Speaker Defends Writing to Court Asking for Najib Trial to End Early

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Letter was not an order, but merely requested judge to let Najib skip court to attend Parliament.

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun has defended his decision to write to the High Court in Kuala Lumpur last week, asking the court to consider ending Najib Abdul Razak’s 1MDB trial early so the Pekan MP can debate in Parliament.

He said he has discretion on the matter and that his letter was not an order, but a request for consideration.

“I was made to understand Najib put in an application to be exempted from court but was denied.

Hari Anggara

“In the UK, Parliament is supreme, but in Malaysia the powers (Judiciary, Legislature and Executive) are equal.

“Hence, I asked the learned judge’s consideration, to consider to end the day’s trial early. I did not issue any orders,” Azhar told the Dewan Rakyat today.

Last week, judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah initially rejected a request from Najib’s lawyers for the trial on Thursday to end at 1.30pm, so that the former prime minister could go to Parliament.

However, Najib’s legal team then produced a letter from Azhar on Thursday.

This prompted Sequerah to call back the prosecution and defence from recess and hold the trial through the lunch break until 3.15pm.

Najib went on to debate the King’s speech in the Dewan Rakyat, arguing that banks should make a sacrifice by extending the loan moratorium to their customers.

Chang Lih Kang (PH-Tanjung Malim) had asked the Speaker to clarify why he had written to the court to grant adjournment for Najib’s court case on Thursday (July 16).

“Why must he be allowed to do so when his turn to debate can be postponed or made earlier so that it will not clash with his court case?” asked Chang.

Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (BN-Pasir Salak) then stood up to demand of Chang:

“Why are you teaching the Speaker? Please don’t waste our time. What is so important about that?”

To this, Chang replied, “I’m not teaching the Speaker, I am just asking.

“Are you trying to set a precedent when there is a court case involving a MP, you will write a letter to the court to grant an adjournment.”

Azhar said he had done so based on his discretion.

“Previously, there are MPs who were also granted adjournment for a long period of time to come to Parliament,” said Azhar, without revealing who it was.