KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 15 — The Sessions Court will not be hearing former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s application — to have his three remaining money-laundering charges set aside in order to get a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) — for now.

This is because the Sessions Court has decided to grant the prosecution’s application to temporarily stay or pause proceedings here. (The proceedings would include Muhyiddin’s bid to set aside and obtain a DNAA on those three charges.)

This afternoon, Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi delivered her decision, by deciding to allow the stay until the Court of Appeal decides on a related appeal.

In giving the brief grounds of her decision, Azura said she found that there was a “situation requiring urgent judicial decision relating to this case and justifying a stay of proceedings to be granted for justice for all parties”.


“This can also avoid any disruption of proceedings of the case in this court, since there are other applications filed and since the hearing at the Court of Appeal has been scheduled at the nearest time,” she said, referring to the Court of Appeal’s scheduled hearing of the related appeal on February 28 and 29.

This morning, Azura heard the prosecution’s application to stay the proceedings at the Sessions Court, with the prosecution’s application aimed at getting the Sessions Court to temporarily not proceed with hearing Muhyiddin’s application to set aside his remaining three money-laundering charges.

The prosecution wanted a stay of the Sessions Court proceedings, until the Court of Appeal decides on the prosecution’s appeal against the High Court’s acquittal of Muhyiddin over four abuse of power charges.


Previously, in March 2023, Muhyiddin was charged with four abuse of power charges and three money-laundering charges in the Sessions Court.

Muhyiddin had on April 18, 2023 applied at the High Court to have the four abuse of power charges struck out, with the High Court on August 15, 2023 then deciding to strike out the four charges for not disclosing any offence known in law and to also acquit Muhyiddin.

The prosecution on September 21, 2023 filed an appeal against Muhyiddin’s acquittal, while Muhyiddin on October 2, 2023 filed an application at the Sessions Court to seek the setting aside of his remaining three money-laundering charges.

Earlier today, the Sessions Court decided to hear and decide on the prosecution’s stay application first, before dealing with Muhyiddin’s application to have his three charges set aside. (This decision was made after brief arguments by the prosecution and Muhyiddin’s defence team were made this morning on which application should be heard first.)

This morning, deputy public prosecutor Zander Lim Wai Keong told the Sessions Court that the prosecution’s stay application should be allowed, arguing that justice and fairness will only be served if the Sessions Court “maintains status quo” until the Court of Appeal hears the appeal against Muhyiddin’s acquittal.

He highlighted the Court of Appeal’s February 28 and February 29 hearing dates are less than two weeks away and argued that the Sessions Court should wait for the Court of Appeal’s decision as it could potentially help save time and as the outcome there is related to Muhyiddin’s setting aside application.

Lim highlighted that the prosecution is only seeking for a stay until the Court of Appeal’s decision on the four charges and said it would be easier for the Sessions Court to decide on Muhyiddin’s setting aside application on the three charges once there is a Court of Appeal decision.

“The prosecution’s right will be undermined, will be prejudiced, if the court does not allow a stay today,” he argued.

This morning, Muhyiddin’s lawyer Chetan Jethwani argued that there are no exceptional circumstances to justify a stay of proceedings and said the defence team is only seeking for a discharge not amounting to acquittal (DNAA) by asking for Muhyiddin’s three money-laundering charges to be set aside since the predicate offences — the four abuse of power charges — had already been struck out. (Generally, predicate offences are the offences which form the basis for money laundering offences, as predicate offences would involve unlawful activities from which the proceeds or funds — that are laundered — originate from).

Chetan said a DNAA means that the prosecution is free to press the same charges against Muhyiddin in the future if the Court of Appeal finds that the four predicate charges should stand.

Chetan argued that Muhyiddin’s three money-laundering charges should also be set aside now following his successful bid at the High Court to have the four charges struck out, saying: “Why we should not be allowed to enjoy the fruits of that result is beyond me.”

Chetan said there is no prejudice to the prosecution as it can proceed with its appeal against the striking out of Muhyiddin’s four charges but argued that Muhyiddin “should have the right to clear his name immediately of the money-laundering charges by the setting aside application”, as an accused should have the opportunity to clear his name without excessive delay.

The other lawyers representing Muhyiddin today are Amer Hamzah Arshad, Joshua Tay, Teh See Khoon, Siti Summaiyah Ahmad Jaafar and Tang Jia Yearn.

The prosecution’s team today was headed by deputy public prosecutor Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin and also included Nor Asma Ahmad, Noralis Mat, and Poh Yih Tinn.

Following the Sessions Court’s decision today to stay the proceedings here, the prosecution’s Wan Shaharuddin sought to clarify questions raised by Muhyiddin’s lawyers regarding his passport — which was surrendered to the Sessions Court as part of bail conditions.

Wan Shaharuddin said that Muhyiddin is not blocked from applying for temporary release of his passport from the Sessions Court, saying that his lawyers can do so at any time and as usual as there are proceedings pending in court.

Chetan expressed gratitude for the prosecution’s generosity regarding his client’s passport.

The Sessions Court today fixed March 4 as the mention date for this case for lawyers to provide updates on the appeal at the Court of Appeal. Following an application from Muhyiddin’s lawyers and with no objections from the prosecution, the Sessions Court also allowed Muhyiddin to be excused from attending the March 4 mention as it is merely for updates on the Court of Appeal matter.