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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Jailed former Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak is considering filing a new petition for a full pardon, his lawyer said on Wednesday, February 7, less than a week after a special panel agreed to halve his jail sentence.
Najib, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison after being convicted in a case linked to the 1MDB scandal, had applied for clemency previously but the pardons board, which is chaired by Malaysia’s king, opted last week to reduce his sentence.
Najib’s lawyer Shafee Abdullah said a new request was being considered as his client had not received a fair trial. Najib has consistently denied wrongdoing.
The lawyer also raised questions over the pardons process led by Al-Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah, who ended his five-year reign as king on January 30, shortly after issuing the sentence reduction for Najib.
“I don’t think the Pardons Board operated the way the constitution expects them to operate,” Shafee said.
Representatives for Malaysia’s law ministry and the federal territories minister, who was part of the pardons board, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The board said in a statement last week Najib is expected to be released in August 2028, six years after he began serving his sentence. It also reduced fines imposed on the ex-premier.
The sentence reduction sparked uproar in Malaysia, with critics of current Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim saying the decision risked undermining anti-corruption efforts.
Najib was found guilty in 2020 of criminal breach of trust and abuse of power for illegally receiving funds misappropriated from a unit of state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). The verdict was upheld by Malaysia’s top court in 2022.
About $4.5 billion was allegedly stolen from 1MDB, with around $1 billion flowing into the accounts of Najib, Malaysian and US investigators have said. – Rappler.com