Former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin today welcomed the Federal Court's decision to maintain the conviction and sentence of his former boss Najib Razak, warning however that it was not the end of the struggle to weed out corruption.
Muhyiddin, who was sacked from the government in 2015 for speaking up against Najib over the 1MDB scandal, said there were other high-profile cases waiting to be settled, including those involving the charges against Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
"I hope that the independence of the judiciary in our country continues to be defended without any attempt at interference or political pressure from any party so that justice can be upheld," the Perikatan Nasional chairman said in a statement, hours after a five-man bench maintained the RM210 million fine and 12-year prison sentence on Najib for charges related to some RM42 million linked to SRC International.
Najib, who headed the Barisan Nasional (BN) government from 2009 until his downfall in the 2018 election, was later taken to Kajang Prison to start his sentence, becoming the first ever former Malaysian prime minister to be jailed.
Muhyiddin had joined forces with Dr Mahathir Mohamad to form Bersatu following his dismissal from the BN government, posing the greatest challenge to Umno's dominance as a Malay party.
In 2018, Bersatu joined forces with Pakatan Harapan (PH) to topple more than six decades of BN rule.
Two years later, the party decided to break ranks with the coalition due to differences over calls to name Anwar as the successor to the prime minister's post. The saga ended with Mahathir's resignation from top office and the collapse of the PH government.
Muhyiddin was sworn in on March 1, 2020, after more than a week of power vacuum, on the back of support from Bersatu, BN, GPS as well as a group of PKR MPs who were opposed to their party chief Anwar Ibrahim.
Muhyiddin, who previously spoke of attempts to get him to intervene in high-profile court cases involving corruption, said today's decision was proof of the country's judicial independence, adding that it would restore Malaysia's image.
"It is this independence of the judiciary that I defended as prime minister," added Muhyiddin, who was ousted last year following a coup spearheaded by Najib, Zahid and a group of Umno MPs aligned with them.
"Although there was political pressure for me to intervene in certain cases, I was firm in rejecting it, even though I eventually had to resign for defending this principle."
Muhyiddin also said he felt vindicated by today's verdict, adding that he had spoken up against "large-scale abuse of power and corruption" related to the 1MDB scandal.
"Although I was punished by being sacked from the government and the party at that time, I remained consistent with the principle of upholding the truth."