The defence in the trial of Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has requested the Attorney-General (AG) to speed up the decision on the representation to review the 47 charges faced by the deputy prime minister involving Yayasan Akalbudi funds.
According to a press statement released by the lawyers representing Zahid, namely Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, Ahmad Zaidi Zainal, and Hamidi Mohd Noh, the decision over the representation must be made immediately before more defence witnesses are called to testify, besides saving costs and time for both parties.
"The defence had submitted representation letters with more than 200 pages on Dec 8, 2022, and Jan 25, 2023, to the prosecution, in which it was also requested that justice be given to Zahid and that all charges be reviewed in the case.
"As of today, the defence has not received any response from the AG. Our client (Zahid) has also had his statement recorded again after the representation was sent to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in June 2023," said the statement.
The defence team said it was normal for any individual facing a criminal case to submit a representation to the AG, and it was the right of the accused to do so.
The statement mentioned that the representation could be entered at any time if the accused had a strong basis and if there were many flaws found in the charges filed, investigation, or witness statements.
"Therefore, it is not fair for any party to try to intervene and politicise this issue. Furthermore, our client is an accused person and is exercising his right to include representation at this stage.
"We are of the view that the defence's move to file for representation is based on the client's rights according to the legal process practised in this country," read the statement.
The defence team said, therefore, any party should not misuse the facts of the representation for political gain or scare the public by giving a bad impression of the representation.
"Accordingly, our party will take legal action against any party that prejudices the rights of our client in practising his right to this representation," read the statement.
The three lawyers added that among the issues highlighted in the representation was that there was an element of political persecution involved in the case by the then attorney-general Tommy Thomas and that the appointment of the attorney-general by the then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad was allegedly to prosecute Zahid.
"The charges were made because of our client's refusal to disband Umno, which eventually led to him being accused. The investigation was flawed due to the short investigation period (four months from the date the investigation began) in the haste to accuse our client.
"In addition, there is strong new evidence for representation presented by our side," added the statement.
The case trial is now at the defence stage. The defence has so far called 15 witnesses, including Zahid, to testify.