KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 23 — Toh Puan Na'imah Abdul Khalid, the wife of former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin, was charged today with failing to declare her assets to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
The 66-year-old pled not guilty in the Sessions Court.
“I claim trial,” she said after the charge, made under Section 36(2) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act, was read out to her.
Section 36(2) covers the offence of wilfully neglecting or failing to comply with the terms of a notice issued by the MACC to give a written statement on oath or affirmation on their assets.
If convicted, she can be punished with a maximum five-year jail term and a maximum fine of RM100,000.
Na’imah was accused of having on December 13, 2023 at the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya, willfully given a written statement on oath that did not comply with the terms of a MACC notice dated November 8 the same year that was served on her on November 14.
She was alleged to have committed the offence by not declaring assets as stated in a list.
The listed assets as read out in court are: two companies (Ilham Tower Sdn Bhd, Ilham Baru Sdn Bhd); two vehicles (a Mercedes Benz EQC400, Mercedes Benz SL Auto); seven properties in Kuala Lumpur, and one property in Penang.
The KL properties are Menara Ilham, a residence at Persiaran Bukit Tunku, a “freehold land and building” located in Taman Tunku, three “freehold land and buildings” located in Bukit Tunku, and one more located in Taman Tun Dr Ismail.
The one Penang property is located on Jalan Cantonment.
Deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Feisal Mohd Azmi asked the court to set bail at RM500,000.
He also asked the court to impound Na’imah’s passport, and for her to report once a month to the MACC office as part of the bail conditions.
Representing the accused was former solicitor-general II Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden, who asked the court for bail to be lowered to RM250,000.
Alternatively, he asked that Na’imah be allowed to deposit only RM250,000 as security if the court wants to maintain bail at RM500,000.
Mohd Yusof argued that there was no need for Na’imah to surrender her passport or report to the MACC once a month as she is not a flight risk.
“Puan Na’imah lives near the court. She's not going anywhere. She's here to stay and fight the case,” he said.
M. Puravalen, another lawyer representing Na’imah, noted that the prosecution had not presented reasons for why the passport had to be surrendered to the court and urged the court not to impose this condition.
Alternatively, Puravalen said the arrangement that could be made is for Na'imah to be in touch with the investigating officer for the case, and for his client to inform the investigating officer whenever she plans to leave the country for any reason and to also inform the same officer when she returns to the country.
Puravalen said his client would then not have to apply to the court for temporary release of her passport for urgent travels, adding that his client's husband Daim has a medical condition and that his client may have to travel urgently to get medical opinion.
“And we don't have to burden the court with multiple applications on an urgent basis. In this situation, we have Tun who has a medical condition which is quite serious, so she might have to travel on very short notice to seek input,” he said, referring to Daim.
Ahmad Feisal replied that Na’imah be treated like the accused in other cases have the same conditions imposed.
He left the bail decision to the court's discretion.
After hearing the arguments from both the prosecution and defence, Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi ordered for Na’imah's bail to be at RM250,000 with one surety, and also ordered for her to surrender her passport to the court until the end of her trial.
“That's all for the additional condition to be imposed. No condition to report herself,” the judge said.
The court set March 22 for case mention.
The prosecution today also included deputy public prosecutors Mohamad Fadhly Mohd Zamry and Maziah Mohaide.
Na’imah’s legal team today included Md Yunos Shariff, Alex Tan Chie Sian, and Cheah Kha Mun.