Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he is shocked that Datuk Sri Najib Razak is shocked over the court's decision in his SRC case
Dr Mahathir said that to reporters after chairing the Bersatu Supreme Council meeting yesterday, 11 November, reported The Star.
"I am shocked that he is shocked," the 94-year-old premier said in jest, which received laughter from the reporters.
"We follow the rule of law. (Najib) has a case to answer and the case took months. That is how we run the government."
"The whole world knows that Najib is guilty," Dr Mahathir continued
Dr Mahathir said the government is being lenient on the former Prime Minister, who had allowed him to go on bail and run campaigns.
"He had sore eyes. But (can go to) campaigns, court tak boleh (can't make it).
"All these nonsenses you get from him because we are being lenient - because we follow the rule of law."
Dr Mahathir's comment comes after the Kuala Lumpur High Court ordered Najib to enter the defence for his SRC trial
Najib is facing seven charges of abuse of power, corruption, and money-laundering involving RM42 million from SRC International, a former subsidiary of sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.
The trial, which started on 3 April 2019, had called up 57 witnesses by the prosecution team, reported Malaysiakini.
In a ruling yesterday, High Court judge Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali said the prosecution had successfully proved a prima facie case against Najib.
It is now up to Najib and his defence team to prove that he is innocent.
Najib told his lawyer that he was shocked by the court's decision as he thought he would be freed from the case
"He was expecting to be acquitted of all the charges," said Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, Najib's lead counsel.
New Straits Times reported that Najib had anticipated being acquitted, as he felt that the defence had successfully rebutted every point raised by the prosecution.
"So, of course, he was surprised… 'shocked' is the word," continued Shafee.
He said that he felt 'sad' by the ruling as his team had presented overwhelming submissions, but he admitted that the outcome of a trial is always unpredictable.
"What can I say… the learned judge saw things differently and we respect his views.
"I am sad that the defence was called, but in many ways, I am also happy for two reasons. One is: You will now hear the real story from Najib… his version of what happened in SRC International."
Najib echoed the same sentiment, saying that the court will give him the opportunity to clear his name
In a Facebook post yesterday, he said he chose to testify under oath where he will be cross-examined by the prosecution, led by Attorney-General Tommy Thomas.
"My lawyers and I are now given the chance to call defence witnesses for the first time in this SRC case," wrote Najib.
To date, only prosecution witnesses were called and this time, defence witnesses would be given the opportunity to provide the true picture and prove my innocence.
"InsyaAllah (God willing), this would be an opportunity to clear my name in court soon," he added.
Shafee predicted that the case will go on for a few years from now, even beyond the next election
Regardless of how the case is decided along the process, Shafee said the case will go through more judges before it finally concludes, reported The Edge Markets.
He explained that the case will go through the Court of Appeal and eventually arrive in the Federal Court, a process that will take years.
"So I've always looked forward to a good hearing ultimately in the Federal Court because as you know, if things do not change this matter will reach the Federal Court. That is where I am hoping many issues are properly addressed," said Shafee.
"It will go beyond the next election."
In the coming proceedings, Shafee said that Najib will not shy away from the fact that he knew Jho Low, whose real name is Low Taek Jho - the fugitive financier alleged to be the central figure of the entire 1MDB scandal.
He said Najib does not have the criminal intention that Jho Low had, attributing SRC International's alleged corruption to the possibility of Najib's overly-trusting the people he worked with.