Malaysian Court Condemns Leaking Alleged Statement by Ex-Prime Minister’s Wife

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — The Malaysian Supreme Court on Saturday condemned as a defamation attempt the leaking of an alleged guilty plea against the wife of former Prime Minister Najib Razak days after he was jailed for theft in connection with the looted 1MDB state fund.

The Supreme Court will rule Thursday in Rosmah Mansor’s graft trial over a 1.25 billion ringgit ($279 million) solar energy project. Najib began serving a 12-year sentence on Tuesday after losing his last appeal in one of five corruption cases against him involving 1MDB.

The Malaysia Today website, run by a Malaysian blogger now based in England, posted a 71-page document describing it as a guilty verdict against Rosmah. The report late Friday claimed that the verdict was written by unknown people and not by the Supreme Court judge hearing Rosmah’s case.

The head of the registry of the Federal Court, Malaysia’s highest court, condemned the website’s action as “a deliberate act” to tarnish the court’s reputation. It said it has filed a complaint with the police and promised the court would not be afraid of attempts to threaten justice.

“This office emphasizes that the judiciary will not be harassed by illegal and irresponsible acts intended to damage the integrity of the country’s legal system,” the statement said.

Police said the leaked document was a preliminary draft prepared by the investigation unit of the Kuala Lumpur Supreme Court.

“The document is an investigative work into the ongoing trial and is the opinion of the investigating unit for the reference of the judge,” a police statement said. According to the court, the document will be changed based on research findings and further studies and “is not a judgment,” it said.

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The court complained that the leaked document was also adapted from the original, police said, without giving further details.

Just four days ago, the chief clerk also filed a police report against Malaysia Today for publishing a document he believed was the federal court’s conviction against Najib, just before the verdict was read in court. The court has said the leaked document was a working version of the ruling.

Rosmah faces three charges of soliciting bribes and receiving 6.5 million ringgit ($1.5 million) between 2016 and 2017 to help a company secure a project to supply solar panels to schools on the island of Borneo.

If found guilty, Rosmah is expected to remain out on bail for her appeal to higher courts.

Najib, his wife and several senior officials have been accused of corruption since the 1MDB scandal sparked public anger that forced his government to resign from office in 2018.

He claims to be innocent and to have been misled by others. Rosmah’s lawyers argued that an aide who testified against her was a corrupt liar.

Despite his conviction, Najib remains influential in his United Malays National Organization party, which returned to power after apostasy caused the collapse of the reformist government that won the 2018 polls.

Najib will not be able to run in the September 2023 general election unless he is granted a royal pardon, as his supporters are calling for.

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