Najib denies news report he took selfie during court proceedings

Najib Razak with his lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Najib Razak, who is in the dock on seven SRC-related charges, today denied having taken selfies when his trial was going on.

He claimed he used his mobile phone as a mirror to check his personal appearance.

This matter was raised after lunch break when deputy public prosecutor V Sithambaram urged the trial judge to provide a guide after a news report emerged that Najib had taken selfies earlier in the morning.

Najib’s lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah retorted that the report was published by a business portal and turned back to point at a reporter sitting at the public gallery.

“From where he (the reporter) was sitting, he seemed to be able to conclude that Najib was taking a selfie and able to say that Najib looked sad from behind.

“The reporting is actual nonsense, not even newsworthy, and this is not the first time he is doing this,” he said.

Shafee said he had verified the matter with Najib.

Shafee said that the reporting was not welcome and took a swipe at the reporter for having nothing else to write about or being bored while following the proceedings.

“If they want to be treated as the ‘fourth estate’ they should not behave like estate people,” he added.

The fourth estate is the press. The first estate is the clergy, the second estate the nobility, and the third estate the commoners.

Sithambaram said the issue before the court was whether a selfie was indeed taken.

Shafee then urged judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali to ask Najib.

Najib: “Yang Arif, I used it (handphone) as a mirror to check my personal appearance, that’s all.”

Nazlan said he accepted Najib’s explanation and issued a reminder that no audio or video visuals were allowed in court.

“As a general reminder, I must emphasise that it is a court rule that no form of recording or photography is allowed.

“If selfies were taken, which the accused has said he did not do, it would be contempt of court,” Nazlan said, adding that those caught breaching the rules would be dealt with.

The judge said the sanctity of court proceedings must be respected.

Najib, 66, is facing three counts of criminal breach of trust, one charge of abusing his position and three counts of money laundering over SRC International Sdn Bhd funds amounting to RM42 million.

The Pekan MP was charged with committing the offences at AmIslamic Bank Bhd on Jalan Raja Chulan and the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya between Aug 17, 2011, and Feb 10, 2015.