The reduction of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s prison term invited too many comments which should not have happened in an independent democratic nation with constitutional monarchs.
Those who have raised issues are mainly immature, shallow-minded politicians who do not really appreciate the power of the constitutional king.
The Yang Di Pertuan Agong’s decision in the matter of DS Najib’s pardon application was made based on his majesty’s special rights and special powers provided under the federal constitution. And His Majesty’s decision is final.
His Majesty did not act beyond the bounds of the constitution. He also received advice from the Pardons Board.
Najib and anyone who is serving a sentence can apply for a pardon once they have exhausted all the judicial channels. This is provided for in the federal constitution.
The practice of pardon or royal pardon is not limited to Malaysia. In Thailand, a royal pardon from the king is given to prisoners serving term.
The pardon granted can be an unconditional release or commutation of penalty and it is given based on the discretion of the King.
In the United States of America, prisoners who commit a federal crime can apply for presidential pardon. Similar to a royal pardon, the president can commute a sentence which includes reducing fine and set a person free.
Most countries have its own pardon systems in differing forms and methods with the principle of justice remaining intact.
In the case of Najib, the Agong reduced the sentence and fine imposed upon him in the case of SRC International. It was not a full pardon.
Stop disputing the pardon
Najib’s daughter Nooryana Najwa was disappointed that her father did not get a full pardon. She called for the minority judgment to be read together for a fair review
The buck should stop here since the Agong’s decision is final and cannot be disputed. Disputing pardons would jeopardise the security and the standing of the country.
Some would even attempt to dispute the royal pardons on former Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Harun Idris and former Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Mokhtar Hashim.
Harun Idris was sentenced to eight years imprisonment for corruption and obtained a royal pardon. Mokhtar Hashim was sentenced to death for the murder of a Negeri Sembilan speaker. His sentence was reduced to life sentence and a full pardon subsequently.
As a democratic country with constitutional monarchs, there is freedom of speech. On the same note, the constitution and institution of Malay Rulers be respected and upheld.
Politicians are free to voice out but it cannot be at the cost of it jeopardising the peace and harmony of multiracial country.
The author, Professor Ir Dr ShahNor Basri is a Fellow at the Islamic Academy of Science