Malaysia: Former PM Najib Loses Bid to Review Corruption Case

Malaysia: Former PM Najib Loses Bid to Review Corruption Case
Last updated Mar 31, 2023
Image credit: AFP/Getty Images [via CNBC]


  • Malaysia's top court on Friday dismissed the ultimate court challenge by jailed former Prime Minister Najib Razak to review his corruption conviction and 12-year prison sentence.[1]
  • This comes as the five-judge Federal Court panel ruled by a 4-1 majority against all four of the defense's arguments, stating that Najib caused his own misfortune and received a fair trial.[2]
  • While Najib can no longer appeal this conviction in court, he can be released without serving the full term if his application for royal pardon is successful. However, he faces three other trials related to corruption charges.[3]
  • He has been serving his jail sentence since August 2022, two years after being found guilty on charges of abuse of power, breach of trust, and money laundering for illegally receiving $10M from a former unit of the sovereign development fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).[4]
  • Malaysia's first former leader to be imprisoned, the British-educated Najib is the son of the country's second prime minister. He took office in 2009, running the nation until 2018 in a term spoiled by the 1MDB scandal.[5]
  • Malaysian and US authorities currently believe that some $4.5B vanished into the pockets of officials, their friends and fixers. Najib's wife, Rosmah Mansor, was also found guilty of graft last year.[6]


Narrative A

It is relieving that the Federal Court has dismissed Najib's bid to review his conviction, proving once again that no one — even a former Prime Minister — is above Malaysian law. By doing so, the country's top court has delivered a remarkable deterrence message to all potential offenders.

Narrative B

It is truly sad for justice lovers around the world when a man, whether innocent or guilty, is repeatedly deprived of his right to a fair trial. Though a former national leader, Najib was neither allowed to find a new legal counsel nor to address the bench before the prosecution in the previous panel. Yet, that ruling stands.

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