DPM gets to keep his passports permanently for now

PUTRAJAYA: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi gets to keep his passports permanently pending his court case at the High Court.

At the Court of Appeal here yesterday, a three-judge panel chaired by Justice Hanipah Farikullah allowed Ahmad Zahid’s application to review the High Court’s decision on Feb 3 that dismissed his request to keep his personal and diplomatic passports with him permanently.

The Umno president’s travel document was surrendered to the court as part of his bail condition as he is facing criminal charges at the High Court.

He has successfully obtained permanent access to his passports from the appellate court for his travel abroad in his official capacity.

The panel, in its unanimous decision, said it was satisfied that Ahmad Zahid’s application for a review had merits.

“The application for the passports to be released to him is allowed,” said Justice Hanipah.

Other judges on the panel were Justices Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim and Lim Chong Fong.

Earlier, deputy public prosecutor Abdul Malik Ayob told the court that he had instructions not to object to the application.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Zahid’s lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik told the press that his client’s RM2mil bail would still stand.

On Feb 3, Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah (now a Court of Appeal judge) only allowed Ahmad Zahid temporary access to his passport in order for the Bagan Datuk MP to have his diplomatic passport made.

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

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

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 involving charitable foundation Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB), which is currently at the defence stage.

In his supporting affidavit, Ahmad Zahid said he faced restrictions in carrying 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 Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to appear on his behalf for several administrative functions.

Ahmad Zahid said he needed the passport back as he was required to travel out of the country as part of this duty and it would also help him apply for a diplomatic passport for official travel.

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