KUALA LUMPUR – The eldest son of Malaysia’s former premier Najib Razak has been talked up for a candidacy in Malaysia’s next general election, just as Najib faces a final appeal against his corruption conviction next week. 

Rumours have it that Datuk Mohd Nizar Najib, 44, is being touted as a candidate for the Pekan parliamentary seat if his father, who has held the seat for more than four decades, is ineligible to contest, according to Malay daily Utusan Malaysia. 

The report surfaces just as Najib, 69, is scheduled to begin his final defence against a corruption conviction and a 12-year jail sentence later this month. 

Najib is currently set to miss out on the next election unless Malaysia’s highest court, the Federal Court, overturns his graft conviction. The lower courts, the High Court and the Court of Appeal, have both ruled against him. 

He is currently out on bail pending his final appeal, which is scheduled to run from Aug 15 to Aug 26. 

Mr Nizar has long been groomed to be a successor to his father in politics. He is currently the youth chief of the Umno division in Pekan, the constituency where his father is MP. 

Mr Nizar, an accountant by profession and a father of five, is Najib’s eldest son from his first marriage to Tengku Puteri Zainah Tengku Eskandar. 

He has two younger siblings and two step-siblings following Najib’s second marriage to Rosmah Mansor, who is also currently facing corruption charges.

“He is the most likely candidate to continue the legacy of Tun Abdul Razak,” Utusan Malaysia reported, citing sources. 

The Pekan parliamentary seat has been with the family since 1959. Najib’s father Abdul Razak Hussein, the second prime minister of Malaysia, held the seat from 1959 until his death in 1976.

Najib, then only 23 years old, was thrust into limelight by his father’s sudden death and became Pekan MP in 1976, holding the seat till today. 

Even when Barisan Nasional lost the general election for the first time in Malaysian history in 2018 under Najib’s leadership, he comfortably retained Pekan, with a majority of more than 24,000 votes.

Mr Nizar is also tipped to contest a state legislative seat in Pahang at the next election, possibly following in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather, Utusan Malaysia said. 

Both Mr Abdul Razak and Najib also held state seats and went on to become the Menteri Besar of Pahang early in their political careers, before becoming prime minister.