Kuala Lumpur, June 14 — Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Ashrof Adrin Kamarul in an affidavit filed yesterday objected to UK Queen’s Counsel Jonathan Laidlaw’s application to represent Najib Razak in the former prime minister’s final appeal in the case involving the misappropriation of RM42 million belonging to SRC International.
Ashrof said Laidlow did not show any qualifications or special experience in the laws of Malaysia and was not qualified in Bahasa Malaysia.
He also claimed that Laidlaw did not possess any more knowledge than a local lawyer to argue the appeal in the Federal Court.
“It is difficult to understand how the applicant, who is foreign to the local laws here, can be said to be better equipped and qualified than senior counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who often appears before all levels of Malaysian courts to argue cases similar to the charges (in the SRC case),” said Ashrof.
In his appeal at the Federal Court, Najib is seeking to quash his conviction, 12-year jail sentence and RM210 million fine for one charge of abuse of position, three charges of breach of trust and three charges of money laundering linked to SRC International funds.
Ashrof also said that Laidlaw did not have the Bahasa Malaysia qualifications required under Subsection 11 (2) of the Legal Profession Act (Act 166) to be allowed an ad hoc application under Section 18 of the same act.
“The applicant is not a qualified person to be admitted as an ad hoc advocate and solicitor under Act 166.”
“I state that if the court ignores the political position of the appellant (Najib) in this appeal, the case will be like any other criminal appeal which does not deserve any special consideration to admit foreign lawyers to argue the appeal to be heard in the Federal Court,” he said.
Ashrof added that it was hard to accept that out of 21,625 advocates and solicitors in Malaysia, none had the special qualifications or experience needed to handle the appeal apart from Laidlow.
“The fact that Shafee handled Najib’s trial at the Court of Appeal is a clear testament that the senior lawyer has the special qualifications and experience to handle appeals related to the charges at the Federal Court.”
“The charge in the Federal Court is also not a new charge but the same charge handled by Shafee at the High Court and the Court of Appeal. Therefore, this application is without merit and must be rejected outright,” he said.
On Jan 25, legal firm Messrs Shafee & Co submitted a letter to the Secretariat of Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat about Najib’s intention to appoint a QC to assist him on complex issues and legal questions in the SRC International appeal at the Federal Court.
On April 29, the Federal Court set 10 days in August to hear Najib’s appeal against his conviction and jail sentence for the misappropriation of the company’s funds.
On Dec 8, 2021, the Court of Appeal upheld Najib’s conviction and 12-year prison sentence as well as the RM210 million fine for misappropriating RM42 million in SRC International funds.
Justice Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil, who presided with fellow judges Has Zanah Mehat and Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera, unanimously dismissed Najib’s appeal against the High Court’s decision on July 28, 2020.
The Federal Court is Najib’s final avenue of appeal against his conviction and sentence.