KUALA LUMPUR, June 29 — Former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s corruption trial did not proceed this afternoon, as he was unwell and needed to seek medical treatment at a hospital.
Shortly after 2.30pm when the trial was due to resume at the High Court here, Ahmad Zahid’s lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik made an application to have the trial resume tomorrow instead.
“We are instructed to inform My Lord that the accused is not feeling well. He would like to go for medical treatment at Avisena Hospital. In fact, an appointment has been made, and we give an undertaking to produce a medical certificate tomorrow,” he said.
The lawyer did not specify in court today the nature of Ahmad Zahid's illness, but the hospital mentioned was where Ahmad Zahid had last year received treatment after having a fall.
Lead prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran then said she leaves it to the High Court to decide.
High Court judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah then allowed the trial to resume tomorrow morning instead.
This morning, Ahmad Zahid had testified in his own defence in this trial, and answered questions by the prosecution which was cross-examining him.
The prosecution was expected to continue cross-examining him this afternoon, but the afternoon session did not go on due to Ahmad Zahid being unwell.
Today was the first day that Ahmad Zahid was facing questions directly from the prosecution as a defence witness, after having previously spent eight days on the witness stand reading his written witness statement and answering questions from his own lawyers during the examination-in-chief stage.
In this trial, Ahmad Zahid ― who is also a former home minister and currently the Umno president ― is facing 47 charges, namely 12 counts of criminal breach of trust in relation to charitable foundation Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds, 27 counts of money laundering, and eight counts of bribery charges.
The trial for Ahmad Zahid, who is 69 this year, had previously also faced disruption due to his health.
On August 24 last year, which was when the prosecution was scheduled to begin its submissions at the end of the prosecution stage, Ahmad Zahid was not present in court and the trial had to be postponed.
The High Court was at that time informed by Ahmad Zahid's lawyers that he had been injured from a fall on August 18, and that he had been admitted to the private hospital Avisena Specialist Hospital in Shah Alam on August 22 and required medical treatment to relieve the severe neck pain which was preventing him from attending the court proceedings.
With both the prosecution and defence in agreement, the High Court had issued a subpoena to have the specialist treating Ahmad Zahid appear in court to provide information on his health condition.
The specialist Dr Mohd Shahir Anuar had on August 25 appeared in the High Court, disagreeing with the prosecution's suggestion that Ahmad Zahid had faked his illness to avoid coming to court and confirming that it would be possible for him to attend the next scheduled trial dates in September 2021 with the aid of painkillers.
Ahmad Zahid was discharged on August 26 and was on medical leave until September 4, with the trial then going on as scheduled on September 6 with Ahmad Zahid in attendance.
Ahmad Zahid last year managed to secure the temporary release of his passport from October 26 to November 21, which enabled him to travel to Munich, Germany to seek treatment for his neck pain and back pain.