Najib can remain MP pending appeal, says lawyer

Najib Razak can stay on as Pekan MP until he exhausts his appeal in the Federal Court, says lawyer A Srimurugan.

KUALA LUMPUR: Najib Razak will not automatically cease to be an MP following his conviction and sentencing today for corruption in relation to RM42 million of SRC International Sdn Bhd funds, a lawyer said.

A Srimurugan said Najib’s Pekan seat would only be vacated if he failed to file his notice of appeal in the Court of Appeal within 14 days from today.

“Article 48(4)(b) of the Federal Constitution is clear that Najib could remain MP until he exhausts his appeal in the Federal Court,” he said.

Article 48(1)(e) of the constitution states that an elected representative is disqualified if he or she is convicted and sentenced to a jail term of two years or more and/or fined RM2,000 and more and has not received a free pardon.

Srimurugan, however, said Najib risks losing an opportunity to contest in a snap or general election should the Court of Appeal not hear his appeal.

“This is because his status will remain as a convicted person unless the appellate court reverses the High Court decision,” he added.

Najib was sentenced to 12 years’ jail and fined RM210 million in default five years’ jail for abuse of power.

He was sentenced to 10 years’ jail on each of the three counts of criminal breach of trust, and also 10 years each on another three counts of money laundering.

High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, however, ordered the jail terms to run concurrently, which means Najib will only serve for 12 years.

Nazlan has allowed a stay of the jail term pending his appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Meanwhile, another lawyer, Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali, said Najib may have to give up his membership and positions in Umno and any other registered society because of Section 9A of the Societies Act 1966.

That provision states that a person is disqualified to be an office-bearer, adviser or employee of a registered society if convicted and sentenced to a jail term of two years or more or fined RM2,000 and above.

“He could only remain in his position if the Registrar of Societies gives him an exemption,” Rafique said.

Najib is Pekan Umno divison chief and adviser to Barisan Nasional.

Rafique said the exemption is not automatic as Najib or his lawyers must write to the registrar not to be stripped of his positions in public office.