KUALA LUMPUR: After receiving the guilty verdict from the High Court on Thursday (Nov 9), Muda president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman says that he will clear his name by filing an immediate appeal.
He said although he respects the court’s decision, he is determined to exhaust every legal avenue available, starting with filing for an appeal later on Thursday.
“I will use the court, the judicial system to clear my name. As a policymaker, I must trust the judiciary and I respect the court’s decision today because the judiciary is the last bastion for the people, including myself," said Syed Saddiq.
“I’ve discussed this with my lawyers and we believe we have a good case here and therefore we will appeal and let the justice system be the platform to clear my name,” he told reporters when met at the High Court.
His lawyer Gobind Singh Deo confirmed with the media that an appeal verdict will be filed on Thursday.
“We hope that after we have filed the appeal, we can get a date for proceedings soon,” the Damansara MP said.
Commenting on his position in Muda, Syed Saddiq said he has made a decision on the matter, but will only announce it later today at 5pm after meeting his party members and leaders.
Asked if he is ready to hear criticism from various quarters following the guilty verdict, Syed Saddiq said although the decision was difficult to swallow, he will accept any brickbats.
“To be the kind of leader who can do the best for the country, one must be whiter than white to realise the Malaysian dream. I will accept any criticism because I am no different from any other person in this country,” he added.
This comes after the Muar MP was sentenced to seven years in jail, a RM10mil fine and two strokes of the cane for all charges of abetting in criminal breach of trust (CBT), misappropriation of funds and money laundering.
The sentence was handed down by High Court judge Justice Azhar Abdul Hamid on Thursday who had found Syed Saddiq guilty on all the charges he was facing.
He had found Syed Saddiq guilty on all charges of abetting in criminal breach of trust (CBT), misappropriation of funds and money laundering.
In his decision, Justice Azhar Abdul said that the defence failed to raise any reasonable doubt on all four charges he was facing.
On March 14, the defence closed its case after calling Syed Saddiq and three other witnesses, namely Armada Information Chief Ulya Aqamah Husamudin, as well as Mohamed Amshar Aziz, and Siti Nurul Hidayah who are Syed Saddiq's former special officer, and former private secretary, respectively.
A total of 29 prosecution witnesses testified in the trial which started on June 21, 2022.
They included Syed Saddiq’s father Syed Abdul Rahman Abdullah Asagoff, his mother Shariffah Mahani Syed Abdul Aziz, and former Armada assistant treasurer Rafiq Hakim Razali as well as Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigating officers Nurul Hidayah Kamarudin, Syahmeizy Sulong, and Asbi Munip.
The case was conducted by deputy public prosecutors Datuk Wan Shaharudin Wan Ladin and Mohd Afif Ali, while lawyers Gobind Singh Deo and Haijan Omar represented Syed Saddiq.
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.