Action could be taken against Shafee over remark during Umno special briefing

29 Aug 2022 01:02pm
Veteran lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla
Veteran lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla

SHAH ALAM - Lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah’s remark on the unfairness in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s SRC International Sdn Bhd case as the former prime minister was not given a postponement in his appeal is seen as contempt of court.

Veteran lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla said action could be taken against Shafee for saying this.

Haniff claimed that Shafee raised the matter during the Umno special briefing at the World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur (WTCKL) on Saturday.

He said the senior lawyer was explaining about Najib’s case during the event.

Generally, Haniff said it was not wrong for Shafee as Najib's former lawyer in the SRC International case to be present to explain about the case from his client and Umno’s perspectives in the political arena.

However, he said, part of the explanation involved insulting the court and action could be taken against him (Shafee).

On Saturday, Shafee in his speech during the special briefing was seen to have used the political stage to criticise the judicial institution over the misappropriation of RM42 million funds from SRC International.

Haniff said from the legal perspective, the prosecution could file an application seeking for leave to initiate contempt proceedings.

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He said the case could also be brought to court if there were any individuals who lodged a police report regarding Shafee’s statement,

"If there are reports made by individuals or parties, the police could refer it to the public prosecutor to initiate contempt of court proceedings.

“Police do not have to investigate this because this is not a normal investigation process. This has to do with the court’s proceedings. So, if there is a report, it could be referred to the public prosecutor or the person who lodged the report could submit a copy of the report to the public prosecutor.

“This is to enable the public prosecutor to make an application for contempt,” he told Sinar Harian.

Haniff said during the briefing, one of Najib’s lawyers Datuk Mohd Zaid Ibrahim and several other Umno leaders namely Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said and Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan also touched on Najib’s case.

"Not only Shafee, but action could also be taken against Zaid, Azalina or Ahmad over their statements saying that the decision on Najib's case is unfair.

“If their statements are found to be seditious in nature, then it is under the police’s jurisdiction to investigate,” he said.

He said police could investigate under the Penal Code for intending to incite and instil anger towards the country's judiciary or under Section 4 of the Sedition Act for degrading the country's justice system.

Meanwhile, analyst and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Faculty of Technology and Informatics senior lecturer Dr Mazlan Ali has criticised the Umno leader’s action using the political arena to insult the court over the SRC International case.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Faculty of Technology and Informatics senior lecturer Dr Mazlan Ali
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Faculty of Technology and Informatics senior lecturer Dr Mazlan Ali

"The decision made by the courts could not be questioned because it is considered as contempt.

"I felt that it was weird that such an important meeting would focus on Najib’s case which has been decided by the Federal Court,” he said.

Mazlan said Umno was supposed to move forward with the discussion of the direction of the party in helping the public who are still recovery due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi should use the platform to stress that Umno was a party that fought for the people especially the Malays.

"It is a shame the meeting was focused on an individual's specific agenda.

"If emotional sentiments are being played involving the people who were imprisoned, it would not benefit the people," Mazlan said.

Najib is now serving his 12-year jail sentence at the Kajang Prison after the Federal Court dismissed his final appeal in the SRC International case.