Najib’s lawyer Hisyam hints at suing Bar president

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Lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik has described Malaysian Bar president Karen Cheah’s media statement about his conduct during Najib Abdul Razak’s RM42 million SRC International corruption appeal as defamatory.

In a statement today, the defence counsel for the incarcerated former prime minister hinted at a defamation civil action against her.

“The Malaysian Bar president will be hearing from me as well.

“Her press release dated Aug 19, 2022, has attacked me and my legal team in the strongest terms, a stance that is both mischievous and highly defamatory.

Shafwan Zaidon

“She will have to justify her condemnation in a court of law,” Hisyam said.

Malaysiakini is attempting to get a response from Cheah over Hisyam’s statement.

Yesterday, it was reported that lawyer Zaid Ibrahim and his two partners – who represented Najib during the appeal before the former premier discharged them – had issued a legal letter demanding a retraction and apology from Cheah over her same press release.

On Aug 19, the Bar released a media statement condemning the conduct of Najib’s legal team during the apex court appeal hearing.

Cheah had described the lawyers’ conduct as amounting to an abuse of the country’s judicial process and had brought the system into disrepute, and the lawyers involved should face disciplinary action.

She said while Najib is entitled to discharge his lawyers and appoint new ones, doing so also means taking the risk that the court may not allow a postponement while the new legal team takes over since such postponements are not an automatic entitlement.

Cheah added that regarding Najib’s lawyers, the rules of legal practice stipulate that lawyers shall not accept any case unless they are reasonably certain of being able to appear and represent the client on the hearing dates fixed by the court.

She said the lawyers must also make every effort to be ready for trial on those dates, per Rules 6(a) and 24(a) of the Legal Profession Act (Practice and Etiquette) Rules 1978.

In late July, Najib discharged his defence team led by Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and appointed lawyers from the firm Messrs Zaid Ibrahim Suflan TH Liew & Partners, as well as from a law firm headed by Hisyam.

Najib is serving a 12-year jail term, following the apex court on Tuesday last week dismissing the former finance minister’s appeal to quash his conviction and sentencing in the SRC case. – Malaysiakini