'None of your business', Zahid tells Malaysian Bar on DNAA challenge

11 Jan 2024 02:51pm
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi - BERNAMA FILE PIX
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi - BERNAMA FILE PIX

KUALA LUMPUR - Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi described the Malaysian Bar as being selective when criticising the Attorney General's (AG) decision to stop the criminal case proceedings against him on Sept 4 last year.

He said the Bar was "silent, cowed and muted” when a similar decision was made by the previous AG in discharging not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) of several other politicians.

"The applicant is merely a 'busy body' in this case. Only the party who is adversely or gravely affected by the public prosecutor's decision can apply for leave to file a judicial review application in the case.

"I insist that the applicant's action in filing this application is selective, irresponsible and biased. It is trying to portray an image as a champion of justice to society by questioning the decision of the first respondent (AG) and the court in allowing the DNAA in my cases," he said.

Zahid said this in an affidavit filed last Jan 4 to object to the application for judicial review filed by the Bar on Dec 2 which sought to quash the AG’s decision that resulted in the court giving him a DNAA.

The High Court has acquitted not amounting to an acquittal Ahmad Zahid of 47 charges of breach of trust, corruption and money laundering involving Akalbudi Foundation funds after the prosecution informed the Attorney General's Chambers (AGC) Department that it wanted to stop the proceeding.

Zahid, who is also Minister of Rural and Regional Development, said the Bar showed irrational behaviour in questioning the powers given to the AG who is acting as Public Prosecutor as the AG's decision cannot be challenged through a judicial review application.

He said the AG’s decision to apply for a DNAA order was enshrined in the prerogatives and powers of the Public Prosecutor under Article 145 (3) of the Federal Constitution.

The Member of Parliament for Bagan Datuk said the Bar also has no locus standi to file for judicial review.

In the proceeding before High Court Judge Datuk Amarjeet Singh today, senior federal counsel Ahmad Hanir Hambaly, who represented the AG objected to the application by the Bar as Section 254(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code allowed for the AG to apply for a DNAA even after the prima facie stage.

He said the AG could make the application not to pursue a prosecution at any stage as long as the court had not delivered its final verdict.

According to Hanir, the Bar did not fulfil the legal requirement in its application and failed to show how the AG had acted irrationally and illegally.

Meanwhile, lawyer Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, representing the Bar, told the court that he would refer questions regarding its leave application to the Federal Court.

The court set Feb 6 for case management.

In its Dec 2 application for leave, the Malaysian Bar named the AG and Zahid as the first and second respondents respectively.

It sought relief from the court for an order of certiorari to remove and quash the AG's decision on Sept 4 to apply for a DNAA in Zahid's case, and a declaration that the Sept 4 decision was null and void and made in excess of the jurisdiction granted to the AG.- BERNAMA