The following is a statement from Mohamed Hanipa Maidin, the Member of Parliament for Sepang and former deputy de facto law minister, reproduced in full.
By now the entire world may have known that former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has appointed a new legal team in pursuing his final attempt to reverse the guilty finding made by the High Court and duly affirmed by unanimous decision in the Court of Appeal respectively.
The media reports that his new legal team will seek once again an adjournment on this coming Monday (Aug 15). However this time around, the application for the adjournment is coupled with the following ultimatum, i.e. if the adjournment is not granted they — Najib's lawyers — will discharge themselves from acting on behalf of him.
To be fair to his 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 have no 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 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, Najib merely changed his lawyer for this particular appeal. His former lawyer is still retained for his other ongoing trials.
The latest development in Najib's appeal has solicited the following perceptions.
First, how on earth does 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 outrightly rejected?
Secondly, 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?
Thirdly, is Najib thinking of a new strategy by trying to build up a 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 be tantamount to a denial of a fair trial to him?
Assuming the public share the same sentiment, is Najib playing a victim card here? It is often said that when playing the victim, a person will refuse to take responsibility for the circumstance that he or she is in.
Fourthly, is Najib giving hope of banking on the legal strategy when four judges have, in unison, affirmed and reaffirmed a guilty verdict against him?
Be that as it may, why not switch to a new strategy by playing to the gallery and seeking public sympathy?
Finally, has Najib lost the necessary confidence due to what had happened in America? When ex-Goldman banker Roger Ng was found guilty by the American court in the billion dollar 1MDB scandal despite being represented by outstanding lawyers, is Najib losing any hope too?