Special court not formed expressly to expedite Najib's graft trial, says law minister

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong speaks to the press during his visit to the Penang High Court in George Town March 20, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong speaks to the press during his visit to the Penang High Court in George Town March 20, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, March 20 — The proposal to set up Special High Court and Special Appeal Court for corruption cases, is not meant to expedite the graft trial of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, says Law Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong.

While describing the claim as a manipulation allegation, the minister said the proposal was instead aimed at enabling the judges to focus on corruption cases as most cases could not be solved due to certain problems.

“There are opinions that higher level courts are too busy handling other cases. So, we have to have specific higher level courts to hear corruption cases.

“We saw many corruption cases which cannot be quickly solved because of certain problems. That is why we want a judge who focuses on corruption cases,” he told reporters after visiting the Penang Court Complex here today.

He said once the special higher level courts were in place, all corruption cases would be transferred and tried there.

When asked whether the setting up of the courts would disturb the flow of the existing cases, Liew said it would not as the trial of the cases could proceed at the relevant courts.

“If the trials have yet to begin, we will have the case transferred to the special courts,” he said.

While hoping that the special courts would be set up as soon as possible, Liew said the government did not set any timeframe for the implementation of the proposal.

Meanwhile, the law minister said he would discuss with Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on the status of Sedition Act 1948, which was earmarked to be abolished by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.

“We have to discuss the proposed abolition of the Sedition Act. The government is still looking into it with the intention to either amend it or to abolish it altogether,” he added. — Bernama