The Issue of Pardoning Najib Razak: Respect the Institution of Malay Rulers

The reduction of DS Najib Razak’s prison term invites too many comments which should not happen in a system of Constitutional Monarchy and an independent democratic country.

This settlement conflict is mainly among politicians who are immature, shallow-minded and do not really appreciate the power of the Constitutional King. The Yang Di Pertuan Agong (YDPA) in the matter of DS Najib’s pardon application is based on the constitution, his majesty’s special rights and his majesty’s special powers.

His Majesty did not act beyond the bounds of the constitution, but instead took steps to listen to constitutionally based advice. When the decision has actually been made no one can question His Majesty authority.

Whether or not DS Najib should apply for a pardon, everything is based on the constitution and the laws of the country. He has all the space at the court level to be judged with full justice. He also has the right to apply for a royal pardon. Questioning this right is also beyond the limits of justice and the constitution.

Royal pardons are not a new thing and have never happened in any country. Thailand also has a royal pardon system. In Thailand, a royal pardon is an act of granting pardon to a prisoner who is sentenced by law with a punishment for a crime that he committed.

It may be in the form of unconditional release of the prisoner or through commutation or reduction of the penalty for his sentence. Nevertheless, as it is considered as an act of grace, the royal pardon lies entirely in the discretion of His Majesty the King.

The United States, as a country using the presidential system, also has room to obtain a presidential pardon. The President is given the power under the constitution to grant pardons for federal crime. The other forms of the clemency power of the president are commutation of sentence, remission of fine or restitution, and reprieve.

It can be said that most countries in the world have their own amnesty schemes. Only the form and method may differ between countries. The principle remains unchanged, namely justice and the opportunity to get justice.

Therefore, for a constitutional country like Malaysia and with a Constitutional King with certain powers given to His Mejesty, it is very inappropriate for many parties to question it. In DS Najib’s case, the criminal sentence against him has still not been lifted or eliminated.

What happened was a reduction in the length of the prison sentence and the amount of the fine. The YDPA and Pardon Board did not even state that DS Najib was given a full pardon. We need to be clear about this, so as not to tarnish the name of His Majesty the YDPA.

Likewise with the surprised comments of his daughter Nooryana Najwa Najib who expressed her disappointment following the former Prime Minister not getting a full amnesty to be released immediately.

She only referred to the judgment by the Chief Justice of Sabah and Sarawak, while the decisions of all the apex courts ie the high court, the court of appeal and the federal court also need to be read together in order to give a fair review to the judicial institutions in Malaysia.

So, with this, the court has made a decision and YDPA has also made a wise decision that cannot be disputed. If dispute after dispute, until when will the country be safe and secure. Maybe later there will be those who dispute the past royal pardons such as the case of Harun Idris, Mokhtar Hashim and so on. Indeed, we are a democratic country, there is freedom of speech. However, we have the constitution and institution of the Malay Rulers that should be respected and glorified.

To all politicians and DS Najib’s family, this is not a question of Najib but a question of the nobility of the constitution and loyalty to the king and the country, like the pledge of our country. You can speak, but your voice should not shake the harmony of this multi-racial and ethnic country. You can speak out but we all have Malay Rulers who patronize the administration of this country, so respect it.

The writer is Fellow Islamic Academy of Science, Jordan.