KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 — Former youth and sports minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman was charged with criminal breach of trust involving RM1 million belonging to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, at the Sessions Court here this morning.
The Muar MP acknowledged the two charges when they were read out to him before judge Azura Alwi and pleaded not guilty to both, with lead defence counsel Gobind Singh at arm’s length during the court hearing.
Syed Saddiq, 28, who donned a tie-less black suit, was accused of committing the act by withdrawing the RM1 million in a form of a cheque from the CIMB bank outlet at Menara CIMB, Jalan Stesen Sentral 2, on March 6, 2020.
He allegedly withdrew the funds he was entrusted with, in the capacity as the Bersatu Youth chief at the time, without the prior approval of the party’s central leadership committee.
His charge was framed under Section 405 of the Penal Code, which is punishable under Section 406 of the same Act by imprisonment not exceeding ten years, whipping, and a fine.
During mitigation for bail, Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Faridz Gohim Abdullah had asked for the amount be set at RM500,000, and for an additional gag order be granted against Syed Saddiq to stop him from making any public statements about the case.
Faridz submitted that the offence under Sector 405 was a non-bailable offence, justifying the high bail amount he sought, and asked for the court also to compel Syed Saddiq to report to the nearest Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) office once a month.
In response, Gobind objected to the conditions, saying his client has been under investigation by the MACC since early 2020 and to date has given his full cooperation to investigators.
Azura then set the bail amount at RM300,000 with one surety, of which RM50,000 has to be paid by today and the remainder before or on July 27.
She also ordered the accused to surrender his passport to the court until the case is completed and to report to MACC’s Kuala Lumpur branch once a month.
The judge, however, did not issue a gag order against Syed Saddiq but instead agreed with his defence lawyer that statements that may appear sub-judice or in contempt of court will be handled on a case-by-case, and not through a blanket ban.
Syed Saddiq was additionally hit with a second charge of misappropriating RM120,000 from the party’s election coffers in 2018, to which he also pleaded not guilty.
He was accused of misappropriating the funds meant to be used for the 14th General Election, said to belong to Bersatu’s Youth wing, Armada, between April 8, 2018, and April 21, 2018.
He was accused of committing the second offence at the Pandan Jaya Maybank branch, with the charge framed under Section 403 of the Penal Code that carries a prison sentence of between six months and five years, whipping, and a fine upon conviction.
For this offence, judge Azura set RM30,000 as bail with one surety.
Also present in court today representing Syed Saddiq was Datuk Ambiga Sreenavasan, with Muhammad Asraf Mohamed Tahir completing the prosecution’s team.
At around 3pm, Syed Saddiq exited the court complex and told journalists that he had posted the required RM80,000 bail.
He is required to settle the remaining RM250,000 in bail money latest by next Tuesday.
September 10 was then set as the next court date.