KUALA LUMPUR: The “jual nama” culture among the Malays was the centre point of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s defence in his corruption trial today.
His lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah cornered a key prosecution witness on this point during his cross-examination.
The veteran lawyer said his client was actually a victim of “jual nama” by a person who had been entrusted to run 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB)-linked company, SRC International Sdn Bhd.
He pointed a finger at SRC International Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil as being the culprit for doing this.
Shafee said Najib had placed his trust on the board of SRC International to manage the company as he had put highly qualified people there but the board members ended up being duped by Nik Faisal.
He said the SRC International board ended up buying whatever Nik Faisal told them as he had “jual nama” Najib.
“Jual nama” is a Malay term commonly used to describe how one’s name is used to another person’s benefit.
“I can say this because I am partially Malay… this is what happened… he jual nama and everybody just bought it.
“This jual nama tactic eventually led to the total failure of the whole system (in SRC International),” he said when driving home his point to the witness, Datuk Suboh Mohd Yasin.
Suboh, who is Harvard University graduate and the 42nd witness to take the stand, was formerly the non-executive director of SRC International.
He was earlier asked numerous questions about the differences in his signature on various documents and the 68-year-old admitted this happened.
He said there were variations in his signature because when one signs a document, it depends on how he was feeling at that time.
“It depends whether you are standing, sitting, or in a hurry, so it becomes ‘ikut sedap tangan’ (spontaneous),” he said.
However, he confirmed that all the signatures found on SRC International documents were his.
The defence team then brought in a projector to demonstrate how every single signature on 11 documents signed by Suboh were identical.
Shafee demonstrated this by superimposing letters with Suboh’s signatures and projected them on a big screen.
“Can you see every single signature is 100 per cent identical.
“It is impossible for someone to sign exactly the same way in every single document.
“This shows these are actually scanned signatures which were sent to the bank instructing the transfer of funds. It was all done by Nik Faisal who forged everything,” he said.
Shafee: I put it to you that Nik Faisal forged your signature. He just scanned the signature onto the letters.
Shafee: Are you satisfied with what I showed you?
Shafee: The person you trusted most misled you all the way. He kept saying everything was okay because he had spoken to the higher up and you believed him.
Shafee: Nik Faisal just jual nama that he had clearance with the higher up and you did not even check with Najib.
Suboh: You see, I was caught in that kind of a situation. I was unwell at that time as I had just undergone a bypass and I was weak.
Shafee then told Suboh that the whole situation had escalated downhill from then on as ‘perception over perception’ took place in SRC International.
Earlier, Suboh testified that he had been called in at least five times by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to have his statement recorded.
However, he said the graft busters investigating the case never pointed out the issue concerning the identical signatures found on the documents.
Suboh’s cross examination will continue tomorrow.
Najib, 66, is facing seven charges of criminal breach of trust, abuse of power and money-laundering involving RM42 million of SRC International funds.
The Pekan MP is charged with committing the offences between Aug 17, 2011 and Feb 10, 2015.
He faces 20 years’ jail and fine for the offences.