“Zahid’s 180-degree turn on the judiciary shows that UMNO is all about saving himself”

I RESPECT the decision of the Shah Alam High Court in dismissing the 40 corruption charges relating to the foreign visa system (FVS) against UMNO president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

However, Zahid has other corruption charges pending against him, and he might be exonerated or found guilty in those cases.

It is not that he is completely free to roam the corridors of power; while the judge dismissed the charges against Zahid for not having a prima facie value, the fact remains that the attorney-general can still appeal the decision by carefully and meticulously studying the case.

The dismissal could have been on technical grounds or even on a substantive basis.

It was established by the High Court that the money trail to Zahid could not be conclusively proved as the witnesses in the case were not reliable nor was credibility attached to the forms in which the money was delivered to the accused.

On the other hand, the prosecution’s case against Datuk Seri Rosmah Mansor was watertight in terms of determining the money trail and how the corrupt money ended with Rosmah.

However, the judge that heard Zahid’s FVS case declared that the money trail that provides the crucial link between the receiver, Zahid and the givers could not be established or proven. Hence, in the words of the judge, he had no choice but to dismiss all the 40 charges against Zahid.

The written judgment is yet to be delivered on the freeing of Zahid.

Meanwhile, Attorney-General Tan Sri Idrus Harun has remarked that the judgment in dismissing the charges against Zahid will be carefully scrutinised before proceeding with the appeal.

“Changing your tune so fast?”

Needless to say, Zahid was jubilant after the corruption case was dismissed against him. The first thing he uttered was that he believed in the integrity and sanctity of the judicial system in Malaysia.

Not too long ago when former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was convicted after his appeal in his SRC International corruption case was dismissed by the Federal Court, it was the same Zahid who retorted angrily by saying the judicial system was seriously compromised.

It was hardly a matter of a few weeks before Zahid, having been freed by the High Court, has reaffirmed his faith in the judicial system.

It appears that Zahid is prepared to say whatever he wants just to save his skin. He might have shed the proverbial crocodile tears for Najib after he was convicted.

If Zahid can do a 180-degree turn from his earlier position in the judiciary, it goes without saying that the race and religion in UMNO is all about saving himself.

It might be too early to say anything further about whether Zahid is indeed guilty or not, as the prosecution might appeal the matter, or speak about other money laundering or corruption-related charges against him that are pending.

It is not that I am questioning the court’s decision to diminish the corruption charges against Zahid.

It is important to look at the grounds of judgment before an appeal could be mounted; ultimately, the case against Zahid might not be valid or he might even lose his case if the appeal is decided.

Public confidence in the judiciary is high and there is a high expectation that the prosecution would fully utilise the mechanisms to ensure that the case against Zahid is fully explored.

At the end of the day, public duty requires the prosecution to re-examine the grounds for the dismissal of the 40 corruption charges against Zahid.

There might be two more judicial layers to go before the case against Zahid is fully and thoroughly exhausted.

Let not the dismissal of one or two cases of corruption against certain individuals mar the respectability and integrity of the judiciary.

When the Government in power is not checking the abuses, the public has put their trust in the judiciary.

As they say, the appearance of one swallow doesn’t make summer.

Similarly, the dismissal of the corruption case against Zahid does not render other UMNO leaders free from corruption. – Sept 24, 2022


Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy is the state assemblyperson for Perai. He is also Deputy Chief Minister II of Penang.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.


Main photo credit: Bernama

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