Najib Razak fire lawyers from Zaid’s firm after less than a month

·2-min read

In the latest episode of everyone’s current favourite courtroom drama, former premier Najib Razak fired his solicitors from Zaid Ibrahim Suflan TH Liew & Partners.

At the beginning of the appeal hearing this morning, Najib’s lead attorney, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, promptly notified the Federal Court that “the lawyers have been discharged by the appellant.”

With this new development, Hisyam and two other attorneys, Low Wei Loke and Kee Wei Lon, are now Najib’s co-counsels.

The proceedings were ordered to continue by chief justice (CJ)  Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat.

Ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram then continued his oral submissions before the five-person bench, which include chief judge of Sabah and Sarawak Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim and Federal Court judges Nallini Pathmanathan, Mary Lim Thiam Suan and Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah.

On July 25, Zaid Ibrahim Suflan TH Liew & Partners took over representing Najib in the appeal after he had fired Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, his lead defence lawyer and his team, last month.

Previously, Zaid had said the firm would not abandon Najib as a client despite not having enough time to prepare for the appeal before the Federal Court.

“It is the sacred duty of any advocate to represent an accused person with such grievances,” he had told reporters.

Yesterday, Hisyam had sought to recuse himself as Najib’s lawyer, but his submission was denied by the CJ.

Hisyam apologised and told the court today that his decision was based on the fact that he had no time to prepare for the appeal.

Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali of the High Court found Najib guilty of seven criminal offences in 2020 for stealing RM42 million (US$ 9.4 million) from SRC International.

He received a 12-year jail term and a RM 210 million fine from the judge. The conviction was upheld by the Court of Appeal on December 8, 2021, when the three-judge panel unanimously dismissed Najib’s appeal against the High Court’s decision.

Najib’s current appeal at the Federal Court is his last chance to overturn the conviction.