KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 9): Following the guilty verdict of his criminal trial, Muar Member of Parliament Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman has said that a politician has to be "whiter than white", and the court of law is the best avenue for the young politician to clear his name.
High Court judge Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid sentenced the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) president to a total of seven years in prison, two strokes of the rotan, and a fine of RM10 million, after finding the politician guilty of misappropriation of more than RM1 million belonging to Armada, the youth wing of his former party Bersatu.
Speaking to the press following the decision on Thursday, the former youth and sports minister said that he respects the court's decision, and asserted his faith in the judiciary.
"As a lawmaker, I have to place my trust in the judiciary," he said, adding that he was no different from any other Malaysian who had also gone through the court process.
According to him, his lawyers have impressed upon him that there are grounds for an appeal, which will be filed as soon as possible.
He went on to say that in order to make Malaysia a great nation, its institutions need to be strong to outlast personalities and partisan politics. Any leader involved in building the nation, he said, would have to be "whiter than white".
"The court is the best avenue to clean my name," the former Bersatu youth wing president said.
As for his political future and Muda presidency, Syed Saddiq was cryptic, only asking the press to attend the party's press conference later on Thursday, after consultation and discussions with the party.
"To be a good leader to develop Malaysia, one has to be whiter than white. That would be the most important factor, which led me to make the decision which I will table to the leadership of [the party]," he said.
Lead defence counsel Gobind Singh Deo said that they respect the court's decision, and that an appeal will be filed within the day.
Syed Saddiq was convicted of four charges, which included abetting Armada's former assistant treasurer Rafiq Hakim Razali in committing criminal breach of trust involving RM1 million of party funds, one charge of misappropriation of party funds amounting to RM120,000, and two money-laundering charges.
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