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‘We don’t abandon clients’, says law firm representing Najib ahead of final appeal hearing

KUALA LUMPUR (CNA) – The law firm appointed to represent former prime minister Najib Razak in his final appeal against the guilty conviction in the SRC International Sdn Bhd corruption case denied that it will withdraw from the case.

Former de facto law minister Zaid Ibrahim, who owns Messrs Zaid Ibrahim Suflan TH Liew & Partners, said the firm did not make any statement during the case management hearing in chambers that it will be discharging itself as solicitors.

“We do not abandon our clients,” Zaid said in a Facebook post yesterday, noting that media reports stating the contrary were “mischievous and regrettable”.

Najib is due to appear in Malaysia’s apex Federal Court next Monday, for his final bid to overturn the 12-year jail term and MYR210 million (USD47.3 million) fine over the embezzlement of MYR42 million funds from SRC International, a former subsidiary of state investment vehicle 1 Malaysia Development Bhd.

Last month, Najib discharged his lead defence lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and appointed Messrs Zaid Ibrahim Sufian TH Liew & Partners to represent him.

The law firm sought a postponement of the appeal, but the request was rejected by the Federal Court.

Malaysia’s former de facto law minister and lawyer Zaid Ibrahim. PHOTO: CNA

Media reported that Najib’s new legal team will seek to postpone the hearing again on Monday, failing which it will discharge itself from acting for Najib – a claim that Zaid denied in his statement yesterday.

Zaid said his firm had agreed to take on the case because Najib has legitimate grievances regarding his conviction.

In response to criticism that his firm’s appointment was an attempt to delay the appeal, Zaid said the case has taken much less time to reach the final stage than most other similar cases.

He added that the firm is ready to proceed with the motion for retrial this coming Monday.

Najib was found guilty of seven charges of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money-laundering by a High Court decision in July 2020.

A three-judge panel at the Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed his appeal against the High Court’s decision in December 2021.

The Federal Court has set aside nine days – August 15 to 19 and August 23 to 26 – to hear Najib’s final appeal.

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