By MARK RAO & RAHIMI YUNUS / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
The Kuala Lumpur (KL) High Court in Jalan Duta stole global attention yesterday, as former Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak faced graft charges over RM42 million linked to SRC International Sdn Bhd.
Despite various attempts to delay the case hearing, Najib emerged as Malaysia’s first former PM being tried in court.
It must have been coincidence that Day 1 of Najib’s trial fell on the 10th anniversary since he first assumed premiership on April 3, 2009.
Besides that, The Malaysian Reserve has compiled a few interesting happenings that you would have missed in the frenzy.
1. Dull Najib
One might say it is natural for anyone to have a sombre look during a criminal trial, but judging from Najib’s appearances in the courts complex before, his facial gestures were unusual yesterday.
Clad in a dark blue suit with a matching blue tie, the 65-year-old politician displayed a numbed expression, in contrast with his usual chatty and “media-friendly” demeanour.
Even in the courtroom, Najib — for unknown reasons — sat at the bench until he was told to enter the dock, to which he obliged quietly.
2. Missing Family Members
A staunch supporter of Najib when he was the PM, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor was nowhere to be seen in the KL Courts Complex.
Rosmah, who is battling a separate set of charges of corruption and money laundering, was present during Najib’s previous trips to the courthouse.
Najib’s daughter Nooryana Najwa Najib was also missing from the scene yesterday. She is believed to be abroad to further her studies.
However, the duo’s son Norashman Najib was present, continuing his companionship throughout his father’s multiple appearances in court since last year.
3. Sarawak Report’s Rewcastle-Brown in Court
Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown — who was among the whistleblowers of the mega-scandal involving 1Malaysia Development Bhd — was also present at the KL Courts Complex, eager to witness the first day of Najib’s trial.
Rewcastle-Brown said she came to see how the prosecutors will iron out details of the SRC graft case. The British citizen, however, failed to gain entry into the courtroom or the video-link room prepared for the media due to limited seats.
“There’s a lot of information that journalists were not aware of,” she said outside the courtroom.
4. Ex-Padang Serai MP Created a Scene
Rewcastle-Brown may not be the only one who got frustrated after her courtroom entry was denied.
Former Padang Serai MP N Gobalakrishnan (picture) caused a stir after he was not allowed into the courtroom where Najib was being tried.
It is interesting to note that Gobalakrishnan was a member of PKR, during which he served as Padang Serai MP between 2008-2013. During that period, he was one of the loudest critics of the government, then led by Najib.
Yesterday, Gobalakrishnan shouted of an unjust judiciary and that the court has denied an individual’s right to hear the proceeding.
He also went on to say that the court was treated like a “jungle court” instead of a public court — before being escorted by enforcement personnels.
5. ‘Bossku’ Supporters Expressed Solidarity
There were about 50 of Najib’s supporters gathered at the court compound to show their solidarity to the former PM, who they fondly call “Bossku”.
The group made their way to the courthouse and many were from Pekan, Pahang — where Najib has been serving as MP for close to three decades.
One of the “Bossku” supporters said some of them travelled from Pekan by bus, while the remaining came by private vehicles — all for one common goal: To stand strong and show solidarity for Najib.
Unlike previous courthouse appearances, the supporters did not cause any trouble this time, other than continuously shouting loudly that their “leader” is innocent and that he has been treated unfairly.