Muhyiddin gets passport to attend opening of friend’s Thai restaurant in Bangkok

KUALA LUMPUR – The Sessions Court today allowed an application by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (picture) for a temporary release of his passport to enable him to travel to Thailand.

Judge Azura Alwi, in granting the application, ordered the passport to be returned to the former prime minister today and to be returned on Feb 23.

She said although there were several restrictions imposed on Muhyiddin, it was not appropriate to prevent him from living his life and fulfilling his responsibilities until he was found guilty of the charges made against him.

“The court also found no evidence that the applicant is a flight risk,” she said at the proceeding which was also attended by the prosecution, represented by deputy public prosecutor Noralis Mat and Muhyiddin’s lawyer, Amer Hamzah Arshad.

According to Azura, the main purpose of imposing bail on Muhyiddin is to ensure his presence in court and among the reasons requiring him to surrender his passport to the court is to restrict his movement until the disposal of his case. 

“Even if the court agrees that the reason for the applicant’s travel is not an urgent need, the court has wide discretion and can be used after taking into account and considering all the circumstances in a case,” she said.

The Bersatu president applied for the temporary release of his passport last Jan 31 to travel to Bangkok, Thailand, to attend the opening of a Thai restaurant owned by his close friend who is also a Malaysian.

Muhyiddin, 76, is facing two charges of allegedly receiving RM195 million in proceeds from unlawful activities from Bukhary Equity Sdn Bhd which was deposited into Bersatu’s CIMB Bank account.

The offences were allegedly committed at CIMB Bank Menara KL Branch, Jalan Stesen Sentral, here, between Feb 25 and July 16, 2021, and between Feb 8 and July 8, 2022.

He was also charged at the Shah Alam Sessions Court on March 13 last year with receiving proceeds from unlawful activities amounting to RM5 million, and the case had been transferred to the Sessions Court here for a joint trial. 

On Aug 15 last year, the High Court acquitted and discharged Muhyiddin of four counts of abuse of power involving RM232.5 million in connection with the Jana Wibawa project.

The prosecution then filed a notice of appeal at the Court of Appeal against the decision, and the court has set Feb 28 and 29 for the hearing. – BERNAMA / pic TMR FILE