Court dismisses Zahid’s bid to stay proceedings

(FMT) – The High Court here has dismissed Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s application to stay the prosecution from cross-examining him further pending the outcome of an appeal.

Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah said Zahid would not be prejudiced if the cross-examination continued.

“There are no special circumstances to stay the proceedings as the applicant (Zahid) has not met the threshold. He is not being denied a fair trial,” he said.

Sequerah said he was bound by a Federal Court ruling in refusing to grant a stay.

He also said Zahid’s lawyers could interview the witnesses, who included the Bagan Datuk MP’s family members, offered by the prosecution.

“The prosecution will also assist them (defence) in getting the witnesses,” he said.

The Umno president filed the stay application on June 23 pending the outcome of his appeal to obtain witness statements recorded by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Earlier, deputy public prosecutor Raja Rozela Raja Toran submitted that Zahid was attempting to stall his trial, which began in 2019.

“The applicant (Zahid) is delaying the trial for the court to determine the final outcome,” she said in her submission.

Raja Rozela said Zahid was a former deputy prime minister and that this trial had gained media attention, locally and abroad.

She said Zahid was facing serious charges and, if convicted, the sentence would carry long jail terms.

She maintained that Zahid would not be prejudiced should the stay of proceedings be disallowed.

“This trial is a chance for him to vindicate himself,” she said.

Raja Rozela said the trial started three years ago and Zahid had made four interlocutory applications so far to delay the case.

She said the present application was made on June 23, after the court ruled on May 9 that he was not entitled to have access to the statements of 11 witnesses recorded by MACC.

“Why make a last-minute application when his trial was to resume on June 27?” she asked.

Zahid’s lead counsel, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, submitted that the accused wanted the statements to put up “a complete and comprehensive defence”.

“He does not want to give his defence in instalments,” he said, adding that the statements by witnesses would corroborate Zahid’s testimony.

He said this application was a contest between an expeditious trial and a fair trial.

“However, speed must not be sacrificed over justice. He is entitled to a fair trial as guaranteed under the Federal Constitution.”

Hisyam said the trial had taken three years because of interruptions as a result of the various movement control orders (MCO) enforced in 2020 and last year.

Zahid, 69, is accused of 47 counts of money laundering and criminal breach of trust (CBT) involving millions of ringgit from Yayasan Akalbudi and accepting bribes for various projects during his tenure as home minister.

Twelve of the charges are for CBT, eight for corruption and the remaining 27 for money laundering.

The hearing continues tomorrow.