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Zahid tells court would have rejected donations from illegal activities

The former deputy prime minister says this was his stand as a Muslim.

2 minute read
Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday that as a Muslim, he would have reject donations channelled to Yayasan Akalbudi if he knew they had come from illegal activities. 

Zahid, 69, referring to a RM10 million contribution from a donor from Sarawak through businessman Wong Sang Woo @ Wong Shuh Chain, said the money received in 10 cheques was clean. 

"The donor was from Sarawak and Wong was a partner to that donor who is not from Malaysia. As he was abroad, he handed over the donation through Wong. 

"As such, I was of the view that the money received was not derived from illegal activities or illegal sources. As a Muslim, if I knew it was from illegal sources, I would have turned down such contributions. That is my stand," he said.

The former deputy prime minister said this during re-examination by his lawyer, Hamidi Mohd Noh, when making his defence against 47 charges: 12 of criminal breach of trust, eight of corruption and 27 of money laundering, involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.
Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigating officer Christ Sheldon Merun previously told the court that Zahid had requested a RM10 million donation from Wong, a director of Chia Bee Enterprise Sdn Bhd, at a dinner in 2015, where the accused had said that the contribution was to assist the poor and needy. 

MACC investigating officer Mohd Amirudin Nordin Wong also testified that Wong could not be located to testify while a check with the immigration department showed that he was abroad. He said that only Wong's witness statement could be produced in court. 

On the RM7.5 million donation received by Yayasan Al-Bukhary, Zahid said although the donation was received from his friend, Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary in the form of cash, it was not for his personal use.

Zahid said the money was a political contribution or a charitable donation based on bai’ah (allegiance), and therefore was not deposited into his personal account.

"The money could not be deposited into Yayasan Akalbudi in cash. Omar Ali Abdullah, a money changer, converted the cash (RM7.5 million) into cheque payments and into the account of Messrs Lewis & Co who are the trustees of Yayasan Akalbudi. 

"Switching it to cheques was the initiative of Omar Ali himself, and not upon my instruction," he added. 

The trial before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues today.