PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court has dismissed the final appeal by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to postpone his 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) trial scheduled for Aug 19, saying there is “no reason to intervene”.
The five-member bench led by Chief Justice Datuk Seri Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat dismissed Najib’s appeal in a unanimous decision.
“On whether the trial judge has exercised his discretion correctly under Section 259 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), we agree with the Court of Appeal that there is no error. There is no reason for us to intervene, ” she said.
The court, said Tengku Maimun, did not think that it was right or necessary for the Federal Court to impose directions on the trial judge about the way he conducted the trial, adding that parties in the case were at liberty to make the necessary application for directions before the High Court judge.
The Chief Justice also struck out the prosecution’s appeal to postpone Najib’s 1MDB trial – also known as the Tanore trial – after Attorney General Tommy Thomas informed the court that the prosecution was withdrawing its appeal as it served no practical purposes.
The other presiding judges were newly appointed Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Azahar Mohamed, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Datuk Seri David Wong Dak Wah and Federal Court judges Datuk Rohana Yusuf and Tan Sri Idrus Harun.
Thomas also informed the court that the prosecution would be able to serve the witnesses’ statements on the defence in the 1MDB case by yesterday afternoon.
Earlier, the AG had told the court that the prosecution was withdrawing its appeal to postpone the 1MDB trial date.
He updated the court that the prosecution was at the tail end of its case against Najib in the SRC International Sdn Bhd trial and confident of closing on the last date, Aug 16, as allotted by High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.
“Even if prosecution cannot close on Aug 16, the spillover the following week will only be for a few days, ” said Thomas.
He said the prosecution had no objection for High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah to commence the Tanore trial provided that this was done after the prosecution had closed its case in the SRC trial.
Najib’s counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah submitted that his client would not get a fair trial if the 1MDB and SRC cases were to proceed simultaneously.
Najib, he said, had the same defence team for the cases and the parties would not be able to complete the SRC trial by Friday.
According to him, both the prosecution and defence would need about a month to prepare their submissions at the end of the prosecution’s case for the SRC trial.
On Aug 5, the appellate court affirmed the High Court’s decision that Najib’s 1Malaysia 1MDB trial for alleged corruption and money laundering should proceed as scheduled on Aug 19.
The prosecution had applied at the High Court for the trial to be postponed pending disposal of Najib’s SRC case.
Najib, 66, is facing four counts under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act and 21 counts of money laundering involving 1MDB funds amounting to RM2.28bil. — Bernama