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The Latest News On Malaysia's 6th Ex-prime Minister

According to Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, prison will be a harsh contrast to former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's seven-star hotel lifestyle as Malaysia seeks "closure" from the scandal that has rocked the country for years.


 


On Monday, Najib, who was charged with embezzling billions of dollars from Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, lost his appeal against his prison sentence.


 


Malaysia's highest court upheld his 12-year prison sentence, which began on Tuesday at Kajang Prison, south of Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur.


 


 


"I believe this is a good start and it does reform and mature Malaysia as a vibrant democracy with strong institutions," Anwar said on Tuesday's episode of CNBC's "Squawk Box Asia."


 


On Tuesday, Najib's lawyer requested the removal of Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat from the panel presiding over the case, in what was seen as an attempt to delay a final verdict.


 


 


They claimed she was biased because her husband had made a Facebook post critical of Najib in 2018. However, the chief justice denied the request, stating that the position existed before Najib was charged. The chief justice stated in her decision that the five-judge panel unanimously determined that Najib's conviction on all seven counts was secure and that the appeal was "devoid of any merits."


 


This is a historic occasion. In a region where power is unaccountable and hierarchy is rigidly enforced, it is almost unheard of for a political figure as senior as Najib Razak to go to jail. Even Indonesian President Suharto, who was forced to resign in 1998 following mass protests against his autocratic rule, was never imprisoned. Malaysia has broken that taboo.


 


 


Najib has few legal options left; he can request a review of the appeal, but his chances are slim but it's too early to write him off as Najib Razak's popularity has remained in some segments of Malaysian society, and he remains influential within his UMNO party.


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