KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 22 — Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today told the High Court that he felt he should not be accused of corruption, insisting that the millions of ringgit which he claimed to be political donations would have gone to him instead if he was a corrupt person.

Testifying in his own defence in his corruption trial here, the former deputy prime minister and former home minister continued to insist that RM2 million worth of cheques which he received from a businessman in 2017 and 2018 was allegedly for charity and political donation.

Quizzed by deputy public prosecutor Abdul Malik Ayob if any of the RM2 million were given to Ahmad Zahid’s political party Umno or Barisan Nasional, Ahmad Zahid said this purported “donation” was not for a political party but for the politician who carries out political activities.

Pressed to confirm if the RM2 million was meant for him, Ahmad Zahid sidestepped this question by saying that donations given to politicians are not necessarily for their political parties only.


When Abdul Malik suggested that the three cheques totalling RM2 million was not a “political donation” but a “donation for a politician, namely” Ahmad Zahid himself, Ahmad Zahid insisted that the businessman Azlan Shah Jaffril had said the cheque butts featured the words “political donation” and “charity” as the purpose for the RM2 million cheques.

“So that witness’s testimony should be accepted by this court because that is a sworn testimony by him. This is also done by any politician in our country, whether government or Opposition politicians,” he said.

Abdul Malik then highlighted his previous questions on whether Ahmad Zahid or his charitable organisation Yayasan Akalbudi had issued letters to either businessman Azlan Shah or the latter’s company Profound Radiance Sdn Bhd as proof that the RM2 million was received as a “donation”.


But Ahmad Zahid at this point remarked that he should not have been charged with corruption and claimed that others who misappropriated money were instead not charged.

“As I explained since earlier on, if I’m perasuah (corrupt), surely the donation would be on my name personally, but this is for Yayasan (foundation) whose account was held by a law firm. Sincere persons like me are dituduh (accused); those who songlap (misappropriated) money are not accused, safe. I feel this should not happen to me,” he replied.

Earlier today, Ahmad Zahid confirmed that he did not issue any letter to the businessman Azlan Shah or Profound Radiance to acknowledge receiving the purported “political donation” of RM2 million.

Ahmad Zahid agreed that the purported donation of RM2 million should be owned by Yayasan Akalbudi as the cheques were banked into the law firm Lewis & Co’s client account, which he alleged to be holding money for the charity Yayasan Akalbudi on trust.

But Ahmad Zahid told the prosecution that he was unsure if Yayasan Akalbudi issued any letter to Azlan Shah or Profound Radiance to acknowledge the receiving of the RM2 million, saying that this was because the funds were handled by the law firm Lewis & Co.

“Because the trust account or client account was handled by Lewis & Co, so I do not know if receipts were issued or letters were issued by Lewis & Co or not,” he had also said when asked earlier if Yayasan Akalbudi issued such letters to the purported donor.

Ahmad Zahid said Lewis & Co should be the one responsible for issuing such acknowledgments for the donation as the law firm had taken over the handling of Yayasan Akalbudi’s finances.

Asked by Abdul Malik to specify how much of the RM2 million was for political donation and how much was for charity, Ahmad Zahid said such a question was unfair.

“When it was banked into Lewis & Co’s account which handled the client account, so this question is not fair to me, how would I know how many percent is for charity and how many percent is for politics,” he said.

When Abdul Malik suggested he should know about this since he is a trustee of Yayasan Akalbudi, Ahmad Zahid replied: “True, I should know, but when all are placed into one big account, how am I to segregate how much for amal jariah (charity), how much for sumbangan politik (political donation), because it went into one big fund, Yang Arif.”

In this case, Ahmad Zahid is facing 47 charges, namely 12 of them for criminal breach of trust in relation to more than RM31 million of charitable foundation Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds, 27 counts of money laundering, and eight counts of bribery charges over RM21.25 million of alleged bribes.

Under three of the eight corruption charges, Ahmad Zahid is accused of having received RM2 million in three cheques from Profound Radiance director Azlan Shah as a reward for the company’s appointment for a project under the Home Ministry.

Ahmad Zahid also defended the Home Ministry’s decision to approve Profound Radiance as the operator of a one-stop centre in Nepal and Pakistan from July 1, 2016 onwards, and also sought to explain the circumstances relating to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s handwritten minutes previously to agree for the company to be given a second chance if it had not done anything wrong.

At one point, Ahmad Zahid remarked that he hoped Abdul Malik would become a minister in the future, saying: “I hope this DPP will be a minister one day and know the rules that any ministries must follow.”

Abdul Malik then remarked that he did not wish to be a politician, while Ahmad Zahid shot back: “Of course, memang tak layak (not qualified).”

The judge then directed Ahmad Zahid to answer the prosecution’s questions, and Ahmad Zahid agreed to do so.

During the trial today, Ahmad Zahid insisted that his decision as home minister to back the approval of Profound Radiance for the project was not his own decision, and persisted in saying that his decision was based on recommendations from Home Ministry officials.

He also tried to sidestep giving direct confirmation that it was him who he decided on appointing Profound Radiance for the project, and instead confirmed it by highlighting that his decision was due to the recommendations by Home Ministry officials.

Just like the RM2 million sum purported to be a political donation, Ahmad Zahid had earlier this morning also insisted that two cheques worth RM6 million which he received from yet another businessman — former Datasonic Group Berhad official Chew Ben Ben — was a “political donation” that was given to him as a politician instead of his political party Umno.

Ahmad Zahid insisted that for political donations that did not specifically name the political party as the recipient, the purported political donation could then be used by a politician freely at his own discretion such as for his constituency or his political party division or any other political activities.

On that RM6 million sum, Ahmad Zahid denied receiving it as a bribe, insisting that it was a political donation to him which he claimed was used for charity. He stressed he did not use the RM6 million for political purposes or personal purposes.

Ahmad Zahid’s trial before High Court judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah resumes this afternoon.