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Malaysia’s King Is Facing Pressure Over Possible Najib Pardon

  • Staunch supporters, opponents weighing in on pardon prospects
  • Najib would need to apply for pardon before it is considered
Najib Razak arrives at Malaysia’s Court of Appeal and Federal Court on Aug. 23.
Najib Razak arrives at Malaysia’s Court of Appeal and Federal Court on Aug. 23.Photographer: Samsul Said/Bloomberg

Malaysia’s rotating monarchy has played an outsized role in politics, helping determine the prime minister. Now the king may be ex-premier Najib Razak’s last chance to walk free for his crimes related to 1MDB.

Najib, 69, began serving time in prison from Tuesday after Malaysia’s top court upheld his 2020 conviction for corruption in relation to 1MDB, a troubled state fund from which billions were siphoned. The next day, 300 of his staunchest supporters gathered at the palace to formally ask King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah to grant Najib a pardon, claiming the judiciary had conflicts of interest.