KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has warned Datuk Seri Najib Razak to stop public postings on social media relating to his corruption trial involving RM42mil in SRC International Sdn Bhd funds or risk being in contempt of court.
Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali gave the order here after fixing next Monday (July 22) to hear full submissions on the prosecution’s application to have Najib apologise after he posted on Facebook the issue of his credit card expenditure amounting to more than RM3mil.
The court heard from Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah that his client’s action was not sub judice and asked for time to reply to the application.
“We have asked for a gag order to bar the media and the public from discussing the merits of the case, but they (the prosecution) objected.
"Now they want an undertaking from my client for him not to post any statements, which is contradicting.
“I can tell you the main reason my client did that. It is because the media did not fully report what had happened. They seem to be selective, cherry-picking on what they want to write,” he said on Thursday (July 18).
Attorney General Tommy Thomas said the prosecution was not pursuing a contempt of court proceeding, and only wanted an apology from the accused on grounds the action was sub judice.
“Freedom of speech in any country in the world is not absolute. We are unfolding our case.
“What the media is reporting on the trial is obviously our version because it is the prosecution trial. When he (Najib) goes on the witness stand, he can put forth his own version,” he said.
Earlier, during the morning session, Thomas made an application to the court for Najib to apologise over his posting, which the latter uploaded on his Facebook page at 9.30pm on July 15.
He said Najib uploaded the post to explain the intention behind the expenses, saying it was used to buy presents for foreign royalty.
"My Lord, his (Najib) action is sub judice and he must be treated the same as any other accused.
"He cannot be treated any differently just because he is a politician and former prime minister.
"The prosecution demands for an unconditional apology from the accused and his word that he would not repeat it," Thomas said.
Earlier this week, the court heard testimony from Ambank Group senior vice-president Yeoh Eng Leong who said two credit cards belonging to Najib raked up RM3.3mil in one day at a jewellery boutique, De
Grisogono, in Italy on Aug 8, 2014.
On July 4 last year, Najib claimed trial to a charge of abuse of power and three counts of criminal breach of trust linked to the 1MDB scandal. He allegedly misappropriated RM42mil in funds belonging
to SRC International.
On Aug 8, last year, he appeared in court again for the second time and was charged with three counts of money laundering involving the same RM42mil.