Ahmad Zahid’s umrah wish shattered, Apex court denies passport release

PUTRAJAYA – Former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s (picture) wish to perform umrah was shattered when his final attempt to get his impounded passport returned was denied by the Federal Court today.

The Federal Court five-member bench led by Justice Tan Sri Azahar Mohamed, was unanimous in its dismissal of the appeal by Ahmad Zahid, who is facing 47 charges of money-laundering, criminal breach of trust (CBT) and corruption.

The other judges on the bench were Datuk Alizatul Khair Osman Khairuddin, Datuk Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim, Tan Sri Idrus Harun and Datuk P. Nallini.

In delivering the decision, Justice Azahar said the panel found that the Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah had decided sufficiently and judiciously and had also taken into consideration all the relevant factors in dismissing Ahmad Zahid’s application.

He said, they also found that the High Court judge had given his compelling reasons to why he did not exercise discretion in favour of the appellant’s application.

“The high court judge had considered that Ahmad Zahid is facing serious and multiple charges and the dismissing of his application was made to prevent any violation of bail conditions.

“We found that we have no good and valid reasons on why we should interfere with the learned High Court judge’s decision. Therefore, we dismissed this appeal and affirmed the High Court judge’s decision,” he said.

Ahmad Zahid was not present in court today as he had travelled to Pekan, Pahang for the funeral of Pahang’s Paduka Ayahanda Sultan Ahmad Shah Al-Musta’in Billah, who died yesterday.

The panel made the ruling after hearing submissions from lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik who represented Ahmad Zahid and deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Sazilee Abdul Khairi who acted for the prosecution.

The Bagan Datuk MP is appealing against the Court of Appeal’s May 14 decision to reject his appeal over the High Court’s decision on May 3 to dismiss his application for the temporary return of his impounded passport to perform the umrah.

On Oct 19 and Dec 14 last year, Ahmad Zahid pleaded not guilty to 46 charges, comprising 11 CBT charges, eight corruption charges and 27 money-laundering charges involving millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.

On Feb 20 this year, he was slapped with another CBT charge involving RM260,000 belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi. 

The High Court has fixed Nov 18 to Nov 22, Dec 2 to Dec 6 and Dec 9 to Dec 13 for the trial.