Report: Zahid gets passport back permanently

DEPUTY Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi can now travel overseas without the court’s permission after the Court of Appeal’s ruling earlier today allowing the UMNO president to keep his personal and diplomatic passports with him permanently.

A three-member bench chaired by Justice Datuk Hanipah Farikullah allowed the rural and regional development minister’s application after the court said it was satisfied that it had jurisdiction to hear the matter, reported FMT.

The other members of today’s bench were judges Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim and Datuk Lim Chong Fong.

“The application for the passports to be released to him is allowed,” Hanipah was reported as saying by the news portal.

According to deputy public prosecutor Abdul Malik Ayob, he had instructions not to object to the application.

When met by the media after this morning’s open-court proceedings, Zahid’s counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik said that the appellate court allowed the return of the minister’s personal passport as well as diplomatic passport, which is a variation of his bail conditions.

“The grounds (cited for the application) was that there has been a change of circumstances after the 15th general election (GE15) as the applicant (Zahid) was made deputy prime minister and a minister (of rural and regional development),” the lawyer said.

“He needs the passport for the purpose of performing his duties. He is not a flight risk and at all times he has appeared before the (High) Court.” the lawyer said, adding that Zahid and his bailor had given an undertaking in their affidavits that he be in court.

Zahid’s lead counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik said today’s ruling meant his client is no longer required to get the High Court’s permission to leave the country.

Zahid is currently facing 47 counts of graft, criminal breach of trust (CBT) and money laundering involving millions of ringgit from Yayasan Akalbudi and accepting bribes for various projects during his tenure as the home minister between 2013 and 2018.

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

The trial is now in the defence stage, following the court ordering him to enter his defence on Jan 24 last year. – March 27, 2023


Main pic credit: Bernama

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