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AHMAD Zahid Hamidi today told the High Court that three MPs from Umno had quit the party and joined Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) after the 14th general election (GE14) to save themselves from being investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
He said the three MPs were among Umno candidates who won their respective seats in the GE14.
“The first to quit and join the other party was the Masjid Tanah MP, who is now deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department. I was made to understand that she was entrusted with the responsibility to manage the funds for the general election, but the funds were not used for Puteri Umno operations.
“Instead, the funds were transferred to another account for personal purpose… Umno and Puteri’s top leadership knew about this but when it was announced that an investigation would be carried out, the best way to save herself was to join Bersatu, which at that time was part of the Pakatan Harapan government.”
Zahid said this during the examination-in-chief by his lawyer Ahmad Zaidi Zainal in his defence trial over 47 charges, namely 12 charges of criminal breach of trust, eight charges of corruption, and 27 charges of money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.
Zahid said the second MP is now a minister and represents Jeli, who before GE14 was Kelantan Umno liaison committee chairman entrusted with the responsibility to handle the party’s election machinery operations.
“Part of the funds was meant for logistics and to be used to bring voters working or residing in the Klang Valley back to cast their ballots in Kelantan. I was told that the RM30 million was never spent on logistics, and I have information that the money was given to his wife to be deposited into a personal account,” he said.
Just as Zahid wanted to name the third MP, Deputy Public Prosecutor Raja Rozela Raja Toran objected, saying the Bagan Datuk MP should not name any individual in the case unless they are called to appear as witnesses.
“It is hearsay evidence and inadmissible unless they are called as witnesses,” she said.
Another lawyer representing Zahid, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, replied that the court is the right place for his client to tell the truth to defend himself.
“He is facing serious charges and must be given the latitude to expand on his defence,” he said.
Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah then said he understands the issue of hearsay raised by the prosecution, but whether it is allowed will be decided later.