Malaysia’s former PM Najib Razak requests court review of 1MDB-linked case to overturn 12-year sentence
- Najib Razak is seeking a review on grounds the High Court judge who delivered the conviction should be disqualified due to a conflict of interest
- The former prime minister was first convicted in July 2020 on charges of abuse of power, money laundering and criminal breach of trust
Security was tight as a small group of supporters gathered outside the Federal Court in the administrative capital of Putrajaya. They held up placards bearing the words “Solidarity for Bossku” – Najib’s nickname that translates as “my boss”.
Najib is seeking the review on grounds that the High Court judge who delivered the conviction should be disqualified due to a conflict of interest, among other reasons, according to his lawyer Shafee Abdullah.
Najib appeared in court in a suit and tie alongside his wife Rosmah Mansor, who was separately convicted on corruption charges for an unrelated case and is out on bail. Both have pleaded not guilty in their respective trials, and publicly maintained their innocence.
The former prime minister was first convicted in July 2020 on charges of abuse of power, money laundering and criminal breach of trust involving the SRC case. The sentence, which included a 210 million ringgit (US$48.7 million) fine on top of the jail term, was maintained by the Court of Appeal in December 2021, with a judge referring to Najib’s actions as a “national embarrassment.”
He mounted a final appeal before the Federal Court while being out on bail, and in September applied for a review of the court’s decision to uphold his conviction, jail term and fine.
Najib has also applied for a royal pardon, but remains on trial for dozens of other criminal charges linked to the troubled state fund, each carrying prison terms and hefty financial penalties.
A rejection of Najib’s review petition may not go down well with his party the United Malays National Organisation, which is part of the new government. Umno President Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also deputy prime minister, last week maintained that Najib was a victim of “political and selective prosecution”.