HOME Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail says Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was granted special permission to visit former prime minister Najib Razak at the Kajang prison.
Saifuddin said prisons department director-general Nordin Muhamad allowed the visit.
“The prisons (department) director-general informed me of the visit,” he said, adding that necessary procedures were followed during the visit.
Saifuddin said special permission for visits can only be granted by the home minister and the prisons department director-general.
Previously, Umno president Zahid revealed he had visited Najib and had breakfast with him at the Kajang prison, prompting criticism. Lawyer Hanif Khatri Abdulla has urged the authorities to explain why Zahid was allowed to visit Najib.
Saifuddin said the duration of the visit and conditions on bringing outside food into the prison were left to the discretion of the prison authorities.
He said contact between inmates and visitors was allowed under Part 10, Regulation 86 of the Prisons Regulations 2000, with special permission.
“No visitor is allowed to bring in any outside food unless permitted by the supervising officer. That is the basic rule,” the home minister said.
On Sunday, Zahid said he visited Najib and spent an hour-and-a-half in conversation, without disclosing details.
According to the Prisons Regulations 2000, the provisions included in Regulations 86 to 98 deal with issues relating to authorisation and limitations placed on communication or visits for prisoners.
Regulation 87 specifically states that the visit must last 45 minutes, but regulation 87(4) states “the officer in charge may change the duration of the visit as he thinks fit”. – FMT