Today is indeed a sad day for democracy. Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah has discharged Ahmad Zahid Hamidi of all 47 charges not amounting to acquittal.
While it is understood that there are still other outstanding investigations against Zahid, the Yayasan Akalbudi case nevertheless involved 47 alleged charges, namely 12 counts of criminal breach of trust in relation to over RM31 million in Yayasan Akalbudi funds, 27 counts of money laundering, and eight counts of bribery charges of over RM21.25 million in alleged bribes. These are indeed grave allegations.
Yayasan Akalbudi was founded with the purported objective of receiving and administering funds for the eradication of poverty and enhancing the welfare of the poor. Given the severity of the alleged 47 charges of abuse against the welfare foundation, one would expect a much more vigorous and in-depth trial, but never an application of DNAA from the deputy public prosecutor, Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar.
After four years of trial and use of public funds, the public expects a just trial. To say that the case can be picked up again at a later stage makes a mockery of the justice system.
The prosecution has to give a fuller, honest, and open explanation of their reasons for seeking a DNAA in such a high-profile case. Citizens went to the streets to protest against corrupt leaders such as Najib Razak and Zahid, and we expect justice to be served.
The DNAA decision is definitely a setback for the people's movement and tantamount to saying: Corruption is OK! It is indeed an objectionable pushback against the reform agenda that was fought for by Malaysians for more than 10 years.
Maria Chin Abdullah is a former MP for Petaling Jaya.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of MalaysiaNow.