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FORMER deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told the High Court today that a donation of RM13.25 million from a businessman, Junaith Asharab Md Shariff, was meant for Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB) welfare activities.
Zahid, 69, said the donation was not for his personal benefit.
“Your Honour, the donation was not for me personally; it was for charity. I don’t feel anything and that’s normal,” said the member of parliament for Bagan Datuk when cross-examined by deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Mohd ‘Afif Ali.
Zahid is facing 47 charges, namely 12 criminal breach of trust, eight corruption and 27 money laundering charges, involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to YAB funds.
‘Afif: Datuk Seri, not ‘happy’ when people gave donations to Datuk Seri?
Zahid: It was not for me. I didn’t need to be happy; just said ‘thank you’. I didn’t feel anything, it’s not for me; if it’s for me, I would be happy.
However, Zahid said he did not question the source of the donation.
When asked by ‘Afif if the textile wholesaler, Junaith, had asked him about a tax exemption, Zahid said he did not remember.,
‘Afif: Throughout this trial, there was no document showing that the tax exemption, or even information related to Junaith’s contribution to YAB, was ever presented in court.
‘Afif: I suggest that Junaith once asked Datuk Seri that he asked for a receipt to get a tax exemption.
Zahid: I don’t remember.
On YAB funds amounting to RM1.3 million given to the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) Football Association in 2015, Zahid said the funds were in the form of loans and not sponsorships.
He said the funds were requested by his son-in-law, Zul Hisham Zainal, who is also a businessman, as financial assistance to the players and staff of the football association who had not been paid for four months.
Zahid agreed with DPP Nur Aishah Ahmad Zakiuddin’s suggestion that he was the one who instructed his former executive secretary, Mazlina Mazlan @ Ramly, to provide the RM1.3 million cheque to the football association and had signed the cheque.
Asked by Nur Aishah whether YAB, which is meant for charity, can provide funds to the football association, Zahid said if players and staff did not receive their salaries for four months, they would become poor because they were unable to cover their daily expenses, house and car instalments.