Malaysia’s Prisons Dept denies Najib given airtime to campaign while in jail

Former Malaysian PM Najib Razak being escorted by prison officers during a break on his trial at the Kuala Lumpur High Court in August. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

PETALING JAYA - Some Malaysian TV viewers are questioning how former prime minister Najib Razak might have been interviewed while he was in prison, after national broadcaster Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) aired a programme on Monday, two months after he started his jail term.

Responding to a viral clip on social media of Najib being interviewed for the TV show, the Prisons Department said there had been no video recordings involving the former premier by any media agencies inside the prison premises.

Based on its initial checks, the department said the video was pre-recorded by RTM in conjunction with an episode of an ongoing series, before Najib entered prison on Aug 23.

“The video, which was aired on TV1 on Oct 24, 2022, shares the history and background of Pekan, Pahang, and was not related to politics,” the Prisons Department said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Pekan royal town is part of Najib’s federal constituency, which is also called Pekan.

Screenshots of Najib, who is currently serving a 12-year jail term in Selangor’s Kajang prison, went viral, with some alleging that he was being given airtime to campaign for the upcoming 15th General Election.

Internet users expressed shock that he could get airtime while in prison.

The Prisons Department urged the public not to spread anything without verifying the information.

“Legal action can also be taken against irresponsible individuals,” it said.

Najib started serving his prison term after Malaysia’s apex Federal Court upheld decisions by two lower courts to jail him for 12 years and fined him RM210 million (S$63 million) for misappropriating RM42 million of funds from SRC International, a former unit of troubled state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

The Prisons Department previously said inmates are not allowed to issue any statements for the purpose of campaigning in the general election. Voting will take place on Nov 19. THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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