Thursday 18 Apr 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 26): Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has applied to the High Court here to permanently return his passport so that he can carry out his official duties as deputy prime minister, including trips overseas.

The High Court is holding Zahid’s passport as part of his bail conditions, pending the outcome of his corruption trial before judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah.

Zahid is facing 47 charges, comprising 12 for CBT, eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering, involving RM31 million of Yayasan Akalbudi funds.

Under the CBT charges, Zahid is alleged to have used the funds to make payments for personal credit cards, insurance policies and licences for his personal vehicles, remittances to a law firm and contributions to the Royal Malaysian Police football association.

The charges, under Section 409 of the Penal Code, each carries a maximum of 20 years in jail, whipping and fine.

In his application, Zahid asked the court for the return of his passport in “full, permanently and with immediate effect”.

The RM2 million bail money he paid will remain untouched.

Because his passport is being withheld by the courts, he said: “I have constraints to carry out my duties as compared to the other ministers in the government as I do not have access to my passport.”

He said that as the DPM, he has received the mandate by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to represent him in issues concerning the running of the country.

“Therefore, in order to enable my movement and affairs to carry out my official duties as deputy prime minister I, I am required to be at several places including inside and outside the country, and I believe these matters require the passport to be with me,” he said.

He also said his application was not made in bad faith (mala fide) or prejudicial to any party, and promised he would cooperate with the courts and the ongoing trial until the end of his defence.

He also vowed that he would not run away from the country and that he would attend all his court proceedings.

“I also state that I have no intention of running away from Malaysia and not appearing for court proceedings. I am still serving as a Member of Parliament and am active in the political field in Malaysia. My family members are also all in Malaysia,” he said.

Zahid’s trial before Sequerah, which was originally slated to resume last Monday (Jan 16), is now set to continue on April 10.

The trial was postponed following case management, with the hearing dates originally set for Jan 16-19, Jan 30-31, Feb 7-9 and March 27 all vacated. No reason was given for the postponement.

The new hearing dates are now April 10-13, May 15-18, June 12-15, July 24-27, Aug 1-3, Aug 7-10, and Aug 21-24.

Edited ByTan Choe Choe
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