Top Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders have again threatened to abandon an understanding reached with the government of Ismail Sabri Yaakob, citing reports that the prosecution is revoking its appeal against the acquittal of Umno’s Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor over a RM2 million bribery charge.
They also questioned Attorney-General Idris Harun, saying the decision would undermine his independence and credibility.
“The presidential council will see if this action by the attorney-general goes against the memorandum of understanding between Pakatan Harapan and the government,” the coalition said in a statement today.
Last week, it was reported that the prosecution was withdrawing the appeal filed days after the former Umno secretary-general was freed by the appeals court in July, reversing an earlier guilty verdict by the High Court in December 2020.
High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan found the former minister, popularly known as Ku Nan, guilty of graft for accepting a sum of RM2 million from Aset Kayamas Sdn Bhd managing director Chai Kin Kong, sentenced him to 12 months’ jail and fined him RM2 million.
However, the appeals court later ruled that the sum was a donation to Umno for expenses in the Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar by-elections in 2016.
PH in its statement expressed shock at the move not to appeal against Ku Nan’s acquittal and repeated its call for Idris to resign.
“Withdrawing this appeal creates a very bad perception that erodes public trust in the institution of the attorney-general, tarnishing his credibility and independence in carrying out his official duties professionally,” it added, referring to a clause in the MoU between PH and Ismail on judicial independence.
In September, Ismail signed an MoU on “Transformation and Political Stability” with PH leaders, a month after he was sworn into power to replace Muhyiddin Yassin.
Ismail said then that his Umno-led government was ready to implement a series of reforms to strengthen the role of Parliament, similar to that made by Muhyiddin at the tail end of his administration which was spurned by PH.
Ku Nan’s acquittal in July preceded a series of judgments favouring former Umno leaders and officials facing corruption charges since Ismail came to power.
They include Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, former leader Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor, who were allowed a temporary lifting of the travel ban imposed on them since 2018.
Najib also won a court order to stop the recovery of some RM1.7 billion in taxes owed to the government, as well as the return of more than RM100 million confiscated by anti-graft officers from premises linked to him.
Earlier this month, MalaysiaNow also revealed shocking details of a plan to reward Najib with a property worth RM100 million courtesy of Ismail, a move which drew protests from several senior Cabinet members and which was raised by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad in Parliament last week.
Najib has since said he is withdrawing his application for the land, which MalaysiaNow identified as premium real estate measuring 120,000 sq ft in the posh neighbourhood of Bukit Petaling, Kuala Lumpur.