Prosecution warns Zahid about ‘coffee shop’ behaviour in court

In his corruption trial, Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is testing the patience of the prosecution team by not answering specifically when requested to do so. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, June 30, 2022.

PROSECUTING counsel today reprimanded Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for providing unnecessary explanations to specific questions during his trial at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Raja Rozela Raja Toran told the former deputy prime minister that he should not consider the court a ‘coffee shop’ or an Umno Supreme Council meeting while answering questions.

Raja Rozela asked the former deputy prime minister if he agreed to the suggestion that his former executive secretary Maj Mazlina Mazlan Ramly could not touch the money in the fixed deposit account at Messrs. Lewis & Co.

Raja Rozela had to repeat the question several times and reprimanded him to answer it specifically, to which Zahid finally answered: “Agree”.

Raja Rozela said: “Please be careful, sir. You’re currently in court and not at a coffee shop, or a supreme council meeting. I am reminding you as an officer of the court.”

Earlier in the cross-examination, Raja Rozela had also reprimanded Zahid for similar behaviour regarding the Akalbudi Foundation funds transferred to the Lewis & Co fixed deposit account.

“Sir, you must learn to respect the court. When I ask a question and the question is specific, please answer the question specifically unless I ask you to provide an explanation.

“I am a court officer. I and my learned colleagues are court officials. We are tasked to conduct these proceedings for this court. I urge you to please focus, otherwise, we will be here all day,” she said.

Lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, who represented Zahid then asked that his client should be given an opportunity to give an explanation.

High Court Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah replied that the prosecution was of the view because Zahid did not answer the questions specifically, and instead provided explanations.

“Sometimes witnesses are given the opportunity to give an explanation, but when asked whether the witness agrees or not, the witness only has to answer whether he does so or not.

“That is why the prosecution thinks so,” Lawrence said.

On January 24, the court ordered Zahid to enter his defence for 12 charges of criminal breach of trust, eight of corruption and 27 of money laundering of tens of millions of ringgit belonging to Akalbudi Foundation after finding that the prosecution had successfully made its case.

The trial continues. – Bernama, June 30, 2022.

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