Najib claims 1MDB saved the country RM15 billion annually after discontinuing “sweetheart deals” involving independent power producers (IPPs) that allegedly occurred when Mahathir was the fourth prime minister.
- Bought an almost RM500k watch to placate his family over short Hawaii family trip
- Bristles during A-G cross-examination on 1986 Umno split
- Saw no reason why he couldn’t appoint himself to be finance minister
9.16am: Accused Najib Abdul Razak enters the witness stand as proceedings begin.
9.23am: Lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah begins examination-in-chief of former prime minister Najib.
Shafee tells judge Nazlan defence has an additional six-page statement.
9.41am: Najib reiterates for an Australian handwriting expert to examine and verify the authenticity of documents that purportedly contain his signature.
He testifies this during examination-in-chief by Shafee.
He says, among others, that he cannot verify the authenticity of a Minister of Finance Inc (MoF Inc) minute purportedly approving the amendment to the Memorandum of Association (M&A) of SRC International.
“A handwriting expert from Australia is appointed to examine the authenticity of my signatures on documents,” Najib says.
Yesterday, the defence had applied to seek for an Australian handwriting expert to be flown in and examine the documents tendered by the prosecution during the trial.
This was opposed by the prosecution leading to High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali telling defence to submit a formal application to allow parties to submit on the matter.
9.50am: Najib says that he believes seven documents bearing what looked like his signature that was tendered in court were forged documents and is mulling to lodge a police report on the matter.
According to Najib, he has been advised by his lawyer to wait for the documents to be physically examined by a document specialist first before deciding whether to do so or not.
He says this when answering a question from his lawyer Shafee if he had put his signatures on the documents, marked as P277, P497(3-4), P530(2-9), P501, D534, D535, and P510.
“No. As I have said, I believe that these documents are not authentic based on matters that were raised throughout the trial.
“Honestly, during the time I was serving the government, I have signed thousands of documents and I would not lodge a police report until I am sure that my signature is not original (forged).
“Although there were initial findings by document specialist (on possible forgery), my lawyer had advised me to wait for a physical examination on the documents are done by a document expert, before deciding whether a police report should be lodged,” says Najib.
10.10am: Najib testifies that he does not see anything unusual in his then position as chairperson of Board of Advisors (BOA) to 1MDB.
He says this is because his authority in other bodies like Khazanah and Petronas is more comprehensive compared to that of his as chairperson of 1MDB’s BoA.
Najib is replying to a question from Shafee on whether he had a choice on whether to be appointed as chairperson for 1MDB’s BoA.
“I had other choices, but I do not regard that as something unusual or out of the ordinary as my authority in other bodies are more firm and more comprehensive compared to 1MDB.
“Especially in Khazanah, I was chairperson as prime minister and was involved in all decision by Khazanah,” Najib says.
He adds that this authority in Khazanah and Petronas was conferred by statute, further adding that as 1MDB BoA chairperson, his advice could only be sought if the board of directors sought such advice.
10.25am: Najib claims that he did not have veto power on 1MDB when he was the chairperson of its board of advisers (BOA).
According to him, he also could not make a decision for BoA on his own as the board must comprise at least four members in its meetings.
“With the composition as stated (in a clause on 1MDB BoA), it is clear that I could not act on my own on the position or name of BoA chairperson, but the board itself must convene.”
According to Najib, any decision made by the board was always based on consensus, and should they have to vote, each member of BoA has one vote, including the chairperson.
10.37am: Shafee asks Najib if anyone warned him about Jho Low and the “odd things” occurring in 1MDB.
Najib replies that a few people told him to question and enquire about Jho Low, because of his knowledge on fund transfers.
The court hears from Najib that MACC had warned him about Jho Low and the latter’s associate sometime around 2015 and 2016.
According to him, this was why had encouraged the authority to record a statement from Low then.
10.40am: Shafee asks if Najib was directly involved in the formation of SRC, to which he replies that he wasn’t involved directly but was told it was 1MDB management’s suggestion.
Najib takes a swipe at Dr Mahathir, claiming that “sweetheart deals” involving independent power producers (IPPs) that allegedly occurred when the latter was the fourth prime minister had cost the country billions of ringgit.
