KOTA KINABALU, Oct 14 — After claiming trial to a corruption charge earlier today, Labuan MP Datuk Rozman Isli reiterated that his prosecution was politically motivated after he refused to defect to the federal government.

The Parti Warisan Sabah lawmaker said that the legal move had been in the pipeline for some time, and after two earlier attempts were postponed by the courts, the charge finally came through today.

“To me, this charge is designed to achieve two objectives. One is to compel me to leave Warisan and support the government and prime minister. In the last one year and eight months, I was offered positions and all kinds of persuasion, as they looked into this case to pile on the pressure at the same time.

“When I did not give in to their pressure and inducements, they pinned the charge on me to tarnish my reputation before the next general elections,” he said in a statement here.

Rozman maintained his innocence, saying he would face trial without fear and view it as a chance to see for himself how power is abused.

“I am a victim of abuse of power here. I am only one of nine members on the Labuan Port Authority board, not the chairman. On the board are higher-ranked civil service staff from the Transport and Federal Territories Ministries,” he said.

Rozman said that he had supported the decision to retain the previous local operators for the Labuan Liberty Ports, but they were not selected because most of the board wanted operators based outside Labuan.

“I supported the decision made by the majority. I trust that the courts and judge in this case will be fair, and I will clear my name in due course,” he said.

Earlier today, Rozman was accused of using his position as then Labuan Port Authority deputy chairman three years ago to appoint a company with links to his father and sibling.

According to the charge sheet, the government contractor is to be the operator of Dermaga Merdeka Pelabuhan Labuan. Rozman was alleged to have committed the offence at the TKSU meeting room, level 9, Transport Ministry, Putrajaya, between 2.30pm and 5.30pm on March 23, 2018.

The charge is framed under Section 23(1) of the MACC Act 2009 which carries a maximum 20-year jail term, fine of no less than five times the gratification amount, or RM10,000, whichever is higher.