House arrest order for Najib unenforceable by law, say sources


K. Kabilan

Former prime minister Najib Razak is applying to serve the remainder of his jail sentence at home on grounds the former king had issued the order. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, April 25, 2024.

THE matter of an order for Najib Razak’s house arrest is immaterial because such a provision does not exist in Malaysian law, government sources said

The officials, who asked to remain anonymous, said a royal pardon which offers house arrest is unenforceable.

“The concept of a royal pardon granting house arrest is not applicable due to the absence of specific legal provisions for such a measure.

“While the power of the Agong to grant pardons is enshrined in the Federal Constitution, the scope of this power does not extend to imposing house arrest as a form of pardon.

“Additionally, there is no specific legislation in Malaysia that allows for house arrest as a form of punishment or pardon,” they said.

Under Article 42 of the Federal Constitution, the Pardons Board is to advise the king on matters related to the exercise of his prerogative of mercy.

The board considers applications for pardons, reprieves and respites, but its functions do not include granting house arrest as a form of clemency.

“This being the case, individuals seeking clemency through a royal pardon in Malaysia must adhere to the established legal framework and procedures laid out by the Pardons Board,” they said.

“If the addendum in a royal pardon says Najib must be granted house arrest, the Attorney-General’s Chambers can never implement it as such a reprieve is simply not allowed under our law.

“It is a moot point to even be discussing the supplementary royal order because of this. As such, it is also pointless to be questioning if the government was aware of this.

“Maybe the best place for the government to address this issue openly is in Najib’s application,” they added.

On April 1, Najib filed for a judicial review application to be allowed to serve his jail term at home.

In his application, Najib said an addendum in his royal pardon allowed him to serve the remainder of his six-year jail term under house arrest.

He said the addendum was issued by the king on January 29.

On February 2, the Pardons Board halved Najib’s 12-year jail sentence for the RM42 million SRC International corruption case. This will see the former leader walk free on August 23, 2028. The board also reduced Najib’s RM210 million fine to RM50 million.

The board said it made the decision after a meeting on January 29. It did not give a reason for approving Najib’s request for a pardon.

The pardon was granted a day before then Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah stepped down

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has since sworn that he had seen the order, which was on International Trade and Investment Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz’s handphone, on January 30. Zafrul had allegedly received the order from the former Agong.

But several hours after the Umno president’s affidavit became known, Zafrul said he would also be filing an affidavit to “correct certain factual errors” in the Umno president’s.

Sources also questioned why the existence of the supplementary royal order was only made public now if Zahid and several others had already known about it in January.

“What were they waiting for? Didn’t Najib know about it then? As for the government, I can tell you that they can’t act on the addendum to the royal pardon as it carries a reprieve which is not available under the law,” said the course.

The court will decide on June 5 whether to grant leave to Najib to proceed with the judicial review. – April 25, 2024.


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Comments


  • Last laugh....actually do we know the Law in existence? Why so many loopholes?

    Posted 1 month ago by Crishan Veera · Reply