(Updated)

Najib considering appointing Queen's counsel from UK to argue SRC appeal

Should Najib (centre) make the application, the Queen's counsel would have to gain leave (permission) from the Federal Court to argue the case first. (Photo by Mohamad Shahril Basri/The Edge)

Should Najib (centre) make the application, the Queen's counsel would have to gain leave (permission) from the Federal Court to argue the case first. (Photo by Mohamad Shahril Basri/The Edge)

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PUTRAJAYA (Jan 24): Datuk Seri Najib Razak is said to be considering appointing a Queen's counsel from the UK to argue his conviction and sentence of 12 years and RM210 million fine for the SRC International Sdn Bhd case in the Federal Court.

Meanwhile, the apex court has fixed March 15 and 16 to hear Najib's application to adduce more evidence which he failed to do so in the Court of Appeal last month.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohd Ashrof Adrin Kamarul said Najib's lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah will write to the Federal Court on Tuesday (Jan 25) on the former premier's intention to hire a Queen's counsel from the UK.

This was revealed during case management on Monday before Federal Court deputy registrar Siti Hajar Mustaffa. Shafee appeared for Najib during case management.

Should the former premier make the application, the Queen's counsel would have to gain leave (permission) from the Federal Court to argue the case first.

This follows that a Queen's counsel would need the permission of the court as the person is not licensed to address the court here, given that the person does not practice here.

Hence, leave has to be gained from the apex court if he or she were to represent the former premier.

Meanwhile, further case management of the case is fixed for Friday to determine the next step for the main appeal, said Ashrof.

In the last case management last month, Shafee indicated that the defence were also considering having separate appeal hearings to adduce further evidence before the hearing proper of the former premier's appeal.

The apex court is the final appeal process for the Pekan Member of Parliament and former finance minister.

Case described as worst abuse of position and national embarrassment

Najib was sentenced by the High Court on July 28, 2020 with regard to abuse of power in relation to the RM4 billion loans given by Retirement Fund (Incorporated) (KWAP) to SRC, three counts of criminal breach of trust of RM42 million in SRC funds and three similar money-laundering charges.

Justice Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali in sentencing the former premier to 12 years in jail and a RM210 million fine described the case as among the worst cases of abuse of position and betrayal of trust.

Before the Court of Appeal was about to deliver its decision on Najibs appeal over his conviction and appeal, it heard and dismissed his application to adduce further evidence.

The defence wanted to question Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki and SRC investigating officer Rosli Hussein with regard to former Bank Negara Malaysia governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz's husband Datuk Tawfik Ayman regarding the return of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) funds retrieved from Tawfik and his sons from Singapore.

"The additional evidence is not necessary to the substantive appeals and no exceptional circumstances have been shown. Hence, the application is hereby dismissed," Justice Datuk Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil who led the three-member bench said.

Subsequently, Justice Abdul Karim who sat with Justices Datuk Has Zanah Mehat and Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera on the next day (Dec 8) dismissed the former premier's appeal and upheld the sentence.

In doing so, the Court of Appeal described the case as a national embarrassment for the country.

In a new development on Sunday, the MACC indicated that they are also probing Zeti and former Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop over allegedly receiving 1MDB funds.

Read also:
Najib's SRC worst case of abuse of position and betrayal of trust, says judge
Court to deliver Najib's appeal verdict as scheduled; bid to adduce new evidence rejected
What transpired as national interests became a national embarrassment, says Court of Appeal

Surin Murugiah