Court to halt 1MDB trial briefly so Najib can see eye doctor

Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex September 18, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex September 18, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1MDB corruption trial at the High Court here will take an extended break later today to allow the former prime minister to seek medical attention for his eyes.

Najib’s lawyer, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, told the High Court this morning that his client needed to see his ophthalmologist.

“Before I start, can I inform Yang Arif that my client has got an appointment to see the doctor from 11am onwards, because the doctor he wanted to see earlier in the morning was already in the operating theatre.

“This is because he is getting the same sort of symptoms that he had,” Shafee said, noting that Najib’s eyes were teary.

Shafee said Najib’s intention was to prevent a recurrence of the “full-blown conjunctivitis” that twice delayed his trials.

He said Najib could not use the lunch break during the trial to see the doctor as the eye specialist clinic in Mid Valley is closed during that period.

For Najib’s 1MDB trial, the court usually breaks at around 1pm before resuming hearing at 2.30pm.

After brief arguments where lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram argued that the law allows the trial to go on without Najib’s presence while Shafee disagreed, judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah decided to allow a break at 11.30am and to start earlier at 2pm and to extend hearing beyond 5pm.

Najib’s conjunctivitis or eye infection previously caused the hearings in two separate cases be adjourned — three days in the first incident and two days in the latest — for medical reasons.

The most recent episode was last week in this trial, which Shafee had said might have been contributed to by haze. Najib was not present in court when his lawyer asked for a postponement that day.

With ex-PM back in court today, Shafee resumed cross-examining Najib’s former special officer Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin.

Amhari is the eighth prosecution witness in Najib’s ongoing 1MDB trial involving 25 criminal charges: four counts of abusing his position for his own financial benefit totalling almost RM2.3 billion allegedly originating from 1MDB and the resulting 21 counts of money-laundering.

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