The Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) is concerned about the recent release of Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who was involved in 47 corruption charges, following a High Court decision of “Discharge Not Amounting to Acquittal” (DNAA) yesterday. We respect the judicial decision.  However, considering that the prosecution had previously successfully proven Zahid’s prima facie case, the prosecution office must provide a sufficient explanation to the public for the “release but not amounting to acquittal” verdict.

KLSCAH believes that the Attorney General’s position is a political appointment and should not concurrently hold both roles as government legal advisor and prosecutor with the power to charge and withdraw charges. Therefore, it is imperative for the government to promptly announce a timetable for implementing prosecutorial independence to restore the people’s confidence in the independent operation of the judiciary.

KLSCAH believes that the unity government needs to assure the people that the “release but not amounting to an acquittal” verdict for Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi does not equate to “test the waters” for the release of former Prime Minister Najib. After all, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim promised a strict crackdown on corruption, but the verdict in Zahid’s case has undermined the confidence of the people and civil society in the government’s efforts to combat corruption. It resembles the past government’s selective prosecution or withdrawal of charges against some political figures, ultimately appearing as a self-defeating move by the unity government.

The fact is that various government units, including investigation and anti-corruption agencies, have invested a significant amount of public funds and government resources in investigating the corruption cases involving Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. They have devoted a considerable amount of time and effort to this. A “release but not amounting to an acquittal” verdict without sufficient reasons is truly unacceptable and unconvincing. The separation of powers among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches has become mere rhetoric. Therefore, rebuilding public confidence in judicial reform is essential. Ensuring that even with changes in political leadership, the judicial institutions will not favor any party in power and that the phenomenon of selectively charging or dropping charges against certain political figures does not persist is something the unity government urgently needs to consider.

The Kuala Lumpur And Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)


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