Malaysia’s top court unanimously upheld the conviction and sentence of former Prime Minister Najib Razak on various corruption charges related to the looting of the 1MDB state fund, leading to the beginning of a 12-year prison sentence for him. In addition, the verdict led to the arrest of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, who was taken to Kajang prison to serve his sentence on Tuesday.
Following the rejection of his appeal in the 1MDB case, former Malaysian PM Najib Razak has been sentenced to prison. As a result of the verdict, Najib will spend 12 years in prison, making him the first former prime minister of Malaysia to be sentenced to prison.#NajibRazak pic.twitter.com/gwo4bzxiRg
— Live News Now (@LiveNewsNow6) August 24, 2022
On Tuesday, opposition leaders, activists, and many Malaysian citizens praised the court for its swift ruling in the case of Najib’s appeal, calling it a victory for the country’s voters who removed him from power in 2018. A five-member Federal Court panel concluded that Najib’s appeal was “devoid of any merit” and that the High Court’s decision was correct.
During the trial, Chief Justice Maimun Tuan Mat stated that this was a straightforward and simple case of criminal breach of trust, abuse of power, and money laundering. Neither the High Court’s findings nor the Court of Appeal’s affirmation was perverse or wrong such that appellate intervention was warranted. As a result, we agree that the defense case is wholly inconsistent and unbelievable, so it raises no reasonable doubt about the prosecution’s case in any way,” she added.
Najib to Pay $47 Million Fine
Following his sentencing in 2020, Najib had been out on bail pending appeals, but he has been ordered to spend time behind bars. In addition to the fine, he has been ordered to pay 210 million Malaysian ringgit ($47 million). Immediately after reading the verdict, Najib appeared to be in shock. Immediately, his friends and family surrounded him. After the court’s decision was announced, his lawyer told reporters they might appeal.
According to Bridget Welsh, a Southeast Asian expert at Malaysia’s Nottingham University, this is a historic moment for Malaysia, as the leader has now been exposed to unprecedented political accountability. Moreover, as the first in a series of cases involving this particular scandal, the decision really testifies to the strength of the rule of law in Malaysia and the recognition of the importance of the rule of law in the country.”
A total of 42 charges against Najib have been filed in five separate trials linked to 1MDB, and his wife is also prosecuted for corruption. Furthermore, he continues to play an important political role. Following defections of MPs from the reformist government that won the 2018 elections, his United Malays National Organization (UMNO) led the current government.
As a political party, UMNO must now decide how to relate to the detained former prime minister, according to him. It is also necessary for the UMNO party to consider very carefully whether they will continue to support his position of innocence. In other words, they would be able to draw a clear line between him and the party. Therefore, the party would be able to project a more professional image,” he told Al Jazeera.