KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 3 — Umno supreme council member Datuk Lokman Adam said today Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had played a role in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s pardon hearing being expedited.

Umno’s top leadership held a three-hour emergency meeting earlier today to discuss the Federal Territories Pardons Board decision to grant the former prime minister only a partial pardon, and later issued a statement saying they accept the ruling but will not stop the fight to free Najib.

Speaking to the press after the meeting, Lokman thanked the prime minister even as Umno expressed disappointment that the board only commuted Najib’s prison sentence. Umno leaders said they believe Najib should be fully pardoned because he was “denied justice by the judiciary”.

“We would like to thank the prime minister because, by right, Najib’s pardon petition can only be heard by the Pardons Board after going through one-third of his sentence,” he said.

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“But due to efforts by the president and raised by the prime minister, Najib’s petition was heard ‘early’ by the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong.”

Najib began serving his prison sentence on August 2022 and previously would have only been eligible for early release after 2030.

Yesterday, the Federal Territories Pardons Board announced that Najib’s 12-year prison sentence for the misappropriation of RM42 million from a former 1MDB unit will be reduced by half while his fine will be cut from RM210 million to RM50 million.

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The decision meant Najib, who began serving his prison term in August 2022, would be released by 2028.

He is likely to be released even earlier than that as he would be eligible for parole on good behaviour after serving just two-thirds of the six years.

In the official statement on behalf of the Federal Territories Pardons Board, the Prime Minister’s Department’s Legal Affairs Division as the board’s secretariat said this decision was made following the January 29 meeting of the Pardons Board for the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya.