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Jailed former Malaysia premier Najib Razak seeks to serve remaining sentence under house arrest

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