This happened because the IPPs were allegedly given subsidised rates for gas produced by Petronas.
Najib then goes on to claim that this was changed when 1MDB came into the picture, where contracts are no longer given on direct negotiation.
“Although many are criticising 1MDB, the steps taken by 1MDB had saved the country between RM10 billion and RM15 billion a year because the terms had been (changed) to bidding process.
“This was started after two IPPs were taken over by 1MDB.”
Shafee then asks Najib the “sweetheart deals” happened during which administration, to which he answers: “During the time of the fourth prime minister, who is today the seventh prime minister.”
10.45am: Najib testifies that he spent US$130,625 (RM466,330.11) on a luxury watch for his wife Rosmah Mansor, to placate his family for cutting short the trip in Hawaii in 2014.
He says his family was disappointed when he was forced to end the personal family with them, due to the floods in the East Coast in Dec 2014.
“It was near my wife’s birthday, hence why they were very disappointed with my decision (to cut short the trip).
“My son Ashman, who worked in Istanbul, came all the way to Honolulu, only not to find me there.
“Therefore, I made the decision to placate my family and to buy something chosen by my wife,” Najib says in relation to the credit card purchase of the watch at Chanel, Honolulu, Hawaii, on Dec 22, 2014.
10.56am: The trip was also an opportunity to establish a strong relationship with then US president Barack Obama at a golf course.
11.16am: Tommy Thomas starts cross-examining Najib.
He questions Najib in English, who responds in Bahasa Malaysia.
11.20am: Najib bristles during cross-examination by the A-G over which team he supported during the 1986 Umno power struggle.
He responds that the question isn’t relevant to the case before him.
Thomas: During the infamous 1986 to 87 Team A and Team B Umno (power tussle), did you support Dr Mahathir (Mohamad) against Tengku Razaleigh?
Najib: I am not sure whether that is relevant, this is a political realm. Is it relevant? Do I need to answer?
Thomas: You need to answer as long as there is no objection (from the defence lawyers).
Najib: I supported Dr Mahathir.
11.44am: Thomas asks Najib if he was his “own finance minister” when he decided to keep the portfolio after he became the prime minister.
Najib says the prime minister has the power to appoint the finance minister.
“There is a connotation there, the prime minister has the power to appoint the finance minister. Yes, I was the finance minister.”
12pm: The court hears from Najib that the Cabinet in 1997, then under the leadership of Dr Mahathir, had issued a code of ethics that addresses issues of conflict of interests.
Answering a question from the A-G during prosecution’s cross-examination, Najib says the Cabinet issued the code then to prevent ministers from abusing their position to influence Cabinet decisions in matters where a minister has personal interests in.
Thomas then continues his examination by asking Najib his understanding of conflict of interests.
Thomas: As far as Datuk Seri’s understanding, what was required if a minister is personally interested in a matter discussed in Cabinet?
Najib: First of all, he or she must have a personal interest, meaning that he or his family members can have personal benefits from the decision made by the Cabinet.
Thomas: What is the Cabinet minister required to do to comply with the code?
Najib: Normally the minister would excuse himself or herself from the discussion when the matter was tabled. Means he needs to inform the chairperson and leaves the room. Only after the discussion is over that he would return.
12.15pm: While agreeing to a suggestion by Thomas that a prime minister holds enormous power in the country including in appointing individuals to key positions in companies related to the government, Najib says the power still has its limits.
12.22pm: Thomas goes through a list of questions about Najib’s political positions, duties and responsibilities.
12.30pm: Thomas again asks why did Najib “self-select” himself to be the finance minister.
Najib says it was because he believed he could bring improve the economy. He says he saw the “bigger picture”.
Najib says that during his tenure as the finance minister, the Malaysian economy grew at a faster rate than that of the four Asian Tigers (Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan).
12.35pm: Najib disagrees that he became finance minister to source funds to 1MDB by issuing government guarantee.
The accused replies this during cross-examination by Thomas.
Thomas was also earlier asking Najib about the alleged notion that no creditor would lend money to 1MDB unless there is a guarantor, such as a government guarantee.
Thomas: I suggest that you became finance minister so you could use the Treasury and Ministry of Finance to source funds to lend to 1MDB by issuing government guarantee?
Najib: I totally disagree.
