Malaysia’s Speaker denies ordering judge to adjourn 1MDB trial so Najib can address Parliament

KUALA LUMPUR (BERNAMA) – Malaysia’s Parliament Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun said yesterday he did not order a judge to adjourn the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) trial against former Prime Minister Najib Razak so that the latter can deliver a speech in Parliament.

Responding to a query by Tanjung Malim Member of Parliament Chang Lih Kang, the Speaker pointed out that he simply wrote to the judge to “request” for an adjournment.

Chang also asked why there was a need for the Speaker to write in to the court requesting for an adjournment when the speaking slot for Najib could be either postponed or brought forward.

Azhar said, “The necessity is that Pekan’s (Najib’s) slot to debate the King’s address was at 3.40pm on that day and on that morning I was informed that he had asked for postponement but was denied.

“We have a doctrine of division of powers where powers between the courts, executives and the Parliament are the same. It is not like the UK where the Parliament is supreme,” he said.

Malaysia Parliament Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun. PHOTO: BERNAMA

“So I had only requested for the judge to consider the application to allow Najib to come to Parliament. There was no order.”

Chang then asked if the Speaker was setting a precedence. The latter noted that such exemptions have been granted by the court previously.

“Even before this, there were Parliamentarians who have had their cases adjourned for a long time in order to allow them to attend Parliament.

“The need is up to me, it is purely my discretion. I had slotted him for that evening and thus I requested for the judge to consider an adjournment,” he said.

On July 1, Najib made an application to skip his trial to attend Parliament.

However, the application was not approved by High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

On July 16, the High Court hearing Najib’s money-laundering and power abuse trial over 1MDB funds had powered through lunch hour in order to hear the case and end proceedings earlier.