Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak is among the nominees put forth by the United Malays National Organisation’s (UMNO) division in Pekan, Pahang to contest there during the upcoming general election.
According to Malaysian media reports, Najib, who is currently serving a 12-year jail term, is among the five names that have been put forth for the Pekan contest.
“There are no plans to place Najib’s children to contest the Pekan parliamentary seat if he is not eligible to contest,” Pekan UMNO division deputy head Zamri Ramly told Utusan Malaysia.
“Instead, whoever is chosen for the seat will return it to Najib if he gets pardoned.”
Najib, 69, who served as prime minister from 2009 to 2018, was convicted for the misappropriation of RM42 million from SRC International, a former subsidiary of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
He was sent to jail on Aug 23 after the Federal Court upheld the conviction and sentence by the High Court in July 2020 when he was found guilty on all the seven charges of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of power.
Najib has filed for a royal pardon and a review to overturn his conviction. Until there is an outcome, he will not be able to run for GE15.
Despite this, Najib’s lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah has been rather vague as to whether his client will seek to stand in GE15.
On Wednesday, Mr Muhammad Shafee declined to reveal whether Najib would seek the prison authorities’ permission to campaign in GE15 or make a bid to be a candidate.
“I don’t want to touch on this because there are a lot of interesting developments, there’s a lot of interesting arguments, I do not want to make in public,” Malay Mail quoting Mr Muhammad Shafee as telling reporters at the Kuala Lumpur court complex.
When asked whether any application has been submitted to the Prisons Department, Mr Muhammad Shafee replied: “No, I can’t say. You ask me 10 times, I will say the same thing”.
The Prisons Department director Nordin Muhammad told the media on Tuesday that Najib will not be allowed to go out to campaign in GE15 as long as he is still serving his jail sentence.
He said that as long as Najib is still in prison, he is subject to the Prisons Act and regulations.
Constitutional lawyers told the media that Najib is immediately disqualified from becoming an election candidate following the Federal Court’s upholding of his conviction and sentence.
They said that under Article 48(5) of the Federal Constitution a person is “immediately” disqualified from being nominated, elected or appointed to be a federal lawmaker for both the lower and upper houses of parliament, upon the person’s conviction and sentencing to a minimum one-year prison term or a minimum fine of RM2,000 (US$ 426) and when no free pardon has been received.
Caretaker Home Affairs Minister Hamzah Zainudin on Wednesday refused to comment on the issues raised by Najib’s lawyer on the former Pekan MP’s status in the upcoming election.
Mr Hamzah only said that “we don’t treat joke” referring to the issues raised by Mr Muhammad Shafee.
“I think we need to be fair to all the others,” he added without elaborating, as quoted by Astro Awani./ CNA