PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim maintains that the courts are an independent body as criticism continues over the appointment of Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in the Cabinet.
The Deputy Prime Minister is facing 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 an interview with Bloomberg on Jan 31, Anwar came out to defend Ahmad Zahid, whom he said had been investigated and charged.
"I made it very clear that the courts are independent and I do not think I should prejudge the case.
"But it shouldn't be just purely political. Why refer to him personally when I've said that the system is corrupt.
"There are many other political leaders who have abused their positions – former prime ministers, former finance ministers – by the hundreds and millions of dollars," he said, adding that he would not discuss Ahmad Zahid's case.
Anwar added that the court process must be independent and Ahmad Zahid must be given a fair chance to be adjudicated by an impartial court.
When asked about losing his deputy if Ahmad Zahid, who is also Rural Development and Regional Minister, is found guilty and sent to prison, Anwar said it was time to move on from the topic.
"We have to work from day one to ensure that the system that we have has good governance and that the system is free from corrupt leaders. And to be fair, they have observed these rules now.
"There's not one trace I can find from any of my team now trying to squander through contracts or projects and I'm fine with that. People should judge me from the last two months," he said.
Anwar was also asked about his 100 days in office, to which he said that from day one the message on no more corruption, no more negotiation of tenders and no more power abuse remained consistent.