Thomas: As prime minister, you could not do it, but as finance minister, you could do it?
12.34pm: Thomas asks Najib if he was an economist or a businessman which qualified him for the post of finance minister.
Najib says he has a foundation in economics and that he was the Pahang menteri besar.
Najib says he was interested in adding to his knowledge of economics, and that he had seen no reason why he couldn’t appoint himself to be finance minister.
12.40pm: Thomas asks Najib what it was like holding the two toughest positions simultaneously.
Najib says he was not the first prime minister to hold both portfolios. He says Dr Mahathir and Ahmad Abdullah Badawi did the same.
Najib says he also had two second finance ministers to help him.
12.41pm: Thomas asks Najib who came up with the name of 1MDB.
Najib says the name came from the management.
Thomas: Wasn’t it your personal choice?
Najib insists that he didn’t abuse his power as prime minister when he fired his deputy, Muhyiddin Yassin, and former rural development minister Shafie Apdal during a cabinet reshuffle in 2015.
Both were removed after publicly voicing their disagreement over Najib’s handling of 1MDB.
“I sacked them because they made statements in public when it should have been done in a Cabinet meeting,” says Najib.
12.43pm: The court hears from Najib that he sacked Muhyiddin not because the latter disagreed with him on 1MDB.
“I have never fired anyone because he disagreed with me,” Najib says, answering a question from Thomas.
12.51pm: Court takes a lunch break.
2.39pm: Proceedings resume after lunch break.
2.40pm: The proceeding resumes with Thomas requesting the court to remind Najib not to communicate with his own lawyers until the prosecution completes their cross-examination on him.
The court then grants the request.
2.45pm: Thomas resumes his cross-examination with questions related to Najib’s dealings with banks.
To a question about credit cards, Najib tells the court that he cannot remember when was the first time he acquired one, but agrees with Thomas that throughout his career he has had credit cards from major suppliers like Visa and Mastercard.
Thomas then asks Najib what were the credit limits for his credit cards in 2013 and 2014, which was when he was still the prime minister and material time of the SRC charges.
To this, Najib claims that he cannot remember.
“For my personal credit cards, I cannot really remember. Because I have never bought big things,” says Najib.
Asked if he is aware that banks impose high charges on credit cards after their grace period, Najib says he knows about it albeit not in specifics.
3pm: Najib tells the court he did not instruct Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) to approve loans while he was prime minister.
3.14pm: Tommy asks Najib about Dr Mahathir’s management of the 1997 Asian financial crisis.
He asks if Najib had borrowed from his predecessor’s wisdom in dealing with the 2008 financial crisis when the accused became finance minister.
Najib says when he took over as the finance minister in 2008, the country’s fiscal deficit was at 6.7%. He says by the end of 2017, the fiscal deficit had been reduced to 3%.
3.30pm: The court hears from Najib that he did not make the suggestion for SRC’s memorandum and articles of association (M&A) to give a prime minister the power to approve the appointment and removal of its senior management executives.
According to Najib, he would prefer to focus on policy issues rather than delving into micro issues.
Najib says this when answering questions from Thomas about the M&A.
“I would prefer to focus on the core issues. This is not my suggestion,” he testifies.
For the record, SRC’s M&A enacted when the company was formed in 2011 stated that any appointment or removal of its board members, chief executive officer and members of senior management cannot take effect without prior written approval from the serving prime minister.
3.30pm: Thomas says SRC was formed on January 4, 2011 and it was signed off by two subscribers, Nik Faisal and Vincent Koh Beng Huat.
He asks Najib why there were two directors.
Najib says it was a purely administrative move.
3.42pm: Najib disagrees that his notation “Bersetuju dengan cadangan” (agree with suggestion) on SRC’s RM3.95 billion loan application from KWAP amounted to an order for such a loan be issued.
During cross-examination by Thomas, Najib disputes the testimony of KWAP’s former assistant vice-president Amirul Imran Ahmat.
During the prosecution stage of the trial, Amirul testified that KWAP initially greenlighted SRC’s application for the RM3.95 billion loan, as they saw Najib’s notation on the application letter in 2011.
Thomas: Amirul saw it as a direction.
Najib: He (KWAP) merely process (the loan application from SRC). It is not a direction. His assumption is wrong.
