Apex court to rule on Najib’s appeals, including gag order bid, next Wednesday

Datuk Seri Najib Razak is pictured at the Federal Court in Putrajaya April 5, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Datuk Seri Najib Razak is pictured at the Federal Court in Putrajaya April 5, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

PUTRAJAYA, April 5 — The Federal Court will deliver next Wednesday its decision on Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s appeals from his trial over RM42 million of former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd.

It heard yesterday and today three appeals of the former prime minister’s appeal and one from the prosecution on pre-trial matters related to the RM42 million trial.

The decision on the four appeals will come from a seven-man panel chaired by Chief Justice Tan Sri Richard Malanjum.

“We will deliver the decision, see you at 11am on April 10,” he said.

The other judges on the panel are Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zaharah Ibrahim, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Datuk Seri David Wong Dak Wah, Tan Sri Ramly Ali, Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, Tan Sri Idrus Harun and Datuk Nallini Pathmanathan.

Under reforms Malanjum announced last July, cases of public importance are to be heard at the Federal Court by a panel of seven judges. 

Among Najib’s appeals was his bid for a gag order on the merits of the trial while it is ongoing; he wants the courts to stop the media or the public from publishing comments or discussions that would suggest, infer or conclude he committed the offences or was guilty of the charges.

Najib is also appealing to obtain additional documents from the prosecution in order to prepare for his defence, including documents the prosecution is not relying on as trial evidence.

As of now, the prosecution has already given 32 volumes of documents numbering approximately 7,000 pages to Najib ahead of the trial.

These documents — including 26 witness statements — will be used to prosecute the ex-PM.

Najib's other appeal is over how his RM42 million case was transferred from the Sessions Court to the High Court for trial, which he claims was wrongly done.

He had failed at both the High Court and the Court of Appeal to obtain the gag order, the additional documents, and to challenge the transfer.

The prosecution's appeal is against the Court of Appeal's March 21 decision, in which it was made to provide Najib with the letter appointing private lawyer Datuk Sulaiman Abdullah as his prosecutor.

Ahead of the Federal Court's two-day hearing of these four appeals, Najib's trial had already started on April 3 (Wednesday).