Malaysia ex-PM fails in media gag bid ahead of graft trial

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has failed to win a court order barring the media from discussing the merits of corruption charges against him ahead of the start of his trial on Feb. 12.

Najib has pleaded not guilty to criminal breach of trust, abuse of power and money laundering charges in a case related to the alleged multibillion-dollar looting of a state investment fund that led to his stunning electoral defeat three months ago.

High Court Judge Mohamad Nazlan Mohamad Ghazali ruled Friday that a gag on the media would be a "major incursion" in freedom of speech and expression. He said there are existing laws on contempt of court and the risk of prejudice is "quite remote" since Malaysia doesn't have a jury system.