SRC trial: Don’t convict Najib based on ‘court of public opinion’, says defence

Kenneth Tee
Datuk Seri Najib Razak is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court June 2, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, June 2 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s defence team pleaded with the High Court today to not convict the former prime minister based on the “court of public opinion” for his alleged misappropriation of public funds.

During the defence’s oral submission in the RM42 million SRC International Sdn Bhd trial today, defence lawyer Farhan Read said “the court of public opinion” had already convicted Najib but argued that the law and facts should prevail in this case.

He nonetheless stressed that the charges levelled against Najib were serious allegations.

“We don’t blame members of the public for being angry because these are serious allegations.

“We are going through the base facts and the court of public opinion does not concern itself with being fair.

“The court today should not be influenced by opinion but should decide based on facts and law,” he said during the defence’s closing submission.

He argued how the court of public opinion had purportedly been quick to link Najib and SRC International with fugitive financier Low Taek Jho or Jho Low, Paris Hilton and lavish spending, with the defence having to search many haystacks to find the needle of proof in the case.

“The needle of proof in this case is that we cannot say he had the intention to do something in 2011 and 2012 that he could not have seen happening down the road in 2014 and 2015.

“The proof is we cannot say he had the intention to do something he could not have foreseen at that time,” he said.

Farhan was earlier submitting one of Najib’s charges for allegedly abusing his power to approve government guarantees to grant RM4 billion in loans to SRC International between 2011 and 2012.

He said Najib was merely fulfilling the nation’s energy policy under the 10th Malaysia Plan when the latter gave approval for SRC International to obtain government guarantees to secure the initial RM2 billion loan from the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) in 2011.

“It would be exceedingly naive to automatically equate mere enthusiasm with a corrupt motive, especially when Najib’s enthusiasm was backed with the Economic Planning Unit’s (EPU) own recommendation,” Farhan said.

SRC International was a 1MDB former subsidiary before it was transferred to the Minister of Finance Incorporated (MoF Inc) in February 2012.

The High Court previously fixed three days from June 1 until June 3 to hear the oral submissions by both defence and prosecution, after the defence closed its case on March 11.

Out of the seven charges Najib faced, the Pekan MP is accused of committing three counts of criminal breach of trust over a total RM42 million of SRC International funds while entrusted with its control as the prime minister and finance minister then, and a separate charge under an anti-corruption law of abusing the same positions for self-gratification of the same RM42 million sum.

The remaining three of the seven charges are for allegedly money-laundering the same total sum of RM42 million.

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