Lawyer Latheefa Koya has called on the government to stop saying that the discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) for Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was a court decision.
Latheefa, who was once the MACC chief, said the court was constitutionally bound to grant the request made by prosecutors.
“Stop trying to fool the people by repeating endlessly that Zahid’s DNAA was the court’s decision.
“Article 145(3) is clear, the court had no choice in the matter. So don’t blame the court.
“That’s dishonest and a slur upon a hardworking judge. The government can’t push the buck on this to anyone else,” she tweeted.
Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution states that: “the attorney-general shall have power, exercisable at his discretion, to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings for an offence, other than proceedings before a Syariah court, a native court or a court-martial”.
The prosecution yesterday applied for a DNAA on all 47 charges against Zahid on alleged corruption involving Yayasan Akalbudi.
This is despite judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah finding that the prosecution had established prima facie (answerable case) against the Umno president, who was ordered to enter his defence.
The prosecution said that the DNAA request was for several reasons, including to allow the MACC to conduct further investigations; to look into the possibility that there was selective prosecution; and to wait for the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on former attorney-general Tommy Thomas’ memoir.
Sequerah granted the request in line with Article 145(3) but cautioned that precious court time and taxpayer money would have been wasted if the prosecution decided not to pursue Zahid’s case further after the DNAA.
The decision has courted backlash from Pakatan Harapan supporters.
Harapan leaders, including Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, defended the outcome by saying it was a court decision.
Saifuddin further remarked yesterday that the court’s decision to grant Zahid a DNAA was similar to how the court acquitted Perikatan Nasional chief Muhyiddin Yassin on four abuse of power charges in the Jana Wibawa case.
Lawyer Lim Wei Jiet, however, remarked yesterday that this was a false comparison.
“Please lah, Datuk Seri (Saifuddin). You know this is not true,” he said.
He said that in Muhyiddin’s case, it was the accused who applied to strike out the charges, whereas it was the prosecution who did so in Zahid’s case.
“(The) Judge effectively has no choice but to either grant DNAA or full acquittal,” Lim said.
Taking to X (previously known as Twitter), former Bar Council president Ambiga Sreenevasan warned against labelling Zahid’s case as a political prosecution.
“We saw the evidence. The judge found a prima facie case.
“You insult our intelligence and the judge for pursuing this line of argument.
“Don’t defend the indefensible and then talk about reform,” she said.