KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 23 — After more than four years of being on trial for misappropriating funds from SRC International Sdn Bhd and losing his final appeal against his conviction today, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was seen departing the Federal Court to begin his 12-year-jail sentence.
The decision today marks a historic moment for Malaysian politics as the country will witness for the first time a former prime minister sent to prison.
“I’m sorry,” were his last words heard when he met with his supporters at the rear entrance of the Palace of Justice.
The 69-year-old was taken away from the Federal Court in what looked like a black SUV.
It is understood that he arrived in Kajang Prison at 6.10pm.
Today is the final day of the hearing which saw Najib trying to recuse Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat from presiding over the case, which was rejected.
The Court of Appeal had on December 8, 2021 upheld the High Court’s July 2020 verdict and sentence of 12 years in prison and a fine of RM210 million meted against Najib.
Najib had been found guilty of one count of abuse of power, three counts of criminal breach of trust, and three counts of money laundering.
In the last moments before he left the courthouse, his daughter Nooryana Najwa Najib had written a short tribute-like to her father, apologising for not fighting hard enough.
“I’m sorry daddy...
“Maybe we didn’t fight hard enough. Maybe we placed our fullest trust in our justice system. Maybe we believed too whole-heartedly in our cause and purpose so we stood defiant these past four years.
“Yet you did not get your day of justice today, neither did we stand a fighting chance.
“But Bossku does not end here.
“I promise to you that Mummy, Ashman, Abang Jaja, me the family and your people will never rest until you are safely back with us, and justice is served.
“We are so proud of your strength. I will hold on to your parting words of wisdom with me every day.
“They can control everything but they cannot control your emotions and strength of mind.
“Stay strong, Allah is with you my father. Always with you, for now and always,” Nooryana’s Instagram post read.
Also present in court were his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and son Norashman Najib who were spotted seated behind Najib when the verdict was read out.
Najib lost his political footing when Barisan Nasional (BN) lost the general election in 2018 and stepped down as Umno president, a post he held since March 26, 2009 and BN chairman, but remained as Pekan MP.
However, as a result of today’s sentence, Najib will automatically lose that parliamentary seat.
Najib served the country as prime minister from April 9, 2009 to May 10, 2018.
He was Pahang mentri besar from May 4, 1982 to August 4, 1986.
Besides the SRC trial which has reached its conclusion today, Najib is facing four other criminal cases in court.
The four cases include an ongoing trial where Najib is facing 21 money-laundering charges and four power abuse charges over the alleged misappropriation of more than RM2 billion of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds, and his ongoing power abuse trial over alleged instructions given to amend the auditor-general’s 1MDB audit report before it was presented to Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee.
Previously, Najib’s 1MDB trial involving the 25 charges before High Court judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah was scheduled to be heard tomorrow and this Thursday, while Najib’s trial over the alleged power abuse which allegedly resulted in the altered 1MDB audit report before High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan was scheduled to be heard this Friday.
When contacted this afternoon by Malay Mail, Najib’s lawyer Rahmat Hazlan confirmed that the 1MDB trial hearing will not go on tomorrow as it has been vacated, and that it will instead resume on Thursday as scheduled.
Rahmat also confirmed to Malay Mail that the trial regarding the 1MDB audit report will go on this Friday as scheduled.
Deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib also confirmed to Malay Mail that Najib’s 1MDB trial will proceed this Thursday instead of tomorrow.
The two other trials have yet to start, namely Najib’s joint trial with former Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah involving six criminal breach of trust charges over RM6.6 billion of government funds, and three money-laundering charges involving RM27 million of former 1MDB unit SRC International Sdn Bhd’s funds.