Update: A letter to the federal court by Zaid Ibrahim Suffian TH Liew & Partners, the law firm of former law minister Zaid Ibrahim, specified that Hisyam Teh Poh Teik would be the attorney representing Najib Razak. The headline and article has been updated to reflect this new information
In a seemingly desperate attempt to win his final appeal at the Federal Court for the SRC International case, former Malaysian prime minister Najib Abdul Razak has sacked his lead counsel, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, and replaced him with Hisyam Teh Poh Teik.
Hisyam is also the lead counsel for ongoing corruption trial of former deputy prime minister and United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
In a letter to the Federal Court, the lead counsel’s legal firm, Shafee & Co, informed the court that Najib has dismissed them.
They had represented Najib at the High Court and the Court of Appeal during the SRC International trial, both of which gave unfavourable judgements to the defendant.
SRC International Sdn Bhd is a subsidiary of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali of the High Court found Najib guilty of seven criminal offenses in 2020 for stealing RM42 million from SRC International.
He received a 12 year jail term and an RM 210 million fine from the judge. The Court of Appeal later affirmed the judgement.
“The appellant wishes to inform that he has appointed Zaid Ibrahim Suffian TH Liew & Partners as solicitors,” Shafee & Co said.
“Please take note that on July 25, 2022, at around 5pm, we received a letter from Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Hj Abd Razak (‘Appellant’) where the Appellant has discharged with immediate effect Messrs Shafee & Co from acting as counsel and solicitor in representing him in these criminal appeals and related proceedings.”
The SRC International final appeal is slated to be heard before the Federal Court from August 15 to 26.
The newly appointed lead counsel, Zaid, served as a senator and was also the Kota Bharu member of parliament from 2004-2008 before being appointed a minister in the Cabinet of then prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
He founded Zaid Ibrahim & Co, but left the company in 2008 and is currently an employee at Messrs. Zaid Ibrahim Suffian TH Liew & Partners.
However, Shafee & Co is still representing the former premier for his 1Malaysia Development Bhd trial at the high court.
In the 1MDB trial, Najib is standing trial for corruption over the misappropriation of RM2.28 billion in 1MDB funds.
He faces 25 charges, four for abuse of power and 21 for money laundering, for offenses allegedly committed between 2011 and 2013.