KUALA LUMPUR, April 2 — Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh today urged Malaysians to have confidence in the judiciary that Datuk Seri Najib Razak will be accorded a fair trial without it being telecast publicly.
The government backbencher noted that both Najib and Pakatan Harapan (PH) leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim have expressed support for the “live” broadcast, though for very different reasons.
“I, too, want to get my popcorn out and enjoy the show,” Ramkarpal said in a statement.
However, he said televising the court proceedings would not necessarily ensure fairness in the trial but the opposite as the judge could potentially be swayed by the views of “Najib’s trolls out there” or “anti-Najib trolls”.
In such an event, Ramkarpal said the verdict would then be compromised and Najib would be able to file an appeal on the grounds that he did not receive a fair trial.
“That’s exactly why he wants his trial to be telecasted ‘live’.
“Let us, instead, allow the law to take its course the way it always has. Behind closed doors so as to ensure the judge is not unduly influenced.
“Either way, popcorn or not, the truth will be told,” added the PH lawmaker and lawyer who is also the DAP national legal bureau chairman.
Calls for a “live” broadcast of the trial began nine months ago through an online petition to Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo initiated by one Karim Yasin and has drawn over 40,000 supporters to date.
Karim listed six arguments for the “live” telecast of the trial, including public interest in the case, transparency, to avoid the dissemination of “fake news” by Najib “supporters and goons”, the smooth running of proceedings, and as a revenue source to be channelled to help the PH government pay off the country’s debts.
Najib has been slapped with seven charges over the abuse of RM42 million funds in SRC International Sdn Bhd between August 2011 and March 2015 when he was prime minister.
The High Court has scheduled trial to begin on April 3 in the afternoon, after the Federal Court last week lifted a stay order on the case.
Najib faces 25 charges over a sum exceeding RM2 billion of 1MDB funds, with trial dates previously already fixed for April 15 until May 3.