KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 — Umno leaders have dismissed the possibility that its former president Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s SRC trial, where he has been instructed to enter his defence, will have any negative impact on the Tanjung Piai poll.
Speaking to reporters at the sidelines of Parliament today, Opposition leader and Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that the voters in Tanjung Piai are more concerned with bread and butter issues.
“I don’t think there’s going to be any impact because the issues in Tanjung Piai are community issues involving fishermen and small time farmers. So it is more on the cost of living issues in Tanjung Piai,” said Ismail Sabri.
He also dismissed the notion of the party distancing itself from the former prime minister as
Najib’s trial is a personal matter and not a party issue.
In fact, Ismail Sabri said the party will stand behind its former president to give him the support he needs.
Current party president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi also echoed Ismail Sabri’s words and pointed out that the trial has nothing to do with any by-elections.
“We are confident that the voter’s support will not be influenced by any court decisions because everyone knows the trial follows legal processes. And in the Tanjung Piai by-election, we only have a few days left to make sure our support continues to increase,” said Ahmad Zahid.
He also observed that Najib, who had joined the campaign trail, is as popular as ever, welcoming his predecessor’s assistance in the contest.
Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin supported his party colleagues in saying that his former boss is still "innocent until proven guilty".
"Even though he has been instructed to defend himself, it doesn't mean he is guilty. Not until this case is over," said Khairy.
At the High Court in Kuala Lumpur earlier today, judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali said the prosecution successfully proved prima facie against Najib, on all of his seven charges over RM42 million misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) former subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd.