TONGUES are wagging in the Malaysian capital if former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is really above the law.
He reportedly tested his audacity to break the rules when he refused to enter the accused dock during a mention of his case at the Sessions Court on Friday.
The 64-year-old Najib, who appeared before judge Azura Alwi, simply sat on a chair next to the dock instead. The prosecution, led by Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, had signalled to the court police to usher Najib to stand in the dock when the proceedings started.
When Sri Ram saw Najib sitting outside the dock, he whispered to deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib, who is assisting him: “Why is he (Najib) sitting there?”
Following this, the court policemen were seen asking Najib to enter the dock. But Najib, with a handphone in his hand, daringly did not budge and remained seated outside the dock until the proceedings ended 15 minutes later.
‘HE IS THE ACCUSED’
DPP Ahmad Akram Gharib from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission told the press that Najib, as an accused, should have complied with the police’s request.
“He is an accused person and not a person being summoned. He is just being stubborn and testing the court’s patience,” Ahmad Akram said, emphasising that a summoned person usually sits in a chair next to the dock when appearing before the court.
During the mention yesterday, Sri Ram informed the court that the prosecution still had several documents to serve to the defence. He also told the court that High Court judge Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali made an order on Oct 31 for the case to be transferred to his court.
Azura then fixed Nov 27 for the case to be mentioned at the High Court.
DPP Gharib said prosecution had submitted 23 documents relating to money laundering. “We also submitted 367 documents for the predicate charges including minutes of meetings on 1Malaysia Development Bhd to the court,” he said.
‘NAJIB IS DEFIANT’
Kuala Lumpur-based journalist Salim Rahim feels “Najib is blatantly testing the rule of the law”. He said: “He is defiant and feels that as the former PM, he must be given special privileges when he fails to realise that he is accused of many criminal charges and he must behave the right way in court.”
Another court reporter, from a leading Chinese daily, who asked not to be named, said “Najib’s arrogance in court was unbelievable”. He added: “The police must enforce law and order. This is disgusting…so from now all accused persons can do as he deems fit? Is this the Malaysian judiciary?”
Even Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng recently said that Najib is “living in a different universe” with regard to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal. He said he is “still adamant” in defending that 1MDB is “good for the nation” and can be “profitable”.
“I feel that he is in a world of his own or in a different universe,” he told reporters when asked to comment on Najib’s debate on the Budget 2019, where he stated that 1MDB could reap profits if its assets were managed well.
On Sept 20, Najib, the Pekan Member of Parliament was slapped with a total 25 corruption charges involving RM2.3 billion allegedly from 1MDB.
His first four charges were under Section 23 (1) and 24 (1) of the MACC Act 2009 while the other 21 charges were under Section 4 (1) (a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 (AMLATFA).
In the charges under the MACC Act, he was accused of using his then position as prime minister, finance minister and chairman of the 1MDB advisory board, to receive bribes on four occasions.
Meanwhile the money-laundering charges include nine counts of receiving illegal proceeds, five counts of using illegal proceeds and seven counts of transferring the proceeds to other entities. All the offences allegedly occurred at AmIslamic Bank Bhd’s Jalan Raja Chulan branch in Bukit Ceylon, here, between Feb 24, 2011 and Dec 19, 2014.
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