'Najib should not be pardoned' petition to Agong rapidly gathering support

Rakyat's 'Najib should not be pardoned' petition to Agong rapidly gathering support

Rakyat's 'Najib should not be pardoned' petition to Agong rapidly gathering support

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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 24): Former prime minister and now convicted felon Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s fight in court over his SRC International Sdn Bhd case might have ended on Tuesday, but the battle continues in the form of the rakyat duking it out in two opposing petitions addressed to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

The first petition, initiated by the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih), is appealing for the King to deny any pardon request by the former premier.

The second petition, in the form of a memorandum, is requesting the King to grant a royal pardon to the former prime minister.

These come in the wake of the Federal Court’s decision on Tuesday to dismiss the former prime minister’s appeal against his SRC International Sdn Bhd conviction. With that decision, Najib’s conviction was upheld, and he began serving his jail sentence in Kajang Prison that very evening.

The petition to make Najib serve his time for doing the crime has gathered support exponentially.

In the 'Najib should not be pardoned' online petition on Change.org, Bersih wrote that the people have suffered from the impact of corrupt leaders who have "enriched themselves" with the nation's wealth instead of developing the country.

"Even if Najib had no shame for what he has done, we the Rakyat had to live with the indignity of being known for the world's largest case of kleptocracy," the petition read.

It added that Najib should serve his jail sentence and pay the fine imposed, so as to serve as an example for any other leaders who may be thinking of abusing their positions.

Eight hours after the petition was launched on Wednesday, over 55,000 signatures have been collected.

Meanwhile, according to media reports, Najib’s supporters had gathered by a side entrance of Istana Negara here to hand over their memorandum, requesting the King to grant a royal pardon to the former prime minister.

Malaysiakini reported that almost 300 supporters were present to hand over the document, which was organised by non-governmental organisation Pertubuhan Jalinan Perpaduan Negara Malaysia.  

TheVibes.com reported the organisation's president Syed Mohammad Imran Syed Abdul Aziz as saying that the group would return with more supporters if there was no royal pardon by the end of the week.

On Tuesday, a five-member Federal Court bench led by Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat upheld the lower court's decision on Najib’s conviction of all seven charges in the SRC International case, together with his 12-year prison sentence and a RM210 million fine.

Legal experts have commented that the imprisoned former premier now has two options: to file a review within the apex court, or to file a petition for a pardon.

Lawyer New Sin Yew tweeted that the Pardons Board is not within the judicial process but is an executive process where the executive may choose to "remit, suspend, or commute the sentence".

This power can only be exercised by the King after having consulted with or at the recommendation of the Pardons Board, New said.

He added that the Pardons Board comprises the Attorney General, the federal territories minister, and three other members appointed by the King, who heads the board.

There is no time limit to decide on a petition for pardon, nor is there a limit to the number of times one can file a petition for pardon, New said.

However, in Najib's case, it must be done within 14 days or the Pekan Member of Parliament will lose his Parliamentary seat.

Aniza Damis