Najib’s legal team urges gov’t action on Netflix’s “Man on the Run” documentary

FORMER premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s legal team has formally requested Communication and Multimedia Minister Fahmi Fadzil to compel Netflix to remove the 1MDB-linked documentary “Man on the Run.”

In the letter, they argued that the documentary’s content could be contemptuous to the ongoing RM2.27 bil 1MDB corruption trial against Najib.

Law firm Shafee and Co highlighted specific interviewee comments in the documentary, involving individuals such as former attorney-general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas, former US ambassador John R Malott, Sarawak Report founder Clare Rewcastle Brown, former US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officers to Malaysia Charles O’Neal and David Smith, former Damansara MP Tony Pua as well as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The legal team claimed these comments were “defamatory, sub judice, prejudicial, one-sided, and/or has not been proven” in the 1MDB-Tanore case.

Moreover, the lawyers invoked Article 126 of the Federal Constitution and Section 13 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964, empowering the judiciary to address contemptuous acts. They urged Fahmi to take action under Section 211 of the Communication and Multimedia Act 1998, addressing offensive content.

“Finally, we believe that Yang Bahagia (YBhg) Tuan, YBhg Tan Sri, YBhg Datuk is aware and take note of the existence of the need to safeguard the right of our client to a fair trial without defamation or contempt of court as well as any statement outside court that is prejudicial and contemptuous of court, that is capable of jeopardising our client’s right to a fair trial,” said Najib’s lawyers.

Meanwhile, DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang raised questions about Najib’s participation in the film, viewing it as an admission of the severity of the 1MDB scandal.

“Why did Najib agree to take part in the film which was an admission that the 1MBD scandal was one of the worst and biggest in history, which Transparency International named as one of the ’25 corruption scandals that shook the word’ in 2019 and the US Attorney-General described as ‘kleptocracy at its worst’?”

Lim also pointed to Najib’s admissions in the documentary, where he expressed trust issues and suggested systemic failures. These statements were seen as a notable acknowledgment by Najib regarding the 1MDB scandal’s magnitude, a departure from previous positions.

Furthermore, Najib lead defence counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had previously informed the trial judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah of Najib’s intent to request the government to compel Netflix to take down the documentary at the onset of the High Court 1MDB trial on Jan 8. – Jan 12, 2023


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