What's going to happen to Najib when his lawyers are blaming each other?

Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak

It's interesting to think about it. Former prime minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak has already stayed in Kajang Prison. Four more cases, including one ongoing trial, are on the way. 

Unfortunately, these legal experts, from Malaysia to Singapore and all the way "the very best" criminal lawyers, senior advocates in India -- a combination of several teams -- representing Najib -- now unprofessionally blaming each other via media (including social media), without offering convincing solutions. 

This is definitely not a good news for the former Pekan MP, who is also popularly known as Bossku (My Boss), when one of the super expert claimed Najib himself was shocked due to another super expert's poor performance! 

What's going to happen to Najib when his lawyers are blaming each other? It looks like the answer is Najib will stay in jail for good. 


Today, New Straits Times reported senior Singaporean lawyer Niru Pillai has chided Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah on the latter's antic when submitting Najib Razak's final review in the SRC International Berhad case.

Describing Shafee's remarks as despicable, scandalous, and false, Niru said Shafee lied to the court and tried to conceal his faults and failings by a verbal sleight of hand.

"I am not suprised that he would stoop so low because that is him.

"He fails to realise that there is a lot on record and in writing, including recorded conversations and WhatsApp messages, of what actually transpired," he said in a statement.


The English daily said they attempted to reach out to Shafee to get his response to Niru's remarks. However, nothing was obtained at press time. According to NST, it will publish Shafee's comments when it receives them. Yes, Shafee's response will prolong the blame game. 

When he submitted Najib's review of his conviction and sentence at the Federal Court recently, Shafee said Datuk Mohd Zaid Ibrahim's firm, Messrs Zaid Ibrahim Suflan TH Liew & Partners (Zist), did not have what it takes to represent such a big case, resulting in Najib being incarcerated in Kajang Prison.

Shafee also claimed that Zist has never done criminal law and its partner lawyer Niru from Singapore was about to be disciplined by the Singaporean Bar because he was practising without license.

Niru said Najib approached Zaid to take over his defence in the SRC matter because he was getting concerned by Shafee's handling of his defence.

He said Instead of focusing on the law and facts, and what could be proven or fairly argued as a matter of law, Shafee had gone on a frolic of his own, casting aspersions on everyone, including the trial judge.

"Najib was concerned that this was unnecessarily antagonising the prosecution and the courts and completely and gravely compromising his defence and prospects on appeal.

"Zaid spoke to me of Najib's concerns and sought my help in obtaining advice of expert criminal lawyers in India.

"They could provide incisive help as the Malaysian Penal Code is derived from the Indian Penal Code.

"I quickly secured the services of two foremost Indian senior advocates, Sidharth Luthra and Kavin Gulati. They are among the very best senior advocates in India," he said.

Niru said Shafee became infantile and obstructive when he realised that he risked being displaced.

He said both Indian senior advocates were completely frustrated and flabbergasted by Shafee's antics and idiosyncrasies.

"I should add that at no point did the Zist team offer to Najib to take over from Shafee.

"The two teams were supposed to work together. Zist would concentrate on the fresh evidence application while Shafee and his team would continue to deal with the main appeal.

"However, Shafee's shenanigans in being obstructive and misleading to the Zist team and the Indian senior advocates, as well as his lack of knowledge on the documents in the matter and details, shocked not only the lawyers from Zist and India, but also Najib," he said.

He said Najib, at the same time, was impressed by the clear eyed and focused strategy and alternatives proposed by the Indian senior advocates and Zist.

Najib, 70, is seeking a review of the Federal Court's decision to reject his application to adduce fresh evidence relating to the High Court judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

He is also seeking a review of the court's decision to dismiss his bid to postpone his appeal hearing as well as the decision to recuse Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun.

He is also seeking a review of the court's decision on August 23, last year, to affirm his conviction and sentence.

The former prime minister was found guilty of abuse of power in relation to a RM4 billion loan given by Retirement Fund (Inc) (KWAP) to SRC between August 2011 and March 2012.

He was also convicted of criminal breach of trust and money laundering involving RM42 million of SRC funds between December 26, 2014 and February 10, 2015.


On January 20, NST reported senior lawyer Zaid Ibrahim hit back at Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, saying it was the latter who caused Najib Razak to be imprisoned.

The former minister said Shafee-- who led Najib's defence team in the SRC International case -- is a "showman" and not a good lawyer.

"But of course, in the kingdom of the blind, (the one-eyed man) is king," he said in a video on Facebook on January 20.

When submitting Najib's review of his conviction and sentence at the Federal Court on January 19, Shafee said Zaid's firm, Messrs Zaid Ibrahim Suflan TH Liew & Partners (Zist), did not have what it takes to represent such a big case, resulting in Najib being incarcerated in Kajang Prison.

Describing his relationship with Zist as acrimonious, Shafee said the firm failed to tell Najib the truth by acting in "blind confidence" that the court would grant them an adjournment of the case.

Zaid also explained how he got involved with the case.

"There was desperation in Najib's camp when he lost many applications at the High Court and Court of Appeal. They asked for our view, and I said it was Shafee's incompetency that led to this.

"If you want a different route at the last stage, which is at the Federal Court, you have to change Shafee.

"His (Shafee) approach is scattergun in the sense that you know, one day you can hear him say there is a political conspiracy behind all this charging.

"Secondly, he says the then High Court judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali may run foul of corruption or bribery. There were allegations of cash in his account," he said.

Zaid said this scattergun approach by Shafee was the crux of the problem.

"I suggested Najib to change the lawyer to focus on one particular issue which I thought was very important for Najib's defence, which was conflict of interest.

"I have told the team that, attacking Nazlan's capability or integrity is stupid because Nazlan is a man of integrity.

"His (Nazlan) problem was his involvement with 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) when he was with Maybank.

"That could be a problem in the sense of conflict of interest. That's all we can go big on him," he said.

Zaid said he also suggested Najib there was no need to seek the Queen's Counsel or barristers from England to handle the matter, as the best lawyers such cases were from India because of their similar experience in addressing the money laundering act.

"So, we brought them to see Najib and he was convinced with our approach and decided to abandon Shafee.

"Shafee was furious and he even refused to hand over the case files until we got Najib to write a letter terminating his services.

"I am not directly responsible for my client's change of mind. It is a collective decision," he said.

On July 26, last year, Najib replaced his long-time counsel (Shafee) with Zist to handle his final appeal at the Apex Court.

Zaid said his firm was not to blame for Najib's incarceration as they had done a good job trying to reshape and focus Najib's approach.

"We narrow it down to conflict of interest, adducing additional evidence, Nazlan's role when he was in Maybank.

"We thought that was the legitimate issue to be raised at the Federal Court level.

"We were hopeful the court would grant us adjournment to give us time to read the case. But we were not and our services were terminated.

"We did our best within that five week. So it is very sad for me in a way, that this view expressed by Shafee yesterday was supported by Najib," he said.

As stated earlier, Najib, 70, was found guilty of abuse of power in relation to a RM4 billion loan given by Retirement Fund (Inc) (KWAP) to SRC between August 2011 and March 2012.

He was also convicted of criminal breach of trust and money laundering involving RM42 million of SRC funds between Dec 26, 2014, and Feb 10, 2015, and was sentenced to 12 years' jail and fined RM210 million by the High Court.

The jail sentence and fine was upheld by the Court of Appeal on December 8, 2021, and further affirmed by the Federal Court on August 23 last year. Najib was sent to jail on the same day. 

The appearance and act on the above video are for illustration purpose only.

End©Permadu


By Fauzi Kadir

Concept/Technicalities/Text Preparation 
assisted by Rahayu Mansor


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