KUALA LUMPUR: Tan Sri Musa Aman's legal counsel says that his client's arrest by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) – ahead of a High Court decision on who the rightful Sabah chief minister is – was highly questionable.
The Kota Kinabalu High Court had set Wednesday (Nov 7) to deliver its ruling on the Originating Summons filed by Musa for a declaration that he is the lawful chief minister of the state.
"Why arrest him now, just before the High Court is set to deliver its decision?
"I hope that this is not some ploy to prejudice Musa in the eyes of the Kota Kinabalu High Court," lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad said in a statement after his client claimed trial to 35 counts of graft at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court on Monday (Nov 5).
Amer Hamzah said his client's arrest on Monday would not affect his eligibility to act as Sabah's chief minister because he had not been convicted of any criminal charges.
"The charges are based on allegations made 10 to 14 years ago," Amer said, adding that the timing of the charges smelt of selective prosecution.
He repeated his hope that the courts would not be prejudiced or influenced by Musa's arrest, calling it "politically convenient" by the MACC.
Musa, through his lawyers, filed an originating summons in June, naming Governor of Sabah Tun Juhar Mahiruddin as first defendant and current Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal as second defendant in the suit that sought a court declaration that the May 12 appointment of Shafie as Chief Minister was illegal.
On Monday, Musa, who was Sabah Chief Minister from 2003 until May 2018, pleaded not guilty before Judge Rozina Ayob to 35 charges under Section 11(a) of the Anti-Corruption Act 1997 for accepting gratification by agent.
He had allegedly received a total of US$63mil (around RM243mil) in Hong Kong and Singapore as an inducement for offering timber concessions in Sabah.
The offences were allegedly committed between Dec 20, 2004 and Nov 6, 2008.