KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12 — Discussions on the mid-term review of the 12th Malaysia Plan in the Dewan Rakyat continued to be disrupted for the second time this week with MPs from both sides bickering about Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s Yayasan Akalbudi corruption trial discharge.
Several backbenchers on the Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSSC) on Human Rights, Election and Institutional Reform accused fellow member Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim of feigning ignorance about a plan to call both former attorney general (AG) Tan Sri Idrus Harun for an explanation, in a deliberate ploy to create a disturbance.
Kota Melaka MP Khoo Poay Tiong said that as a fellow member of the same PSSC, Arau MP Shahidan knew of the plan but pretended that nothing was being done.
“You're on the committee, we've discussed this for some time now and everyone in the committee knows this but Arau is still raising this issue here,” the backbencher said.
“Arau, Jeli and Besut are in the committee. This wasn't just discussed among the backbenchers; these MPs are all in the committee so why is he still raising this issue?” Khoo asked, referring to the Opposition MPs from Perikatan Nasional by their parliamentary constituencies.
Jeli MP is Zahari Kechik and Besut MP is Datuk Che Mohammad Zulkifly Jusoh.
Selayang MP William Leong Jee Keen who is also the PSSC chairman agreed with Khoo, and added that Idrus’ successor would also be called to explain the reasons to discontinue the trial against Zahid after his defence was called.
“I as the chairman of the committee can confirm this and we have also put out statements to this effect where we said both attorneys general will be called to provide an explanation,” Leong who is also a backbencher said.
“Once we have the full report the public will be notified as well,” he added.
The current AG is Datuk Ahmad Terrirudin Mohd Salleh who officially began on September 6.
The prosecution applied to discontinue the Yayasan Akalbudi trial just two days later on September 8. The trial had started when Idrus was still AG.
In response to the backbenchers’ remarks, Shahidan claimed he was unaware of the PSSC decision to call both past and present AGs, and insisted he had been left out.
Zahid was accused of dishonestly misappropriating RM31 million from a charitable organisation he had founded called Yayasan Akalbudi.
The prosecution’s decision last week to discontinue the Yayasan Akalbudi trial involving 47 charges against Zahid has reignited long-standing calls for reforms to ensure that the AG does not act as both the government’s legal adviser and the public prosecutor.