KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Razak escaped being sanctioned for allegedly abusing his medical chit (MC) by being in Tanjung Piai one day after not attending trial.
High Court Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah said he found no reason to take any action against the former prime minister after hearing explanation over what had happened.
However, he also warned that the court will not tolerate any attempt to mislead it.
“If the need arises I will not hesitate to file contempt proceedings,” he said after hearing a lengthy explanation from Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah over events surrounding Najib’s presence in Tanjung Piai for a by-election event and nomination day after he did not attend court proceedings on Thursday by producing an MC.
It was reported that Najib had missed court hearing on Thursday after suffering from swollen eyes due to an allergic reaction.
Shafee had then said his client’s eyes were so swollen that the latter could not cover it even by wearing oversized dark glasses.
This caused the trial involving 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds to be postponed.
Najib, 66, is charged with misappropriating RM2.28 billion of 1MDB’s funds, money laundering, and abuse of power.
At the onset of the hearing today, lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram said he had been instructed by the Attorney General’s Chamber to raise the issue of Najib’s presence in Tanjung Piai one day after going on MC.
“He miraculously recovered one day after not being able to attend court.
“This is not the first time such a thing has happened. Previously he attended an Umno-PAS gathering at the Putra World Trade Centre after missing court,” he said.
Sri Ram said there had been public outcry and the AG had personally received complaints about Najib’s behaviour, adding that there was also a police report lodged over the latest incident.
He asked for the court to order Najib to report to the nearest police station once a week every Saturday, arguing that the accused should be treated like any other person facing charges.
“We have given a lot of leeway and it is obvious that he is abusing it.
“The AG has also instructed an official complaint to be lodge against the doctor who issued the MC. The AG says the accused is mocking the MC by caring out political activities... It is a matter which should be met with proper judicial response,” he said.
However, Shafee rebutted Sri Ram’s argument by saying that he was disappointed with the AG’s instruction to the prosecution team.
He said it was obvious the AG had dished out the directive without finding out the truth or "doing his homework".
“He is sitting comfortably in Tokyo watching the Rugby World Cup Final without knowing what is actually going on here.
“The doctor who gave the MC complied with the medical act... my client was not fit to attend court and he got the MC. Moreover, there was no reason for him to skip just one and a half hours which had been allocated last Thursday,” he said.
Shafee then went on to explain that Najib had gone to Tanjung Piai only on Friday and he was still suffering from swollen eyes.
He said this was also widely reported in the media and there was also a video recording to back his claim.
On the police report which had been lodged, he said it was done by an "anti Najib person" who had also failed to do his homework.
Naming the person as Datuk Mohd Faisal Karim, 41, Shafee said he should be brave enough to come to court and voice his disgruntlement.
“He is obviously hiding behind someone’s skirt,” he said, adding Najib was also scheduled to go for a full blood test to find out the cause of his allergy.
“The move to sanction Najib is totally uncalled for and this whole thing is a much ado over noting. My client is not one of those characters who will cook up excuses just to skip trial,” he said.