KUALA LUMPUR - Renowned Malaysian lawyer and lead prosecutor in an ongoing 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) trial Gopal Sri Ram has died, aged 79.
Mr Sri Ram, as he was known, was admitted to the intensive care unit of a private hospital in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 18 for a lung infection. He died on Sunday.
At the time of his passing, he was leading the prosecution as senior deputy public prosecutor in the ongoing 1MDB-Tanore trial involving former prime minister Najib Razak.
He was also lead prosecutor in the RM1.25 billion (S$387 million) solar hybrid project corruption case against Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor.
The defence teams in both cases have tried many times to remove him from leading the prosecution but failed.
Highly respected by the legal fraternity, Mr Sri Ram was an Appeal Court judge for 15 years before being promoted to the Federal Court and was well known for his judgments on public interest cases. He retired from the judiciary in 2010 and returned to private practice thereafter.
Former attorney general Tommy Thomas said that he was devastated by the loss of his friend, who had contributed much to Malaysia’s legal scholarship and administration of justice.
“Sri Ram had a world-class brain; he was as cerebral as any in the common law world. Incredibly articulate in speech, and eloquent in prose. He was a national treasure,” he said when contacted by The Star.
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim conveyed his condolences to Mr Sri Ram’s family.
“Condolences to the family of the late Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram on his passing. May his family’s affairs be eased and the family remain strong and resilient in their time of grief,” he wrote on Twitter. THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK