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Najib Razak has gone directly to jail. He may, however, have to collect RM210 million from somewhere to pay the fine after the Federal Court dismissed his final appeal against a conviction related to the 1MDB scandal that landed him with a 12-year sentence.
Politically, this will strengthen Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s hand, even as he starts his second year in power.
But having presided over an impressive list of democratic reforms, the key challenge ahead of a general election that must be held within a year is the economy, with Budget 2023 set to be the final supply bill before national polls.
The average Malaysian is still struggling in the aftermath of Covid-19 and surging inflation from disruptions to the global supply chain has not helped.
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Drama of Najib's week in court
The former premier's lawyers failed in their last ditch attempts to delay the hearing.
One rival down for Ismail Sabri
Mixed reactions to Najib ruling
Najib's supporters lament he did not get justice, while others hail the court decision as justice served.
PM Ismail's first year in office
Ismail Sabri is often underestimated by his friends and foes but has proven himself to be a survivor, an observer says.
Umno meetings expose rift between party leaders
Umno chief Zahid is pushing for elections this year, while PM Ismail has been resisting such calls in order to bolster his position.
Ismail's reforms aimed at staying in power
Analysts say the prime minister's moves during his term have been borne out of political expediency.
KL walks tightrope for election budget as deficit soars
The upcoming budget is expected to contain populist measures as it precedes a general election.