KUALA LUMPUR: Former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy (pic) has objected to Datuk Seri Najib Razak's motion to delay their joint trial on charges relating to tampering the 1MDB audit report before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
While the former prime minister had sought to postpone the hearing, which was scheduled to commence this Nov 18, Arul Kanda's lawyer Datuk N. Sivananthan told the High Court that his client wanted to proceed with the hearing as scheduled.
He said Arul Kanda had been "in a dark cloud" since he was charged a year ago.
"My client wants the trial to begin soon so he can vindicate himself. The court must look into the interests of all parties, and not only one person," Sivananthan said in his submission here on Friday (Nov 15).
On Wednesday (Nov 13), Najib filed a notice of motion to adjourn the Nov 18 hearing to Jan 13, next year.
He named the public prosecutor and Arul Kanda as respondents.
DPP Ahmad Akram Gharib who appeared for the prosecution also objected to the postponement on grounds that it would bring a negative perception on the judicial system.
"The defence team had filed another application in the SRC International trial to ask for 112 witness statements before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali this afternoon.
"There is a possibility for them to ask for an adjournment from that proceedings so they can examine the documents," he said.
Najib's lawyer Harvinderjit Singh in his submissions said the defence would not have ample time to prepare for the SRC International trial, which was scheduled to go into the defence stage on Dec 3.
Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan then fixed next Monday (Nov 18) to make his ruling pending the latest development before Justice Mohd Nazlan.
On Thursday (Nov 14), Justice Mohamed Zaini had dismissed the prosecution's application to adjourn the proceedings as their key prosecution witness is currently testifying under cross-examination in Najib's ongoing 1MDB trial involving the misappropriation of RM2.28bil of 1MDB funds.
Justice Zaini, when dismissing the prosecution's application, said it was difficult to find alternative dates for the hearing.
His court had fixed Najib and Arul Kanda's trial, dubbed as the PAC trial, for a 15-day hearing from Nov 18 to 29, and Jan 13 to 17 next year.
The prosecution was expected to call about 30 witnesses to testify in the proceedings.
On Dec 12,2018, Najib was charged with using his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report before it was tabled to the PAC to avoid any action against him.
He was charged in his capacity as a public officer – which was as the prime minister – with using the position to obtain gratification for himself, in a bid to evade disciplinary, civil or criminal action against him in connection with 1MDB, by ordering alterations to the 1MDB final audit report before it was finalised and tabled to the PAC, where he directly had interest in.
The Pekan MP was accused of committing the offence at the Complex of the Prime Minister's Department, Federal Government's Administrative Centre, Putrajaya between Feb 22 and Feb 26,2016.
Arul Kanda was charged with abetting Najib in making amendments to the report to protect the Pekan MP from being subjected to disciplinary, civil or criminal action in connection with 1MDB, at the same place and time.