Zahid thanks ‘Allah’ for Yayasan Akalbudi DNAA, but will seek full acquittal

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 4 — Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi walked out of the courtroom today feeling thankful that he has one less trial to deal with now.

But he could have also felt frustrated that he was only given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) on all 47 charges for the dishonest misappropriation of RM31 million belonging to his charitable foundation Yayasan Akalbudi.

His emotions were inscrutable beneath the sober but calm face he showed to the media at the court complex lobby here.

“I and all my family members, my children, in-laws and grandchildren, especially my wife, are grateful to Allah because today the court has made the decision that the 47 charges against me have been discontinued,” he said.

He said the trial judge has decided to discharge but not to acquit him, saying this was because the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) had yet to finalise its findings on former attorney-general's book and as the representations by his lawyers to the attorney-general had yet to be fully concluded. The RCI has yet to be formed.

He thanked all who have supported him and said the struggle will continue.

Thanking his lawyers for professionally carrying out their work and whom he said he was indebted to, Zahid also thanked his friends in the Umno supreme council, the Umno secretary-general, Umno Wanita chief, Umno Youth chief, Umno Puteri chief for their moral support.

"I also say thank you to all the Umno members and leaders who continued to pray for me, and thank you also to the ulamas, my teachers, my friends whose prayers are known and not known.

"And Alhamdulillah this is a struggle that should be continued by me personally and by friends in the Umno supreme council leadership, liaison chairman and division chiefs and branch chiefs at all levels. I also thank friends in Barisan Nasional's supreme council where the component parties in Barisan Nasional had given moral support to me.

"Our duty in Umno and Barisan Nasional is to continue this struggle, so that the politically-motivated accusations all these while could and have been stopped," the Umno president and BN chairman said at around noon to media personnel gathered at the court complex here.

His lead counsel Datuk Hisyam Teh Poh Teik who stood next to him spoke next.

“My first word would be Alhamdulillah, because the prosecution has invoked its powers under Section 254 to stop proceedings,” Hisyam said, adding that the prosecution had given its reasons in the High Court for the discontinuance of the trial.

"This is good, because for the time being, although there is no total acquittal, there's a discharge from the 47 charges," he said.

While saying that the High Court did not agree with the defence's arguments that Zahid is "entitled" to be acquitted of all 47 charges, Hisyam said the defence respects the decision to only grant a DNAA.

"We respect the decision of His Lordship and we will respect His Lordship and make an appeal to the Court of Appeal with regard to the decision made this morning. We are asking for a total acquittal in respect of the position taken by the prosecution," he said.

Hisyam added that an appeal will be filed "probably by tomorrow" at the Court of Appeal against today's decision, as Zahid's legal team will be seeking for a full acquittal of all the 47 charges against Zahid.

Zahid's daughter Nurulhidayah and her husband were present in the Kuala Lumpur court complex today, while another daughter of Zahid's was also present.

Earlier after having deliberated for more than an hour, trial judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah at around 11.45am delivered his decision to a packed courtroom where nearly 40 people took up all the seats available in the public gallery.

Throughout the judge’s reading of his judgment, Zahid appeared calm and stoic, while seated in the accused’s dock, and maintained an emotionless expression even to the end of the judgment.

Speaking to the media at slightly past noon at the court complex, Zahid remained calm without showing much emotion in both his expression and voice.

Zahid was later seen smiling while leaving the court complex in a white-coloured Lexus vehicle, as photographers from the media took his photographs and amid brief shouts of “Allahu Akbar” from his supporters.

A lone cry of “Lawan tetap lawan (Never give up the fight)” was also heard from among the supporters just shortly before Zahid went into the car which drove off.

Following today's DNAA of the 47 charges against Zahid in his Yayasan Akalbudi trial, he still has another pending case involving 40 charges.

The High Court in Shah Alam had in September 2022 acquitted Zahid of all 40 corruption charges in a trial involving a foreign visa system, but the prosecution had filed an appeal against his acquittal.

Zahid had previously sent a representation letter to the attorney-general in relation to this appeal involving the 40 charges.

That appeal has yet to be heard and is scheduled for case management next on September 18 at the Court of Appeal. It remains to be seen if the attorney-general would accept or reject his representation and if the appeal on his acquittal on the 40 charges would be continued.

Tan Sri Idrus Harun’s contract as attorney-general ends tomorrow, with Solicitor-General Datuk Ahmad Terrirudin Mohd Salleh to succeed him as AG this Wednesday.