From private hospital to court: When frail Daim in a ‘normal-looking’ wheelchair spark wild debate online

PICTURES of former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin being wheelchaired to face charges at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court today (Jan 29) have sparked a whirlwind of debate among netizens.

For one, it is not every day that a former minister is charged in court, much less one who holds a “Tun” title. It is even rarer for someone who’s 85 years old and was once one of the most powerful men in the country to be dragged to court days after being discharged from a private hospital.

But the item that had netizens fixated on was the wheelchair that the frail-looking retired billionaire was wheeled in and out of the courtroom from.

Some felt that Daim’s presence in a wheelchair was a publicity stunt to garner public sympathy while others felt that there was no reason to subject the octogenarian to such humiliation.

Journalist Farhan (@lamkanahraf) sarcastically posted on X (formerly Twitter) that he found it hard to believe that with Daim’s house on a hilltop “and having reared cassowaries, that’s the only wheelchair he can afford”.

Farhan was referring to the “normal-looking” wheelchair which Daim was wheeled in.

Chiming in was netizen DenDude (@_denbiel) who magnified a photo of the wheelchair showing that its protective film had not been fully removed with the caption: “Fresh lagi bro, bau kedai lagi” (literally, “It’s still fresh, and still carries the smell of the shop”).

Another netizen Light Azhar (@az_zahar) claimed that Daim used “sympathy optics” by donning a mask and looking frail.

Another netizen Myritz (@zee_yusoff) wondered if Daim spots a poor man’s look just because “billions of (his) assets inside & outside of Malaysia are frozen”. “Only the Walaun (hardcore supporters) and Co will actually feel saddened about this Estima (the car that brought Daim to court) and poor looking figure wheelchaired,” quipped Myritz.

Some netizens, however, came to Daim’s defence with Shahrizal Denci (@DenciShahrizal) responded: “Don’t go personally low like this, bro …” only for some netizens to hit out at the Muda co-founder and vice-president for having passed such remark because he had previously benefitted in the form of “political fund by being a bootlicker”.

One netizen, Mix (@Mixlivedotmy) tweeted that Daim’s use of the wheelchair was still not as dramatic as former ‘self-proclaimed’ first lady Datuk Seri Rosmah Mansor who arrived in court in an ambulance.

Popular political satirist Zunar has even come up with an art critique showing how Daim could walk well when purportedly engineering the collapse of government in the past but had to attend court in a wheelchair when charged (main pic).

For the uninitiated, Daim claimed trial this morning (Jan 29) for failing to abide by a Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) notice to disclose his assets encompassing 38 firms, 25 pieces of land and property, seven luxury vehicles and two investment fund accounts.

He was alleged to have committed the offence by giving a sworn written statement that did not comply with the MACC notice under Section 36(1)(a) of the same law.

Daim faces a jail term of up to five years and a fine up to RM100,000. – Jan 29, 2024


Main pic credit: Zunar

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