Najib adds that he has no authority to compel KWAP and that its investment panel must do the risk analysis of the loan bid first.
It was reported that KWAP later greenlighted a RM2 billion loan to SRC for 2011, and another RM2 billion in 2012.
3.48pm: Najib denies that he was the one who turned down SRC’s request to share its investment plan with KWAP in 2011.
Najib claims that then CEO of SRC, Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, had never referred to him any request to furnish the information, which KWAP needed to consider SRC’s RM2 billion loan application.
If Nik Faisal had referred such matter, Najib adds, he would have told the CEO to share everything with KWAP.
“If he had referred to me, I would have asked him to give all information needed by KWAP,” he testifies.
Najib was answering Thomas’ question regarding a series of emails between SRC and KWAP, where Nik Faisal had told KWAP that he could not furnish the information to them without approval from Najib.
“If he had used my name, what am I going to do? I have never agreed to this!”
“Never,” Najib adds, when Thomas keeps pressuring him, putting it to him that it was him who rejected Nik Faisal’s request to furnish the information.
4pm: Najib takes a swipe at Thomas during a brief argument over KWAP approval of SRC’s loan application in 2011.
This happens when Thomas is suggesting that it was Najib as the then Finance Minister who made the approval for KWAP.
Hearing this, Najib then says that he could not have done so, stressing that the power to approve a loan application is only at the hands of KWAP’s investment panel.
“I want to stress that any approval must be by the investment panel. I cannot approve,” says Najib.
Unsatisfied with the answer, Thomas again presses Najib, putting it that it was the politician who approved the loan.
This is when Najib starts speaking in a stronger tone.
“No, I cannot approve. That is the law. You must give me the law,” he says.
“You are the A-G. You tell me,” Najib adds.
4.11pm: Najib disagrees with Thomas’ assertion that KWAP investment panel was mere window dressing to execute his desires.
Najib makes this denial during cross-examination by Thomas in regards to Najib allegedly influencing the KWAP investment panel to approve the loan application by SRC.
SRC International was granted a total of RM4 billion loans from KWAP in two separate tranches, first RM2 billion in late 2011 and the other RM2 billion in early 2012.
Thomas: I put it to you that this is a fait accompli, window dressing by (KWAP investment) committee going through the motion. They are just carrying out your wishes.
Najib: Disagree as, under the law, the investment panel has absolute discretion to make a decision.
4.16pm: Thomas puts it to Najib that KWAP had taken Najib’s approval of Nik Faisal’s proposal to allow the loan to be approved.
Najib: Why are you saying I approved? It is in the law, and the law states that the investment panel must approve it. Not me.
Tommy: If we were following the law, we wouldn’t be here.
Najib: Yes, but you are the A-G. You should know the law.
4.27pm: Court adjourns till tomorrow.
Dec 10, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 61
Dec 5, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 60
Dec 3, Najb’s SRC Trial: Day 59
Dec 3, Najib’s Day in Court
Aug 27, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 58
Aug 23, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 57
Aug 22, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 56
Aug 20, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 55
Aug 19, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 54
Aug 13, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 52
Aug 9, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 51
Aug 7, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 50
Aug 6, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 49
Aug 5, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 48
Aug 1, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 47
July 31, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 46
July 29, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 45
July 25, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 44
July 24, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 43 Vacated
July 23, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 42
July 22, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 41
July 18, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 40
July 17, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 39
July 16, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 38
July 15, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 37
July 11, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 36
July 10, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 35
July 9, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 34
July 8, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 33
July 3, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 32
July 3, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 31
July 1, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 30
June 20, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 29
June 19, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 28
June 18, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 27
June 17, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 26
June 14, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 25
June 13, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 24
June 12, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 23
June 11, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 22
June 10, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 21
May 28, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 20
May 27, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 19
May 15, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 18
May 14, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 17
May 9, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 16
May 8, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 15
May 7, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 14
May 6, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 13
May 2, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 12
Apr 30, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 11
Apr 29, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 10
Apr 25, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Nine
Apr 24, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Eight
Apr 24, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Seven
Apr 22, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Six
Apr 18, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Five
Apr 17, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Four
Apr 16, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Three
Apr 15, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Two
Apr 3, Najib Trial: Day One