Najib ordered to enter 1MDB case defence

Former Malaysian PM Najib Razak has been ordered to enter a defence at his 1MDB trial.
Former Malaysian PM Najib Razak has been ordered to enter a defence at his 1MDB trial.

A Malaysian judge has ordered former prime minister Najib Razak to enter a defence at his first corruption trial linked to the multibillion-dollar looting at the 1MDB state investment fund that helped spur his shocking election ouster last year.

Defence lawyers said Najib was shocked he wasn't acquitted. He will be the first defence witness to take the stand when the trial resumes December 3.

High Court Judge Mohamad Nazlan Mohamad Ghazali said the prosecution had established its case on charges of abuse of power, breach of trust and money laundering.

The seven charges relate to 42 million ringgit ($A14.8 million) that allegedly went into Najib's bank accounts from SRC International, a former unit of the 1MDB fund.

The judge said it was clear that Najib, who was also finance minister at the time, had "wielded overarching authority and power" in SRC and taken actions for "personal and private interest".

He said prosecution had established an "ingredient of dishonesty" in the fund misappropriation.

Najib's top lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said the judge had chosen a "different interpretation of facts and laws" on the defence arguments.

He maintained Najib was a victim of a conspiracy led by fugitive Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, identified by US investigators as the mastermind in the pilfering of more than $US4.5 billion ($A6.5 billion) from the fund.

"You will hear the true story from the accused. He has to tell his story, his version of what happened in SRC," Shafee told a news conference.

"This is a person who trusted the people around him and these people let him down."

Najib, 66, denies any wrongdoing and accuses Malaysia's new government of seeking political vengeance. The patrician former leader, whose father and uncles were the country's second and third prime ministers respectively, could face years in prison if convicted.

Australian Associated Press