Umno sec-gen: Zahid’s DNAA in Yayasan Akalbudi trial proves political persecution by Dr Mahathir, Bersatu top leaders

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 4 — Umno secretary-general Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki today thanked God, Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief Tan Sri Azam Baki for discontinuing the Yayasan Akalbudi trial against his party president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Asyraf Wajdi said the High Court’s discharge of Zahid from all 47 charges proved the case had been a “desperate” political ploy, which he blamed squarely on former two-time prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia he once chaired, to bury Umno after the watershed 2018 general election.

“Alhamdullilah, even though the attorney general and MACC chief commissioner were retained by current Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, both had finally made the right decision to stop the prosecution,” Asyraf Wajdi said in a statement on Facebook this afternoon.

Hours earlier, the High Court granted Zahid a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) of the dishonest misappropriation of RM31 million belonging to charitable foundation Yayasan Akalbudi as requested by the prosecution when trial resumed this morning, though it declined the defence’s request for a full acquittal.

A DNAA means an accused person can face trial for the same charges in the future if the prosecution decides to reinstate them.

“From the very beginning, Umno was confident and believed that Ahmad Zahid was a victim of political persecution by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, after he was appointed the second time as prime minister, shortly after the 14th general election in 2018,” Asyraf Wajdi said.

He claimed Dr Mahathir’s antagonism included threatening Zahid with Umno’s disbandment, adding that the now 98-year-old has admitted as much in a media interview later on.

He said the perception of political persecution was reinforced by former attorney general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas in his memoir My Story: Justice in the Wilderness with the admission to being directly involved in arranging selected prosecutions against influential political figures with Dr Mahathir at that time.

Asyraf Wajdi said it was even more unfortunate that Zahid‘s political prosecution continued after Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was appointed as prime minister, even though Idrus and Azam were appointed as the new attorney general and MACC chief commissioner, replacing Thomas and Latheefa Koya.

“In fact, one of the 11 reasons given by the deputy public prosecutor at the High Court today was to certify that the prosecution was made in haste.

“While the investigation was not perfect, it can affect the credibility of the Attorney General's Chambers and the MACC where it is used as a tool to kill off political enemies by the authorities,” he said.

Asyraf Wajdi also alluded to a briefing memo that went viral a few weeks ago that was prepared by deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib when Thomas was still in office.

He said the memo suggested that no charges could be made against Zahid because there was no testimony and evidence leading to any criminal conduct.

“However, only two days after the date that the memo was presented to the attorney general at the time, the prosecution was undertaken in haste, pointing to it being directed by invisible hands with malicious intent.

“With today's decision, it shows how desperate Dr Mahathir and Bersatu’s leadership was for them to persecute Umno leaders, including Ahmad Zahid,” he said, adding that the former took advantage of the country’s legal institutions to exact revenge on Umno where they supposedly could replace the party’s Malay and Islamic struggle.

Asyraf Wajdi said he hoped the DNAA would end future attempts to use the judiciary as a political weapon.

“Both the Attorney General's Chambers and the MACC must continue to be independent and brave in carrying out their mandate towards justice without fear or favour to any party, including Umno members and its leadership,” he said.