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Thursday, August 11, 2022

Is Najib resorting to a new strategy?


From Hanipa Maidin

By now, the rest of the world may have known that Najib Razak has appointed a new legal team to pursue his final attempt to reverse the guilty verdict returned by the High Court and duly affirmed by a unanimous decision in the Court of Appeal.

Media reports say his new legal team will once again seek an adjournment of the appeal in the Federal Court on Monday.

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However, this time around, the application for the adjournment is said to be coupled with a claim that if the adjournment is not granted, Najib’s new lawyers will discharge themselves from acting on his behalf.

To be fair to the legal team, it is quite reasonable to resort to such an “ultimatum”. After all, Najib’s final appeal would entail a thorough preparation.

Based on my own experience, I dare say any lawyer, irrespective of his or her seniority or considerable experience, would not have the audacity to take over such a gargantuan appeal at the eleventh hour.

At the end of the day, the appeal, as duly acknowledged by Najib’s new legal team, involves a voluminous record of appeals. A last-minute representation would be near-to-impossible.

With the greatest respect, it makes no sense at all to be appointed at the eleventh hour. Period.

What is more perplexing is that Najib merely changed his lawyers for this particular appeal. His former lawyers are still retained for his other ongoing trials.

The latest development in Najib’s appeal has solicited the following perceptions.

First, why did his new legal team have the audacity to take the brief in the first place? Is the offer of the legal fees too tempting to be rejected outright?

Second, is the legal team taking for granted that there is a strong likelihood that its application for adjournment would be duly granted by the court as it has just taken over the matter?

Is Najib’s legal team also harbouring this belief that being a newly appointed defence counsel, ipso facto the adjournments would be a matter of course?

Third, is Najib thinking of a new strategy by trying to build up public opinion that any decision by the court not to grant any further postponement on his appeal despite the fact he has just retained a new legal team would tantamount to him being denied a fair trial?

Assuming the public share the same sentiment, is Najib playing the victim card here? It is often said that when playing victim, a person will refuse to take responsibility for the circumstance that he is in.

Fourth, is Najib banking on this legal strategy when four judges unanimously affirmed and reaffirmed a guilty verdict against him?

So why not switch to a new strategy by playing to the gallery and seeking public sympathy?

Finally, has Najib lost confidence due to what happened in the US, when ex-Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng was found guilty by the US court in the 1MDB scandal despite being represented by an outstanding legal team?

Is Najib losing hope, too? - FMT

Hanipa Maidin is the MP for Sepang.

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of MMKtT.

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