Najib's lawyer objects to 1MDB ex-CEO testifying about Jho Low's alleged remarks, claims hearsay

Published date07 September 2020
Publication titleMalay Mail Online

Datuk Seri Najib Razak's lawyer today contested former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) chief executive Mohd Hazem Abd Rahman's expected testimony on fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho's remarks about the firm, before he could be called in to testify in the former prime minister's corruption trial.

Najib's lead defence lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah today argued that 24 pages of Mohd Hazem's 118-page written witness statement may not be admitted as evidence and should be removed, due to it purportedly being hearsay.

'Before the next witness gives evidence, can we officially put our objection to various parts of the written statement, under the objection of hearsay?' he told the court just before Mohd Hazem was to enter the courtroom as the 10th prosecution witness in Najib's trial.

Shafee then read out various examples of Mohd Hazem's witness statement that he claimed would amount to hearsay, including a line where Mohd Hazem claimed Low said 1MDB was founded to help Umno through the company's strategic investments.

Shafee said that such a remark would effectively allow a 'statement without oath' to come in by the 'backdoor' as he could not cross-examine Low and corroborate.

'The simple definition of hearsay is any statement made by a witness that he is not familiar with the factual with the factual circumstances and the statement like for instance 'Jho Low said this', this is hearsay if Jho Low is not in the witness box.

'It is only allowable if Jho Low comes or any witness he has quoted and say 'alright 1MDB is established for purposes of helping Umno' and things like that. If he says that, then it is not hearsay,' he said.

Shafee said Najib's defence team could not verify remarks Mohd Hazem claimed were from individuals such as the now-missing Low and the late Datuk Azlin Alias who was Najib's principal private secretary, as they would not be available for questioning in court.

'Here we have a situation where neither Jho Low nor Datuk Azlin nor the lady lawyer by the name of Jasmine Loo is going to be called,' he said, referring to Loo and Low who are both believed to be abroad.

Another example that Shafee had read out in court of alleged hearsay by Mohd Hazem was regarding remarks that Azlin was said to have mentioned in the past, as well as another remark referring to what Low had allegedly said regarding Najib.

Shafee said that it would be better for the judge to decide at this point whether the contended parts in Mohd Hazem's written witness...

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