KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak has denied taking a selfie during proceedings at his corruption trial.
"I used it (handphone) as a mirror to check my personal appearance," he said when asked about it by High Court judge Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali yesterday.
The issue was brought up by prosecutor V. Sithambaram, who asked the court to issue a directive or guideline following a widely circulated news report that said Najib had taken selfies in the courtroom.
The Pekan MP is in the dock for corruption and money-laundering involving RM42 million (S$14 million) from SRC International, a former unit of state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd.
Najib's lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah then singled out an article by a reporter from a news portal who sat in the public gallery during proceedings.
"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 directly asked Najib whether he had taken a selfie, and he responded that he had not.
The judge accepted Najib's explanation, but reminded all parties of the 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, it would be contempt of court," he said, adding that the sanctity of court proceedings must always be respected.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK