Using selective prosecution as legal defence will cause ‘floodgate of litigation’, High Court told in Zahid’s foreign visa trial

·3-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

SHAH ALAM, Sept 5 — Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi cannot use selective prosecution as a defence in his bribery case in connection to the government’s award of a foreign visa system (VLN) contract since an acquittal will be solely based on facts and evidence, the High Court heard today.

In their submission following the close of the prosecution’s case, deputy public prosecutor Zander Lim Wei Keong sought to counter the use of selective enforcement and prosecution as a legal defence.

Ahmad Zahid’s lawyers previously argued that the public prosecutor (PP) did not act fairly by charging the latter and none of the other high-profile people said to have received bribes from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB).

“We submit that the failure to charge the other politicians, if at all there was a need to do so, does not constitute a legal defence for the accused to rebut its criminal charges against him.

“This is supported by numerous court decisions in Malaysia, the most recent is the decision of PP v. Rosmah Mansor (2022).

“At the end of the day, if there is no case whatsoever against the accused, the court will acquit based on the facts and evidence,” Lim said in his oral submission before High Court judge Datuk Mohd Yazid Mustafa.

He presented his reasoning for rejecting Ahmad Zahid’s lawyers arguments.

“It would definitely cause a floodgate of litigation where all accused persons would claim their constitutional rights have been violated just because the PP decided to charge him and not the other,” Lim added.

Lim said Ahmad Zahid’s constitutional rights under Article 5 and 8 of the Federal Constitution had not been violated as claimed by the defence in their argument.

Article 5 states that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty in accordance with law; while Article 8 states all persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law.

“We submit in negative in light that the accused is represented by a very competent legal team; is given the right to cross-examine all witnesses and to put their defence during the prosecution’s case; given reasonable time frame to file written submissions; given the right to submit their defence orally at the close of the prosecution’s case and for the case to be heard before an impartial judge,” the DPP said.

Lim also said the charges faced by Ahmad Zahid were not discriminatory in nature and the accused has been accorded the same procedural rights for relief just like any other accused persons in a criminal trial.

Ahmad Zahid is facing 33 charges of receiving bribes amounting to S$13.56 million (RM42 million) from UKSB as an inducement for himself in his capacity as a civil servant and the then home minister to extend the contract of the company as the operator of the OSCs in China and the VLN system as well as to maintain the agreement to supply VLN integrated system paraphernalia to the same company by the Home Ministry.

Ahmad Zahid was charged with another seven counts as home minister who obtained S$1.15 million, RM3 million, CHF15,000 and US$15,000 in cash from the same company for himself in connection with his official work.

He is accused of committing all the offences at Seri Satria, Presint 16, Putrajaya, and Country Heights, Kajang, between October 2014 and March 2018.