Zahid sues Dr M for defamation over claim ‘to drop corruption charges’

Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has filed another defamation suit – this time against Dr Mahathir Mohamad for claiming that he sought the former prime minister’s help to drop his corruption charges.

(FMT) – Zahid disputed Mahathir’s allegation that he had gone to his (Mahathir’s) home with two or three others just after the 14th general election.

Mahathir, who is now the Pejuang chairman, made the statement at a party event at Yayasan Perdana in Putrajaya on Feb 23. A video recording was posted on several news portals.

Zahid, who is also the Bagan Datuk MP, claimed that the words uttered by Mahathir were untrue, unwarranted, unsubstantiated and mischievous.

He claimed the words meant that he was resorting to shortcuts to resolve his criminal cases for personal interests.

He said that by innuendo, the words meant that he had a bad image, and that he did not respect the authorities or the justice system.

Further, he said, they meant that as an MP and the most senior Umno leader, he could not be trusted in his actions or decisions.

Zahid said they also meant that he wanted to use his position to influence the then prime minister to meddle in the investigations.

He said he never met Mahathir for help to resolve his cases.

Mahathir was the prime minister for the second time between May 2018 and February 2020.

In the suit filed at the High Court here last week through the firm of Messrs Shahrul Hamidi and Haziq, Zahid is seeking an injunction to stop Mahathir from repeating his claims, as well as aggravated, general and exemplary damages

Last month, he filed a similar suit against Muhyiddin Yassin, who is said to have made a similar claim during the Johor election campaign.

Muhyiddin was the prime minister between March 2020 and August last year.

Zahid is standing trial on 47 charges of money laundering and criminal breach of trust involving millions from Yayasan Akalbudi and accepting bribes for various projects during his tenure as home minister.

He is also facing 33 charges of receiving bribes amounting to S$13.56 million (RM42 million) from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd as an inducement to extend the contract of the company as the operator of the One-Stop Centre in China and the VLN system, and to maintain the agreement to supply VLN integrated system paraphernalia to the same company by the home ministry.

Zahid was charged on another seven counts as home minister to have obtained for himself S$1.15 million, RM3 million, €15,000 and US$15,000 in cash from the same company in connection with his official work.

Both trials are ongoing.