The Federal Court’s unanimous decision to uphold the sentence and conviction of former Prime Minister Najib Razak for abuse of power, criminal breach of trust, and money laundering is a phenomenal victory for the Malaysian Rakyat and a monumental expression of justice for our nation.
This judgment resoundingly reasserts the principle that no individual is above the law, not even a former prime minister.
Today, C4 Center celebrates the strength and independence of the Malaysian judiciary and the collective spirit of all Malaysians who persevered in the effort to bring to justice an individual who was, at one point, the most powerful man in the country.
It is of great note that Najib Razak was convicted and sentenced at the High Court, and this decision was upheld by all presiding judges at both the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court. There can be no doubt in anyone’s mind that our disgraced former prime minister is guilty of the criminal charges brought against him.
C4 Center regrets that the long legal battle leading to today’s climax was marked by numerous attempts to prolong proceedings, including multiple adjournment requests and the constant turnover of Najib’s legal counsel.
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Throughout this case, we have also been witness to several shocking attacks on the integrity of our judiciary, with numerous external allegations of bias being cast upon presiding judges – culminating in Najib’s legal team going so far as to make an application for Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat to recuse herself at the very last session of proceedings. These attempts at undermining the legal system ultimately proved to be a delay of the inevitable.
It must be noted that despite the years of legal proceedings involved in this case, we may only be at the tip of the iceberg in resolving the array of scandals involving Najib during his time in power. Questions remain regarding his alleged involvement in the Scorpene scandal, the murder of Shaariibuugiin Altantuyaa, and most recently, the littoral combat ships procurement scandal where yet more billions of ringgit have gone missing.
However, yesterday’s Federal Court decision is proof that the arduous tasks of whistleblowing, investigation, due process, and standing up to injustice are not without return. For many years, C4 Center, together with our organisational partners and members of the public, faced numerous challenges in advocating for justice in this case. The sentencing of Najib Razak has reaffirmed trust in the judicial process and has brought new optimism for a better Malaysia.
As we continue in our fight against corruption and abuse of power, we should take heed that victory can only come with the collective effort of the rakyat. Today’s guilty verdict for the former prime minister serves as a testament to the efforts of whistleblowers, media workers, investigators, civil society organisations, public officials, and members of the public who spoke up and exposed his crimes for all to see.
The fight against corruption and abuse of power continues, but it shall continue in the belief that justice can and will be served. Today’s decision also serves as a striking message that those who abuse their power for self-enrichment, manipulate public institutions to conceal wrongdoing, and impoverish the Rakyat with their greed can never outrun justice. To quote Martin Luther King Jr: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” – C4 Center