KUALA LUMPUR, July 28 ― Former Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin has called on his party to forge ahead with the rejuvenation process in the wake of its former president Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s conviction by the Kuala Lumpur High Court today.

He said that although everyone in the party has the right to give moral support to Najib, he hoped that Umno would no longer be ensnared in the case as it is time for the party to be rebuilt and pave the way for a transition of leadership in preparation for a new era.

“The High Court has convicted former Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak. Although he still has room to appeal, this is a decision that has a big impact on Umno as a party.

“I think although he still has room to appeal, this is the time for Umno as a political party to move forward and carry out the rejuvenation process.

“Although each member has the right to give moral support to Datuk Seri Najib, I hope the Umno party is not ensnared in the case. I am confident that Umno members will continue to be loyal to the party beyond our loyalty to any individual in the party.

“The time has come for us to rebuild this sacred Umno party and for us to look at a leadership transition that will take the party into a new era,” he said in a statement on his official website today.

Earlier today, Najib, who is also the former prime minister, was convicted and found guilty on all seven charges of misappropriating RM42 million from SRC International Sdn Bhd by the High Court.

The trial, which started two years ago, also sees the charges carry hefty fines and jail terms of up to 20 years.

Najib has consistently denied the charges and claimed the money was a donation by a foreign monarch. He also pledged to appeal to Malaysia’s Federal Court.

High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, in reading out his two-hour-long judgment at the High Court, ruled that there was no evidence that Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah had ever stated any intention to provide monetary assistance to Najib or Malaysia when both state leaders met in 2010.