Former youth and sports minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman has called on other lawmakers not to be intimidated by the Perikatan Nasional government and its threats.
- First charge of misappropriating RM1m belonging to Bersatu last year
- Second charge of misappropriating RM120k of the youth wing’s election funds
- Claims that other politicians similarly being investigated and threatened.
Speaking to reporters in the lobby of the Kuala Lumpur court complex today, the Muar MP said when he was called in by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to facilitate investigations, he was told that other politicians were similarly being investigated and threatened.
“My message to them, never bow down to those who threaten us. Never be afraid. The truth will prevail. If you are not in the wrong, confront them and have faith in the court.
“Don’t go back to supporting PN simply because you are being threatened, just before Parliament convenes and have to jump ship. We have our integrity, our principles and our dignity,” he told reporters today.
He did not identify any of the politicians to whom he was referring.
Syed Saddiq said the case against him was politically motivated as investigations against him had been going on for more than 18 months, despite the order to charge him being given in August last year.
“Investigations into this case have been going on since April 2020. Order to charge was given on August 4, 2020.
“The question is, why was the order to charge only executed nearly a year after it was given, and when an important Parliamentary meeting is coming up?
“I think it shows this case is politically motivated and I will challenge it and I feel safe and confident in the court and the judges to clear my name,” he said.
Syed Saddiq also warned the PN government to back off because the threats only served for him to be more motivated in his resolve to rid Malaysia of corruption.
“I entered politics to clean politics. I want to build a country where all Malaysians are proud of Malaysia as their home,” he said, adding that he declared his assets to the MACC when he became minister.
He also said that he was a proponent and advocate to ensure the government implemented the Political Funding Bill.
He said that he did not like to live in luxury and that the charges were not related to his time in the government.
“To PN who have continuously threatened me for the past year and a half, let this be the end. If you think the threats will weaken my spirit you are wrong. In actuality, these threats will increase my resolve to clean Malaysia and build a Malaysia for all Malaysians.”
He said he will further elaborate on the case tonight in a press conference on his Facebook and Instagram accounts. He also hinted that he may be taking civil action against the government.
This morning, pleaded not guilty to two charges related to the misappropriation of Bersatu funds at Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court.
The first charge was for misappropriating RM1 million belonging to Bersatu last year, while the second was for misappropriating RM120,000 of election funds belonging to the party’s youth wing in April 2018.
The prosecution, which was led by Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Datuk Faridz Gohim Abdullah from the MACC, later said the offence was a non-bailable one but noted that the court could use its discretionary powers to grant bail.
He said the court should fix RM500,000 with one surety if it wanted to allow bail. He also wanted the court to order Syed Saddiq to report to the closest MACC office once a report.
The DPP also sought a gag order to prevent Syed Saddiq from talking about the case outside the courtroom.
Defence lawyers Gobind Singh Deo and Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan immediately objected to the prosecution’s application for all the conditions against the accused.
First off the mark was Gobind, who objected to the amount of bail sought. He also blasted the other conditions sought by the prosecution.
Gobind shot down the prosecution’s argument that the offence was a serious one and therefore his client should be denied bail.
“They say it is a serious case and the accused holds a high position.
“However, I want to highlight here that the consent to charge him for the first offence was given on Jan 7, which is seven months ago.
“If it was so serious, why charge him only now, three days before Parliament is about to reconvene.
“As for the second offence, the consent to charge was given on August 4, 2020.it has been one whole year and he is only being charged now.”
Gobind also noted that the MACC had recorded Syed Saddiq’s statement on April 1 and 2 last year and his client had been attending every single time the graft busters called him thereafter.
“He was asked to return to the MACC, and he attended every single time…there has also been no report of him disturbing any witnesses or making an attempt to escape.
“They are now making such wild statements from the bar. My client is 29-years old and is not married. He has three siblings and is an active MP in his constituency. Where is he going to run to?” he said.
Gobind said the prosecution’s application for RM500,000 bail was to ensure his client could not come up with the amount.
“I have represented many similar cases, and the bail is normally just about RM20,000 or RM30,000…so why ask so much for this, what about him attending Parliament.”
The application which drew the most venomous arguments from Gobind involved the DPP’s application for a gag order to prevent Syed Saddiq from talking about the case in the social media.
Gobind questioned why the MACC had publicised charges against his client even before Syed Saddiq was charged but was now trying to shut him out.
“You cannot charge somebody and then gag him. If there is anything subjudious said they can always seek court redress after that.
“But why ask for a blanket order…the court does not have such power and this request should be denied,” he said, adding that there was no basis in law for such an application to be made.
Gobind argued that the charges against his client were without any basis, noting that it involved a political party and the defence would go into the details during trial.
Ambiga also objected to the gag order application, pointing out that it was against the freedom of speech which is guaranteed in the Federal Constitution.
“What they are saying is that this court will be influenced by whatever is said outside this courtroom.
“That is an insult to the court. We have a robust democracy and the courts have never been influenced by what is said outside,” she said, adding it was a bad precedent being sought by the prosecution and should be stopped before it got anywhere.
“The court must not encourage this practice…we don’t see it in any other criminal justice system.
“The gag order must be refused,” she said.
Faridz Gohim countered the defence arguments about the dates for consent to charge which had been read out by Gobind.
He said the prosecution had the discretion to charge someone any time after the consent to charge was issued by the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC).
“There is no expiry date for this after the consent to charge is given,” he said.
Sessions Court Judge Azura Alwi eventually set bail at RM300,000 with one surety. She also ordered Syed Saddiq to report to the closest MACC office once a month and for his passport to be impounded until the case is over.
Gobind later requested for time to raise funds for the bail but Azura ordered RM50,000 must be posed by today.
She allowed the defence until Tuesday to raise the balance amount.
The court also fixed Sept 10 for mention of the case.
Several opposition politicians were present to lend moral support to Syed Saddiq.
Meanwhile, MUDA will continue its check and balance on the government – despite charges brought against its founder – information chief Zaidel Baharuddin said.
“The current state of the nation is too ridiculous and if they think that these charges are going to make us be quiet, not organise, or call out the various wrongdoings of the government, they are sorely mistaken.
“As far as we are concerned, the fight goes on, we are not backing down anytime soon. We trust the courts more than we trust the government,” Zaidel was quoted as saying.
He added that Muda members are not surprised that the government had targeted Syed Saddiq.
“Initial feelings are that we are not surprised, with the way this current government is handling itself.”
Zaidel declined to comment on whether Syed Saddiq has received threats from third parties.
“Let’s wait for the court case to go on, because I can’t precede what is going to the investigation. I think Syed Saddiq will tell his side of the story in court.”
Pejuang president Mukhriz Mahathir said Syed Saddiq was not out to make money as a lawmaker.
“There are some people who join politics to enrich themselves, Syed Saddiq isn’t one of them. There are those who come in clean but once in power start to put their hands in the till. SS isn’t one of them. Period!” Mukhriz said on Twitter.