KUALA LUMPUR: Umno’s 191 division chiefs have been directed to collect one million signatures for a petition seeking a royal pardon for former prime minister Najib Razak, who has been jailed on corruption charges.
Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi issued the directive to the divisional leaders during a closed-door meeting this evening, according to a division chief who spoke to FMT anonymously.
He said Zahid was confident Umno could collect up to three million signatures for the petition.
“Today, all division chiefs have been requested to collect the signatures of their branch leaders and members,” he said. “We were told to expedite this.”
He added that the Umno president has set a deadline of Feb 9 for them to collect the signatures.
Umno secretary-general Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki told reporters that the party’s division leaders have accepted the Supreme Council’s stand on Najib’s reduced sentence.
Yesterday, Umno said it respected the decision by the Federal Territories Pardons Board to commute Najib’s prison sentence and fine in the SRC International case.
However, the party said it would continue its efforts to seek justice for Najib, the party’s former president, in accordance with the law.
Asyraf urged all parties to refrain from criticising the commuted sentence as the Federal Constitution states that the King’s decision on pardons cannot be challenged.
The commutation of Najib’s sentence was made by the Pardons Board, which was chaired by the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.
On Tony Pua’s allegedly disrespectful remarks about the commuted sentence, Asyraf said they were the former Damansara MP’s personal opinion and would not affect Umno’s working relationship with DAP in the government.
“His views do not represent the government but we will continue lodging police reports over his statement,” he added.
Umno Youth had said it would file police reports against Pua nationwide, after the DAP man made sarcastic jibes over Najib’s commuted sentence.
Police have confirmed that Bukit Aman has launched a sedition investigation over Pua’s remarks, for allegedly insulting royalty.