“Sad day for democracy,” says Maria Chin over Zahid’s NDAA

FORMER Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah has called for the prosecution to provide a “fuller, honest and open” explanation for the discharge not amounting to acquittal (DNAA) granted to UMNO president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi over his corruption case.

Calling today a “sad day for democracy”, Maria said citizens went to the streets to protest against corrupt leaders such as former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Zahid and had expected justice to be served.

“The DNAA decision is definitely a setback on the people’s movement and is tantamount to saying ‘Corruption is OK!’ and is indeed an objectionable pushback against the reform agenda that was fought for by Malaysians for more than ten years,” she said in a statement today (Sept 4).

“The prosecution has to give a fuller, honest and open explanation on their reasons for seeking a DNAA for such a high-profile case.”

Meanwhile, former Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan had also taken to Twitter to slam the verdict, adding that the government owed the public an explanation.

“An utter waste of public funds in proving a prima facie case and a waste of all the hard work of members of the Attorney-General’s Chambers,” she tweeted.

“An explanation is definitely owed to the public. And I hope no UG (unity government) politician dares to justify this or ever again say they are anti-corruption.”

Similarly, PSM deputy chairman S. Arutchelvan also questioned the DNAA, pointing out that the court on Jan 24 had ordered Zahid to enter his defence.

“On Jan 24, Justice Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah had ordered Zahid to enter his defence over 12 charges of criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight charges of corruption and 27 for money laundering after the prosecution had proven a prima facie case for a defence to be called,” he said in a statement.

“But why did the same prosecution ask for DNAA? This is especially when there was a sudden change in the lead prosecutor when DPP (deputy public prosecutor) Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran was replaced with DPP Dusuki Mokhtar in the middle of the trial.

“This begs the question if the prosecution is truly ‘free’ or is it manipulated by the Madani government to protect their deputy prime minister.”

Arutchelvan further questioned if the assurance made by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that he will not interfere in court cases is merely a political tactic.

“Are the calls for reform now silenced by its leader simply to defend his political position?” he asked.

This morning, the Kuala Lumpur High Court granted the DNAA for all 47 charges related to Yayasan Akalbudi following an application by deputy public prosecutor Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar.

Zahid’s counsel Datuk Hisyam Teh Poh Teik however had sought for a full acquittal.

The DNAA opens the possibility of Zahid being recharged in the future if prosecutors wish to revisit the matter. – Sept 4, 2023


Main pic credit: Selangorkini

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