Selangor ruler says must respect rule of law, following clamour after Najib's conviction

Ruler of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah called on Malaysians to respect the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR - The ruler of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, on Monday called on Malaysians to respect the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.

He also expressed his support for the Malaysian king, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah, who said on Sept 5 that the power to give a royal pardon cannot be exercised just to benefit certain quarters.

"I urge all quarters to work together by taking steps towards defending and ensuring the independence of the judicial body for the sake of the country's well-being and prosperity," said the statement signed by the Selangor ruler.

Sultan Sharafuddin also said: "The rakyat (people) must understand that the process to give a pardon must be carried out according to the rule of law and procedures which are provided in the Constitution and related laws."

He did not point to any specific issue or case.

But the statements by Sultan Sharafuddin, and the earlier one by the King, followed pleas by Umno leaders and members to grant a pardon to former prime minister Najib Razak, following his jailing on Aug 23 on a corruption conviction.

Several dozen supporters of Najib gathered outside the Istana Negara (national palace) a day after his jailing, seeking royal intervention to pardon him.

Umno leaders at a mass gathering in its headquarters a few days later attacked the decision by the apex Federal Court to uphold decisions made by two lower courts on Najib's 12-year conviction in the case involving a former company linked to trouble state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

Najib was the president of Umno, Malaysia's biggest party in the current government, and remains highly influential despite leading the party to its first defeat at the polls in May 2018.

Sultan Sharafuddin, 76, reminded the executive branch of the government to fully uphold the principle of judicial independence and steer clear of any attempts to influence the process of administration of justice in the country.

"The independence of the judiciary means judges can make decisions on any case according to the law and based on facts and evidence without any feeling, fear, or favour, and free from any influence.

"Every judge has taken an oath to practice equality, to protect and defend the Constitution, and to be independent of any kind of internal and external pressure," he said.

The ruler of Selangor, Malaysia's most economically advanced state, said any baseless allegations would create a negative perception on the independence of the judicial authority and definitely erode public confidence and trust in the system of administration of justice in the country.

"Such a situation will also indirectly affect the good name of the country on the international stage," he added.

Najib, 69, who is jailed in Kajang Prison in Selangor, at the edge of capital Kuala Lumpur, has applied for a royal pardon from the King.

The move allows Najib, the MP for Pekan - a constituency in Pahang state - to keep his seat until the next general election, while his application for a pardon is being looked into.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.