PETALING JAYA - Just hours after his lead lawyer is charged with money laundering, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has claimed this as yet another attempt to deny him a fair trial in the SRC International case.
Questioning the recent dropping of charges against Pakatan Harapan leaders, Najib also claimed that payments were made to several leaders from political donations given by Saudi Arabia.
Najib said the charging of Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah could be seen as a way to intimidate or disqualify him and other lawyers from representing him in his case.
"Prior to this, the judge in my case was suddenly changed while the Attorney General's Chambers (AGC) appointed two outside lawyers to lead the prosecution against me.
"This is counter to the long-held claim by Pakatan previously that the AGC should have never appointed an outside lawyer in Muhammad Shafee to act as prosecutor in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy trials.
"Now, the AGC has appointed not one but two outside lawyers to act as prosecutors," he said in a Facebook posting yesterday.
Najib said as he had recently disclosed via bank documents, he received substantial amounts as political donation from Saudi Arabia's Finance Ministry and a Saudi prince who acted for King Abdullah.
These monies, he said, were used to pay Muhammad Shafee for services that his firm had rendered as lawyers for Umno in many cases over the years, including for election petitions in the 12th and 13th General Elections.
The payment, he said, was also for leaders such as former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and former Umno member Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz and others.
"A lawyer works for fees and he or she is entitled to payment for their services. Charging Muhammad Shafee with receiving payments for legal services rendered sets a very dangerous legal precedent for all lawyers, professionals and businesses.
"No one will be safe if the government chooses to victimise or politically persecute you," said Najib.
He also questioned the speed of Muhammad Shafee's persecution as it came merely days after the lawyer had pointed out that it was Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who had pushed for him to become the special prosecutor in Anwar's Sodomy II appeal.
Muhammad Shafee had alleged that Dr Mahathir did not have confidence in the then AGC to competently manage the appeal.
"The timing of Dr Muhammad Shafee's charges is surprising as I have yet to be interviewed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission or have the chance to submit my documents over this case.
"This means that investigations were clearly not complete before Dr Muhammad Shafee was charged," added Najib.
He also said his lawyer's persecution came shortly after the AGC dropped two corruption charges against Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, a case that was in the middle of a trial.