Witness: Najib was unhappy for proposing Jho Low be prosecuted


FILE PHOTO: Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak reacts during a break at Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur

KUALA LUMPUR: The Edge Media Group chairman Tan Sri Tong Kooi Ong has told the High Court he did not misinterpret Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s (pic) action of “showing him the door” after he suggested fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho be prosecuted.

The 63-year-old witness said this while was under a cross-examination by Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah in Najib’s RM2.28bil 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) trial.

Tong said Najib got up and walked to the door “without saying a word”.

Last week, Tong testified he had a meeting with Najib at the former premier’s home on March 6, 2015, to talk about 1MDB.

During the meeting, Tong said he told Najib that Low, better known as Jho Low, had swindled US$700mil from the sovereign wealth fund to his own company Good Star Ltd.

During cross-examination yesterday, Muhammad Shafee suggested Tong could have been “sensitive” to Najib’s polite gesture as his (Tong’s) briefing on 1MDB and Low was not well-received.

He also suggested Tong had misinterpreted Najib’s action as wanting him (Tong) to leave the residence.

Muhammad Shafee: Can I suggest to you that you may have misinterpreted. Because you were seated at the reception area, nearest to the main door, he actually walked you to the door and said ‘thank you’, as he terminated the conversation? You understand?

Tong: I wish he did that.

Muhammad Shafee: (But) He didn’t open the door and say, “Tong get out”.

Tong: No, he did not ask me to leave.

The witness said it was not the first time he visited Najib’s home. He also said there was never a time that there were only Najib and him in a meeting.

Keeping calm: Rosmah arriving at the Court Complex in Kuala Lumpur. — BernamaKeeping calm: Rosmah arriving at the Court Complex in Kuala Lumpur. — Bernama

Muhammad Shafee then suggested that as Najib’s lawyer, whenever he was with Najib, Najib would walk him (Muhammad Shafee) to the door.

Muhammad Shafee: Maybe you were sensitive to the fact your briefing wasn’t received well that you thought he told you to leave when he opened the door.

Tong: In my mind, the gesture was not what you would have described. I was surprised that he just stood up, (and) opened the door without saying a word.

Tong also agreed with Muhammad Shafee that some time after the March 6 meeting, Najib authorised for the auditor-general to investigate 1MDB.

The court also heard from Tong that Najib’s younger brother, Tan Sri Nazir Razak, had voiced his concern over Najib being misled by Low on 1MDB affairs.

He said after he was approached by Nazir, he decided to investigate 1MDB.

“The whole basis of me getting involved at the request of Nazir in 2009 and 2010 was because we both thought that the (then) Prime Minister of Malaysia was being misled.

“Our first impression was that Najib and the 1MDB board of directors had been misled by Jho Low and some members of 1MDB management who were working in tandem with Jho Low,” he said.

Najib, 69, is on trial for 25 charges in total – four for abuse of power that allegedly brought him the financial benefit to the tune of RM2.28bil; and 21 for money laundering involving the same amount of money.

The hearing continues before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah today.

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