Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Judge tells Syed Saddiq to be careful when making social media statements on court case

He says the statements issued by the Muar MP on social media can be used against him.

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High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan today advised Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman to be more careful when issuing statements on social media regarding his court case.

The judge said the former youth and sports minister should differentiate between his position as a politician and as an accused when issuing a statement.

“In a way, I understand his predicament, but he has to separate his hats from being a politician and an accused.

“I’m sure from time to time you will be able to consult him on what to do (in regards to his social media postings),” he told Syed Saddiq’s lawyer at the first mention proceedings of the case in the High Court today.

Zaini gave the advice after deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin, from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), reminded Syed Saddiq to exercise caution when making statements on social media regarding his charges of criminal of breach of trust (CBT), money laundering and misappropriation of funds.

He said Syed Saddiq should not to issue a statement to defend himself of the charges prior to the trial of the case.

“This is not a gag order (prohibition order), just a piece of advice from people who are more mature than the accused. Previously there were several posts on his Facebook that commented on the course of this case, and he had given his defence.

“I am just reminding the accused to be more careful because the defence he submitted on his Facebook can be used against him,” he added.

Counsel Gobind Singh Deo, representing Syed Saddiq, said he took note of the judge’s remarks, but that his client should be given more flexiblility to explain his case to the public.

At today’s proceedings, the court also set 22 days to hear the case, from June 7 to 10, June 20 to 22, and June 27 and 28, as well as July 4 to 8, July 13 to 15 and July 18 to 22.

Syed Saddiq, 29, maintained his plea of not guilty to charges of CBT, misappropriation of funds and money laundering read out before Zaini, following the court’s decision on Nov 25 last year allowing the MP’s application to transfer the case from the Sessions Court to the High Court.

On the CBT charge, Syed Saddiq was charged in his capacity as then Bersatu Youth chief, who was entrusted with the wing’s fund, of committing the offence by withdrawing RM1 million from the fund via a CIMB Bank cheque without the permission of the party’s Supreme Council.

He was alleged to have committed the offence at CIMB Bank, Menara CIMB KL Sentral, Jalan Stesen Sentral on March 6, 2020, under Section 405 of the Penal Code, punishable under Section 406 of the same law which provides for imprisonment of up to 10 years with whipping and the accused liable to a fine, if found guilty.

Syed Saddiq was also charged with misusing RM120,000 in contributions for the GE14 campaign raised through a Maybank Islamic account belonging to Armada Bumi Bersatu Enterprise at Maybank Islamic, Jalan Pandan 3/6A, Taman Pandan Jaya between April 8 and 21, 2018.

He faces imprisonment of up to five years with whipping and will be liable to a fine if found guilty of the offence, framed under Section 403 of the Penal Code.

He was also charged with two counts of engaging in money laundering activities through two transactions of RM50,000, believed to be proceeds of unlawful activities, from his Maybank Islamic account into his Amanah Saham Bumiputera account at a bank in Jalan Persisiran Perling, Taman Perling, Johor Bahru on June 16 and June 19, 2018.

The charges were framed under Section 4 (1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, punishable under Section 4 (1) of the same act, which provides for a maximum imprisonment of 15 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount or the proceeds of illegal activities.

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