KUALA LUMPUR, July 28 – A Malaysian court sentenced former premier Najib Razak to 12 years in prison and fined him 210 million ringgit ($49.40 million) after finding him guilty of all seven charges in his first case over the 1MDB scandal, drawing jubilation from critics and introspection among allies and supporters.
The High Court judge said the prosecution had proven beyond reasonable doubt that Najib was guilty of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of power for illegally receiving nearly 42 million ringgit ($9.88 million) from former 1MDB unit SRC International.
Below are some excerpts of comments by Najib and other key figures and analysts in the aftermath of the verdict.
Najib Razak, reading a statement prior to sentencing:
“I did not demand for the 42 million, I did not plan for the 42 million, nor was the 42 million offered to me and there has been no evidence or witnesses to say so. I had no knowledge of the 42 million. And that’s all I have to say.”
Joint statement by Pakatan Harapan opposition pact, led by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim:
“The ruling is a huge victory for Malaysians. This process of justice would not have started if the people did not rise to grant victory to Pakatan Harapan and defeated Barisan Nasional in GE14 (14th general election).”
Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, president of Najib’s United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party:
“On behalf of UMNO, we accept the decision made by the court against Datuk Seri Najib. But as a friend, I sympathise and am saddened by the decision of the court. However, he told me that this is not the end of the world. I am sure there will be something that UMNO will do, so wait for the decision that we will make.”
Khairy Jamaluddin, minister and senior UMNO leader:
“Even if he has space to appeal, this is a decision that will have a huge affect on UMNO … The time has come to rebuild UMNO and for us to look at a generational shift in leadership that will bring the party to a new era.”
Rafizi Ramli, former opposition lawmaker and 1MDB whistleblower:
“I very rarely commented on anything political nowadays. But I did spend many years on the frontline dealing with 1MDB and SRC scandals as an MP (member of parliament). I never expected much from those years, but I did feel that all the heartbreaks were well worth it today. Well done Malaysia.”
Peter Mumford, Practice Head, Southeast & South Asia, Eurasia Group:
“The verdict will likely not come as a major shock/surprise in Malaysian political circles as the defense case was deemed weak. Nevertheless, it is a major milestone – Najib is the first former Malaysian PM to be convicted of corruption.” (Reporting by Joseph Sipalan; Editing by Martin Petty)