There are 27 cases related to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) pending before High Courts and Sessions Courts in Kuala Lumpur and Shah Alam, according to Attorney-General Tommy Thomas (above).
“These white-collar cases involved serious, complex and difficult legal issues and voluminous documentation,” he said in his speech at the opening of the Legal Year 2020 in Putrajaya today.
Thomas said since July 2018, criminal charges had been instituted against many high-profile individuals in what had come to be known as the ‘kleptocracy cases’.
“Most are related to the 1MDB scandal, but there are others,” he said.
In order to ensure that the prosecution of these cases was conducted in the most professional and competent manner, Thomas said the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) had formed numerous teams, led by the most senior and experienced deputy public prosecutors (DPPs) available in Prosecution Division, to handle each of these cases.
This, he said, had inevitably caused a serious strain on the AGC's resources and manpower.
Thomas said the DPPs assigned to prosecute the 27 cases were not only handling these high-profile cases but were also continuing to manage other criminal cases in their respective units.
“Seldom in the nation's history have our DPPs been stretched as they are now.
“Hence, we seek the kind indulgence of the courts to understand our predicament and to grant some allowance and leeway in the conduct of these 27 trials. The matter is compounded in cases involving the same accused or the same defence counsel, typically when trial dates overlap between one case and another,” he said.
Thomas said accommodation and a give-and-take approach must take place so that no party is prejudiced or injustice occurs.
The courts should be assured that the prosecution would not willy-nilly seek adjournments, he added.