January 17, 2024
PETALING JAYA – After spending nearly one-and-a-half years in prison, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak continues to draw public attention from behind bars.
A major question now is whether he will be granted a royal pardon.
Various polls on social media show that netizens were polarised over the issue of whether the man at the centre of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal deserves to be pardoned.
An online poll on the Facebook page “Meanwhile in Malaysia” on Jan 10 found that a majority of respondents were in favour of Najib being pardoned.
A total of 82% of 16,562 voters were in favour of freeing Najib, 15% disagreed and 3% were undecided.
In the comments section, former Labuan International Business and Financial Centre chief executive Saiful Bahari Baharom claimed that Najib’s trial was a huge miscarriage of justice.
“It is a shameful stain in the history of our country’s judicial system,” commented Saiful Bahari, who is also Najib’s former special officer.
“A brilliant economist and the best PM of Malaysia. Facts,” said Yasin Afendi on the poll.
Hilary Lim also urged Malaysians to be more compassionate and to follow Najib’s case closely.
“Don’t just read headlines. Then, you’ll know there has been a major injustice in this case. That is why we want him to be released,” said Lim.
But another poll by news portal The Coffee Break on X contradicts the “Meanwhile in Malaysia” survey.
Of 1,021 voters, 93.6% were against a royal pardon while 6.4% supported it.
Netizens opposed to a pardon said the courts’ decision must be upheld.
“The courts have decided and leaders have to lead by example by abiding by the law,” said Bob Malik in the comments section.
“A pardon for Najib now will be a huge injustice to the people of Malaysia,” said Eddy Daud on X.
Speculation about Najib’s pardon was sparked by a recent news report which claimed that it could be decided at the end of this month but on Jan 10, Najib’s lead lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said that neither he nor his client had been informed of the status of the petition for pardon.
Najib is currently serving a 12-year sentence after being found guilty of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering in relation to RM42mil that had been siphoned from SRC International, a former 1MBD subsidiary.
He was also fined RM210mil.