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'SRC could have been next Petronas, but PM did not give any plans'

 

KUALA LUMPUR (July 11): SRC International Sdn Bhd, a former unit of 1Malaysia Development Bhd, could have been the next Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), but former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has not expressed any plans for the company when instructing Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (Diperbadankan) (KWAP) to expedite its first loan approval.

Tan Sri Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah (pictured), the prosecution's 45th witness to testify in the trial, agreed with the defence's suggestion during cross-examination in Najib's SRC trial, which enters its 36th day today.

Defence lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said had SRC's purpose been achieved, it would have been another Petronas, which would propel the economy of the country.

"Yes," the witness agreed.

Muhammad Shafee went on to point out that there have been occasions in the past, whereby the paperwork for a project or vision by the government only came after works for the particular project had commenced.

He added that this happened under the different prime ministers in the past. He cited the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (Lima) exhibition in Malaysia and the North-South Expressway as examples of successful projects.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad launched the Lima exhibition in 1991 when he was the fourth prime minister, while the North-South Expressway was revived in the 1980s under his premiership.

"It was not wrong or inappropriate. Do you agree that there was no wrongdoing because sometimes it needs to be done?" the lawyer asked, to which the witness agreed.

The lawyer's question was in reference to SRC's request of a RM2 billion loan in 2011 of which Wan Abdul Aziz had been instructed by the former prime minister to expedite approval.

Later, during re-examination with the prosecution, DPP Datuk Suhaimi Ibrahim referenced the same examples raised by Muhammad Shafee, stating that these projects had been completed and their benefit could now be felt by the public.

"The Lima airshow, which resulted in the building of Delima Langkawi, while it did not follow the regular processes, was the project completed?" asked Suhaimi.

"Yes," replied the witness.

"And [UEM Group Bhd's] North-South Highway, can the people use the highway now?" asked the DPP.

"Yes," said Wan Abdul Aziz.

Then he points to SRC and asked whether anything came out of the loan given to the company. The witness replied, "No."

Besides that, the DPP asked him whether the former prime minister had made an impression on him regarding the plans and future of SRC. Wan Abdul Aziz said he was only told the company required urgent financing and early disbursement of funds.

Najib faces multiple counts of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of power, involving a total of RM42 million in SRC funds.

He is alleged to have received RM27 million and RM5 million on Dec 26, 2014, and another RM10 million on Feb 10, 2015.

The trial continues today with the 46th witness, Shuzairizman Shuib, taking the stand. He is an analyst with Bank Negara.

During examination-in-chief, the witness had presented to the court a copy of the BlackBerry Messenger messages he retrieved from AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu's phone, which was subsequently marked as evidence.

He mentioned that he noticed fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho's name in the data extracted from the mobile phone.

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