KUALA LUMPUR, May 27 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s defence lawyer today suggested that national energy company Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) had given more “absolute power” to a sitting prime minister over its affairs compared to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said this during cross-examination of the 49th prosecution witness, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Senior Superintendent Nur Aida Arifin, in Najib’s trial over the misappropriation of 1MDB’s RM2.27 billion at the High Court here.

During cross-examination, Muhammad Shafee had put it to Nur Aida on the Memorandum and Articles of Association (M&A) differences of the two government-linked corporate entities.

According to Article 109 of Petronas’ M&A, the “chairman of the board shall be appointed by the prime minister and shall at all times hold a proxy with respect to all shares held by the government and such proxy shall be exercised at the direction of the prime minister.


On the other hand, Muhammad Shafee said 1MDB’s M&A, in particular Article 117 which dealt with the authority vested in the prime minister was far lesser than those in Petronas.

Under Article 117, the prime minister’s prior written approval is required for any amendments to 1MDB’s company constitution before such amendments can take effect.

The prime minister’s prior written approval is likewise required before any appointment and removal of 1MDB directors and senior management can happen.


Under the same Article 117, the prime minister’s prior written approval is also required for “any financial commitment (including investment), restructuring, or any other matter which is likely to affect the guarantee given by the Federal Government of Malaysia for the benefit of the company, the national interest, national security or any policy of the Federal Government of Malaysia”.

Adding to that, what amounts to national interest, national security or policy of the federal government is to be decided by the Malaysian government and with such determination to be final and conclusive.

Nurr Aida then replied in agreement when Muhammad Shafee made the comparison, noting that the prime minister’s power in Petronas allowed him to veto any decisions made.

Najib’s 1MDB trial before trial judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah resumes tomorrow.