Isa denies discrediting testimony of former aide

Former Felda chairman Isa Samad.

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Felda chairman Isa Samad told the High Court here today that he had not tarnished the testimony of his former aide Muhammad Zahid Md Arip who testified against him in his corruption trial.

He said it was public knowledge that Zahid was someone who did not have a good track record in politics, and who would “jump” from one party to another.

“That is his attitude. It is public knowledge,” he said when questioned by deputy public prosecutor Afzainizam Abdul Aziz on his alleged attempt to discredit Zahid through his defence.

Zahid previously testified that he had collected cash on nine occasions for Isa from businessman Ikhwan Zaidel. The money, amounting to RM3.09 million, was said to be kickbacks for Isa to approve Felda’s RM160 million purchase of Merdeka Palace Hotel in 2014.

Isa said Zahid’s testimony was a serious allegation and denied receiving the money from Ikhwan.

He also claimed Zahid had implicated him in the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigations as he wanted to avoid prosecution.

When asked if he was angry with Zahid for exposing his wrongdoing in court, Isa said he disagreed.

When re-examined by lawyer Salehuddin Saidin, he said Zahid first joined Umno but later switched sides to PKR.

“When he was in PKR, he criticised Anwar Ibrahim and Mohamed Azmin Ali. After that, he rejoined Umno and threw his support behind Najib Razak.

“He was then angry at Najib because he was not appointed as a political secretary.

“He switched to Pakatan and Tun’s (Dr Mahathir Mohamad) side, and he finally became a political secretary. Then he joined Muhyiddin Yassin with the Sheraton move,” Isa said.

He said Mahathir had also made a public statement expressing disappointment in Zahid.

The hearing continues before High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

Earlier today, Afzainizam asked the court to allow the prosecution to cross-examine Isa again, saying they wanted to cover certain crucial matters that were raised yesterday.

Salehuddin objected to the application, but Nazlan said he would allow Afzainizam to ask questions for a period of 15 minutes.

Isa was slapped with nine counts of corruption for allegedly receiving RM3.09 million from Ikhwan between July 2014 and December 2015.

He was freed of one criminal breach of trust charge over the Kuching hotel purchase.