Friday 12 Apr 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (March 14): The defence in Muar Member of Parliament Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman's criminal trial involving more than RM1 million linked to his former party Bersatu closed its case on Tuesday (March 14) after calling four witnesses.

Trial judge Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid then set April 10 and 11 for oral submissions and further clarifications. Written submissions are to be filed by April 3.

A total of four defence witnesses have taken the stand since Feb 22, including Syed Saddiq himself, who testified for two days as the defence's first witness.

The other witnesses were former information chief of Bersatu’s youth wing Ulya Aqamah Husamudin, Syed Saddiq's former aide Mohamed Amshar Aziz, and his former private secretary Siti Nurul Hidayah.

The High Court ordered the former chief of Bersatu's youth wing, known as Armada, to enter his defence in late October last year, after Azhar found that the prosecution had established a prima facie case against him.

Syed Saddiq faces four charges in total ⁠— one charge of abetting Armada's former assistant treasurer Rafiq Hakim Razali in committing criminal breach of trust (CBT), one charge of misappropriation of party funds, and two money-laundering charges.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officer Mohd Ihsan Sapuan was initially subpoenaed to appear as the defence's fifth witness.

However, earlier during proceedings on Tuesday, the anti-graft agency's officer was only called in by the defence to be identified by Syed Saddiq and Siti Nurul Hidayah.

Speaking to reporters after the proceedings ended, Syed Saddiq's lead counsel Gobind Singh Deo said that the defence's position is that they had sufficient material on record to submit that the conversation between Syed Saddiq and Mohd Ihsan did take place.

Mohd Ihsan's name popped up several times in the course of the trial, more recently in Syed Saddiq's testimony, where the politician read out portions of a conversation he had with Mohd Ihsan, who allegedly indicated that the MACC was a "political tool" whenever there was a change in government, and that he was a political victim.

The alleged conversation purportedly took place in July 2021 in Syed Saddiq's home in Muar.

While on the stand, Syed Saddiq also said that the charges he faces in this trial are a result of not supporting then prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is the president of Bersatu.

The former youth and sports minister is also represented by Haijan Omar, Tiara Katrina Fuad, Lim Wei Jiet and former Malaysian Bar president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan.

The prosecution in this case is led by deputy public prosecutor Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin, along with Mohd Afif Ali, Muhammad Asyraf Mohamed Tahir and Noor Syafina Mohd Radzuan.

Syed Saddiq, 30, is charged with abetting Rafiq in committing CBT involving RM1 million of party funds in March 2020. The charge is framed under Section 406 of the Penal Code, and he faces a jail term of up to 10 years, whipping and a fine.

He is also charged with misusing RM120,000 of party contributions belonging to Armada Bumi Bersatu Enterprise, a company set up to generate income for Armada through merchandise sales, in April 2018.

This charge is framed under Section 403 of the Penal Code, and Syed Saddiq faces a jail term of 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, the funds which were believed to be proceeds of unlawful activities.

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.

Edited ByLam Jian Wyn
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