KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 11): The high profile trial of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak (pictured) has been fixed for 43 days over two separate sessions in February and March next year.

Najib has claimed trial to seven charges of money laundering, criminal breach of trust and abuse of power, all of them related to RM42 million of funds from SRC International Sdn Bhd, a former subsidiary of the troubled 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali today fixed the hearing of the case on Feb 12 to 28 (17 days) and March 4 to 29 (26 days).

Case management, which entails the schedule of legal proceedings, will take place first on Oct 4.

Najib’s lead counsel, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, yesterday asked the court to compel the prosecution team to provide the defence legal team with all the necessary documents such as evidences and written submissions, within the next six weeks, by Sept 30.

"They can’t be delaying and submitting the documents late to us, as we need sufficient time to prepare for the trial. Otherwise, if they do so, I will ask the honourable court for an adjournment," he added.

Earlier, Mohd Nazlan offered to conduct the trial and dispose of the the case in September, October or November, citing the interest of justice and wide publicity.

However, Muhammad Shafee disagreed, claiming that he has blocked his diary to attend to prior engagements such an overseas conference, complete other litigation cases and clear his annual leave for a vacation.

Mohd Nazlan also dismissed Najib's application to extend the interim gag order prohibiting the public from discussing the merits of his criminal charges through any form of the media.

Muhammad Shafee said Najib will be appealing that decision.

The seven charges against Najib are under three laws: Penal Code, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 and Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorrism Financing and Proceeds From Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

If convicted, Najib could face a maximum jail term of 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the value of the proceeds from the alleged criminal activities. —

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