'We don't abandon clients', says law firm representing Najib ahead of final appeal hearing
Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak is due to appear in the Federal Court next Monday for his final bid to overturn the guilty conviction in the SRC International case.
KUALA LUMPUR: The law firm appointed to represent former prime minister Najib Razak in his final appeal against the guilty conviction in the SRC International corruption case denied that it will withdraw from the case.
Mr Zaid Ibrahim, a former de facto law minister who owns Messrs Zaid Ibrahim Suflan TH Liew & Partners, said the firm did not make any statement during the case management hearing in chambers that it will be discharging itself as solicitors.
“We do not abandon our clients,” Mr Zaid said in a Facebook post on Friday (Aug 12), noting that media reports stating the contrary were “mischievous and regrettable”.
Najib is due to appear in Malaysia’s apex Federal Court next Monday, for his final bid to overturn the 12-year jail term and RM210 million (US$47.3 million) fine over the embezzlement of RM42 million funds from SRC International Sdn Bhd, a former subsidiary of state investment vehicle 1 Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
Last month, Najib discharged his lead defence lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah from his final appeal and appointed Messrs Zaid Ibrahim Sufian TH Liew & Partners to represent him, after consulting lawyers in Singapore and senior advocates from India.
The law firm sought a postponement of the appeal, but the request was rejected by the Federal Court.
Malaysian media reported that Najib’s new legal team will seek to postpone the hearing again on Monday, failing which it will discharge itself from acting for Najib - a claim that Mr Zaid denied in his Friday statement.
Mr Zaid said his firm had agreed to take on the case because Najib has legitimate grievances regarding his conviction.
In response to criticism that his firm’s appointment as Najib’s new defence counsel was an attempt to delay the appeal, Mr Zaid said the case has taken much less time to reach the final stage than most other similar cases.
He added that the firm is ready to proceed with the motion for retrial this coming Monday.
“We will continue to act for him for so long as we have his confidence,” he said.
Najib was found guilty of seven charges of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money-laundering by a High Court decision in July 2020.
A three-judge panel at the Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed his appeal against the High Court’s decision in December 2021.
The Federal Court has set aside nine days - Aug 15 to Aug 19 and Aug 23 to Aug 26 - to hear Najib's final appeal.