KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 2 ― The High Court’s conviction of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak of all seven charges of misappropriating RM42 million from state-owned SRC International Sdn Bhd in July was approved by 61 per cent of Malaysians, according to Merdeka Center.
Only 18 per cent of Malaysians disagreed with the High Court, the independent pollster added.
Merdeka Center released today its latest survey on several political hot button issues completed on August 10, including public perception towards the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government and the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition that collapsed in February.
The researcher found agreement with the High Court to be high among the Malay community, with 57 per cent approving the guilty verdict. It said that less than 20 per cent of Malays felt the conviction was wrong.
“We note that 57 per cent of Malay voters also agreed with the court’s verdict,” Merdeka Center programme director Ibrahim Suffian said in a statement today.
The survey polled 3,415 voters between July 15 July and August 10, asking them about issues like the country’s economy, government and political leadership and other current issues.
Merdeka Center said the respondents comprised 52 per cent Malay, 29 per cent ethnic Chinese, 7 per cent ethnic Indian and 6 per cent other Muslim Bumiputera from Sabah and Sarawak.
Najib is the first former prime minister to be accused and convicted of criminal charges in a court.
On July 28, the High Court pronounced him guilty of committing three counts of criminal breach of trust over a total RM42 million of SRC International funds while entrusted with its control as the prime minister and finance minister then, and a separate charge of abusing the same positions for self-gratification of the same sum.
For the remaining three charges, he is accused of laundering RM42 million.
He was subsequently sentenced to 12 years in jail and fined RM210 million, and faces another five years behind bars if he defaults.
However, the court has given him a reprieve in serving his sentence pending his appeal.
Najib is also accused in two other trials and waiting for two more to begin, mostly linked to the looting of billions of dollars from defunct sovereign fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd.
The Pekan MP is out on an RM2 million bail and has continued to make public appearances campaigning for the government.