KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian opposition has lauded a High Court verdict that found former prime minister Najib Razak guilty of seven charges in his first corruption trial related to state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Najib was convicted on Tuesday (Jul 28) of misappropriating RM42mil (US$9.8 million) from SRC International Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of the scandal-linked 1MDB.
He was sentenced to 12 years in jail and fined RM210 million.
READ: Former Malaysia PM Najib Razak sentenced to 12 years in jail following guilty verdict in 1MDB trial
In a joint statement, the Pakatan Harapan's (PH) presidential council stated that the verdict is a "big victory" for Malaysians.
"The trial process surely would not have started if the people had not risen up to give the (election) victory to PH and defeat Barisan Nasional (BN) in the 14th general election," said the statement.
The council recounted that questions over 1MDB's corporate governance had begun in 2011, when Parti Keadilan Rakyat's leader Anwar Ibrahim first raised the issue in parliament.
PH thanked all who had a hand in the process and singled out former attorney-general Tommy Thomas for initiating the legal proceedings.
"Thorough institutional reform needs to be carried out to ensure that the political climate then, which enabled the large scale damage and decline during BN's time, is not repeated," PH added.
AHMAD ZAHID URGES UMNO MEMBERS TO KEEP CALM
Meanwhile, United Malays National Organisation's (UMNO) president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, himself on trial for corruption, called on all levels of the party's leadership, members and supporters to keep calm.
"We believe Najib still has room to obtain justice through the country's legal process," Ahmad Zahid said in a Facebook post.
"I am also saddened by this decision, and am confident Najib has grit and resilience", he said.
When met by the media outside the courtroom, Ahmad Zahid said that he sympathised with the former prime minister.
"However, Najib has told me 'this is not the end of the world', there will definitely be steps taken by UMNO, just wait for the decision," he said, adding that the result would be in line with the efforts and direction of the current government.
Besides this trial, Najib is also facing two other 1MDB-linked trials. The corruption case related to an alleged money laundering of RM27 million will be tried at Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan's court from Jul 5 next year.