Former Malaysian cabinet minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman was charged this morning (July 22) in Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court for allegedly misappropriating RM1 million (S$322,000) from his former political party, Bersatu.
Malaysiakini reported that the 29-year-old Member of Parliament for Muar, Johor pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The charge read out that Syed Saddiq stands accused of withdrawing RM1 million in a form of a cheque from the CIMB bank outlet at Menara CIMB on March 6, 2020 in his capacity as Bersatu's youth chief.
The withdrawal was done without the approval of the party's central leadership committee, Malay Mail reported. According to NST, the offence carries a maximum 10-year jail term, fine and "whipping".
The report added that he was slapped with a second charge of misappropriating RM120,000 (S$39,000) of his former party's elections fund in 2018, to which he also pleaded not guilty.
NST added that Syed Saddiq was granted a bail of RM330,000 (S$106,000) with one surety for both charges, with RM50,000 (S$16,000) to be paid today and the balance to be paid by July 27.
The night before the court hearing, Syed Saddiq, who is now the founder and president of political party Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (MUDA), claimed that the charges were a threat for him to join the governing coalition, Perikatan Nasional.
In a video posted on his Twitter account, he claimed that for more than a year, he was threatened multiple times to be charged if he did not join Perikatan Nasional.
"Every time there is an important vote in Parliament, I will be threatened [with these charges]," he said in the video, with Parliament reconvening next week for a special sitting on July 26.
He reaffirmed his position by saying that he would rather go to court than to join Perikatan Nasional.
He added that in moments like this, it's a reminder why he joined politics.
Berani kerana benar.— Syed Saddiq (@SyedSaddiq) July 21, 2021
It is in moments like this that i am reminded why i joined Politics.
Truth will always prevail.
Saya lebih rela masuk mahkamah dari masuk Perikatan Nasional.
Bring it on!
Jumpa di Mahkamah KL esok 8pagi & Live FB/insta 8PM untuk pendedahan saya.#Lawan pic.twitter.com/sinWaupIOp
Support from MPs
The Malaysian Insight reported that Syed Saddiq arrived in court at 9am this morning together with his legal team, Gobind Singh Deo and Ambiga Sreenevasan.
Several other opposition members were also seen together with him to lend moral support, the report added.
Former Bersatu member and son of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Mukhriz Mahathir, supported Syed Saddiq on his Twitter account.
He claimed that most some people join politics to enrich themselves but Syed Saddiq was not one of those people.
There are some people who join politics to enrich themselves. @SyedSaddiq isn’t one of them. There are those who come in clean but once in power start to put their hands in the till. SS isn’t one of them. Period! #solidaritisyedsaddiq— Mukhriz Mahathir (@MukhrizMahathir) July 21, 2021
Former Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu from the political party Amanah claimed that he was unsure whether Syed Saddiq's charges were true, or it was a form of political pressure ahead of Malaysia's parliament reconvening next week.
Berikutan berita @SyedSaddiq akan didakwa pagi esok. Saya tidak pasti adakah ia tuduhan yang benar atau tekanan politik menjelang sidang parlimen. Saya yakin beliau akan dibela oleh pasukan peguam yang hebat. AMANAH akan bersama memberikan khidmat guaman buat beliau.— Mohamad Sabu (@MSabu_Official) July 21, 2021
He also added that Amanah, which was part of the coalition with Bersatu to form the Pakatan Harapan in the 2018 General Election, will be giving supporting legal assistance to him.
Top image via Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman/Facebook