Charges against me are politically motivated, says Ahmad Zahid

KUALA LUMPUR: Former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic) told the High Court that the corruption charges against him in the Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB) trial were politically motivated.

This was the reality of what happened to him and other politicians who were hauled to court to face corruption charges, Ahmad Zahid said.

The 69-year-old said this during a cross-examination conducted by Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran here on Wednesday (June 29).

Raja Rozela: For as long as this case has been ongoing, there was never testimony by the prosecution that could link (the charges) as being politically motivated, other than the fact that you are a politician.

Ahmad Zahid: Of course it is not on paper but behind the scenes, I know very well that it is politically motivated.

Raja Rozela: I am interested in your testimony yesterday where you spoke about embezzlement or criminal breach of trust and you mentioned three MPs in this context. When I heard it, it crossed my mind that political issues and money can never be separated. Would you agree that it is reasonable to say that?

Ahmad Zahid: For any politicians from any political parties, the politician would need money to execute political activities. Money is not everything but everything needs money.

He also disagreed with a suggestion by the prosecutor that corruption, embezzlement and cheating were rampant in the country.

Raja Rozela: This means you did not read a recent article by the Wall Street Journal that says Malaysia is in the number one ranking for 'most corrupt countries' in the world. It's so sad to hear. Did you read it?

Ahmad Zahid: Only (read) the headline and at a glance.

When asked whether there was any truth to the article by the Wall Street Journal, Ahmad Zahid said that the writing was based on two elements which were corruption and the perception of corruption.

"In my opinion, the perception is far more prioritised than the real index," he added.

Ahmad Zahid also agreed with the prosecution that Malaysia still has the rule of law, where all citizens are equal in the eyes of the law regardless of their social standing.

This, however, did not apply to selective prosecution, said Ahmad Zahid.

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 tomorrow (June 30).

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