KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian prisons department has denied rumours that former prime minister Najib Razak was given special treatment while serving his sentence, including a house on the prison grounds.
Earlier this week, a screenshot of a message went viral on social media alleging that Najib, who is incarcerated in Kajang Prison, has not been housed in a jail cell. Instead, he was living in a house on the premises meant for senior prison officers, according to the message.
In a statement posted on Facebook on Thursday (Sep 8), the prisons department said that the message was inaccurate information. It also asked people to stop spreading the message.
The two-part message had claimed that the source of the information was “a good friend whose cousin is a senior prison officer at Kajang”.
This is the second time that the prisons department had to issue a denial that it has provided special VIP treatment for certain inmates.
On Aug 24, a day after Najib began his jail sentence in Kajang Prison, the prisons department issued a denial regarding a photo on Facebook depicting a jail cell with shelves, three beds and a table, purportedly meant for Najib.
A Google image search returned results suggesting that the photo is a refurbished cell in the Champ-Dollon prison in Switzerland.
Najib is currently serving a 12-year sentence in Kajang Prison after the Federal Court’s decision on Aug 23 to uphold the conviction in his SRC International corruption trial.
NAJIB IN ISOLATION CELL FOR HIS SAFETY: REPORT
Meanwhile, Utusan Malaysia reported on Thursday that Najib was placed in an isolation cell in Kajang Prison for his own safety as former prime minister.
The Malay daily quoted a prison source as saying that the isolation cells are equipped with the same facilities as special cells holding other prisoners who also require high-security care.
According to the source, although Najib has VIP status, he does not get special treatment. Instead, he is treated like any other prisoner subject to the regulations under the prisons act.
“As a former prominent leader of the country, security measures undoubtedly will be tightened to ensure he remains safe while in the care of the Prisons Department,” the source was quoted as saying by Utusan.
Utusan also reported that following the medical treatment Najib required last Sunday, he was later transferred from the isolation cell to the treatment ward in Kajang Prison.
Malaysian media reported that Najib was admitted to hospital last Sunday after experiencing some pain in his stomach.
On Monday, his daughter Nooraya Najwa posted a statement saying that her father had a recurring issue with his stomach and is prone to ulcers that can flare up during stress or after an episode of gastritis.
According to Utusan’s source, the ward where Najib is housed is also separated from other prisoners for security reasons.
"The transfer from the cell to the treatment ward is done based on the health factor of a prisoner which depends on the medical officer's report," said the source.
On Najib’s daily routine as a prisoner, the source told Utusan that his routine is the same as the others. The only difference is that Najib is isolated from other prisoners while doing the same activities.