Zahid seeking permanent release of his passport

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has applied to the High Court to return his passport permanently for him to carry out his duty as the Deputy Prime Minister.

The application, which Ahmad Zahid said was bona fide (with good intentions), was to enable him to execute his duties in an official capacity.

His passport was previously surrendered and was in the safekeeping of the court as an additional bail condition after he was charged with 47 counts of corruption, criminal breach of trust and money laundering in the graft case involving Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB) which is currently at the defence stage.

In his supporting affidavit, filed on Jan 20, Ahmad Zahid said he was faced with restrictions to carry out his duty as a minister as he did not have access to his travel document.

He said he was given the mandate and responsibility from the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, to appear on behalf of the Prime Minister on several administrative functions.

To enable a smooth movement in his official capacity as the Deputy Prime Minister, Ahmad Zahid said he was required to be in and out of the country and this would necessitate him holding his own passport.

Ahmad Zahid also said that his travel document was needed, as it was required for him to apply for a diplomatic passport for official business inside and outside of the country.

"I am stating that this application is not with bad intention or prejudice against any parties as I have given my word to give my full cooperation for the disposal of this case until the end of my defence case.

"I am also stating that this application would lessen the number of applications for the temporary release of the passport in order for me to leave the country on official business.

"I am giving my word that I will abide by the rules set forth by the court and will give full cooperation to attend all my trial dates," he added.

Ahmad Zahid said he has no intention to abscond or miss his court dates as he is still an MP and an active politician with all his family members still in the country.

Therefore, Ahmad Zahid said it was reasonable for the court to consider approving his application as it would benefit the country's administration.

The application was brought forth during case management here on Thursday before deputy registrar Nurul Ain Hamzah.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Abdul Malik Ayob and lawyer Nabihah Meor Azli represented Ahmad Zahid during the case management.

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 trial is fixed to resume hearing before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah on April 10.

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