KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 11 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s upcoming trial over his role in the alleged misappropriation of billions of ringgit from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fund is more than just about Malaysia, a political expert has said.
Bridget Welsh, associate professor of political science at John Cabot University, noted the importance of the trial against Najib over his alleged role in the 1MDB financial scandal.
“This is not just an issue of accountability, this is a huge international scandal which has really shamed Malaysia,” she was quoted saying by UK daily The Guardian.
“This trial involves not just Malaysia and Najib, this involves the whole global financial system and the people who gamed the system to their advantage,” she added.
The Guardian noted that US attorney general Loretta Lynch had previously described 1MDB as the “largest kleptocracy case” globally, and that investigations on the matter are currently being carried out in 12 nations.
Najib is scheduled to face his first 1MDB-related trial tomorrow, with the charges involved being three counts of money-laundering, three counts of criminal breach of trust and one count of power abuse over RM42 million from 1MDB’s former unit SRC International Sdn Bhd that were said to have been transferred to his personal bank accounts.
Najib’s lawyers had previously mounted an unsuccessful bid to defer his trial tomorrow.
This afternoon, the Court of Appeal is expected to hear Najib's stay application to have the trial postponed, pending an appeal linked to the transfer of the case from the Sessions Court to the High Court.Najib currently has a total of 42 charges against him from several separate cases.
Trial dates have already been fixed in April and May for Najib’s 25 charges involving power abuse and money-laundering in relation to over RM2 billion funds allegedly belonging to SRC International, while Najib’s trial over six charges of criminal breach of trust involving some RM6.64 billion has been fixed in July and August.