I never used YAB's funds, says Ahmad Zahid

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic) has told the High Court that he never ordered anyone to use funds from Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB) for his personal matters.

The Umno president said that instead, he was the one footing the bill for the expenses of YAB, a charity foundation that he set up in 1997.

The foundation, he said, was first named Yayasan Budi before it was renamed to Yayasan Akalbudi to give it a wider meaning encompassing intellectual, research and academic purposes apart from just charity work.

He said the establishment of YAB was for all levels of society that would need it and not focused on only Bagan Datuk, of which he is MP.

"The expenses of YAB are borne by me personally. I also state here that YAB is an amanah (trust) to me, by my parents, and that is something I hold until today," he said on Wednesday (April 13).

Reading from his 27-page witness statement, Ahmad Zahid said he got the idea for YAB when he was still in the corporate world.

Ahmad Zahid was chairman of Bank Simpanan Nasional from 1994 to 1998, chief executive officer of Kretam Holdings Bhd (1994-98) as well as Tekala Corp Bhd (1995-98), Ramatex Bhd (1995-99) and Seng Hup Bhd (1996-98).

"At that time, I was earning some RM120,000 a month and only used between RM30,000 and RM40,000 for my family and myself.

"The rest I used for sedekah, wakaf, infaq and other charitable activities as well as religious purposes," he said.

Ahmad Zahid also told the court of his illustrious career in government, during which he first became a deputy minister in 2004 and achieved his highest post as deputy prime minister from July 29, 2015 to May 9, 2018.

"My income was about RM50,000 a month while serving in the government, including around RM50,000 a month (from investments).

"My savings at this point in time was around RM2mil in a Bank Islam account," he added.

Ahmad Zahid was taking the stand on the first day of entering his defence in the graft trial involving YAB's funds.

On Jan 24, he was ordered to enter his defence on 47 charges – 12 for criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering – involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to YAB.

The hearing continues before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah.

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