Anwar says 47 charges against Zahid ‘questionable’
The prime minister also echoes his deputy’s claim that the charges against him stemmed from his refusal to comply with Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s request to dissolve Umno.
(Malaysia Now) – Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has come to the defence of his deputy over the recent decision by the government’s prosecution team to halt the latter’s trial on 47 corruption charges.
Anwar, who previously denied interfering in the decision while saying it was within the powers of the attorney-general, added that the charges against Ahmad Zahid Hamidi were “questionable” and not carried out professionally.
“Was it 47? Every cheque is a charge. So the charge is questionable. Every cheque issued is a charge by itself, which does not necessarily seem to be professionally done,” he said when asked about the dropped graft charges during a session at the annual Milken Institute Asia Summit in Singapore.
Anwar also repeated a claim by Zahid that the charges had been brought against him in 2019 because he refused to fulfil a demand by then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to dissolve Umno.
“When was the charge preferred? During that time, Mahathir was prime minister. When? A week after he called up this president of this nationalist party (Umno), which is a member of my coalition, and told him (Zahid), ‘you dissolve your party and join my party’,” he said.
Anwar also cited claims of a “leaked document”, which purportedly showed that members of the prosecution had opposed the charges against Zahid.
Still, Anwar said he had no role in the discharge not amounting to acquittal, or DNAA, that was granted to Zahid.
Zahid, the Umno president, was crucial in committing the support of his 30 Barisan Nasional MPs to Anwar’s government in the aftermath of the 15th general election.
He was given the DNAA on Sept 4 after deputy public prosecutor Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar informed the judge of the request by the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) to discontinue the case.
The decision sparked widespread outrage, with the AGC saying the judge had decided based on the strong reasons it submitted to the court.
“In reaching the decision, the judge stated that the reasons submitted by the prosecution were cogent,” it said, responding to statements describing the decision as immoral.