Malaysia Court of Appeal grants DPM Zahid permanent access to passports amid corruption case ongoing

Malaysia Court of Appeal grants DPM Zahid permanent access to passports amid corruption case ongoing

MALAYSIA — Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has been allowed by the Court of Appeal to access to his personal and diplomatic passports to enable him to carry out official duties abroad.

A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeal, led by Judge Datuk Hanipah Farikullah, unanimously approved Ahmad Zahid’s application on Monday (27 Mar).

This comes after the previous rejection by the High Court on 3 Feb for the documents on a permanent basis.

According to Hanipah, the panel was satisfied that Ahmad Zahid’s application had merit.

Also present were Judges Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim and Datuk Lim Chong Fong.

“The court has considered the applicant’s arguments, therefore allowing this application,” she said.

Ahmad Zahid’s judicial review application was not contested by Deputy Public Prosecutor Abdul Malik Ayob.

Meanwhile, lawyer Datuk Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, who represented Ahmad Zahid, said after the proceedings that the RM2 million (S$605,000) bond imposed by the High Court earlier had been maintained.

On 3 Feb, High Court Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah has ruled against the permanent return of the personal passport for Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, while his corruption case is still ongoing.

Mr Zahid has only been granted a temporary release of his passport for the purpose of applying for a diplomatic passport.

Zahid had previously made an application to the High Court to have his passport returned permanently, so he could carry out his duties as Deputy Prime Minister.

He claims that he was faced with restrictions in carrying out his duty as a minister as he did not have access to his travel document.

UMNO chairman facing 47 criminal charges

70-year-old Zahid, Chairman of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), is currently facing 47 charges – 12 for criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering – involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB).

For the 12 CBT charges, he is alleged to have used the funds for personal expenses such as credit card payments, insurance policies, vehicle licenses, remittances to a law firm, and contributions to a police football association.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail, whipping, and a fine.

On 23 September last year, Mr Zahid was acquitted of all 40 graft charges against him in Foreign Visa System (VLN) case.

Following Barisan Nasional (BN)’s tragic loss in GE15, Zahid, as its chairman, has been embattled with criticism and calls to step down.

With only 30 seats secured out of the contested 177 seats, BN saw its worst result in the coalition’s history.

After the conclusion of the Malaysia 15th General Election, the Malaysia King named Anwar Ibrahim as Prime Minister to end the impasse of a hung parliament, as none of the major political coalitions gained a simple majority.

On 16 December last year, political leaders from UMNO, Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Sabah and Sarawak signed an memorandum of understanding (MoU) pledging their support to the Unity Government led by Anwar Ibrahim.

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