KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 8 — Projek SAMA today urged Attorney General (AG) Datuk Ahmad Teriyuddin Mohd Salleh to make public his opinion on Datuk Seri Najib Razak's partial pardon.
The group, comprising academics advocating for institutional reform, said it wants Ahmad to issue a written statement guaranteeing his Chambers (AGC) will pursue the three pending cases against the former prime minister vigorously and diligently, citing concerns over his alleged influence in the Pardons Board commutation of Najib's jail sentence.
It also pointed to the conflicting statements issued by members of the Board as a reason for concern.
“We are deeply concerned about the role AG Datuk Ahmad Teriyuddin Mohd Salleh played in the partial pardon of Najib. Not, only because of the reductions of jail term and fine — granted to one who still claims he is innocent of the charges he was found guilty of after due process," the group said in a statement.
“Our concern is aggravated by the disingenuous comments made by politicians. For example, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim claimed that he wasn’t involved and that it was the former Yang di-Pertuan Agong's decision based on compassion and consideration of Najib's contribution to the nation," the statement added.
Minister in charge of Federal Territories Dr Zaliha Mustafa, who sits on the Pardons Board, said Najib's sentence commutation was the Board's collective decision, while Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Lokman Noor Adam suggested Anwar had expedited the consideration of Najib’s appeal, which he thanked the prime minister for.
Projek Sama said it wants the AGC to publicly guarantee that it would not ask for Discharge Amounting to Acquittal (DAA) or Discharge Not Amounting to Acquittal (DNAA) for Najib's pending cases.
It argued that Teriyuddin's recent decision to file for a discharge not amounting to acquittal for all of Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi's 47 charges of corruption, and the DAA for Najib and former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) CEO Arul Kandasamy in the case of alleged tampering of the 1MDB audit report, should be a ground for concern.
The DNAA was filed despite the prosecution having proved a prima facie against Zahid, while the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie in the audit tempering case and failed to file the required appeal document within the stipulated time, it noted.
Najib had his 12-year jail sentence commuted to just half and his RM210 million fine slashed to RM50 million, the Federal Territories Pardons Board announced last Friday. The decision sparked uproar among a faction of Anwar's supporters but also fueled discontent within Umno.
Projek SAMA said hesitation to assure the public that the AGC will pursue Najib's pending corruption charges risks validating the former prime minister's claim that he has suffered injustice at the hands of prosecutors and judges.
“If anyone walks free, it must be because they have proved their innocence before the courts, not by short-circuiting the criminal justice system through political negotiations or by having the public prosecutor withdraw charges (resulting in DAA or DNAA), or by the public prosecutor failing to prosecute expeditiously, professionally, and diligently,” it said.