Court denies Zahid’s request for permanent passport access

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamid’s application to have permanent access to his passport on the basis that it would allow him to perform his official duties as Deputy Prime Minister has been dismissed.

High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah said the Federal Constitution stipulated that all persons were equal before the law.

Justice Sequerah said one of the bail conditions was for the accused to surrender his passport to the court.

“Before the law, there shall be no privilege, person or class above the law,” the judge said in dismissing the application yesterday.

Justice Sequerah said the court, however, took cognisance of the fact that Ahmad Zahid, as a Deputy Prime Minister and the Rural and Regional Development Minister, has official duties to perform.

“These duties must not clash with the duty to go to court, (which) also has its functions to perform,” he said.

The court allowed Ahmad Zahid to have temporary access to his passport for the purpose of applying for a diplomatic passport.

Following this, Ahmad Zahid would have to return his passport to the court.

On Jan 20, Ahmad Zahid filed the application for the permanent release of his passport, which he said was done bona fide (with good intentions) so that he could perform his official duties.

Ahmad Zahid stated that he needed the passport returned because he was required to travel outside of the country as part of his duties, and that it would also assist him in applying for a diplomatic passport for official travel.

His passport was previously surrendered to the court as an additional bail condition after he was charged with 47 counts of corruption, criminal breach of trust and money laundering, which is currently at the defence stage.

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