KUALA LUMPUR: Former youth and sports minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman pleaded not guilty to misappropriating RM1 million belonging to Bersatu Youth, at the sessions court here today.
He was slapped with one charge under Section 405 of the Penal Code for criminal breach of trust (CBT) over the allegation that he had withdrawn RM1 million in party funds from a bank without the consent of the top leadership.
If found guilty, he will face a jail term not exceeding 10 years and whipping, and also be liable to a fine.
Deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Faridz Gohim Abdullah asked judge Azura Alwi to impose RM500,000 bail with one surety on Syed Saddiq.
He said the amount they sought is “reasonable” to ensure that the Muar MP attends court.
“The bail amount needs to reflect the gravity of the offence. This case involves a political leader and will receive wide media coverage.
“We also urge the court to order the accused to surrender his passport to the court pending disposal of his case,” Faridz said, adding that Syed Saddiq should report himself to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) office once a month.
The DPP also told the court to impose an order to bar Syed Saddiq from commenting about his CBT case, citing grounds of sub-judice.
Syed Saddiq’s lawyer Gobind Singh Deo objected to the bail amount sought by the prosecution, saying that it was too high.
“If this offence is serious, as claimed by the prosecution, why he is only charged now? The consent to prosecute was signed in January, and he is only charged now, a few days before Parliament is to resume?
“There is no complaint of him tampering with potential witnesses. It is a wild allegation,” he said, before urging the court to impose a RM300,000 bail.
Gobind also told the court that there is no reason for the prosecution to ask for a “blanket order” to bar Syed Saddiq from talking about his case.
“A person has the right to state his defence,” he said.
Co-counsel Ambiga Sreenevasan argued that the prosecution’s bid for a gag order on Syed Saddiq is against his right to freedom of speech.
Judge Azura granted RM300,000 bail with one surety to Syed Saddiq.
She also ordered him to surrender his passport to the court pending the disposal of his CBT case, as well as to report to the MACC office once a month.
“There is no need for a gag order,” Azura said.
Gobind asked the court to give the defence until next Tuesday to settle the RM300,000, which the court allowed.
Azura fixed Sept 10 for next mention after Faridz informed the court the prosecution wanted to transfer Syed Saddiq’s case in Johor Bahru to Kuala Lumpur.
By : Ho Kit Yen and V Anbalagan – FMT