'This is a chance to clear my name': Former Malaysian PM Najib Razak maintains his innocence

'This is a chance to clear my name': Former Malaysian PM Najib Razak maintains his innocence

Najib Razak arriving in court
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak arrives at a courthouse in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Wednesday, Jul 4, 2018. (Photo: AP/YC Hiam)

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak has maintained his innocence and said the trial was the "best chance" for him to clear his name.

Speaking to the media on Wednesday (Jul 4) after leaving the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex, Najib expressed hope that the trial would be "truly fair".

"If this is the price I have to pay for serving Malaysians for 42 years, I am willing. I hope the judgment process is truly fair, following the rule of law.

"I am confident in my innocence, I believe in my innocence. This is the best chance for me to clear my name after the numerous accusations and slander levelled against me," he said.

The trial date has been set for Feb 18 next year.

Najib had earlier pleaded not guilty to abuse of power and other charges arising from an investigation into scandal-hit state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), weeks after he was ousted in a stunning election defeat.

Najib, 64, who has denied wrongdoing in relation to 1MDB, was charged with abuse of power and three counts of criminal breach of trust as part of an investigation into a transaction involving SRC International, a former unit of 1MDB.

"I thank the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the security team for treating me well and respecting me as the former prime minister. Hopefully this process moves smoothly and, God willing, the public stays calm.

"I am touched by the presence of my supporters who are here to give me moral support even though I did not call for a movement, but they came willingly," Najib added.

Earlier, Najib's supporters had urged Attorney-General Tommy Thomas to conduct his press conference in Bahasa Melayu instead of in English.

Their shouts of support caused the authorities to temporarily suspend the press conference and adjourn the media briefing to a separate location in the complex. 

Several individuals including local celebrity Ellie Suriaty and UMNO politician Faisal Ismail Aziz were given police warnings for their provocations and cries of "Hidup Najib" or "Long Live Najib".

About 200 officers and security personnel were present at the court complex. 

Source: Agencies/CNA/zl