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Najib's new legal team fails in bid to postpone final SRC appeal

The hearing will begin on Aug 15 as scheduled.

Staff Writers
3 minute read
Former prime minister Najib Razak.
Former prime minister Najib Razak.

Najib Razak's newly appointed legal team has failed in its bid to seek a postponement of the former prime minister's final appeal in the SRC International case at the Federal Court next month. 

The apex court will hear his appeal for 10 days from Aug 15 as scheduled. 

Najib was originally represented by Shafee & Co, with Muhammad Shafee Abdullah as his lead counsel.

He made an eleventh hour switch to Messrs Zaid Ibrahim Suflan TH Liew & Partners (ZIST).

His new lead counsel, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, had applied for the postponement, citing the firm's recent appointment. 

Najib was convicted in 2020 of criminal breach of trust, abuse of power and money laundering in the misappropriation of RM42 million in SRC International funds.

He was sentenced to 12 years in jail and fined RM210 million, a verdict unanimously upheld by a three-man Court of Appeal bench in December last year.

The appeals court, in throwing out Najib’s appeal, described the RM42 million transfers from SRC International as a "national embarrassment".

The former prime minister later embarked on a bid to be represented by a Queen's Counsel from the UK. 

The application said the appeal would involve serious, complex and novel issues, and that the Queen's Counsel, Jonathan Laidlaw, possessed special qualifications, experience and expertise not available among lawyers in Malaysia, for the purposes of Najib’s SRC appeal at the Federal Court.

But Laidlaw's application to represent Najib was thrown out by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on July 21. 

Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Ashrof Adrin Kamarul, when contacted by reporters, said the court had dismissed the application to adjourn the hearing.

He said the court also instructed that the main appeal be done through physical hearing and that parties must list down all references to records of appeal to ensure a smooth proceeding before the Federal Court.

"Today is the case management for the application for fresh evidence filed by Najib’s previous counsels from Shafee & Co. Then, the amendment to the said motion for fresh evidence.

"Then the issue for change of solicitors for the main appeal. The (apex) court has informed that the hearing dates fixed from Aug 15 to 26 are maintained. The fresh evidence application is to be heard on Aug 15 as well, together with the main appeal," he said.

He was referring to Najib’s application on June 7 to adduce further evidence to the Federal Court to nullify the entire trial over the claim that trial judge Mohd Nazlan Ghazali had been affected by conflict of interest.

Ashrof also said that ZIST wished to apply for an extension of time to file submissions and would write to the court to apply for this.

He said the filing of submissions for fresh evidence was allowed an extension until Aug 8.

On the issue of change of counsel, the prosecutor said ZIST had written a formal letter on July 26 asking for an adjournment of motion for fresh evidence and the main appeal.

"ZIST will also be making the same application to adjourn both matters in open court before the Federal Court on Aug 15," he said.

On the Queen's Counsel admission application, he said, ZIST confirmed that no appeal had been filed against the decision of the High Court on July 21.

Today's proceedings were also attended by ad hoc prosecutor V Sithambaram and Najib’s lawyers Hisyam, Liew, M Rueben as well as Shafee.