June 20, 2024

New Malaysia Times

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Zahid Hamidi charged, who’s next?

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 19 – The wheels of justice keep turning in the New Malaysia, with Umno President Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today hit with 45 charges over criminal breach of trust, money laundering and corruption.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) investigation into the former deputy prime minister resulted in 27 charges  under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act, 10 counts for committing breach of trust under Section 409 of the Penal Code and 8 counts of receiving bribe under Section 16 (a)(b) of MACC Act 2009.

The Sessions Court judge set bail at RM2 million, and as in the case of his former boss, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Zahid was allowed to have the bail paid in two instalments.

The court ordered RM1 million to be paid today and the balance by next Friday.

Paying credit cards using funds from charity

Some of Zahid’s charges are related to allegations of misappropriation of funds belonging to Yayasan Akal Budi, of which he is the chairman.

He is said to have used RM800,000 of the foundation’s money to settle his credit card bills.

He had previously denied the accusations, saying it was an oversight by his aide, who made the payment from the wrong account, and that he had reimbursed the foundation.

3 Umno MPs now facing money-laundering charges

Zahid is the third sitting MP from Umno and the most senior leader from the party and Barisan Nasional to be hauled to court.

Pekan MP Najib was first, already having several court dates to face money laundering and tax evasion charges, among others, since July. Next was Baling MP Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Rahim, who is also an Umno supreme council member, when he was charged over three counts of money laundering and corruption charges last month.

Umno-linked lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah was also charged with money laundering and tax evasion last month, over RM9.5 million paid out to him by Najib between September 2013 and February 2014.

Several Umno and other Barisan Nasional party leaders have also been questioned over the past four months, mostly related to funds received from Najib, which was said to have been from the infamous RM2.6 billion deposited into the former prime minister’s personal accounts in March 2013.

The cases over allegations of millions of ringgit involved have taken the nation by storm, and is part of the promise by the Pakatan Harapan government to tackle graft which had allegedly occurred at the highest levels of power under the previous BN regime.

What is left to be seen now, however, with various cases being investigated by the MACC at different ministries and government agencies, is who will be next and when will these cases be finally settled, let alone heard.

While Najib, Azeez and Zahid have been charged, there should be many more who were involved directly and indirectly.

Some high ranking officials like Chief Justice Tun Md Raus bin Sharif, Court of Appeal President, Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin, Attorney General, Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Haji Mohamed Apandi bin Haji Ali and Chairman of Securities Commission, Tan Sri Ranjit Ajit Singh have so far escaped any legal actions and have only been ‘retired’ from service.

It is unknown if they will be brought to face justice for whatever their involvement in assisting Najib and Barisan Nasional in ruling Malaysia corruptly.

The people want govt to sell convicted politicians’ assets

Many Malaysians have been calling for blood since the unthinkable happened in the 14rh general election on May 9, with the fall of the BN government after 61 years in power.

Some say the recent announcement that the government has to raise taxes and introduce new tariffs should not be the only answer to increase the nation’s coffers.

There is a resounding consensus that assets belonging to convicted politicians and political appointees who had swindled the country, be sold or recovered to help towards settling some of the country’s debt.