Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said a court judge had acquitted him of four abuse of power charges, in a win for the opposition leader days after his alliance gained seats in provincial polls.
(Bloomberg) — Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said a court judge had acquitted him of four abuse of power charges, in a win for the opposition leader days after his alliance gained seats in provincial polls.
“The judge decided that every charge made against me was wrong in terms of the law. That is why my application was approved and I was freed of all charges made against me by some quarters,” Muhyiddin told reporters outside the Kuala Lumpur High Court Tuesday.
The opposition leader was charged with four counts of abuse of power and three counts of money laundering in March, making him the second ex-Malaysian premier to be indicted after Najib Razak. Three companies and an individual had sent 232.5 million ringgit ($50.2 million) to Muhyiddin’s party’s bank account while he was prime minister, according to prosecutors.
The charges were defective, baseless and vague and did not show how the offenses were committed, the Star reported earlier on Tuesday, citing High Court judge Muhammad Jamil Hussin. This prejudiced Muhyiddin as he was unable to prepare his defence before the start of the trial, the judge added.
The acquittal is set to further embolden Muhyiddin’s conservative Perikatan Nasional alliance, days after it made significant headways in last Saturday’s regional elections. The pro-Malay bloc denied the ruling coalition a two-thirds majority in Malaysia’s richest state of Selangor, while also winning most if not all of the seats in three of the six states up for contest.
“We will continue to work hard and explain to the people what certain quarters did to persecute me,” Muhyiddin said.
To be sure, he still has three pending criminal charges, with his legal team set to discuss their next move, according to his lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik. “As a result of the collapse of these four main charges, we are confident that the other three anti-money laundering charges will not stand,” Hisyam told reporters.
Malaysia’s Attorney-General Idrus Harun said an appeal on the court’s decision had been filed Tuesday. Muhyiddin’s three anti-money laundering charges remain and the next court mention will be on Sept. 19, he said in a statement.
–With assistance from Ram Anand.
(Updates with Malaysia Attorney-General’s statement in final paragraph.)
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