Najib’s Trial. Day 7. 23 April 2019.

23 April 2019

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Najib gave RM240k to news portal M’sian Digest

4.18pm – 16th witness Onn Hafiz Ghazi, who owns shares in online news portal operator Vital Spire Sdn Bhd, confirms receiving an RM240,000 cheque from Najib on Jan 30, 2015, to run online news portal Malaysian Digest.

During examination-in-chief by Saifuddin, Hafiz says that the now-defunct portal covered international and local news regarding politics, entertainment, and sports, among others.

Saifuddin: On whose orders did you set up the portal?

Hafiz: On the orders of Najib. I met him alone at the Prime Minister’s Office at that time. I received the cheque from him. He signed the cheque in front of me.

Malaysiakini previously reported in 2013 that Malaysian Digest had denied receiving monthly allocations from the Prime Minister’s Department.

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‘Najib’s adviser wanted to know why Chinese appear anti-gov’t’

‘Should I continue looking at Najib?’ asks witness

3.25pm – Members of the public and the media inside the courtroom are in stitches after an incident occurs when Sim is asked by DPP Saifuddin if she can identify Najib in the courtroom.

DPP: Have you met Datuk Seri Najib (before)?

Sim: Yes, but always in a group of people sitting together.

DPP: Do you see him in court today?

Sim: Where should I look?

She is directed to look at the accused’s dock, before positively identifying the former premier.

Sim: Yes, yes, I see Datuk Seri Najib.

However, after answering the DPP’s question, Sim continues to look towards Najib, before asking the DPP whether she should continue looking at him.

RM300k spent on analyses of Chinese media reports for PMO

3.10pm – The prosecution calls its 14th witness, Rita Sim, who is the director of a media monitoring company named Centre for Strategic Engagement Sdn Bhd (Cense).

She testifies during examination-in-chief by DPP Saifuddin that her company conducted media monitoring and analyses on reports by six Chinese newspapers for the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) during Dec 2014 and Jan 2015.

The company was paid a total of RM300,000 – or RM150,000 a month – for the services rendered.

This involved sending daily summaries of newspaper reports via Whatsapp to the media office of the PMO.

A cheque for RM300,000 made payable to Sim’s firm had been verified last week by Ambank employee Badrul Hisham Mohamad as originating from an Ambank account linked to Najib’s SRC International trial.

The director explains the services her firm provided to the PMO.

Sim: We looked at Chinese dailies every single day together with websites, and picked up issues that affect Chinese communities, and then summarised it daily, and sent it to the media office of the PMO. We sent this daily analysis to the office of the PMO.

DPP: So what form was this analysis in? Hard copy, or what?

Sim: (It was) done and sent daily via Whatsapp, with weekly analysis by email. And monthly report.

DPP: So the monthly report was also sent by email?

Sim: It is actually a summary of the weekly report.

DPP: So you said you monitor the six Chinese newspapers?

Sim: Yes.

DPP: Can you name them?

Sim: Sin ChewNanyang Siang PauChina PressGuang Ming DailyKwong Wah Jit Poh, and Oriental Daily.

In her testimony, Sim also mentions that her company had been engaged by Najib’s former adviser, the late Jamaluddin Jarjis, to provide the services mentioned to the PMO.

DPP: From whom did you get this instruction to conduct this monitoring?

Sim: This instruction was given to us by the late Tan Sri Jamaludin Jarjis.

She also testifies that her company had received payment via its RHB Bank account, which had been opened at the bank’s Bangsar branch.

‘Najib’s adviser wanted to know why Chinese appear anti-gov’t’

3.40pm – Sim says the BN-led government engaged her firm in 2015 to gauge and formulate policies based on the sentiments of the Chinese community.

During cross-examination by defence counsel Shafee, Sim says the government wanted to understand what issues affected the community.

She notes that Najib’s then adviser Jamaluddin, who was present at meetings between her staff and the PMO’s Media Office in Putrajaya between late 2014 and early 2015, had wanted to know why the Chinese community appeared to be anti-government.

“The Chinese community should be the concern of all political parties, not just BN.

“The government of the day must derive policies for the Chinese community as the community is part of Malaysia,” she says.

She tells Shafee that education and the Unified Examination Certificate are among the issues that concern the community.

Sim states that Chinese Malaysians also want the middle-income trap, which affects most members of the community, to be addressed.

“I am a Malaysian. I love my country, I am nationalistic,” she says, adding that she is uncertain whether the government took the advice contained in the report the company submitted to it in 2015.

https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/473349

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Clad in a black suit, he walks into the courtroom and sits down in the dock as Justice Mohd Nazlan also enters the court to begin proceedings.

https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/473349

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