Anwar: I did not take Najib’s Parliament Budget debate slot

Port Dickson MP Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim speaks to reporters at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur October 16, 2019. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif
Port Dickson MP Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim speaks to reporters at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur October 16, 2019. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 — Port Dickson MP Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today denied allegations that he took the Budget 2020 Parliament debate slot which was meant for former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

This had allegedly resulted in Najib almost missing his 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) trial on Tuesday.

Anwar said he was given the slot after the Parliamentary Question and Answer (Q&A) session on Monday to debate the Budget which was tabled last week.

“Datuk Najib said his slot is at 11.30 in the morning. That is not true. At 11.30 in the morning, the Q&A session is still unfinished.

“My slot is at noon, and then Najib,” he told reporters when met in the Parliament lobby today.

Yesterday, High Court Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah reprimanded Najib following his absence from afternoon trial proceedings in Kuala Lumpur.

Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah then said Anwar took over the morning slot which was intended for his client .

“During the slot for Barisan Nasional this morning, my client’s slot, as the Pekan MP, was displaced by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. He is raising very critical issues in Parliament today, and that speech has been prepared over the last two weeks.

“My client would like to convey his utmost apology to Yang Arif and to my learned friend, for not being able to present himself due to unavoidable circumstances. If he forgoes that speech, he would be penalised for the next two months,” Muhammad Shafee said.

Senior deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram said while the prosecution appreciated Najib’s duty as an MP, it was unhappy with the situation and raising the issue of the Dewan Rakyat slot was not a good enough reason.

Najib is currently facing four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

The former finance minister is also undergoing another trial where he is facing six charges of money laundering and Criminal Breach of Trust (CBT) in the transfer of RM42 million to his account from SRC International.

He is also accused of abusing his power as prime minister by giving government guarantees on SRC International’s RM 4 billion loan from Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP).

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