KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia’s imprisoned former Prime Minister Najib Razak is seeking to serve the rest of his prison term under house arrest, two months after his sentence in a corruption case was reduced by half.

His surprise court application, which came as a surprise, was due to be heard Thursday but was postponed to April 17.

Najib said in his application, filed Wednesday, he had “clear information” that the nation’s then-king Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah issued a separate order during the Jan.29 Pardon’s Board meeting, which cut his 12-year jail sentence by half and sharply reduced a fine, allowing him to finish his sentence under house arrest.

The former premier has asked the court to have the government verify and carry out the order.

Sultan Abdullah hails from Najib’s hometown of Pahang. He ended his five-year reign on Jan. 30 under Malaysia’s unique rotating monarchy system. A new king took office on Jan 31.

Najib, 70, has served less than two years of his sentence, supposed to end on Aug. 23, 2028, after his sentence was commuted. He was charged and found guilty in a corruption case linked to the multibillion-dollar looting of state fund 1MDB which caused national outrage.

In his application, he accused the Pardons Board, Home Minister and the Attorney-General among seven entities of concealing the sultan’s order “in bad faith.”

Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail told reporters later Thursday that he has “no knowledge” of such an order, adding that he wasn’t a member of the Pardons Board.

The others named in the application couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

In 2018, Najib’s long-ruling coalition suffered a massive defeat following the 1MDB scandal. He was sentenced in 2020 and two years later, he l ost his final appeal in court, becoming the country’s first former premier to be imprisoned.

Despite his conviction, Najib still holds clout in his party, the United Malays National Organization, currently a member of Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s unity government that took power after the 2022 general elections.

1MDB was a development fund that Najib set up shortly after taking power in 2009. Investigators allege at least $4.5 billion was stolen from the fund and laundered by Najib’s associates through layers of bank accounts in the U.S. and other countries and financed Hollywood films and extravagant purchases that included hotels, a luxury yacht, art and jewelry. More than $700 million landed in Najib’s bank accounts.

Najib has maintained his innocence, alleging that Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho duped him. Low, thought to be the mastermind of the scandal, remains at large.

The former premier’s separate graft trial over the 1MDB scandal is still ongoing.

Brought to you by www.srnnews.com