KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has allowed Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman’s application to stay the execution of his sentence while pending appeal.
This comes after Syed Saddiq was sentenced to seven years jail, RM10mil in fines and two strokes of the cane for all charges of abetting in criminal breach of trust (CBT), misappropriation of funds and money-laundering.
High Court judge Justice Azhar Abdul Hamid on Thursday (Nov 9) also allowed the defence's request to maintain the existing bail of RM330,000.
Earlier, Syed Saddiq was sentenced to three years in jail and one stroke of the cane for the CBT charge.
He was also sentenced to two years in jail and a stroke of the cane for the embezzlement charge involving assets belonging to Bersatu’s youth wing.
Justice Azhar Abdul then said that both prison sentences will run consecutively, which means that Syed Saddiq would spend two years in jail.
For the two charges framed under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, he sentenced Syed Saddiq to two years in jail and a fine of RM5mil for each charge.
The jail terms under these charges will be imposed concurrently.
During the mitigation submissions earlier, defence lawyer Haijan Omar requested for a lighter sentence for Syed Saddiq, considering his contributions as an MP and a former Cabinet minister.
“The accused served as the Youth and Sports Minister from 2018 to 2020. During his tenure as minister, the accused was tasked to lead the historic Amendment to the Federal Constitution which was Undi 18 and automatic voter registration," said Haijan.
He added that Syed Saddiq had also helped to increase the internship allowance in the public sector from RM300 to RM900 in 2019.
Haijan also said that the 31-year-old is also caring for his parents who are both suffering from ailments.
“We request the court to consider the accused to be only jailed or fined,” he added.
The lawyer also said that according to the case facts, Syed Saddiq had never received any profit for himself from the acts he is accused of.
However, deputy public prosecutor Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin argued that the court should consider punishments that would serve as a deterrent for other politicians.
“Regardless of your age, the court must impose a punishment that acts as a deterrent so that other politicians would think before they commit a crime. He was not in the position to use the funds as he wanted because the money did not belong to him," he said.
Wan Shaharuddin also said that he hoped that Syed Saddiq will be able to improve himself and be a better politician as he is still young.
“We pray that the accused will be a better person, even better than now, after he serves the sentence. He is still young and he still has a lot of time to change for the better,” he added.
On Oct 28 last year, the High Court here ordered Syed Saddiq to enter his defence after the prosecution successfully established a prima facie case against him.
The former youth and sports minister was charged with abetting Rafiq, who was entrusted with RM1mil of Armada's funds, to commit a criminal breach of trust by misappropriating the funds.
The offence was allegedly committed at CIMB Bank Bhd, Menara CIMB KL Sentral, Jalan Stesen Sentral 2 here on March 6, 2020, and the charge was framed under Section 406 of the Penal Code which is punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment, and liable to whipping and a fine, upon conviction.
On the second charge, he is accused of misappropriating RM120,000 from Armada Bumi Bersatu Enterprise’s Maybank Islamic Bhd account by making Rafiq dispose of the money.
Syed Saddiq allegedly committed the offence at Malayan Banking Bhd, Jalan Pandan 3/6A, Taman Pandan Jaya here between April 8 and 21, 2018, and the charge was framed under Section 403 of the Penal Code, which is punishable by up to five years imprisonment, and liable to whipping and a fine, upon conviction.
He is also facing two counts of money laundering, via transactions of RM50,000 each, believed to be proceeds from unlawful activities, from his Maybank Islamic Bhd account into his Amanah Saham Bumiputera account in a bank at Jalan Persisiran Perling, Taman Perling, Johor Baru, on June 16 and 19, 2018.
The charges were framed under Section 4(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, which is punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment and liable to a fine of not less than five times the sum or value of the proceeds of an unlawful activity, upon conviction.
Syed Saddiq was charged in the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court for the CBT and misappropriation of assets charges, while the other two money laundering charges were at the Johor Baru Sessions Court.
The Johor Baru Sessions Court then allowed the prosecution's request to transfer the case in order for all four charges to be jointly tried at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court.
On Nov 25, 2021, Syed Saddiq was allowed to transfer the case from the Sessions Court to the High Court.