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Najib asks for early break to seek treatment for eyes due to worsening haze

KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 18): Former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak (caption) has asked for an early break in today's proceedings of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd-Tanore (1MDB-Tanore) trial to seek treatment for his eyes following the worsening haze engulfing the country.

Najib's lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah informed High Court Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah that his client has to leave at 11am to see an eye doctor in Mid Valley.

Shafee said Najib cannot seek treatment in the afternoon during the court's lunch break as the specialist may be closed during that time.

"If he does not go to treat, then it may result in his conjunctivitis recurring again and hence resulting in the postponement of the trial by another two or three days. I propose that we adjourn early at 11am in the morning so Najib can go and seek his treatment and resume back in the afternoon," he said.

Last week, Najib was given medical leave on Wednesday and Thursday after catching conjunctivitis.

Justice Sequerah said the court is agreeable to this, provided that the proceeding today continue beyond 5pm.

Appointed senior deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram suggested that the morning proceedings continue without Najib's presence.

"His presence can be dispensed with as he is represented by his counsel and we can continue," the former Federal Court judge said.

Shafee disagreed saying it is the practice in the Commonwealth for an accused person to be present in court proceedings, so Najib's presence could not be dispensed with.

When Sri Ram disagreed to this, Justice Sequerah cut the matter short and said he would adjourn the morning proceeding at 11.30am and the trial would continue at 2pm and proceedings will go on after 5pm.

Currently, Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, who is the prosecution's eighth witness, is cross-examined by the defence.

Najib is facing four counts of abuse of power and 21 charges of money-laundering to the amount of RM2.28 billion of 1MDB funds.

This is not the first time Najib came down with pinkeye.

During the SRC International Sdn Bhd trial, Najib was also given two days' medical leave as a result of conjunctivitis.

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