Najib's 1MDB trial on hold, allowing him to attend political events

KUALA LUMPUR • The 1MDB trial for Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak has been put on hold, enabling him to join the political campaigning for an upcoming by-election and deliver a speech when Parliament sits.

The judge agreed to continue the proceedings on July 17, after Najib's lawyer submitted a request to vacate the trial today as he had a foreign ministry meeting to attend.

The lawyer then requested a later resumption to let Najib join the by-election campaign in Pahang for the Chini state seat this week, and attend a Parliament session set to begin on July 13.

The trial revolves around corruption and money-laundering charges involving US$681 million (S$950 million) that appeared in Najib's personal bank accounts. The accusations are linked to his role in 1Malaysia Development Berhad, the state fund that is at the centre of global investigations.

Najib was ousted as premier in the 2018 election that saw Malaysians rallying against the 1MDB scandal and the high cost of living. That led to the country's first change of government since its independence and a crackdown against those involved in the 1MDB case.

Following the February political turmoil, Najib's party Umno has since returned to the ruling administration, spurring concern over the ongoing 1MDB trials and investigations. Current Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has pledged to continue fighting corruption, even as his government faced a backlash for agreeing to a settlement with Najib's stepson in a separate case involving 1MDB funds.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 02, 2020, with the headline Najib's 1MDB trial on hold, allowing him to attend political events. Subscribe