Prisons dept rejected Najib’s bid to attend Dewan, says Shafee

KUALA LUMPUR: The prisons department has rejected Najib Razak’s request to attend Dewan Rakyat proceedings, says the former prime minister’s lawyer Shafee Abdullah.

Shafee told reporters that Najib’s legal team wrote to the department on the matter last week and that the request was turned down on grounds of “security”.

“We appealed to the (home) minister (Hamzah Zainudin) immediately against the prisons department’s refusal but he has yet to reply.

“If he does not reply by tomorrow, we will file for a leave for judicial review,” he added.

Shafee also dismissed the security reasons cited by the prison’s department in denying Najib’s request as irrational.

“Prisons and police (at Parliament) can ensure more security there.”

The lawyer also lamented that several political aides to Najib could not meet him in prison or when Najib is attending court to seek instructions on Pekan related matters.

“His aide is here (Kajang prison) but he can’t see my client (Najib),” Shafee said, citing that only lawyers and family members can see him.

Shafee added that Najib is still an MP and should be treated like one.

“An MP’s main job is to attend Parliament. It is a critical moment now (at the Dewan Rakyat),” he said, referring to rumours that Parliament could be dissolved anytime soon to make way for the 15th general election.

Earlier today, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Harun said he did not have the authority to decide whether or not Najib could attend the proceedings at the Dewan Rakyat.

He added that it was solely up to the prisons department to decide on the matter as Najib was in their custody.

The former prime minister is currently serving a 12-year jail sentence after his conviction in the SRC International case was upheld by the Federal Court in August.

Last month, Azhar confirmed that Najib remains as Pekan MP since he has filed a petition seeking a royal pardon for his conviction in the SRC International case.

Najib had filed the petition on Sept 2, within 14 days of the Federal Court ruling.

Azhar said the enforcement of Najib’s disqualification as an MP will only begin if his petition is denied.

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