KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 28): In light of the High Court's decision for Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman to enter his defence in a criminal trial, the politician said that it is now up to the people of Muar to decide his fate in the upcoming polls.
When the incumbent Muar Member of Parliament was asked if he will compete and defend his seat in the upcoming 15th general election (GE15), given that his trial is set to continue until early next year, Syed Saddiq merely replied: "That really depends on the good people of Muar."
He, however, said that as he is a "party man", he will discuss the matter with his party first.
"But above and beyond, I would like to bring this up with my party, because I am a party man, and principles come first in politics," he said, speaking to the press at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex.
He also added that the public should be able to decide for themselves whether the court decision on Friday (Oct 28) will impact his election campaign.
Earlier in the day, judicial commissioner Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid ordered Syed Saddiq to enter his defence for all four charges in the criminal trial involving more than RM1 million linked to Bersatu's youth wing Angkatan Bersatu Anak Muda (Armada).
Azhar ruled that the prosecution had established a prima facie case against the former Armada chief.
Syed Saddiq's counsel Gobind Singh Deo said that his client will give evidence under oath, and the defence is planning to call 15 witnesses, including Syed Saddiq himself.
The court set Feb 22 to 24, March 13 and 14, and April 10 to 14 next year as trial dates.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission has set Nov 19, a Saturday, as the polling day, while nomination is set for Nov 5.
Syed Saddiq also said that with the order to enter his defence, he looks forward to clearing his name in the court of law.
For the first charge, Syed Saddiq is charged with abetting former Armada assistant treasurer Rafiq Hakim Razali in committing criminal breach of trust involving RM1 million of party funds in March 2020.
The charge is framed under Section 406 of the Penal Code, and Syed Saddiq faces a jail term of up to 10 years, whipping and a fine.
As for the second charge, he is charged with misusing RM120,000 of party contributions belonging to Armada Bumi Bersatu Enterprise (ABBE) in April 2018.
ABBE is a company set up to generate income for Armada through merchandise sales. The sum was transferred to Syed Saddiq's personal Maybank account.
For the second charge, which is framed under Section 403 of the Penal Code, Syed Saddiq faces a jail term up to five years, whipping and a fine.
He also faces two charges of engaging in money-laundering activities involving two transactions of RM50,000 each — money believed to be proceeds of unlawful activities — via his Maybank Islamic account and his Amanah Saham Bumiputera account in June 2018.
The two charges were framed under Section 4(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, which are punishable under Section 4(1) of the same Act, with a maximum jail term of 15 years, and a fine of not less than five times the amount involved.
For more GE15 stories, click here.