Why is my charity work being used to humiliate me, laments Ahmad Zahid

KUALA LUMPUR: Former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has told the High Court here that Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB) spent some RM109mil for charity work, refuting claims by the prosecution that the foundation did not fork out a single sen for the poor.

The Bagan Datuk MP said that the sum was only "a part" of what was actually given out because some contributions were not listed.

"This is based on my principle of 'tangan kanan memberi, tangan kiri tak perlu tahu' (do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing).

"I hereby state that the (prosecution's) statement claiming not a single sen was given by YAB to the poor is untrue," he said here on Friday (April 15).

Ahmad Zahid said this when he was asked by his lawyer Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal to rebut the prosecution's claim that he had never spent a single sen for charity.

He referred Ahmad Zahid to two exhibits – tagged as D5 and D6 – that listed YAB charity work amounting to RM55mil and RM54mil respectively.

The charity included contributions of upgrading works for surau, mosques and a bridge; construction of an orphanage in Rawang; supplying air-conditioners and carpets for surau and mosques; monetary aid for excellent school students; tickets, hotel and food expenses for the police, security personnel and volunteers during MH17 disaster; and the construction of mosques in Yunan (China), Capetown (South Africa), Perth (Australia) and Narathiwat and Patani (Thailand).

In its opening statement, Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran had said that the prosecution would prove Ahmad Zahid did not use a single sen from RM31mil of YAB's funds to help the poor and the needy but used the money on himself, including paying off credit cards.

In Friday's proceedings, Ahmad Zahid said he wanted justice for himself because the contributions he made were with good intentions and in the name of Allah.

"Why is this becoming something to humiliate me, to mistreat me?

"Perhaps there was a technical weakness regarding the company secretary," he said.

The court also heard that YAB appointed Idris Kechek as company secretary on March 18, 1997, who resigned on July 23, 2007.

Ahmad Zahid said Idris had never updated or sent YAB's accounting report to the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM).

He said he only found out about this in 2012 after a change in the board of trustees.

As a result, Mahinder Kaur replaced Idris as the company secretary in the same year.

"However, only at the court did I find out she had prepared the company documents but did not send it to SSM," he added.

Ahmad Zahid is facing 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 on May 23.

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