PETALING JAYA: Senior lawyer Zaid Ibrahim has castigated the Bar Council for its statement suggesting that a royal pardon for Najib Razak would make a mockery of the rule of law and administration of justice in the country.
“Once again, we are hearing pressure from various pressure groups, including the Bar Council,” said Zaid. “What are their motives?”
He said the power of clemency was an honour given by law to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Malay rulers, which all Malaysians as their subjects must respect.
“(Former) US president Donald Trump himself had pardoned 70 individuals in just one term of office, and yet, we have not heard Americans claim their system of justice was flawed,” he said on Facebook, noting that even members of the US military who had caused the death of children in Baghdad were granted pardons.
“(The American people have) never claimed their system of justice was impaired. This is because they respect the power of clemency granted to their head of state.
“What saddens me is that undue pressure is being brought to bear on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong not to exercise pardon (in Najib’s favour).
“This is a show of insolence.
“We must respect His Majesty’s judgment because he is the King, our head of state,” he said, adding that those offering advice now will later start questioning any decision handed down by the King.
Zaid called on Umno to be bold and speak out firmly to defend the King and the Malay rulers against those who question them in the exercise of their powers.
“We must stand up for our principles, so that Umno is not viewed as weak,” he said.
The Bar Council yesterday issued a statement saying Najib did not deserve a royal pardon as he had only begun to serve his jail sentence, unlike other jailed politicians, specifically naming Anwar Ibrahim, Harun Idris and Mokhtar Hashim, who had served a substantial part of their jail sentence before being pardoned and released.
Its president, Karen Cheah, also said a full pardon at this stage would be perceived as premature as Najib was still facing numerous other charges, and that it would set a “dangerous precedent” that powerful politicians were “above the law or beyond reproach”.