KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Najib Razak has arrived at the High Court here for the verdict of his seven corruption charges in connection with RM42 million belonging to former 1MDB unit SRC International.
He entered the court grounds on foot from Masjid Wilayah at 9.35am, surrounded by thousands of supporters who had gathered from as early as 7am.
It is understood that some from the Barisan Nasional grassroots had been there since 5am.
Dressed in blue and red, they chanted slogans of “Hidup Bossku” (Long live Bossku) and “Kita sayang Bossku” (We love Bossku), and shook hands with him as he made his way to the court.
Seen among the crowd were supporters from his constituency of Pekan in Pahang who had travelled here by bus.
Also present were Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, deputy president Mohamad Hasan, Pontian MP Ahmad Maslan, former Terengganu menteri besar Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman, Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, Chini assemblyman Mohd Sharim Md Zin and former Perak menteri besar Zambry Abdul Kadir.
Najib was charged with abusing his power as prime minister by giving government guarantees on a RM4 billion loan from Retirement Fund Incorporated to SRC International.
He was also slapped with three counts of criminal breach of trust and three counts of money laundering in relation to the RM42 million in SRC International funds.
The offences were allegedly committed at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya and at AmIslamic Bank Bhd here between 2011 and 2015.
The 91-day trial began on April 3 last year. The prosecution called 57 witnesses in its attempt to establish a prima facie case against Najib.
The defence closed its case on March 11 after calling 19 witnesses.
Ad hoc prosecutor V Sithambaram led the prosecution team while counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and Harvinderjit Singh were the defence lawyers.
When met outside the court, Sungai Besar Umno chief Jamal Yunus acknowledged the difficulty of ensuring that Najib’s supporters observed social distancing.
“We know that it is difficult for them to observe social distancing,” he said.
“Some do, some don’t. This is why we advised them even two to three days ago to only show their support on social media because we did not want them to gather in large numbers.”
Adding however that Najib was no ordinary leader, he said the former prime minister had his own supporters.
“More wanted to come, but because of Covid-19, this is all,” he said.
He also said others had wanted to come in convoys but were not allowed due to concerns over infections if too many gathered.