News of Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi being given a discharge for the 47 corruption charges against him has led to an explosion of comments on social media, with many expressing anger and shock over the court decision despite a prima facie case established at the onset of the trial last year.
"There's a light at the end of the tunnel for Zahid. The light of reform is shining. Yes, it's a light for Zahid, but darkness for Malaysia," said vocal lawyer Rafique Rashid, who was among the first to post his response following the prosecution's successful appeal to grant a discharge to the Umno president.
Rafique said the decision marks a dark chapter, calling today "Black Monday".
He pointed out anomalies in the decision, including the prosecution team itself applying in favour of Zahid and the fact that a total of 99 witnesses testified during the trial, which lasted 53 days.
Zahid, who is also Bagan Datuk MP, faced 47 charges: 12 of criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight of corruption, and 27 of money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.
Earlier today, deputy public prosecutor Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar, who was appointed just last month to replace Raja Rozela Raja Toran following her sudden "early retirement", informed judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah of the Attorney General's Chambers' request to discontinue all proceedings against Zahid.
Many social media users viewed the news as already confirming Zahid's "escape" from the charges, after months of speculation that the Umno leader would be let off.
"Stop making excuses. Start demanding answers," said Twitter user @Iqtodabal.
"No more Monday blues; it's all about 'Black Monday' now," Facebook user Nana Nordin added.
Popular political parody page Tentera Troll Kebangsaan Malaysia, meanwhile, wrote: "There's no court cluster in the Cabinet if you're discharged without acquittal."
Many laced their responses with sarcasm, such as Nazri Taib, who wrote on Facebook, "For the sake of stability and prosperity, I guess."
"The 'hoi hoi ya hoi' song can be discarded now. Congratulations, everyone," Haqqani Haruni said, referring to a song heavily used by Pakatan Harapan during the general election campaign last year to warn voters against Zahid's return to power.
Twitter user @HaziqShaf, meanwhile, has a question for DAP's Bangi MP Syahredzan Johan about the court's decision: "I just want to ask the learned lawyer, @syahredzan – is it okay for a prima facie case to obtain a DNAA? That's all."