Speaker defends writing to court asking for Najib trial to end early
Published 12:19 pm
Modified 2:57 pm
PARLIAMENT | Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun (above) has defended his decision to write to the High Court in Kuala Lumpur last week, asking the court to consider ending Najib Abdul Razak’s 1MDB trial early so the Pekan MP can debate in Parliament.
He said he has discretion on the matter and that his letter was not an order, but a request for consideration.
“In the UK, Parliament is supreme, but in Malaysia the powers (Judiciary, Legislature and Executive) are equal.
“Hence I asked the learned judge’s consideration, to consider to end the day’s trial early. I did not issue any orders,” Azhar told the Dewan Rakyat today.
He said this in response to a request by Chang Lih Kang (Harapan-Tanjung Malim) for clarification on the matter.
Last week, judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah initially rejected a request from Najib’s lawyers for the trial on Thursday to end at 1.30pm, so that the former prime minister could go to Parliament.
However, Najib’s legal team then produced a letter from Azhar on Thursday.
This prompted Sequerah to call back the prosecution and defence from recess, and hold the trial through the lunch break until 3.15pm.
Chang asked Azhar whether the latter aimed to set a precedent, where the speaker would write letters to postpone trials to facilitate the Dewan Rakyat sitting.
This is as Najib’s slot to debate the speech could have been brought forward or postponed to a different day.
Azhar replied that other lawmakers have been given similar leniency in the past. He added that the speaker had discretion over the matter.