Following are 10 of the cases, of which some have been making international headlines
by TMR / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI
MALAYSIAN courts will be anything but quiet next year, with some of the country’s most-anticipated high profile court cases had to be benched this year due to the coronavirus and various Movement Control Orders (MCOs).
Following are 10 of the cases, of which some have been making international headlines.
Former Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak’s (picture) corruption and money-laundering case involving RM2.3 billion of 1Malaysia Development Bhd’s (1MDB) funds is scheduled to be heard on Jan 4, 2021.
Initially scheduled from Dec14 to 17, it will be heard before High Court Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah, with the defence to continue their cross-examination on former 1MDB CEO Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman.
The rehearing of a legal and constitutional challenge posed by Port Dickson MP Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim over the validity of the National Security Council (NSC) Act 2016 is scheduled on Jan 7.
In the application filed in March, Anwar claimed that there was grave injustice when the High Court did not answer his constitutional questions.
He said the government, as a respondent in the case, had taken the position that his lawsuit in the court should be struck out without being heard.
He said there was also a serious breach of natural justice when he was not given the right to be heard on the issue of whether the constitutional questions posed were abstract, academic and hypothetical.
In 2016, Anwar filed the originating summons to challenge the constitutionality of the NSC Act, claiming that its implementation was unconstitutional. He named the NSC and government as defendants.
Anwar’s appeal against the High Court’s dismissal of his application to strike out an originating summons filed by lawyer Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz on the full pardon granted to him over his conviction and imprisonment for sodomising an aide will be heard at the Court of Appeal on Jan 11.
Mohd Khairul Azam claimed that the pardon granted to Anwar by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong was in contravention of Articles 42 (4) and (5) of the Federal Constitution, in view of the fact that pardons granted by the Agong should be based on the advice of the Pardons Board, which the former argued had not yet been formally formed following the 14th General Election on May 9, 2018, and the formation of the new government.
Anwar had been sentenced to five years’ jail for sodomising his aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, and the conviction and sentence were affirmed by the Federal Court on Feb 10, 2015.
The High Court has set Jan 18 to 21 for the trial of the 1MDB audit report tampering case, in which Najib was charged with former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy. This trial was initially scheduled for Dec 7 before High Court Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan.
Arul Kanda was charged at the Sessions Court with committing an offence between Feb 22 and 26, 2016, where he allegedly abetted Najib in using the latter’s position as then PM to order the amendment to the report at Kompleks Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Putrajaya.
If convicted under Section 24 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009, Arul Kanda faces a maximum 20-year jail term, and a fine no less than five times the graft involved or RM10,000, whichever is higher.
Auditor-General Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamad said Najib had instructed for amendments to be made to the 1MDB final audit report, with the exclusion of several paragraphs in the report.
Among the information allegedly excluded from the report includes the presence of fugitive entrepreneur Low Taek Jho or Jho Low in a 1MDB board meeting.
Feb 8 & 9
Forfeiture hearing for OBYU Holdings Sdn Bhd will be held onFeb8and9intheHighCourt of a case regarding luxury items found in an apartment owned by OBYU Holdings.
In 2018, the police in a series of raids seized from the residences and offices linked to Najib close to 12,000 jewelleries, 27 luxury cars, over 400 watches and hundreds of handbags.
It was reported that the cumulative value of the items was estimated to be between RM900 million and RM1.1 billion, making it the biggest seizure in the country’s history.
Former PM’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor is no exception to legal actions which will be heard next year.
The High Court has set this date for the hearing of Rosmah’s solar graft trial, where the defence will be presenting its case.
Rosmah is accused of soliciting RM187.5 million from Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd between 2016 and 2017, to help the firm secure a RM1.25 billion project to supply solar hybrid power to 369 schools in Sarawak.
She is also accused of receiving RM5 million and another RM1.5 million in 2016 and 2017 respectively, to ensure Jepak secured the contract.
The trial began in February this year and went on to hear testimonies from 23 witnesses brought by the prosecution, which closed its case on Dec 11, 2020.
Najib will be in the Court of Appeal this time where his appeal against his conviction and sentencing over 1MDB’s former subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd’s RM42 million will be heard.
On July 28, 2020, the High Court convicted Najib over all seven charges — covering the offences of criminal breach of trust, power abuse and money laundering — in relation to SRC’s RM42 million.
The court sentenced Najib to a 12-year prison term and a fine of RM210 million with an additional five years if the fine is not paid for the power abuse charge, as well as jail terms of 10 years each for each of the six other charges.
Najib has, however, been granted a stay of execution of his sentence pending his appeal and had paid an additional RM1 million bail on July 29, 2020, as part of the stay conditions on top of his previous RM1 million bail in the SRC case.
The criminal breach of trust (CBT) trial of former Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation DG Datuk Hasanah Abdul Hamid was adjourned until April 2021 due to the Conditional MCO in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor which began on Oct 14.
Hasanah is alleged to have committed CBT by misappropriating RM50.4 million in funds belonging to the government.
On Oct 25, 2018, the ex-spy chief pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court to the charge.
She is charged under Section 409 of the Penal Code, which carries a maximum jail term of 20 years, whipping and a fine upon conviction.
Najib’s trial on three money-laundering charges involving RM27 million of SRC funds will begin on July 5, next year.
On Feb 3, 2019, Najib pleaded not guilty to the three charges of money laundering whereby he is alleged to have received a total of RM27 million, allegedly proceeds from unlawful activity, in three AmPrivate Banking accounts belonging to him.
Najib is alleged to have committed the offences under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001, which provides for a maximum fine of RM5 million or jail not exceeding five years or both, if convicted.
Najib this time will be tried with former Treasury secretary general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah on six charges of CBT involving RM6.6 billion of government funds.
On Oct 24, 2018, Najib and Mohd Irwan Serigar pleaded not guilty on all six charges when the case was mentioned at the Sessions Court.