KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 — The judge presiding over Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) trial today seemed unhappy after the former prime minister failed to turn up for today’s proceedings and subsequently ordered him to be in court at 2.30 pm.
Earlier Najib’s lawyer Rahmat Hazlan informed Justice Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah that his client, together with other 114 Barisan Nasional members of parliament (MP) was scheduled to meet Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah to back UMNO vice-president, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s nomination for the post of prime minister.
“We are not sure what time my client is scheduled to meet the King, but he is leaving World Trade Centre (WTC) at 10.30 am. I was told that he is now in a meeting there and at any point in time, he could be called up to meet the King because the interview is done one by one,” said Rahmat.
Upon hearing this, Justice Sequerah, who seemed upset after hearing about Najib’s absence, insisted that the trial go on.
“He (Najib) should have had the courtesy to come here first. From the news report I have read, it said the meeting with the King would be in batches.
“This case is ongoing. I will be back in 10 minutes and I want to know exactly what time he will be meeting the King. After he is done with that, he has to be back here for the trial to continue. I may not even stop (the trial) at 4 pm today,” said Justice Sequerah.
After a short break, Rahmat again informed the court that he will provide updates on Najib’s whereabouts after receiving them from Najib’s officers.
In response to this, Justice Sequerah reprimanded that Najib needs to commit to a specific time because the trial needs to carry on at 2.30 pm.
“Please keep me informed because I intend to carry on, come what may. Be prepared to go over time because we have lost so much (time).
“All of us has duties to perform, if the King summons, he has to be there but from what I understand, he does not have to be there the whole day. I need a commitment on what time, the window he has to be there (at the Palace) and give his views to His Majesty and come back here (for the trial),” said the judge.
Yesterday, Najib had already applied to the court for his morning session trial to be cut short as he needed to attend a critical meeting at the World Trade Centre at 11 am in connection with the choice of candidate for the prime minister’s post.
Justice Sequerah allowed his last-minute application on the grounds that the importance of the meeting is to achieve a resolution of circumstances over current issues of the country at this point in time and ordered the case to continue at 2.30 pm.
Najib, 68, is facing four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.
The trial continues at 2.30 pm.