PUTRAJAYA (Dec 7): Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah appeared in the Court of Appeal here at 12.30pm on Tuesday (Dec 7) via Zoom.
The Court of Appeal earlier said it would issue an arrest warrant for Najib if he did not show up for proceedings in the afternoon, which were in relation to an application he filed on Dec 1 to adduce further oral evidence by calling Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki and former SRC International Sdn Bhd investigating officer Rosli Hussein.
Shafee then requested the appellate court bench led by Justice Datuk Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil to make an application to make the defence's submissions in 10 days, which is when their period of isolation would be over.
Shafee explained that his entire team’s MySejahtera status had been showing orange and yellow colours, which meant that they all had been in close contact with a Covid-19-positive patient.
However, Justice Abdul Karim told Shafee that he had to make his submissions on Tuesday.
“We have heard all that. I had considered all that when I gave my direction to have online proceedings. You can still work from home. I disallow your application,” the judge said.
However, Shafee still persisted in seeking a delay in the defence's submissions until after their isolation period is over.
While Shafee’s team appeared via Zoom, the prosecution led by Datuk V Sithambaram were in the court complex together with Justice Abdul Karim and the other two judges, Justices Datuk Has Zanah Mehat and Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera, who comprised the bench.
“I’m making an application that the matter be postponed to a date after the 10-day quarantine. The 10 days begin from today (Tuesday). We have informed the court of this; all of us have gotten the orange or mustard colour on MySejahtera, which means we are to be isolated. Our papers and documents are in the office. There is nothing with us now,” he told the court.
He also explained that while in isolation at his home, he does not have the relevant documents to deliver his submissions on Najib’s application to adduce further oral evidence by calling Azam and Rosli.
“We are using handphones and laptops from home, and we are uncoordinated without the papers and documents. We are scutttled by two events. We ask for time for written submissions. This is serious and you must hear from us. The right to be heard means we are actually heard,” Shafee said.
This comes as the appellate court is scheduled to deliver its decision on Najib's appeal to set aside his conviction and 12-year jail term and RM210 million fine for the SRC offences on Wednesday morning.
The judge, however, did not accept Shafee’s request.
“We gave enough time to go to the office and retrieve the documents and affidavits. The instructions were very clear. Very clear,” the judge said.
Shafee then called the ruling to continue submissions via Zoom and in-person proceedings unfair and objected to them.
“It’s not fair to us in serious proceedings that we are having hybrid proceedings. Because of the situation we’re in, we cannot appear in the court. We are saying it’s not fair and not equal,” he said.
The judge noted the objection and asked for the lawyers to start with their submissions.
Sithambaram began his submissions at 1.30pm. Submissions before the judges were ongoing as at the time of writing.
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