PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has allowed the temporary release of Najib Razak’s impounded passport to enable him to visit his daughter Nooryana Najwa, who is due to deliver her second baby soon in Singapore.
A three-member bench chaired by Kamaludin Md Said unanimously agreed to allow the application after hearing submissions from Najib’s lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.
Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Fairuz Johari did not object to the application and left the matter to the court.
Kamaludin said the passport will be released on Wednesday for Najib to renew the travel document to be in the island republic from Nov 3. He must surrender the passport back to the court on Nov 22.
“We are allowing the application as it is reasonable. The passport should be returned on Nov 22,” he said.
Others on the bench were P Ravinthran and Abu Bakar Jais.
This is the first time the former prime minister is leaving the country since his Barisan Nasional-led government was ousted in the last general election on May 9, 2018. His passport was impounded after criminal charges were filed against him a few months later.
Shafee submitted that his client would be able to meet Nooryana for a week from Nov 14 as he would be quarantined for 10 days upon arrival in Singapore.
He said Najib, who is Pekan MP, would leave the country on Nov 3 after participating in the debate on the 2022 budget a day earlier.
Shafee said Najib would return on Nov 20, a Saturday and his representative would return the passport to the court on Monday (Nov 22) as he (Najib) would be under quarantine upon his return.
Najib today came to the Court of Appeal to have his travel document returned as his appeal against his conviction and sentence in the SRC International case was heard before this appellate court six months ago.
In July last year, trial judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali sentenced him to 12 years’ jail and fined him RM210 million after finding him guilty of the seven charges levelled against him.
Najib was accused of abusing his power as the prime minister by giving government guarantees on SRC International’s RM4 billion loan from Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP).
He was also charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust and three money laundering charges in relation to RM42 million belonging to SRC International, a former unit of 1MDB.
A stay on the jail term and the fine was allowed after he posted RM2 million bail in two sureties.
In Najib’s affidavit in support of his application to release the passport, he said he was not a flight risk as his career, income, properties and his family were in Malaysia.
Najib said he had also posted RM5 million bail for the ongoing 1MDB corruption and money laundering trial and the 1MDB audit report trial for abuse of power.
He has also been charged with criminal breach of trust involving RM6.6 billion in government funds and three money laundering charges involving RM27 million in two other SRC International-related cases. Hearing dates for both cases have yet to be fixed.
Last week, the High Court temporarily released the passport of Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor who is facing corruption charges linked to a solar panel project for Sarawak schools.
Rosmah said she needed to be with their daughter Nooryana who suffered complications during the first delivery.
She said she wanted to be beside her daughter to provide mental and emotional support after delivery.