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Najib's 1MDB trial vacated as witnesses unavailable

The Edge Media Group chairman Tong Kooi Ong is available today but Najib's lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is on MC for three days.

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Former prime minister Najib Razak.
Former prime minister Najib Razak.

Najib Razak’s 1MDB trial was today vacated after the High Court was informed that no prosecution witnesses would turn up to testify.

Deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib said the prosecution had tried to call a few witnesses to come to court, but to no avail due to short notice. 

"My Lord, as I promised, I tried to call our witnesses. Two of them were overseas, while three others were unable to attend court due to various reasons. 

"However, the 43rd prosecution witness, namely the chairman of The Edge Media Group Tong Kooi Ong, is available today. He is supposed to be cross-examined by defence lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, but Shafee is on medical leave," he said.

Meanwhile, lawyer Rahmat Hazlan, also acting for Najib, said Shafee would conduct the cross-examination for Tong on Monday as he was on three-day medical leave after seeing a dentist. 

"My Lord, only Shafee can question Tong. His gums still hurt from the procedure, and he is still on MC," said the lawyer. 

Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah then vacated today's trial to Monday. 

Najib, 69, faces four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.