Former sports and youth minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman appeared in court today to face trial of misuse of funds and criminal breach of trust (CBT) involving over RM1 million, allegedly belonging to Bersatu’s youth wing, or Armada.
The trial was scheduled to begin this morning at 9 a.m. before Judge Azhar Abdul Hamid.
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Yesterday, Syed Saddiq took to Instagram to explain the matter, emphasising his innocence and belief that the truth shall prevail, earning the support of netizens nationwide.
The Muar MP, 29, is the latest appointed lawmaker to join a group of politicians facing a slew of alleged corruption in the aftermath of the volatile political occurrences of February 2020.
So how did the man who has been deemed Malaysia’s one shot at revolution and change become involved in such heavy legal proceedings?
Here’s a rundown of how Syed Saddiq began to face conflicts with the law:
March 2020- Syed Saddiq reports RM250,000 theft from his residence
Syed Saddiq filed a police report in March 2020 regarding the thievery of RM250,000 from a safe in his home, despite the fact that there were no signs of foul play. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission launched a probe regarding the issue.
While he insisted that not a cent of the money belonged to Bersatu, netizens sensed that the case was “fishy” as the money was not deposited into the bank despite being such a large sum.
May 2021- He is questioned by cops for a video regarding a custodial death
In May 2021, the Johor federal parliamentarian was summoned by police for questioning regarding comments he made in a 45-second clip posted a month prior on April 28, in which he defended and demanded that justice be served for A. Ganapathy, a milk trader who passed away in police custody in February last year.
Police seized Syed Saddiq’s cellphone after two hours of questioning.
July 22- Syed Saddiq’s first corruption charge
Syed Saddiq was charged with corruption for the first time two months later, on July 22.
He, who was still the Bersatu youth chief at the time, was accused of assisting the party’s assistant treasurer Rafiq Hakim Razali in having committed CBT of the wing’s finances totaling RM1 million.
He was alleged of withdrawing RM1 million using a CIMB Bank Bhd cheque without receiving consent from Bersatu’s supreme governing board, and later charged with theft RM120,000 from Armada Bumi Bersatu Enterprise in Maybank Islamic Berhad for personal use, which reportedly resulted in Rafiq getting rid of the cash.
The sum was presumably made up of political donations for the GE14 initiative created between April 8 and 21, 2018 through a Maybank Islamic Berhad account affiliated to Armada Bumi Bersatu Enterprise at Maybank Islamic Berhad, Jalan Pandan 3/6A, Taman Pandan Jaya.
If declared guilty of these charges under Section 403 of the Penal Code, Syed Saddiq faces a maximum punishment of five years imprisonment and a fine.
August 5, 2021- Two counts of money laundering
Syed Saddiq was then charged with two counts under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing, and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 on August 5, 2021. (AMLA) in a Johor Bahru court.
The prosecution then requested that the lawsuit in Johor Bahru be transferred to a court in Kuala Lumpur so that it could be heard at once.
He was accused of actively participating in money laundering activities, specifically two RM50,000 transactions from his Maybank Islamic Berhad account into his Amanah Saham Bumiputera account, which were thought to be profits made from criminal acts.
The politician was suspected of committing the offence on March 6, 2020, at CIMB Bank Bhd, Menara CIMB KL Sentral, Jalan Stesen Sentral 2, here, under Section 406 of the Penal Code, which carries a penalty of incarceration for up to ten years with whipping and a fine, if proven guilty.
Nevertheless, on March 24, this year, these two consecutive charges were revised.
As a result, Syed Saddiq now faces only two charges.
The Muar MP has asserted that the charges are politically driven because he is blameless and has broken no party policy.
He later left Bersatu to found the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance, which debuted in the Johor election last March.
He has also contended that the charges against him came at a time when he was under strain to endorse the Perikatan Nasional government headed by Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, before the Budget 2021 was tabled.
Today (June 21, 2022)- The trial begins
Syed Saddiq was represented by lawyer Gobind Singh Deo at the first trial this morning. Gobind is also the Puchong MP and a member of the DAP.
The trial was led by Deputy Public Prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin.
The High Court had originally scheduled a 22-day trial to begin on June 7.
When contacted, deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin, who will lead the prosecution team, said that six prosecution witnesses are expected to testify.
Wan Shaharuddin also stated that the prosecution intends to call 40 witnesses during the trial.
The court has reportedly scheduled hearings for June 21-22, July 4-8, and July 18-22.
Just before taking his stand in court, the well-loved politician published an Instagram story, in a positive spirit, thanking netizens for their unwavering support and well-wishes.
He went on to say, once again, that the “truth will always win”.
Following that, Gobind questioned the applicability of a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officer’s testimony against Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman in court today, claiming that the investigator appeared to be unaware of the charges against the former minister.
Gobind took this stance after deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin requested that MACC investigator Mohd Taufik Awaludin give testimony about Syed Saddiq’s affairs further than the purview of his present case.
When the MACC officer said three, Gobind said four and queried how an investigating officer who had been working on the case for three years would not know this fact.
“I was perplexed,” Taufik replied, explaining that he began investigating Syed Saddiq for a separate issue that he argued was related to the current prosecutions, according to Malay Mail.
When he tried to proceed, Gobind asked Taufik to clarify how he came to the realisation there was a connection.
Taufik explained that the first investigative officer revealed the link between the matters when he was replaced, adding that prior witness statements backed this belief.
This ‘evidence’ consists of a thread of text messages discovered on Rafiq Hakim Razali’s cellphone.
Syed Saddiq was charged in the sessions court initially.
However, he requested that the case be transferred to the High Court, and was granted his demand on November 25 of last year.