Court allows Najib to debate, vote on amendment to reduce voting age

Najib Razak’s lawyer says how the Barisan Nasional MPs vote will depend on the Pekan MP since he is the BN adviser.

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has allowed Najib Razak’s application to attend the Dewan Rakyat tomorrow to debate and vote on the constitutional amendment to reduce the voting age from 21 to 18.

Tomorrow’s proceeding will be begin at 9am and end at 11am for Najib, the Pekan MP, to be at the Dewan Rakyat.

Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali said the defence had made an advance application for Najib to exercise his constitutional right.

“I allow the application due to the importance of the subject matter and an advance notice has been given,” he said.

A replacement session has been tentatively fixed for Aug 16 if the prosecution has not closed its case by then.

Earlier, Najib’s lead counsel, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, made the application on grounds that the second and third readings of the amendment bill will be debated and voted tomorrow.

Shafee said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed, who will table the amendment bill, has urged all MPs to be present to vote in a move that is good for the country.

“I think it is going to be a heated debate but maybe not acrimonious,” he said.

Shafee said the government also could not pass the amendment alone as it requires a two-thirds majority to amend the constitution.

He said how the Barisan Nasional MPs vote for the amendment also depends on Najib since he is the BN adviser.

Ad hoc prosecutor V Sithambaram said he took the position adopted earlier by Attorney-General Tommy Thomas but the discretion was with the court.

“In arrest cases, the accused must be present during a trial or else it could be declared a nullity by a superior court later,” he said.

On July 1, Nazlan refused Najib’s application to attend the first day of the Dewan Rakyat meeting to participate and debate a motion to require MPs and senators as well as their spouses and children declare their assets.

Najib faces 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.

He is also accused of abusing his power as prime minister by giving government guarantees on SRC International’s RM4 billion loan from Retirement Fund Inc, KWAP.

He 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.

Earlier, the court heard that SRC International would have to pay RM9.2 billion at the end of the 10-year period to KWAP under Bai al-Inah financing for taking two separate loans at RM2 billion each in 2011 and 2012.

Lawyer Mohd Shuhaimi Ismail, who was a senior partner of a legal firm, said he handled the documentation in relation to financing between SRC and KWAP.

He said that under the Islamic term financing, the interest imposed by KWAP to SRC was 12% per annum.

“The sale price imposed by KWAP to SRC was RM4.6 billion for the RM2 billion loan,” the 48th prosecution witness said when examined by deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Saifuddin Hashim Musaimi.

Witnesses had told the court earlier SRC had defaulted on the loans and Putrajaya was now paying the principal and interest since it stood as guarantor.