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Bersatu compares AG's 'rushed appeal' in Muhyiddin's case to 'snail's pace' in Zahid's

It says the government is practising double standards.

Staff Writers
3 minute read
Attorney-General Idrus Harun. Photo: Bernama
Attorney-General Idrus Harun. Photo: Bernama

Bersatu today questioned the speedy appeal by the attorney-general against a High Court decision to strike out four of the charges against Perikatan Nasional chairman Muhyiddin Yassin, comparing it to the pace of the case against Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi which it said had progressed "at a snail's pace". 

Sasha Lyna Abdul Latif, the deputy chairman of Bersatu's legal and constitution bureau, said the fact that the Kuala Lumpur High Court had acquitted Muhyiddin of the charges showed that they were "the flimsiest of flimsy charges". 

"However, on the very same day, the attorney-general himself announced via a public statement that he had filed an appeal against Muhyiddin’s acquittal," she said. 

"Why the need to rush into filing the appeal without first considering the reasons given by the court, which clearly stated that an association, namely a political party, does not fall into the category or meaning of an organisation and/or associate under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act?"

Muhyiddin had been charged with using his position as then prime minister and Bersatu president to obtain bribes for the party from three companies – Bukhary Equity Sdn Bhd, Nepturis Sdn Bhd and Mamfor Sdn Bhd – as well as from one Azman Yusoff.

He was charged with committing the offences at the Prime Minister's Office in Putrajaya between March 1, 2020, and Aug 20, 2021.

Judge Muhammad Jamil Hussin, in acquitting him, had ruled that the charges were vague, flawed and unfounded as they did not specify the details of the offences committed.

Attorney-General Idrus Harun said later that day that the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) had filed an appeal against the court decision.

He also said that three other charges under the anti-money laundering law remained against Muhyiddin.

Sasha said the "speed and haste" with which Idrus had filed the appeal was in stark contrast to how the AGC had dealt with the string of corruption charges against Zahid. 

"In the months since Pakatan Harapan-Barisan Nasional took power after the November 2022 general election, Zahid's case has progressed at a snail’s pace. 

"Even the upstanding prosecutor Raja Rozela was unceremoniously removed from the case, even though her retirement only takes effect in November this year," she said, referring to Raja Rozela Raja Toran, who had led Zahid's case from the start and whom Idrus recently said had applied for early retirement. 

"Since April this year the case has been indefinitely postponed pending a representation by Zahid for the charges to be dropped. There seems to be nothing of the hurry displayed now in Muhyiddin's case."

Accusing Idrus and the government of practising double standards in dealing with these cases, Sasha said the government could not pretend that it had nothing to do with the attorney-general's decision. 

"The government is answerable to the public for the actions of the attorney-general," she added. 

"This is more so as Zahid is a key political ally of Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, to whom the attorney-general answers directly."

Noting Idrus' comment that the three other charges against Muhyiddin still stood, she said it was unnecessary to point this out. 

"It is not the duty of a professional AGC to score political points against political opponents of the government," she said.