The Pekan MP is at Parliament.
2.32pm: Court is in session.
2.33pm: The accused Najib Razak is not present.
The former prime minister has to be at Parliament to deliver a speech.
Najib’s lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah informs the court that Najib’s speaking slot at Parliament has been delayed.
According to Shafee, Najib was initially slotted to speak between 11am and 12 noon during the parliamentary debate on Budget 2020.
However, Najib’s slot got displaced by speeches by other parliamentarians, including PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, who is Port Dickson MP.
“He is raising some very critical issues in Parliament today, and that has been prepared since the past two weeks. It is not easy to get 20 to 30 minutes speech (slot) unless you sneak in (during the) budget debate. This is the budget debate,” Shafee said.
The lawyer claimed that Najib had prior to this made an application to the Dewan Rakyat speaker to slot him at 4.30pm so that he can attend the trial, but it was not fulfilled.
“He made an application in Parliament two weeks ago. But he got to know his slot a day before I told Yang Arif.
“If not, he would have applied to Yang Arif earlier (to vacate today’s hearing session).”
Yesterday, Shafee had made a request to the court for today’s session to start in the afternoon as he has to be at the Federal Court in the morning for another matter.
He also informed the court that Najib would have to be present in Parliament to deliver his speech today, scheduled at 11am.
Meanwhile, lead deputy public prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram objected to the application by the defence to postpone today’s hearing.
Sri Ram told the court that it was not enough reason for Najib to be absent from his trial just because he could not give up his slot at Parliament.
He said the prosecution had also brought other witnesses on standby to testify as they were not sure when the defence would complete their cross-examination on former 1MDB CEO, Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, who is the ninth prosecution witness.
Sri Ram: I would be most grateful that this is the last episode of such a thing happening.
Shafee says Najib should be allowed to carry out his parliamentary duties.
2.43pm: Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah says he does not want to give the impression that the court wants to turn down requests to attend Parliament.
“But he said 2.30pm he would be here, on that basis I agreed,” says Sequerah.
Shafee says Najib will be in court tomorrow at 9.30am.
Sequerah: But how do we ensure that such a similar situation does not repeat?
Shafee says today’s situation is uncommon.
Shafee: Yang Ariff has governed this trial very well. We are progressing very well.
Shafee says the defence expects will conclude with ex-1MDB CEO Shahrol next week.
He also says the witness is considered a pivotal one and he expects the trial to proceed more quickly through the prosecution witnesses, except for a handful.
2.48pm: Sequerah allows today’s hearing to adjourn to tomorrow 9.30am.
Sequerah: Let it be said that this is the last time that such a situation happened.
Shafee apologises again.
“My client feels very bad because he did say he would be here.”
Oct 14, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 21
Oct 10, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 20
Oct 9, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 19
Oct 8, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 18
Oct 7, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 17
Oct 1, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 16
Sept 30, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 15
Sept 26, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 14
Sept 25, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 13
Sept 24, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 12
Sept 23, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 11
Sept 19, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 10
Sept 18, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Nine
Sept 17, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Eight
Sept 10, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Six
Sept 10, Rosmah Fond of Jho Low
Sept 5, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Five
Sept 4, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Four
Sept 3, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Three
Sept 3, Jho Low in Najib’s Inner Circle
Aug 29, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Two
Aug 28, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day One
Aug 28, Najib’s 1MDB Trial Begins