KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak has denied taking selfies during court proceedings.
"I used it (mobile phone) as a mirror to check my personal appearance," he said when asked by High Court Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali on Thursday (May 9).
The issue was brought up on the 16th day of Najib's corruption trial involving RM42 million (S$13.8 million) in SRC International funds. Ad hoc prosecutor V. Sithambaram had asked the court to issue a directive or guideline, following a widely circulated news report that said Najib had taken selfies in the courtroom.
Najib's lead counsel, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, then singled out a report by a news portal and a reporter who sat at the public gallery.
"From where he (the reporter) was sitting, he seemed to be able to conclude that Najib was taking a selfie and concluded that he looked sad.
"This is the sort of reporting that is not welcomed," he said.
Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee lambasted the portal further, saying it had started the "zero value" news report, which was later picked up by other news outlets.
"If they want to be treated as the fourth estate, they should not act like estate people," he added.
Datuk Sithambaram, in his reply, said the issue before the court was whether a selfie was indeed taken.
Justice Mohd Nazlan then asked Najib directly whether he had taken a selfie, and he denied it.
The judge accepted the explanation, but reminded all parties of court rules.
"As a general reminder, I must emphasise that it is a court rule. No photography allowed.
"If selfies were taken just now, which the accused has said he did not do so, it would be contempt of court," said the judge, adding that the sanctity of court proceedings must always be respected.