1MDB trial postponed yet again as Najib calls in sick with swollen eyes, possible allergy

Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court October 30, 2019. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court October 30, 2019. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 31 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s corruption trial over 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds will not go on as scheduled this afternoon, with the High Court told he is suffering from eye issues again.

Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said the former prime minister called him earlier today from the International Specialist Eye Centre.

“He had to go there again, because this time the swelling in both eyes had become worse, suspecting it was again conjunctivitis.

“But when he appeared before the doctor, the doctor was suspicious and when they did a test, they discovered it was allergy to certain things,” Shafee told the judge, adding that Najib would have to undergo a “full blood test” tomorrow morning.

Shafee presented a medical certificate that was only for one day as it was not an eye injection, as well as a “microscopic picture of the two eyes” that he said showed both eyes were affected.

Noting that only three individuals had the photo of Najib’s eyes, Shafee said: “I hope you protect it so it doesn’t go into the internet and become a subject of Halloween.”

“So regretfully, in fact my client wanted to come so I told him to put on some oversight dark glasses, he sent me a picture, the swell is beyond the dark glasses. He apologises profusely to Yang Arif and my learned colleagues who is inconvenienced in coming this afternoon,” Shafee said.

Shafee also asked for hearings to be extended to 6pm from Tuesday to Thursday (November 5 to 7) next week.

Lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram said the prosecution did not object to the request for postponement as there was a medical certificate, but wanted the extended hearing hours go on until November 14 instead.

Shafee agreed and judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah approved.

Lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah explains to reporters his client Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s eye condition at the Kuala Lumpur High Court October 31, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah explains to reporters his client Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s eye condition at the Kuala Lumpur High Court October 31, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

When met outside the courtroom, Shafee confirmed to reporters that Najib’s eyes hurt.

“It’s painful, especially in the light or sunlight, either light. And it’s not just the eyes, the fleshy part around the eyes is swelling. Today or even tomorrow, he’s meant to go to Tanjung Piai for the by-election, if it’s not good, he won’t go.

“So it’s either tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, he will go for a full blood examination to determine what is it that he is allergic to, it could be food or some exposure,” Shafee told reporters.

Najib’s 1MDB trial is usually scheduled to run from Mondays to Thursdays.

The trial will resume on Monday.

Today was supposed to be the 28th day of Najib’s 1MDB trial.

This is the second time Najib’s eye issues has caused a postponement in his 1MDB trial, where he is facing 25 charges.

The first time the 1MDB trial was postponed due to Najib’s eye ailment was on September 11.

The High Court had also briefly suspended the trial for an extra two hours on September 18 to allow for Najib to seek medical attention for his eyes and to avoid a full-blown conjunctivitis from recurring, but had carried on with trial the same afternoon.

Najib’s ongoing trial involves 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.

As a whole including today, Najib’s eye condition had caused postponements in his trials for a total of three times.

In his separate trial involving RM42 million of former 1MDB subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd’s funds, it was suspended for the rest of his week when Najib called in sick on August 14 with a three-day medical certificate for his eye infection.

On all occasions when Najib’s trials were postponed due to his eye condition, he was not present in court.

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