Malaysia's Prisons Dept rejects Najib request to attend Parliament sessions

Malaysia's jailed former premier Najib Razak will remain an MP pending a decision on his application for a royal pardon. PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's Prisons Department has rejected a request by former prime minister Najib Razak’s to attend Parliament sittings, his lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said on Monday.

Shafee told reporters that Najib's request to attend was turned down by the department last week on "security grounds".

"Because we have received the rejection, we have written an appeal to the Home Minister," he said.

Najib is almost daily attending an ongoing High Court case in connection with graft on troubled state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

Earlier Monday, Parliament's Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun said it was not in his power to decide if Najib could attend such sessions.

Najib - who is in jail for corruption - will remain Member of Parliament (MP) for Pekan pending a decision on his application for a royal pardon.

But because of his conviction, Najib cannot contest Malaysia's next election, due by September next year, unless he is pardoned before then.

"In relation to the attendance of Pekan, it is not under my power at all. I do not have the power to (determine whether) he is allowed to attend or not," Tan Sri Azhar said in Parliament on Monday.

Najib is serving a 12-year prison sentence after being convicted in the RM42m (S$13 million) SRC International case, will not need his permission to enter the House. SRC International was a former unit of 1MDB.

"The question is whether he can attend, it is not in my power (to determine) that because he is not under my custody," he said.

"Who has his custody? The prison has his custody, so it is up to the Prisons Department to let him out of their custody," he added.

He also said it was the Prisons Department's discretion to impose conditions, if it decided to allow Najib to attend the Parliament sitting.

Speaker Azhar was responding to opposition MP Mohamed Hanipa Maidin, who had asked if Najib could attend Parliament as he is still an MP.

"If he is still an MP, I propose that he should be allowed to come to Parliament but on condition that he must be handcuffed, but he could dress the same way as us," said Mr Hanipa.

"We and the whole world want to see how a handcuffed MP comes to Parliament," he added. THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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