Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi at the Kuala Lumpur High Court, April 8, 2022. — Bernama pic
KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 — The High Court today has fixed May 9 to decide on an application by former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to obtain recorded statements of 15 witnesses from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in the case involving Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB) funds.
Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah set the date after hearing arguments of both defence and prosecution.
Earlier, Ahmad Zahid’s lead counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik submitted that his client is entitled to a fair trial, hence the defence needs to see the said statements.
“My Lord, the recorded statements and investigation papers (IP) were suddenly classified under the Official Secrets Act 1972 (OSA) last month.
“The mala fide argument is further strengthened when the prosecution tendered the documents during its case when they were not certified as ‘Rahsia‘ (Secret) the timing of the classification speaks volumes of its ill intent. They were certified on March 7 after we filed the application on February 18 the inescapable inference to be made is that it was meant to frustrate the defence,” he said.
Hisyam added that one of the witnesses that the defence sought his recording of the statement was Datuk Seri Mohamad Nasaee Ahmad Tarmizi, who is the brother of Ahmad Zahid, as Mohamad Nasaee’s statement was important to the 11th charge faced by Ahmad Zahid and without the statement, the defence would be left in a state of uncertainty whether to call or not call him to the stand.
“Hence, there is no prejudice to the prosecution as their case has close and this is not affecting them in any manner,” insisted Hisyam.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran countered that the prosecution has no duty to provide the documents to the defence as these statements are privileged statements that cannot be accessed by even the witnesses themselves.
“My Lord, the court must appreciate the fact why it becomes a privileged statement. It is a statement that is recorded during an investigation, which is a statutory duty on the part of the investigating officer. Once he has completed this investigation, the statements and the whole IP will be given or will need to be referred to the public prosecutor.
“That, My Lord, in our humble submission, makes it a privileged document,” she said adding that the privileged documents must remain “privileged”.
On April 13, Ahmad Zahid will testify in his defence trial on 47 charges of criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering involving Akalbudi Foundation funds.
On January 24 this year, Justice Sequerah ordered Ahmad Zahid to enter his defence on all charges after finding that the prosecution had succeeded in proving a prima facie case. — Bernama