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Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court November 24, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court November 24, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 — Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s spending habits and the description of his and his wife’s credit card spending as a “shopping spree” in luxury goods outlets should not have been mentioned in court, the former deputy prime minister’s lawyer argued today.

Zahid’s lawyer Hamidi Mohd Noh today zeroed in on lead prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Toran previously remarking that she could not help but wonder whether Zahid and his wife had the poor in mind when they were shopping such as for Armani, arguing that this was “not relevant at all”.

“The spending habits of the accused being brought into play is not relevant. We must discredit that evidence, especially that part which she said in court, she plays it up, at the end of the day, it was said and reported in the news.

“We strongly object to the use of irrelevant facts mentioned by the prosecution Yang Arif, these highly prejudicial statements.

“We now humbly pray to the court to not take into consideration the spending habits which has no relevance at all. The words of ‘shopping spree’ and ‘had in mind the poor in Malaysia’.

“The defence is highly offended by the use of these prejudicial statements which are irrelevant to the facts in issue,” he said.

Hamidi was referring to Raja Rozela’s last month’s remarks where she acknowledged that the couple’s spending habits would not be part of the legal issue involved in proving the criminal breach of trust charges against Ahmad Zahid, but remarked on the shopping shown.

“When we look at the credit card statements themselves, My Lord, we will be able to see the spending habits of the accused and his spouse.

“Although I admit that this is not an issue, their spending habits is not an issue in our case, My Lord, but one cannot help but wonder whether they had in mind the poor people in Malaysia when they went shopping in Giorgio Armani, Louis Vuitton or Hermes,” she had told the court.

Yayasan Akalbudi is a foundation aimed at eradicating poverty and enhancing the welfare of the poor. It is registered with the Companies Commission of Malaysia, with Ahmad Zahid being a trustee as well as subsequently from June 2013 onwards the sole authorised person who could sign on the foundation’s cheques.

Zahid is accused in this trial of having committed criminal breach of trust involving more than RM31 million of Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds, including over RM13 million paid out using 50 cheques — including the 43 cheques for credit card bills.

In this trial, Zahid ― who is also a former home minister and currently the Umno president ― is facing 47 charges, namely 12 counts of criminal breach of trust in relation to charitable foundation Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds, 27 counts of money laundering, and eight counts of bribery charges.


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