Labuan MP Rozman Isli has claimed that the charge against him was political as he had refused to abandon Parti Warisan Sabah for the ruling coalition.
He said the accusation made by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) has been hatched “for a long time”.
“Before today, I had been dragged to court over the same matter twice and in both times, the cases were discontinued. I hope this time the case can be continued so that I can prove that I have done nothing wrong,” the Warisan chief whip in Parliament said in a statement today.
Earlier today, Rozman claimed trial to a charge of abusing his position as the deputy chairman of the Labuan Port Authority by awarding a government contract to his family members.
A court interpreter read out the charge to the chief whip before judge Rozina Ayub.
The charge sheet said Rozman was alleged to have used his position to obtain bribes in the form of workers’ contracts in connection with Dermaga Merdeka Pelabuhan Labuan.
The contracts were said to have been awarded to a company named Syarikat Liberty Port Management Sdn Bhd, which is linked to Rozman’s father and brother.
Rozman claimed his political foes had tried to persuade him a year and a half ago to leave Warisan and had used this case to “deliberately intimidate and pressure me”.
“Secondly, this charge was also designed and prepared so that when I do not give in to their pressure, they would use it to drag me to court so as to tarnish my image before the next GE15 (15th general election),” he said.
“In politics during my time in the opposition, there are various warnings (threats) as we usually hear.
“Yes, I was given offers and threats so that I would leave Warisan and support the government.
“However, I do not want to do that because I feel comfortable with the party’s (Warisan’s) ideology, which is in harmony with my soul,” he told the media after he was charged in court.
Rozman, however, did not reveal the specific quarters behind the alleged offer and pressure against him when asked by a media representative.
“I wish to continue my struggle in Warisan, as I am attracted and interested in raising the fight with other comrades with the same mission to curb abuse of power and corruption that threaten this country.
“Coincidentally, now I am hit with a charge of abuse of power when I know that I am a victim of abuse of power. This is a good experience. I am optimistic that I can use this venue (to continue the fight),” he said.
Rozman reiterated that not only would he continue the fight against abuse of power but would also back institutional reforms so that critical enforcement bodies like the MACC, the police, the Election Commission, as well as the three branches of government – the legislature, the judiciary and the executive – are free from being abused by those in power.
“Check and balance is the key to the future of this country,” he declared.
Judge Rozina Ayob set bail at RM100,000 with one surety and told Rozman to surrender his passport to the court until the disposal of his case.
She also fixed November 19 for mention.
Rozman first won the Labuan seat in the 2013 general election on an Umno ticket. He retained it, also on an Umno ticket, in the last general election in 2018.
He later defected to Warisan.
Meanwhile, responding to the charge against Rozman, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng claimed that the MACC and Attorney-General’s Chambers have consistently and selectively charged only those opposed to the government or the prime minister.
“Under the PN government, MACC is no longer seen to be an impartial, independent and professional organisation battling corruption at the highest levels, without fear or favour,” he said in a statement.
The Bagan MP reminded that Malaysia’s rankings in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (CPI) had declined from 51st in 2019 to 57th in 2020.