PUTRAJAYA, Feb 8 — Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has today reaffirmed Umno's stance to continue seeking a full pardon for convicted former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The Umno president also said that these efforts must be made with respect for both the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Ibrahim's prerogative, as well as to accommodate Najib’s and his family's appeal.

“We are moving towards fulfilling Najib and his family's request, and the steps to be taken later should consider our respect for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

“This is because His Majesty also has powers as outlined in the Federal Constitution,” he said after attending the Monthly Assembly of the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development here.

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Responding to a statement by Najib's lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who asserted that the previous Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, initially considered granting a full pardon but later opted for a commuted sentence, Zahid said the public should honour and respect the decision made by the former King.

Citing Article 42(1) of the Constitution, he elaborated that it is the absolute right of the Pardons Board to make such a decision in which the Agong has the power to grant pardons, reprieves and respites in respect of all offences in the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya.

“Therefore, any individual, including lawyers, should respect this decision. Subsequently, let's take legal and necessary steps to pursue this defence for Najib,” he added.

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Yesterday, Shafee asserted that the former Agong contemplated a full pardon but later chose a commuted sentence during the Pardons Board meeting he chaired on January 29.

However, it was also reported that members of the Pardons Board suggested the former prime minister should continue serving his sentence.

On February 2, the Pardons Board halved Najib’s sentence from a 12-year prison term to six years for misappropriating funds amounting to RM42 million, which means he may be released earlier on August 23, 2028.

Najib has been imprisoned since August 23, 2022, after the Federal Court upheld his conviction for criminal breach of trust, power abuse and money laundering over the misappropriation of SRC International Sdn Bhd’s funds.

The Pardon’s Board said it had also decided to reduce his RM210 million fine to RM50 million, and his early release would be contingent on him paying this amount.

If he fails to do so, his early release date will be a year later on August 23, 2029.

He has been a prisoner for more than one year and five months now since August 2022, and his 12-year jail term was initially due to end in 2034.

Najib still has an ongoing trial involving 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds worth RM2.27 billion in which he has been charged with four counts of abuse of power and 21 counts of money laundering.