“We Have Lost Too Much Time”: 1MDB Trial Judge Furious at Najib’s Absence, Wants Him Back In Court

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Datuk Seri Najib Razak(centre) and other Umno MPs on their way to Istana Negara on 19 August (source: Malay Mail)

1MDB trial judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah was not pleased when former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak failed to turn up at the High Court for the scheduled hearing this morning (19 Aug).

According to Malay Mail, Najib’s counsel Rahmat Hazlan told the judge that his client had been summoned to the palace this morning.

“He and 114 other MPs have been summoned to the Palace to confirm their support for Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri. We are not sure what time my client is scheduled to meet the King, but he is leaving PWTC at 10.30am,” said the lawyer.

An infuriated Justice Sequerah then replied that Najib should have come to court to inform the judge of his need to see the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

“He 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’s done with that, he has to be back here for the trial to continue. I may not even stop at 4pm today,” Sequerah told the lawyer before standing down for a short break.

1MDB trial judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah (source: The Edge Markets)

As per Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs), the trial is supposed to end at 4pm. After the break, Rahmat informed the judge that Najib was currently at PWTC with other UMNO MPs and would be leaving at 10.30am to see the King.

As the situation was infuriating the judge further, Sequerah had no choice but to adjourn the trial to 2.30pm and told the lawyer that he hoped his client would show up for the trial.

“I have to carry on with the case, come what may. We have lost too much time. I understand that he has to be there when the King summons him. But he does not have to be there the whole day,” said Justice Sequerah.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak leaving Istana Negara on 19 August (source: Malay Mail)

In the past, when Najib’s lawyers requested for his trial to be shortened, postponed or taken off due to various reasons like his ailments or to attend parliamentary sittings, the judge would be stern in deciding whether to grant such requests, besides taking on a regretful tone over time lost or the delay of the trial’s progress.

But today, the judge spoke in an unusually angry and furious tone when Najib did not appear in court and when no definite window of time was given by his lawyer on how long Najib would not be available for today’s hearing.

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