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Najib's SRC trial will go beyond Malaysia's next election: Shafee

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 11): Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak's trial involving alleged misappropriation of SRC International Sdn Bhd's RM42 million will go beyond Malaysia's next general election in anticipation that the case will reach the Federal Court, defence lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said.

Shafee, who was speaking to reporters at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex here today, said he is confident that regardless of how the case is decided along the process, the matter will eventually reach the Federal Court.

As such, the prosecution and defence teams will face many stages of record preparation as the case goes through the Court of Appeal, before reaching the Federal Court, a process which Shafee believes will take some time.

Shafee said that at the current stage, where the case is being heard in the High Court, "you're only looking at preliminary views of a single judge. We will have to hear from a seven quorum member of the Federal Court".

"So I've always looked forward to a good hearing ultimately in the Federal Court because as you know, if things do not change this matter will reach the Federal Court. That is where I am hoping many issues are properly addressed.

"It will go beyond the next election. To prepare this record of appeal, the record will be taller than you if you stand up, maybe double your length. They (prosecution) have got to prepare, and the judge has got to prepare the judgment and then we have got to go to the Court of Appeal first.

"That will take three, four weeks of hearing and then the record has got to be reprepared, maybe this time it will be three times your height (when it is submitted) to the Federal Court.

"So you're looking at many years," Shafee said.

Malaysia's 14th general election was held on May 9, 2018 and the next election is due in 2023.

Earlier today, theedgemarkets.com reported that the High Court had ordered Najib to enter his defence for the three criminal breach of trust, an abuse of power and three money laundering charges involving the RM42 million of SRC funds.

High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali in his decision found the prosecution has proven a prima facie case against the former premier.

Following Justice Mohd Nazlan's decision, Shafee said he is confident of Najib's defence based on the evidence that the defence team can provide.

"He is giving evidence on oath. That means you can cross-examine him as much as you want. We have got a lot of evidence that we can provide, he will testify what really transpired in the Ministry of Finance, and in the Prime Minister's Office," Shafee said.

According to Shafee, Najib will, during his sworn testimony, also address his relationship with Low Taek Jho, who is also known as Jho Low.

"He (Najib) is not going to run away from the fact that he knows, or rather, he knew Jho Low. But what he is going to dispute is he never knew Jho Low had criminal intentions. You must bear in mind that in this case, you must distinguish whether Datuk Seri Najib was naive or too trusting from whether he has got (has) a criminal mind like that of Jho Low.

"To convict him (Najib), you must be satisfied that he has got the same mind as Jho Low," Shafee said.

Shafee confirmed that he will calling up at least two professional expert witnesses for Najib's defence. Shafee said his team will also study the list of witnesses offered by the prosecution.

It was reported that Bank Negara Malaysia former governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz and ex-minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop were among the 66 witnesses offered by the prosecution.

The Edge is reporting the proceedings of the SRC trial live.

Users of The Edge Markets app may tap here to access the live report.

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