left the party.

He said that it would be similar to the situation when Anwar received a full pardon previously, which boosted momentum and support for the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

"I believe the current rumours do not pose a serious or negative effect on PMX's (Anwar) administration because the power of pardon is based on the authority of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong under Articles 42(1) and 42(2) of the Federal Constitution.

"However, I do not see Najib as a threat to PMX in the next three to five years if Najib is granted a full pardon because Najib was not charged or imprisoned during PMX's era but during the previous government's era," he told Sinar Harian.

He commented on the impact on Anwar's administration following reports from Singapore media claiming that Najib's 12-year prison sentence for corruption charges was reduced to six years by the Pardon Board after its meeting on Monday.

The report also alleged that the pardon board's decision, led by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, also included a reduction of the RM210 million fine (US$44.4 million) to an unspecified amount.

If the reduction in sentence duration was accurate, Najib was expected to complete his sentence in Aug 2028.

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However, with parole for good behaviour, he could be released in Aug 2026 after serving two-thirds of the new prison sentence.

Meanwhile, Tawfik said it would not be easy for Pakatan Harapan (PH) supporters and members to immediately accept or support Umno and Najib, if Najib's pardon becomes a reality.

However, he said, the impact on PH supporters was expected to be minimal as they were well-informed and understood the facts that it fell under the jurisdiction of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Pardon Board.

"They need more time to accept the current political situation, just as they needed time when PH cooperated with BN (Barisan Nasional) to form the government after GE15 (15th General Election)," he said.

At the same time, he said, parole orders were not uncommon and were given to any prisoner who was considered and eligible according to the Parole Board.

He said the process and rights cannot be denied even though there may be voices claiming that there might be selective parole orders, and Najib is among the selectively pardoned prisoners.

"In my opinion, to refute such claims, the Parole Board can provide clarification on the process," he said.