KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 3): The Prison Department has rejected jailed former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's request to attend Parliament proceedings due to "security" reasons, said his lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah on Monday (Oct 3).
Speaking to reporters outside the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex after the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB)-Tanore trial, Shafee said he had written to the Prison Department with three requests.
The first request was for Najib to attend Parliament proceedings, the second was for his political aide to have visitations with him, and the third was for him to be allowed to visit his Pekan constituency to serve his constituents.
Shafee said the Prison Department director general replied via a letter last Friday (Sept 30), addressing only the first request for permission to attend Parliament.
"I find the decision unreasonable and irrational to not allow Najib to attend Parliament for security reasons," the lawyer said.
Shafee added that if Najib is allowed to attend court for his various criminal trials then he should be allowed to go to Parliament.
The lawyer said that after he received the response from the Prison Department, he wrote to Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin on the same day, asking the minister to look into the matter.
Shafee said if he does not get a response from Hamzah by Tuesday (Oct 4) afternoon, he will file a judicial review application at the High Court to seek a review of the Prison Department's decision not to allow Najib to attend Parliament proceedings.
"Reason of safety is not a good reason. We will file a judicial review by tomorrow afternoon. This means we will have to get leave from the High Court first to file the review," he said.
Shafee said that if a judicial review was filed and granted, it would be the first of its kind, as this would allow any convicted and sentenced lawmakers to carry out their duties to their constituents at their constituencies.
Shafee also insisted that Najib needed access to his political aide. Shafee said currently only Najib's lawyers and family had access to him when he was in prison or court.
“We have told the Prison Department that his political aide should be allowed to visit him so that [his constituents'] grouses can be heard, and he (Najib) can give instructions,” he said.