PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin has appointed lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik to spearhead a defence team assembled to fight abuse of power and money laundering charges linked to the Jana Wibawa programme initiated by his administration.
Legal firm Chetan Jethwani & Co has been appointed Muhyiddin’s solicitors on record.
“Yes, he (Hisyam) has been roped in to lead Muhyiddin’s defence team,” lawyer Chetan Jethwani told FMT in a text message.
It is learnt that Hisyam, who has been practising criminal law for about 40 years, was appointed last month.
Twelve other counsel will be assisting him in the case.
Hisyam is also lead counsel in deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s corruption cases.
On Sept 23, Zahid, 70, was acquitted of 33 counts of receiving bribes amounting to S$13.56 million (RM42 million) without his defence being called. The case involved the home ministry’s foreign visa (VLN) system. Zahid was the home minister at the time.
The prosecution has appealed to the Court of Appeal against the decision handed down by the Shah Alam High Court.
Zahid, who is the Umno president, still faces 47 charges in the Kuala Lumpur High Court for money laundering and criminal breach of trust involving millions from Yayasan Akalbudi and for accepting bribes for various projects during his tenure as the home minister.
He was ordered to enter his defence last year and has so far called six witnesses to testify in the case.
Hisyam also briefly appeared for former prime minister Najib Razak in his final appeal to the Federal Court from his conviction and sentence in the SRC International corruption case.
The lawyer had attempted to discharge himself after his application to obtain an adjournment of the main appeal was dismissed.
On Aug 23, the apex court affirmed Najib’s conviction and the 12-year jail term and RM210 million fine imposed by the Kuala Lumpur High Court in July 2020.
Meanwhile, another lawyer in the defence team, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Hisyam will attend a case management on Monday following an application by Muhyiddin to strike out the four abuse of power charges.
Muhyiddin, who filed the application on April 19 at the Kuala Lumpur High Court, is seeking an acquittal of all charges.
In the alternative, the Bersatu president wants all proceedings in the sessions court, where he was charged, to be stayed pending the outcome of the striking out application.
He said the charges did not disclose any offence under Section 23 (1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009.
The Pagoh MP said the charges were also an abuse of process as they lacked particulars as to how he abused his power as the prime minister between March 2020 and August 2021.
The charges are in relation to the Jana Wibawa programme, which was allegedly used to secure RM232.5 million for Bersatu.