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By A. Ananthalakshmi and Rozanna Latiff

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has not ruled out seeking re-election to parliament within the next two years, he told Reuters in an interview, undetered by a corruption conviction that would block him from running.

Najib’s graft-tainted party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), clinched the premiership (https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/malaysias-king-expected-name-new-pm-after-rulers-meet-2021-08-20) last month after it was ousted from power three years ago over a multi-billion dollar scandal. Oponents feared that leaders of party could be lenient once they are back under control.

Najib, who served as premier for nine years until 2018, was found guilty of corruption )https://www.reuters.com/article/us-malaysia-politics-najib-idUSKCN24T042) last year and sentenced to 12 years in jail over one of many cases over the misappropriation of funds from now-defunct state fund 1MDB. The verdict was overturned by Najib, who has accepted responsibility for his actions and appealed.

While he is still an MP, he cannot contest elections until he receives a pardon from the monarch or another relief from him.

Najib, however, challenged the disqualification and said that it was subject to interpretation.

Najib explained that the decision rests on how the law, constitution and court proceedings are interpreted.

When asked if Najib would be contesting the 2023 elections, he replied that “any politician would like to play a part in parliament.”

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