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Bersatu slams double standards as jobless man faces 10 years' jail for petty theft while Zahid freed

It says the justice system should be fair and equal to all.

Staff Writers
2 minute read
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi leaves the Kuala Lumpur court complex after the court dropped corruption charges against him, Sept 4. Photo: Reuters
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi leaves the Kuala Lumpur court complex after the court dropped corruption charges against him, Sept 4. Photo: Reuters

Bersatu today compared reports of an unemployed man facing up to 10 years in prison for stealing RM22 from a mosque to the move by the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) to discontinue the million-ringgit corruption case against Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, questioning the difference in treatment between "the ordinary unemployed citizen" and the deputy prime minister. 

Sasha Lyna Abdul Latif, deputy chairman of Bersatu's legal and constitutional bureau, said the discharge not amounting to acquittal (DNAA) given to Zahid was granted despite the prima facie case established against him. 

"This brings the justice system into utter disrepute," she said. 

"Under our constitution, the justice system must be scrupulously fair and equal to all, without any regard to the status of the accused. Article 8 of the constitution states that all persons are equal in Malaysia, whether a poor man or a billionaire or a deputy prime minister.

"Yet, the public can see that under the current administration that this sacrosanct principle has been ignored. How will the people have any regard or respect for law and the justice system in these circumstances?"

Zahid, the Umno president and Barisan Nasional chairman, had faced 12 counts of criminal breach of trust, eight of corruption, and 27 of money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to the charity foundation.

He was given the DNAA on Sept 4 after deputy public prosecutor Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar, who was appointed just last month to replace Raja Rozela Raja Toran following her sudden "early retirement", informed the judge of the AGC's request to discontinue all proceedings against him.

In the mosque case, meanwhile, the unemployed man who had also tested positive for drugs at the time of his arrest pleaded guilty to stealing from the mosque at the Kuala Terengganu Magistrate's Court. 

He was charged under Section 380 of the Penal Code which carries jail of up to 10 years and a fine.

Sasha said it would have been acceptable if the attorney-general had used his discretion not to charge the man without condoning the act. 

"He could have been let off with a warning. Yet the attorney-general saw fit to proceed with the RM22 case, but discontinued the case against the deputy prime minister involving millions of ringgit.

"This disparity exposes our justice system to public disgust and ridicule, and a total loss of credibility. All this after just nine months of the PH-BN administration," she added, referring to the government led by Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional. 

"If the Anwar Ibrahim administration continues on this path, we are well on the way to becoming a failed state, with one rule for the powerful and a different one for the poor and dispossessed."