Sin Chew Daily
The Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled yesterday that Najib Razak was guilty on all seven charges related to the misappropriation of RM42 million of SRC International funds.
The former prime minister was subsequently sentenced to 12 years in jail (all jail sentences running concurrently) and RM210 million fine. He would have to serve an additional five years if he fails to pay the fine.
In delivering his verdict, High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali said the defense had failed to rebut the prosecution's case in all these seven charges.
In other words, the prosecution had successfully proven beyond reasonable doubt Najib's conviction in three CBT, three money-laundering and one abuse of power charges.
Najib is the first former Malaysian prime minister to have been charged and convicted in a court.
Najib can appeal to the Court of Appeal after the verdict, and if this is unsuccessful, he can still appeal to the Federal Court.
According to the Federal Constitution, a Member of Parliament sentenced to more than one year in jail or not less than RM2,000 fine will be disqualified, although Najib can remain as MP until he has completed his appellate matters.
As the former PM, Najib was the top decision-maker of the country's institution of power. Given the seriousness of the charges made against him and the astronomical amounts of money involved in the cases, the penalties handed down on him have been heavy. This will have major implications on the country's judiciary as well as administration and even politics.
Politicians elected to be lawmakers and subsequently appointed to top government positions must cautiously exercise the powers entrusted to them. They must be fully transparent and open in all decision-making procedures in order to serve as role models for the nation.
Politicians, in particular government leaders, must never involve themselves in government-linked companies (GLCs), less take up senior positions in them to avert possibility of power abuse.
Additionally, the appointment of GLC posts must also be transparent and not to be wholly decided by the prime minister or finance minister because they represent public interest.
The High Court's verdict yesterday underscores judicial independence in this country. All individuals irrespective of their current or former positions must be given fair trials and verdicts. The judge's verdict in the SRC case shows that the court has been free from political intervention, professional and impartial.
Najib earlier said he believed the court would clear his name and reiterated that he wanted his name cleared through the court. In addition to the SRC case, Najib also has four other cases awaiting trial at KL High Court.
As all these cases are connected to the SRC and 1MDB cases, the outcome of the trial invariably catches the attention of the nation. All these cases have been comprehensively investigated, gone through the necessary legal proceedings, prosecution by the AG's Chambers, and been fairly tried in the court.
Whatever the outcome is, all Malaysians must respect the court's final verdict.