ormer prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak claims that charges against his lawyer Tan Sri Dr Muhammad Shafee Abdullah are an attempt to prevent him from getting a fair trial.
Najib said this could be seen as a move to intimidate or disqualify Dr Muhammad Shafee and other lawyers from representing him.
“Prior to this, the judge in my case was suddenly changed and the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) has appointed two external lawyers (Datuk Sulaiman Abdullah and Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram) to lead the prosecution case against me.
“This is counter to the claim by Pakatan Harapan that the AGC should never have appointed an outside lawyer in Dr Muhammad Shafee to act as the prosecutor in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trials.
Najib said that his recent disclosure of bank documents showed that the money he received was a political donation from Saudi Arabia’s finance ministry and a Saudi prince who acted for King Abdullah.
He said these monies were used to pay Dr Muhammad Shafee and his firm for services rendered to Umno over the years, including for election petition cases in the 12th and 13th general elections.
Najib said the payment also benefited leaders such as former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and former Umno member Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, among others.
“A lawyer is entitled to payment for their services. Charging Dr Muhammad Shafee for receiving payments for legal services rendered sets a very dangerous precedent for all lawyers, professionals and businesses.
“No one will be safe if the government chooses to victimise or to politically persecute you,” said Najib.
He also questioned the speed of Dr Muhammad Shafee’s prosecution, as itcame merely days after the former pointed out that it was Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who pushed for him to become the special prosecutor in Anwar’s Sodomy II appeal.
Dr Muhammad Shafee alleged that Dr Mahathir did not have confidence in the AGC to competently manage the appeal.
“The timing of Dr Muhammad Shafee’s charges is surprising, as I have yet to be interviewed by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) or had a chance to submit my documents over this case.
“This means that investigations were clearly not complete before Dr Muhammad Shafee was charged,” added Najib.
The Pekan MP also said his lawyer’s persecution comes shortly after the AGC dropped two corruption charges against Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.
“Additionally, more than a dozen other charges against Pakatan leaders and those aligned to them were similarly dropped in previous months,” he said.
Dr Muhammad Shafee was arrested by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission officers at the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Aiport in Subang on Thursday (Sept 13) morning.
He was later taken to the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex and was charged with four charges under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 involving RM4.3mil and RM5.2mil received from former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.