Zahid’s trial to proceed on Sept 6

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The High Court today fixed Sept 6 for submissions in Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s corruption case.

This was after a doctor who is treating the Umno president said it was possible for Zahid to attend the proceeding in court.

Dr Mohd Shahir Anuar, who had been subpoenaed by the court to explain Zahid’s medical condition, said this after he was asked by judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah whether the former deputy prime minister would be able to sit in for the hearing on Sept 6.

Zahid, 68, had been admitted to the Avisena Specialist Hospital in Shah Alam on Sunday due to injuries he sustained as a result of a fall.

He then underwent a pain intervention procedure, yesterday.

Dr Shahrir said it was possible for Zahid to come to court for the hearing on that day, if he does not sit longer than 30 to 45 minutes.

He said considering the severity of the pain, Zahid would need between four to six weeks to be fit to attend court proceedings.

Sequerah: In your opinion would the patient be in the position to come to court on Sept 6 just to sit down and after 30 or 40 minutes, there will be a break. Will he be able to do that?

Dr Shahir: I think it (the time) is too short.

Sequerah: He is just required to sit, after intervals, he can take a break. Will he be able to do that with pain killers?

Dr Shahir: I think it’s possible, but I would say that my professional advice is after four weeks.

The doctor earlier explained that the accused told him that he had slipped in the bathroom at his house on Wednesday and landed on his buttocks.

“He (Zahid) basically had severe neck pain and thoracic pain. As I mentioned in my medical report, he already has cervical slip disc before which was operated on in Munich, Germany, before the fall occurred,” he said.

Dr Shahrir added that after the surgery, Zahid can walk but would not be able to sit or stand for a prolonged time as that would cause even more pain to him.

FMT

“I usually advise my patients, not only him (Zahid), to stand up every 30 to 45 minutes (of sitting),” he added.

Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran then brought up the issue of Zahid’s presence at Istana Negara for an audience with the King on Aug 19, a day after the alleged fall as well as on Aug 21 for the Prime Minister’s swearing-in ceremony.

“I watched it (the ceremony) from start to finish, your patient (Zahid) was there…the pain he described did not prevent him from driving or to be driven all the way to Istana Negara and he sat there at least an hour or more until the closing of the ceremony.

“That kind of pain could not have prevented him, or did not prevent him,” she said.

She then alleged that Zahid was actually malingering as he was seen out and about at the Palace after the alleged fall and only went to see the doctor five days later.

Raja Rozela: I put it to you, he (Zahid) is actually malingering because he has been seen by the whole nation basically that he is able to walk, he is able to sit, able to go around to the Palace as normal.

Dr Shahir: I disagree. As a doctor, we have to trust our patient. Unless I don’t do anything, like the MRIs or scans.

Raja Rozela: With all due respect, I am not questioning your ability, this is not about your treatment. You are expected to give a fair view. You are not under cross-examination.

The DPP then asked why the doctor only performed the pain intervention procedure on Zahid two days after the accused’s admission to the hospital.

Dr Shahir replied that he needed to stabilise his patient’s condition prior to the procedure as the latter was already on medication and was also diabetic.

During proceedings, the doctor also checked the wooden bench in the accused dock and said that it was not suitable for patients with back pain to sit on.

He suggested that the court provide Zahid with a chair padded with a cushion.

The judge then maintained the hearing date for the submission.

Yesterday, Sequerah issued a subpoena on the doctor to explain to the court Zahid’s medical condition following the latter’s no-show for the hearing of submissions at the end of the prosecution in his case.

In issuing the subpoena, the judge said he needed to find out from the doctor himself about the procedure the accused has to undergo and to ascertain the recovery period as the court could not afford any more postponements of the trial.

On March 19, the prosecution concluded its case after calling 99 witnesses to testify in the trial which lasted for 53 days.

Zahid, 68, had on Oct 19 and Dec 14, 2018, as well as Feb 20, 2019, pleaded not guilty to a total of 47 charges, 12 of which are CBT, eight for bribery and 27 for money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.

For the 12 CBT charges, Zahid was alleged to have used the funds to make payments for personal credit cards, insurance policies and licence for his personal vehicles, remittances to a law firm, and contributions to the Royal Malaysia Police football association.

The charge, under Section 409 of the Penal Code, provides for a jail term of between two and 20 years, and with whipping, and fine, upon conviction.

Zahid was also charged with eight counts of receiving bribes from three companies, namely Mastoro Kenny IT Consultant & Services, Data Sonic Group Bhd, and Profound Radiance Sdn Bhd as an inducement for him, in his capacity as the then Home Minister, to help the companies obtain MyEG projects, for the supply of passport chips and to be appointed the operator of migrant visa one-stop centres in Pakistan and Nepal, respectively.

If convicted, he faces a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the bribe amount or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

The Bagan Datuk member of parliament also faces 27 money-laundering charges by engaging in direct transactions involving proceeds from illegal activities.

He was charged under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, for which the penalty upon conviction, provides a maximum 15-year jail term and a fine of up to five times of the proceeds from the illegal activities or RM5 million, whichever is higher, if convicted.

All the offences were allegedly committed between Jan 13, 2014, and April 11, 2018. – NST