Malaysia’s jailed ex-PM Najib hospitalised, 1MDB trial postponed

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KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s jailed former premier Najib Razak has been hospitalised at Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) since Monday over a blood pressure-related condition, causing his 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) corruption trial to be postponed.

“Najib has been taken ill. He is warded in HKL,” his lawyer, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, was quoted as saying by the Malaysiakini news site.

Shafee said Najib will have to undergo several health tests in the next few days and may be moved to the National Heart Institute (IJN).

The lawyer had earlier told the High Court that Najib’s blood pressure was fluctuating.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin however said Najib would not be transferred to IJN, a government-owned private hospital, as this was not standard protocol for prisoners.

“The procedure is to refer inmates to government hospitals. And in Najib’s case, Health Ministry director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah had decided that he (Najib) be sent to Kuala Lumpur Hospital,” Mr Khairy said, the Malay-language Sinar Harian daily reported.

Shafee also claimed that he was unable to obtain instructions from his client as he was not allowed to visit Najib in HKL, and thus he sought for the hearing today to be vacated.

Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah then adjourned the proceedings to Wednesday afternoon.

The court was informed on Monday that Najib was unwell due to an alleged change in his blood pressure medication, resulting in the proceedings to be shortened to half a day to enable Najib to seek medical attention.

His daughter had on Monday posted on social media that her father had undergone a scope on the weekend, when multiple new stomach ulcers were allegedly discovered. 

She also claimed he had been prescribed new blood pressure medication which caused his blood pressure to rise, which Tan Sri Noor Hisham Abdullah refuted, saying Najib was prescribed the same medication he had taken before.

He said doctors had given him a clean bill of health before discharging him from HKL. 

Mr Khairy explained on Tuesday that Najib was given a generic high blood pressure medication.

“He used to purchase his medication from a private hospital. The formulation of the medicine we gave him is the same as the medicine that he used to take. It is just generic. It is the same thing. It is just as good."

“It is important to give an explanation, as there were accusations by his aide and family members that his medication was switched to a different drug, which is not true."

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Monday said that he had instructed the Health Ministry to provide Najib with the “best medical care” and said he prayed that the former prime minister would recover.

Najib, 69, is currently on trial for four charges of abuse of power to obtain bribes totalling RM2.28 billion from state fund 1MDB, and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

He is serving 12 years in Kajang Prison after being convicted in an earlier case of graft involving RM42 million from a 1MDB subsidiary.

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