KUALA LUMPUR: The prosecution in Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s criminal breach of trust (CBT) and corruption trial has applied to the High Court to cite him for contempt for allegedly making a false statement.
Earlier today, Zahid’s lawyer, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, applied for the proceedings to be adjourned until tomorrow as he said Zahid was scheduled to meet Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin over Cabinet appointments.
However, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) later denied that political leaders were scheduled to attend a meeting to discuss the matter.
It said Muhyiddin was only meeting the chief secretary to the Government and heads of government agencies to coordinate the smooth running of the government.
“The Prime Minister’s Office wishes to clarify that there is no meeting of political leaders scheduled today,” the statement added.
Deputy public prosecutor Raja Rozela Raja Toran, who made the application, said the prosecution found out that there was no such meeting.
“He intentionally lied to give him a day off. I would like to move this court for contempt.
“I humbly seek and apply your Lordship to use the discretion under Order 52 rule 2A of the Rules of Court. What he did is unacceptable. He made us look like fools,” she said.
Hisyam clarified that there could have been “some miscommunication due to the wrong choice of words” used in seeking an adjournment.
“The prime minister had to rush to Muar and my client had never intended to mislead or mock the court,” he said.
He said this was not a “fit and proper” case to initiate contempt proceedings against Zahid.
He then handed over some notes to judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah to indicate that Zahid attended a meeting in Putrajaya.
Raja Rozela, however, urged the judge to reject Hisyam’s submission and said Zahid should have produced a letter from the PMO to prove that he was scheduled to be in Putrajaya.
“The notes could have been prepared before coming to court,” she said.
Zahid, who addressed the judge, said he would produce a letter from PMO tomorrow, and explained what happened today.
He said it was a practice for heads of political parties to submit their list for appointment to the Cabinet.
“What transpired today is not for public consumption or for the media,” he said, adding that the meeting was to begin at 12.15pm but he arrived 30 minutes late.
Raja Rozela asked why PMO had issued a statement denying a meeting, if Zahid’s version was to be believed.
Sequerah said he would suspend his decision until tomorrow after Zahid had produced the letter.
Zahid, the Umno president and Bagan Datoh MP, is facing 47 charges of criminal breach of trust involving Yayasan Akalbudi funds, money laundering as well as accepting bribes for various projects during his tenure as home minister.
He had said that despite his party being part of the new Perikatan Nasional coalition government, he wanted his trial to continue and to clear his name in court.