Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has been granted a discharge not amounting to acquittal (DNAA) on Sep. 4 by Malaysia's High Court in relation to 47 corruption charges.
Discharge Not Amounting to Acquittal
According to the New Straits Times (NST), Zahid was facing 47 corruption charges for misappropriating funds belonging to Yayasan Akal Budi (YAB).
The 47 charges included eight counts of bribery, 12 counts of criminal breach of trust, and 27 counts of money laundering.
But Malaysia's High Court granted Zahid a DNAA for all charges, which means that while Zahid is currently free of the charges, the prosecution is able to refile the charges or reinstate the case at a later time, should new evidence or circumstances warrant it.
The Edge Malaysia reported that judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah granted the DNAA pending investigations from the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC).
Sequerah also warned the prosecution that they would have wasted the court's time and taxpayer money if they did not charge Zahid again.
More time for investigation needed, acquittal appeal pending
These reasons included allowing the prosecution and investigators more time to conduct a more detailed and in-depth investigation, into things such as the testimony of witness called by the defence, to name but one reason.
When court proceedings ended, Zahid hugged supporters and family members inside the courtroom, according to the NST.
His lawyer, Hisyam Teh Pok Teik, said that Zahid's legal team would be filling an appeal for a total acquittal, which would prevent a fresh case being filed against Zahid.
Almost as soon as the DNAA was announced, opposition Perikatan Nasional politicians began to heap scorn on the outcome.
Free Malaysia Today reported that Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS) MP Afnan Hamimi Taib Azamudden sarcastically telling rival Democratic Action Party (DAP) leaders to "stay strong" in this "tough time".
He added that the DAP had spent much time in its first stint in power, from 2018 to 2020, trying to get Zahid imprisoned, implying that the initial prosecution was due to them, but now had to bite their tongue as Zahid's support was vital for the government's stability.To twist the knife, the post included a picture of a pre-2022 GE DAP political post showing Zahid in handcuffs and in jail.
Zahid, in addition to being one of two Malaysian DPMs, is also President of UMNO, which is a vital minority party in Malaysia's unity government. UMNO is part of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition, along with the DAP.
UMNO and PH, and the DAP in particular, had been bitter rivals for decades prior to the formation of the unity government, leading to an unlikely bedfellows situation since the government formed in December 2022.
UMNO secretary-general Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki defended his president by striking out at the former PH ally Bersatu, which is now allied with PAS under PN.Asyraf said that then-Prime Minister and Bersatu head Mahathir Mohamad, who is himself currently under investigation for sedition, had instigated the charges in 2018 as "desperate" political ploy, according to the Malay Mail.
The political persecution had continued under Mahathir's successor Muhyiddin Yassin, who is currently a leader of opposition PN.
The government of Anwar Ibrahim had retained the Attorney General and Police Chief of Muhyiddin, but the pair had finally made the "right decision" of ending the allegations.
Left unsaid was that in 2018 Mahathir's government had been supported by Anwar's PH, including the DAP.
This is not the first time that Zahid has had charges dropped against him. In September 2022, Zahid managed to get 12 charges of graft dropped against him.
Now with the DNAA, Zahid is, for the moment, entirely free of corruption charges.
Top image via Zahid Hamidi/Facebook