Najib Has 2 Weeks To Apply For Pardon Before He Loses His MP Status

A pardon will wipe clean Najib's legal punishment in the SRC case and could allow him to contest in elections.

Cover image via Berita Harian

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Datuk Seri Najib Razak — who is now serving his 12-year prison sentence — can continue to keep his status as the Pekan member of parliament (MP) if he files a pardon petition within 14 days

"[For now, his] status as Pekan MP remains intact for at least the next 14 days," constitutional lawyer New Sin Yew said, adding that if a petition is not filed within a couple of weeks, then he will be disqualified.

"If Najib applies for a pardon then he will remain as an MP until and unless the pardon is denied," New said.

Under Article 48 (4) (a)(i) of the Federal Constitution, Najib's disqualification as the Pekan MP will only take effect upon the expiry of 14 days from the date of the conviction and sentence.

Najib began his prison sentence on 23 August, meaning he has to file the petition before 6 September.

The constitutional lawyer explained that a pardon is not a judicial process, which ended with the Federal Court's judgement yesterday

The option to file a pardon petition is governed by Article 42 (11) of the Federal Constitution.

"If Najib is successful in his petition for a pardon, his imprisonment and fine could be reduced or suspended entirely. This power can only be exercised by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong having consulted or been recommended by the Pardons Board, which comprises the Attorney-General, the Federal Territories Minister, and three other members appointed by the Agong, who presides over the board," New said.

According to the lawyer, while there is no time limit to decide on a petition for pardon and there is no limit to the number of times one can file a petition, Najib will lose his MP status if he does not do it within 14 days.

Image via Berita Harian

However, Najib is unlikely to be able to defend his Pekan seat and contest in the 15th general election (GE15) until a pardon is granted

Based on GE14 which was held on 9 May 2018, GE15 must be called by September 2023.

Meanwhile, Najib will have to serve time first before he can write to the Agong for a pardon over his corruption conviction, according to former attorney-general Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman.

There's a precedent for this.

Free Malaysia Today reported Abu Talib as saying that former Selangor chief minister, the late Harun Idris, who was convicted of corruption in the late 1970s, and former youth and sports minister, the late Mokhtar Hashim, who was sentenced to death for the murder of Taha Talib, the then Negeri Sembilan legislative assembly speaker, were both given pardons only after serving jail terms for some time.

Speaking further on the process, lawyer Syed Iskandar Syed Jaafar Al Mahdzar thinks Najib will have to serve a considerable amount of time before being pardoned.

Citing the case of PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim, Syed Iskandar said that he was given a pardon in May 2018 after he had already served three years in jail for his sodomy case against his former aide.

But once a pardon is granted, it wipes clean any legal punishments to provide a "clean slate", meaning Najib can contest in any of the next general elections or even in any by-elections that may take place after his pardon, similar to Anwar's case, who contested and won the 2018 Port Dickson by-election.

For the record, while a pardon could be granted to Najib for his corruption conviction in the SRC case, he is facing multiple 1MDB trials

In total, Najib has four more pending court cases.

Of the four cases, two are ongoing, and the other trials have yet to begin.

Read about Najib's other cases here:

Prior to being sent to jail this week, Najib used his freedom to rally support and said that he will not rule out the possibility of contesting in the next general election despite being convicted of corruption:

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