KOTA KINABALU, June 18 — Sabah Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Peter Anthony will not be asked to take a leave of absence while he faces court charges for money laundering and abetting.

Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal said that the Parti Warisan Sabah vice-president was innocent until proven guilty and should continue with his duties of bringing development to Sabah.

“Why should I, until he’s proven guilty?” he said when asked whether Anthony would be asked to take leave pending the court decision.

Shafie implied that the charges were politically motivated and had previously questioned the coincidental timing of Anthony’s charge and the release of former chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman from 46 counts of corruption-related charges recently.

“This is the problem now. If we support the federal government, you get away. If you fight them and help Sabah, you are arrested,” he said.

Anthony was today brought to court for the second time in a week where he was charged with abetting in a controversial RM15,545,400 Risda land deal between July 22,2014 and November 19, 2015.

The Melalap assemblyman, who also faces five counts of money laundering amounting to RM8.75 million, pleaded not guilty to abetting Micheal Persius Ubu, the lawyer hired by Risda to see through the purchase of a plot of land in Tongod, in interior Sabah.

The trial is fixed for August 4.