KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has allowed an application by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to appear as the second putative respondent in a judicial review application filed by the Malaysian Bar relating to his royal pardon.

With the leave, Najib, who is represented by his lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, could respond and argue in the ex-parte application by the Bar.

Justice Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid granted Najib’s application on grounds of justice and public interest after hearing brief submissions from parties.

“As explained by the Senior Federal Counsel, today is the first mention at the leave stage and parties are prepared with their arguments.

“(But) on the interest of justice, I adjourn the proceedings for the second putative respondent to be able to file his submissions and hand them over to the applicant (the Bar) and the Attorney General’s Chambers,” the judge said on Tuesday (July 2).

The court fixed Sept 18 for hearing on the Bar’s main leave application.

On April 26, the Bar filed the application for leave to commence a judicial review against the Pardons Board’s decision to reduce Najib’s sentence in the SRC International Sdn Bhd case.

It named the Federal Territories Pardons Board and Najib as the first and second respondents, respectively.

According to court documents, the Bar is seeking a declaration that the decision by the first respondent on Jan 29 regarding the application made by the second respondent was unlawful, unconstitutional and void.

The decision was to reduce Najib’s imprisonment sentence by 50%, whereby he would be granted an early release on Aug 23, 2028; and to reduce his RM210mil fine to RM50mil in default of a year in jail.

The Bar is seeking for a certiorari order against the first respondent to quash the decisions.

It also sought a permanent injunction to restrain the second respondent, his servants, agents or otherwise howsoever, from submitting any application for pardon, reprieve or respite to the first respondent until and unless all criminal proceedings or charges against Najib have been exhausted, or he has publicly accepted responsibility for his actions for which he is convicted, and he has expressed repentance and remorse for those actions.

The applicant is also seeking a prohibition order against the Pardons Board from accepting, considering or determining any application by Najib for pardon, reprieve or respite.