Former prime minister Najib Razak today failed in his bid to adduce new evidence in his SRC International case, paving the way for the apex court to begin hearing his final appeal against his conviction and sentence for the misappropriation of RM42 million from the 1MDB-linked unit.
Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, who led a five-man bench in hearing Najib's application, said the additional evidence that he sought to adduce was irrelevant to the case against him.
The evidence Najib had sought to include related to the fact that trial judge Mohd Nazlan Ghazali was in 2006 the general counsel and company secretary for Maybank Group, and had the ultimate overall responsibility for the management and administration of all legal departments within the entire group.
In their unanimous decision rejecting his application, the judges said there was no nexus between Nazlan's previous job and the charges against Najib.
They dismissed the application after hearing submissions by Najib's lead counsel, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, and ad hoc prosecutor V Sithambaram.
The other judges on the bench were Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim and Federal Court judges Nallini Pathmanathan, Mary Lim Thiam Suan and Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah.
Tengku Maimun said that Najib as the applicant was neither ignorant nor unrepresented.
"It cannot be said that he could not have obtained the evidence without due diligence on his part. In the course of the investigation by the Malaysian-Anti Corruption Commission, statements were recorded from Maybank employees and also from Nazlan. With respect, we fail to see how their potential evidence is related to the charges against the applicant.
"We do not see how Nazlan’s previous role in Maybank may impact his findings in the SRC trial and the establishment of SRC by the acts of the applicant himself."
Najib's counsel Hisyam then asked that the main appeal be postponed for at least three to four months, saying his appointment was made only recently.
"I’m also unwell. I humbly requested for an adjournment," he said.
To this, Sithambaram said the prosecution would leave the matter to the court's discretion.
The court then stood down the proceedings to decide the matter.
Najib is appealing against his conviction and sentence for the misappropriation of RM42 million in the SRC International case.
It is his final appeal after a three-man Court of Appeal bench on Dec 8 last year upheld the Pekan MP’s conviction and 12-year jail term and the RM210 million fine handed down on him by Nazlan on July 28, 2020.