Federal Court’s decision to dismiss Najib’s bid to admit new evidence limits right of accused, says Umno Youth chief

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 17 — Umno Youth chief Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki said the Federal Court’s decision to dismiss Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s motion to adduce additional evidence in his final appeal against his conviction for misappropriating funds from SRC International Sdn Bhd on technicalities limits the right of the accused.

Asyraf said that Najib’s legal team should have been allowed to submit the evidence, even if it were deemed insubstantial.

“The Federal Court’s decision to dismiss the submission of new evidence in Najib Razak’s case is certainly disappointing. Personally, I feel the same as someone who has been mentored by him for three years as a deputy minister.

“Doesn’t the court want to know what the evidence is about? Don’t we all want to know what really happened?” he wrote in a Facebook post.

Even if it were to be dismissed, Asyraf said it should be based on the weakness of the evidence alone, and not technicalities.

“Shouldn’t the technical reasons be weighed at discretion?” he asked.

Yesterday, a five-judge panel in the Federal Court unanimously dismissed Najib’s legal team’s request to postpone hearing his final appeal against his conviction of misappropriating funds from SRC International Sdn Bhd.

If his appeal fails, the scandal-tainted former prime minister would be sent to prison for 12 years and pay a RM210 million fine.

Najib had been found guilty of one count of abuse of power, three counts of criminal breach of trust, and three counts of money laundering by the High Court in July 2020.

Asyraf said that in Islam, everyone has the right to defend themselves.

“For this reason alone, Umno during DS Najib’s time never interfered with any court process, including Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s 2.0 sodomy case.

“Although the case dragged on for almost seven years and was delayed more than 70 times, Umno believed that it was the accused’s right to get the time and space to defend himself in the best way possible,” he said.

While agreeing with Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat that “justice delayed is justice denied”, Asyraf also quoted the maxim, “Justice rushed is justice crushed” in his Facebook post.

“I am actually concerned about the people’s perception of the judiciary. Umno Youth’s previous demand for a special tribunal to investigate the conflict of interest of Judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Ghazali also seems to have been ignored.

“A judge’s independence is based on the existence of justice. We certainly do not want a repeat of the poor image that the judicial system had in the 80s and 90s,” he said.