Najib says he now has chance to clear his name

PETALING JAYA • Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak has said he will now have an opportunity to clear his name, following a ruling by the High Court ordering him to enter his defence over the RM42 million ($13.8 million) SRC International case.

He said he had decided to give his sworn statement in court when the hearing resumes, and let the prosecution question him in the dock.

"My lawyers and I will be given a chance to call upon the defence witnesses for the first time in this case," he wrote in a post on Facebook late on Monday.

"Until now, only prosecution witnesses have been called and this time the defence witnesses will be given a chance to give a picture on the real scenario and prove that I am innocent."

The case involves seven charges of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of power centred on the transfer of the RM42 million to Najib's bank accounts allegedly from SRC International, a former unit of state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The court had from April heard testimonies from 57 witnesses.

Najib has a total of five court cases, this one involving SRC International and four others related directly to 1MDB, spanning 42 criminal charges for corruption and money laundering.

Ms Cynthia Gabriel, executive director of the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism, said the trial has so far heard overwhelming testimonies on how SRC International was used for siphoning of funds and for personal gratification.

"Since it involves huge amounts of public funds, and as the Prime Minister then, he has little option but to defend himself in the court of law," she said.

 
 
 
 

Mr Muhammad Mohan, president of Transparency International Malaysia, said the public should not prejudge Najib.

"Let him have the opportunity to tell his side of the story."

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Monday said he was shocked that Najib has expressed his shock over the High Court's order to enter his defence on the seven charges. "I am shocked that he is shocked," he said.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2019, with the headline 'Najib says he now has chance to clear his name'. Print Edition | Subscribe