Former Malaysia king cuts Najib’s jail term to 6 years: CNA

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. (Photo: Arif Kartono/AFP/Getty Images via Bloomberg)
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. (Photo: Arif Kartono/AFP/Getty Images via Bloomberg)

By Kok Leong Chan, Nurin Sofia and Ram Anand

(Bloomberg) — Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s prison sentence has been shortened to six years from 12 years in a decision by a board led by the previous king, according to a CNA report.

The decision includes a reduction of his 210 million ringgit (US$44 million) fine to an unspecified amount, the Singapore-based media outlet reported, citing unnamed sources including senior government officials. The shorter jail term means Najib, who’s been in prison since August 2022, is expected to complete his sentence in August 2028, the report said, adding that he could be out on parole for good behavior in August 2026.

Najib, 70, is currently serving his sentence after being convicted in 2022 on three counts of criminal breach of trust and one count of abuse of power in relation to the country’s investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

The United Malays National Organizsation that Najib once led has become a key ally of Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s government. UMNO is now led by Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, a deputy prime minister to Anwar.

Najib’s reduced sentence could dent Anwar’s credibility as an anti-corruption campaigner, said Tunku Mohar Mohd Mokhtar, a political science lecturer at International Islamic University of Malaysia. The premier’s reform agenda has faced criticisms after the government last year withdrew 47 criminal charges against Zahid. Anwar has denied interfering in the case.

“One plus point for Anwar is that UMNO may be even more indebted to him,” Tunku Mohar said. “This will provide better stability for the government of the day.”

While any leniency could fuel unhappiness among supporters of Anwar’s Pakatan Harapan coalition, they are unlikely to turn to an opposition group that’s led by an Islamic party, he said.

Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah’s term as king under Malaysia’s rotational monarchy ends Tuesday. The Sultan of Johor ascended the throne on Wednesday.

Najib was accused of transferring 42 million ringgit (US$8.9 million) from 1MDB subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd to his personal account between 2014 and 2015. He remains on trial for dozens of other criminal charges related to the troubled wealth fund.

Najib’s lawyer, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, and the Malaysian government didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Before the CNA report, Najib’s daughter Nooryana Najwa posted on Tuesday a picture of the former leader on her Instagram account, saying she was waiting for her father’s return, “however long it takes.”

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