Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Malaysia’s trial of the century put on hold

Ex-premier Najib Razak has said an impartial trial is his “best chance” to clear his name of massive corruption charges but his lawyers are pulling all stops to delay hearings

Former Malaysian leader Najib Razak’s highly anticipated corruption case, scheduled to begin hearings today (February 12), was postponed after his lawyers filed a last-ditch bid to stay what is being likened to the nation’s trial of the century.

Harvinderjit Singh, one of Najib’s lawyers, told reporters on February 11 that the Court of Appeal had agreed to postpone the trial until an appeal is heard on a court jurisdiction issue. No new date for the trial or the appeal has been set.

Attorney General Tommy Thomas had earlier argued that the stay application should be rejected because Najib’s case is of public interest. Justice Ahmadi Haji Asnawi nonetheless granted the stay application, but called for the appeal process to be expedited.

When the trial finally begins, it will be the first of several criminal proceedings against the former premier over various corruption charges linked to a globe-spanning financial scandal that saw billions of dollars stolen from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) state development fund, some of which was traced to his bank accounts.

Read the full story at Asia Times.

Nile Bowie is a writer and journalist with the Asia Times covering current affairs in Singapore and Malaysia. He can be reached at nilebowie@gmail.com.