Najib Razak yesterday recorded a strong objection to the SRC International appeal proceedings at the Federal Court where he claimed that his life, liberty and right to fair hearing were at stake.
"As you know, my counsel have indicated that they are unwilling to continue because of the fact that they have very limited time to prepare.
"Unfortunately, the court did not allow them to be discharged and that includes my team of solicitors as well," he said in a press conference at the Palace of Justice.
As a result, he said, the defence could not be put across in court and only the prosecution was able to make its submission.
The former prime minister said it was totally unprecedented that the defence was left without any counsel in such a high-profile criminal case.
"This is a very serious matter and I hope that the court will take into account and make remedial measures at some point in time," he said, adding that his previous counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had done a stunning job in representing him. However, he had lost both at the High Court and Court of Appeal.
Najib also said he had wanted to engage an eminent Queen’s Counsel to represent him but that this, too, was denied by the High Court.
"Under such circumstances, I was left with no choice but to look for a fresh team because I wanted a new perspective to my case, and that’s why I decided to appoint Hisyam Teh Poh Teik and Zaid Ibrahim as a team of solicitors," he said.
Najib said his appeal was a very complex case involving almost 200 volumes of documents, adding that this was why Hisyam had asked for reasonable time for the team to be fully prepared.
"Again, we were denied and they had no choice but to offer themselves to be discharged and even that was not allowed by the Federal Court. I am now left in reality without a defence counsel," he said.
Meanwhile, Hisyam said he was in no position to participate in the appeal proceedings as he was not accorded enough time to make the necessary preparations for Najib’s defence.
"Under the circumstances, I am not able to play an effective role. So, in essence, Najib has no legal representation. That is the bottom line," said the lawyer.
Najib is making a final appeal to quash his conviction and sentence for the misappropriation of RM42 million belonging to SRC International.
On July 28, 2020, High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Ghazali, who is now a Court of Appeal judge, sentenced Najib to 12 years in jail and fined him RM210 million.