KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26 — Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi filed an application at the High Court to have his passport returned permanently to him, to enable him to carry out his official duties as deputy prime minister.
The passport was previously surrendered to the court as an additional bail condition after he was charged with 47 charges of corruption, criminal breach of trust and money laundering involving Akalbudi Foundation funds, of which the proceedings are now at the defence stage.
Through an affidavit in support of the application, Ahmad Zahid, 70, said that the application was bona fide (in good faith), and only aimed to apply for permission to issue a passport so that he could carry out his official duties smoothly.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also the Minister of Rural and Regional Development, said he has some constraints to carry out his duties like other ministers because he does not have access to his passport.
“As the deputy prime minister, I have received the mandate and responsibility from the 10th Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, to represent him in several administrative matters,” he said, having filed the notice of application, along with the supporting affidavit, at the High Court here, on Jan 20.
To enable smooth movement in his official capacity as the deputy prime minister, Ahmad Zahid said he was required to be in and out of the country, and this would necessitate him holding his own passport.
In addition, Ahmad Zahid said that he needed the passport because it was required for his application to obtain a diplomatic passport from the Immigration Department, for official business inside and outside of the country.
“It is appropriate for the court to consider that the approval of the application will bring good and continuity to the administration of Malaysia, which is the responsibility of every citizen in this country,” he said in the affidavit.
In the meantime, Ahmad Zahid said the application was not mala fide (malicious) or prejudiced against any parties, because he promised to continue to give full cooperation for the disposal of the case until the end of his defence case.
“I am giving my word that I will comply with all the conditions set forth by the court, and will give full cooperation to attend the trial on the dates that have been set,” he explained.
According to him, the application can thus reduce the number of applications for the temporary release of the passport, in order for him to go abroad for official business.
The Member of Parliament for Bagan Datuk said he has no intention of fleeing the country and not attending the court proceedings because he is still an MP and active in the political field, besides, all his family members are in the country.
Thus, Ahmad Zahid applied for the court to waive the additional condition of bail, which is the surrender of the passport to the court, and request that it be returned to him permanently as soon as possible, in addition to maintaining the RM2 million bail with one surety imposed on him.
Today is set for case management for the application before High Court deputy registrar, Nurul Ain Hamzah, attended by deputy public prosecutor, Abdul Malik Ayob and lawyer Nabihah Meor Azli, representing Ahmad Zahid.
The court set further case management on Feb 3.
The defence has called six witnesses, including Ahmad Zahid, which will resume on April 10, before Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah.