KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 ― Datuk Seri Najib Razak turned up in court today when his Umno colleague Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin was charged with three counts of bribery over his role as Felcra director in 2015.
The former prime minister’s arrival with an entourage was unexpected, and drew the attention of press photographers.
However, the Pekan MP missed the Kinabatangan MP’s prosecution for accepting bribes amounting to RM2.8 million in one week of June 2015, by scant minutes.
Bung Moktar’s case, heard in the Sessions Criminal Court 8, was over in 10 minutes.
The courtroom was fairly vacant as Najib made his appearance, save for a few persons believed to be Bung Moktar's friends.
The former prime minister was heard saying “Beri Semangat” before entering a separate chamber where Bung Moktar was believed to be held, until his bail of RM100,000 is posted.
Najib was formerly the Umno president, and Bung Moktar who is holding the fort in Sabah for Umno, is a member of the party's supreme council.
Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan who is from Sabah was also spotted together with Najib.
Najib was seen leaving the courtroom after several minutes.
Bung Moktar was subsequently released along with his wife Datin Seri Zizie Izette A. Samad who was charged with abetment separately in another courtroom, after their bail of RM100,000 each were posted.
They left together from the holding room but did not speak to the media waiting for them.
Bung Moktar today shared the fate of multiple Umno leaders who had previously been charged in court with offences ranging from taking bribes to money-laundering and criminal breach of trust.
Najib has been in the courts daily since April 15 (except for Fridays) for his own ongoing trial involving charges of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust, money-laundering in relation to RM42 million of former 1MDB unit SRC International Sdn Bhd's funds.
The High Court in Kuala Lumpur is not hearing Najib's trial today, which will resume on Monday. This means that Najib was not legally required to come today.
At around 11.45am, Bung Moktar and Zizie Izette left the Kuala Lumpur court complex in a black Toyota Vellfire luxury minivan.
Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob also shook hands with Bung Moktar when parting ways with the latter.
When met later, Ismail Sabri confirmed that he was present in court today purely to provide "moral support" to Bung Moktar.
"Just to show my face as a friend, as a vice-president of Umno. He is a supreme council member and he is MP of Umno. I am the Opposition Leader, so it's like he is my staff," the Bera MP told reporters.
On March 7, Ismail Sabri was appointed as the new leader in Parliament for the Opposition parties to replace party colleague Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, who was also spotted with her husband Najib in the court complex, was believed to be here for a mention of her case before High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan.
Zahid, who is on indefinite leave from his position as Umno president, was earlier separately seen leaving the court complex.
Zahid's case was also scheduled to come up before High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah today.