Najib’s Defence Like Infamous VK Lingam’s “Looks Like Me, Sounds Like Me, but Not Me”

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The prosecution drew comparison and similarity of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s defence in his SRC International Sdn Bhd trial at the High Court today to that of former lawyer Datuk VK Lingam’s infamous “looks like me, sounds like me but it’s not me” quote.

The well-known quote was brought up when Najib, charged with siphoning RM42 million from the former 1MDB subsidiary, was testifying in his own defence under cross-examination from ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V Sithambaram.

Najib was earlier asked to confirm his signature and name on an instruction letter he had sent to AmBank, instructing them to close his personal bank accounts ending-694 and ending-481 in August 2013.

In the same letter, Najib also ordered the bank to transfer the remaining balance of RM12,436,711.87 and RM82.67 respectively to one of his new accounts (account-880).

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“Looks like my signature, yes,” Najib replied, before explaining again that a handwriting expert was needed to verify his signature whether it was forged – a stance he has maintained throughout the defence stage.

Sithambaram then quipped in response, “Whenever you say that it reminds me of a case years ago where someone once said: ‘Looks like me, sounds like me, but it’s not me’.”

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His remark elicited laughter from the court.

It is very likely Sithambaram was referring to the quote made by Lingam during a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) into allegations of judicial tampering which was caught on tape in 2001.

He testified during the RCI hearing, saying: “It (person speaking on the phone in the video) looks like me and sounds like me.” Lingam, however, denied it was him speaking on the phone.

A 998-page RCI report, released to the public on May 20, 2008, ruled that the video clip was genuine and that the recording showed Lingam speaking on the phone to former chief justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim over the appointment of judges.

Throughout the defence stage, Najib had refused to verify if the signatures on documents tendered in his SRC International trial were his, insisting that a handwriting expert be called to establish authenticity.

The Pekan MP previously maintained he had no opportunity to verify his signatures entirely during his sessions with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) as his observations were done in passing when the documents were shown to him during his interrogation.

Najib has been called to enter his defence to answer seven charges related to SRC International.

Three are for criminal breach of trust over a total RM42 million of SRC International funds while entrusted with its control as the prime minister and finance minister then, three more are for laundering the RM42 million, and the last is for abusing the same positions for self-gratification of the same sum. – MMO