KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said on Friday (Sept 8) that he did not fault the sections of the country who were upset over the conditional discharge granted to his deputy Ahmad Zahid Hamidi earlier this week.
Mr Zahid, who is Umno president, received a discharge not amounting to acquittal after the prosecution chose to withdraw all 47 remaining corruption and money laundering charges against him.
“I do not blame the people for wanting explanation,” Mr Anwar was quoted as saying by Malaysian national news agency Bernama.
Mr Anwar had previously sought to distance himself from the matter by saying it was the Attorney General’s prerogative to decide such matters.
He reiterated his point on Friday, saying that it was the Attorney General Idrus Harun who made the decision to seek a discharge not amounting to acquittal prior to him being replaced.
“I want to clarify that there was no instruction to the Attorney General. He (Idrus) was involved in continuing the prosecution… then he read the alleged leaked document from the Attorney General’s Chambers stating disagreement with the prosecution.
“Of course, as the prime minister I was aware of the implications of the allegations that followed this decision. In fact, I had to inquire the Attorney General extensively about why his decision was like that and why now?” he was further quoted as saying.
Mr Anwar, who is the chairman of the Pakatan Harapan coalition, said the move would inevitably affect the by-elections for Simpang Jerai and Pulai on Saturday, but said he had no authority to influence the decision.
He also asked those who are unhappy with the Attorney General’s decision to read the reasons given for the withdrawal of the charges against Mr Zahid.
On Monday, the prosecution informed the Malaysian High Court that it was withdrawing the 47 charges from the Yayasan Akalbudi trial against Mr Zahid.
Trial judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah said the prosecution had “given cogent reasons” for seeking the discharge not amounting to acquittal.
Mr Zahid, who is also the Barisan Nasional chairman, had faced 47 charges in the case, including 12 counts of criminal breach of trust, 27 counts of money laundering, and eight counts of bribery. MALAY MAIL