Again, Zahid’s corruption trial ends early due to illness

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 29 — The hearing of Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s trial involving 47 criminal charges ended early at the High Court here today after he said he was unwell and asked to be allowed to continue testifying tomorrow morning.

Ahmad Zahid was testifying today as the first witness in his own defence, with today being his 16th day in the witness stand.

Just as his lawyer Hamid Mohd Noh asked for a short break before he continued with questions this afternoon regarding his money laundering charges in the trial, Ahmad Zahid asked the judge to end proceedings early today.

“Yang Arif, I seek, because I’m feeling unwell, I ask for the session to be done tomorrow morning,” he said the judge.

His lawyer Hamidi then interjected to highlight to the judge that he previously informed the court that Ahmad Zahid was “on medication” and “painkillers causing him to go to toilet often, so I don’t think he is well”.

Hamidi asked the High Court to give Ahmad Zahid some time and said his client was only asking for early adjournment of the court proceedings today.

High Court judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah then suggested that Hamidi could still continue with questioning Ahmad Zahid as a defence witness.

Hamidi indicated that this would not be possible as Ahmad Zahid was not feeling well, however, and the judge then allowed the trial to end earlier today.

“The fact that the accused is unwell, I think we adjourn to tomorrow,” the judge said.

The trial then ended at around 2.48pm today, and will resume tomorrow as scheduled.

Hamidi had said he would be asking Ahmad Zahid to provide further clarifications on matters related to his money-laundering charges tomorrow.

Earlier this morning when court proceedings started, Ahmad Zahid’s lawyer Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal informed the High Court about his client’s condition.

“Before we start, Your Honour, for Your Honour’s information, Datuk Seri is still on medication because of bronchitis and urinary tract infection, so he needs to go to restroom maybe every 45 minutes,” the lawyer had said at around 10.06am.

At around 10.47am, the High Court gave a short break for the trial as requested by Zaidi, when he highlighted that it was almost 45 minutes into the proceedings.

Last week, the High Court had also allowed Ahmad Zahid’s lawyers’ request for breaks to be given throughout court proceedings due to their client’s need to go to the toilet.

On August 22, Hamidi had also informed the High Court that Ahmad Zahid “is on medication” and that “it forces him to go to the toilet every half an hour” and requested for breaks to be given at such junctures. The High Court gave such breaks as requested on that day.

Previously on June 29, which was Ahmad Zahid's ninth day in the witness stand, the trial was only heard in the morning and could not proceed in the afternoon due to him being unwell and requiring medical treatment at Avisena Specialist Hospital. The hospital was where Ahmad Zahid sought treatment last year after a fall.

In this trial, Ahmad Zahid ― who is also a former home minister ― is facing 47 charges, namely 12 counts of criminal breach of trust in relation to RM31 million charitable foundation Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds, 27 counts of money-laundering, and eight counts of bribery charges over RM21.25 million of alleged bribes.

Ahmad Zahid is a trustee and had later became the sole signatory of cheques for Yayasan Akalbudi, a foundation formed with the aim of eradicating poverty and helping the poor.