KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s Transport Minister Anthony Loke on Monday (Apr 10) said that a petition for a royal pardon for jailed former prime minister Najib Razak is not the government’s stance.
Instead, Mr Loke said that the issue is a party matter within the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO). UMNO is a part of the unity government led by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.
“The Cabinet never discussed this (pardon) and ministers from UMNO have not raised the issue.
“The issue of pardon is not a government stand but that of UMNO as a political party,” Mr Loke was quoted as saying by The Star.
Mr Loke, who is also the secretary-general of the Democratic Action Party, added that the unity government will leave it up to Malaysia’s King Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah to decide on Najib’s application for a pardon.
“Whether granted or not, is up to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong … We put our trust in the process and the king's wisdom to make the best decision,” he said, according to the New Straits Times.
UMNO had earlier announced that it would be appealing to the king to consider granting a royal pardon to its former president.
Najib is currently serving a 12-year jail sentence for graft.
Last Friday, UMNO’s supreme council unanimously agreed to seek an audience with the king to present a memorandum that was signed by 191 divisions as well as its other political wings.
On Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that UMNO’s intention to submit an appeal to the king is in accordance with existing legal procedures and done without political pressure, Bernama reported.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also the current UMNO president, said that the party will follow all existing legal procedures before making an appeal to the Pardons Board.
“As a political party, we certainly will follow all existing legal procedures and when the procedures are adhered to, it will be up to the Pardons Board,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama.
Prior to this, Mr Anwar had said that there was no conflict of interest with his office’s involvement with the Pardons Board.
He told local media that anyone can apply for a pardon and that all parties should comply with the stipulated rules and conditions.
"Even though it goes through a process and I am in that process, in the end, the question of awarding medals and pardons is the authority and discretion of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and does not need to be discussed publicly," said Mr Anwar.