KUALA LUMPUR – Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak is serving his sentence alone in a jail cell for high-security prisoners in Kajang Prison, but is otherwise treated like other prisoners, Utusan Malaysia newspaper reported on Thursday citing two sources.
He has a fan in his cell, takes cold showers and is served food five times a day with the same meals dished out to other prisoners, the Malay-language newspaper quoted one source as saying.
“He has been placed in an isolation cell to maintain security in the prison and for Najib himself in accordance with Regulation 8 in the relevant law,” Utusan quoted the source as saying.
“As a former prominent leader of the country, security measures undoubtedly will be tightened to ensure he remains safe while in the care of the Prisons Department,” the person said.
He gets access to books and stationery to help him pass the time, provided they are approved by the prison warden, the source said.
The authorities have denied social media rumours alleging that Najib, 69, gets special treatment in jail, such as a house within the prison compound.
They also denied an earlier speculation that he has been given a large room with three separate beds and shelving for books.
Najib, who was Malaysia’s prime minister for nine years until May 2018, is serving a 12-year jail sentence in Kajang Prison at the edge of capital Kuala Lumpur, for a corruption conviction related to state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd.
He began serving his sentence on Aug 23, the day the country’s apex Federal Court upheld the judgment of the High Court and Court of Appeal on his conviction for corruption involving RM42 million (S$13 million) of funds.
A RM210 million fine was also upheld.
The Malay daily quoted a separate source, who is close to Najib as saying: “Najib gets no special treatment as a former prime minister even though he is placed in a cell on his own and has to take cold showers, while his room has only a fan.”
“There is not even a single switch or plug point in his cell. He has allergies that can cause him to stop breathing in his sleep, so a machine is needed to help him breathe while sleeping,” the second source told Utusan. “They have to use an extension wire for the machine.”
Najib was admitted to Hospital Kuala Lumpur last week, but with no details given of what the ailment was.
Najib has since filed for a review of the Federal Court’s decision to uphold his graft conviction.
He has also applied for a pardon from the Malaysian king, in a move to retain his parliamentary seat in Pekan, Pahang, until the next general election is called.
Najib’s daughter Nooryana Najwa said her father’s team of lawyers filed for the review of the decision based on “miscarriage of justice” and Najib’s right to counsel, among other issues.
Najib faces four other criminal charges related to the 1MDB scandal. He has been brought out of prison twice so far to attend two ongoing criminal trials.
Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, 70, was on Sept 1 sentenced to 10 years’ jail and fined a record RM970 million for graft. She remains free on bail, pending her appeal to higher courts against her conviction.