3 Umno MPs defected to Bersatu after GE14 to ‘save themselves’, says Zahid
Published on: Tuesday, June 28, 2022
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Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (centre) said the MPs were from Masjid Tanah, Jeli and Bagan Serai. (Bernama pic)
Kuala Lumpur: Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told the High Court that three MPs from his party defected to Bersatu soon after the last general election (GE14) to “save themselves” after being investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

“I understand they had several cases which MACC was probing,” said Zahid in his corruption trial when examined by lawyer Ahmad Zaidi Zainal.

Without naming the MPs, he said they were from Masjid Tanah in Melaka, Jeli in Kelantan and Bagan Serai in Perak.

Zahid said the Masjid Tanah MP was entrusted with funds to manage Puteri Umno in the general election.

“Instead, the money was transferred for personal use to another account,” the former deputy prime minister said in his defence of political persecution in his trial on breach of trust, corruption and money laundering charges.

He said this was known by the top party leadership and the Puteri wing.

In the case of the Jeli MP, he said the person was the Kelantan Umno chief responsible for bringing voters from outside the state to vote in the elections.

“Some RM30 million was set aside but the money was not spent,” he said.

He said the Bagan Serai MP’s brother managed constituency development funds and abused them.

“Misappropriation was done by the younger sibling and the MP was going to be charged,” he said, adding that he had proof of the matter.

At this juncture, deputy public prosecutor Raja Rozela Raja Toran objected to Zahid’s testimony, saying it was unwarranted.

“It is hearsay evidence and inadmissible unless they (the defence) are calling them as witnesses,” she said.

Zahid’s lead counsel, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, said Zahid must be allowed to raise his defence and speak the truth.

“He is facing serious charges and must be given the latitude to expand on his defence,” he said.

Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah noted that the defence wanted to tell its story and that “a little leeway must be given”.

Zahid said the investigations against the MPs were also made known to him personally as Umno president.

He said Umno and Barisan Nasional were ousted from power in GE14 as his party won only 54 parliamentary seats.

He said BN won 79 seats, which was insufficient to form the government as a minimum of 112 seats was required in the 222-seat Parliament.

Zahid said he was not prepared to dissolve Umno though Dr Mahathir Mohamad had claimed the party had no future with “corrupt leaders” who were rejected by the Malays. (Mahathir, who was then chairman of Bersatu, became the prime minister for a second time following Pakatan Harapan’s GE14 victory.)

“He also asked me to cross over but I declined,” he said, adding that a meeting took place between the two in June 2018.

Zahid is standing trial on 47 charges of money laundering and criminal breach of trust (CBT) involving millions from Yayasan Akalbudi, and accepting bribes for various projects during his tenure as the home minister.

Twelve of the charges are for CBT, eight for corruption, and the remaining 27 for money laundering.

The hearing continues.

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