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Prosecution objects to written testimony of Zahid’s aide as it’s ‘irrelevant’

Prosecution objects to written testimony of Zahid’s aide as it’s ‘irrelevant’

KUALA LUMPUR: The prosecution in the corruption trial of Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi related to Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB) today objected to a part of the witness statement by his former press secretary, contending that it is irrelevant and inadmissible.

Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran said that part of the statement by Major General (R) Datuk Fadzlette Othman Merican Idris Merican, the second defence witness, will damage the character of Ahmad Zahid’s former executive secretary Major Mazlina Mazlan@Ramly.

“Section 153 of the Evidence Act 1950 should be applied in order to ensure evidence with regards to credibility which has been raised before cannot be raised again because Major Mazlina’s credibility has already been challenged during the defence’s cross-examination. (Otherwise) there will be no end to collateral issues,“ she said.

Fadzlette was scheduled to testify at the trial today. She was press secretary to Ahmad Zahid when he was deputy prime minister, and she is now the media director for the Umno president.

Raja Rozela said Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah has the power to control how much evidence is introduced through witnesses’ statements, as long as the statements are relevant to the main issues in the trial.

“… this witness is here today to read out (the statement). It is definitely, in my humble submission, merely a collateral, secondary issue, a secondary fact which has no bearing whatsoever to the facts in issue.

“So, with that, My Lord, the statement in paragraphs 16 to 30, whether it applies to or makes reference to Major Mazlina, must be ruled as inadmissible on grounds of it being collateral evidence,” she said.

The lead prosecutor raised the objection as it was found that Fadzlette’s witness statement contained attacks on Mazlina’s character as a key prosecution witness.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Zahid’s lawyer Datuk Hisyam Teh Poh Teik requested for time to reply to the prosecution’s objection.

“Fadzlette’s witness statement was given to the prosecution within the 14-day deadline before she took the stand. There was no advance objection from them,” he said.

Raja Rozela then said the prosecution was not required to give notice about their objection as this was basic evidential rule.

Judge Sequerah adjourned the proceedings to tomorrow for the defence to make its submission.

“I think under the circumstances, we will give the defence time to research. So, I will hear the submissions in reply tomorrow morning,” the judge said.

On Aug 30, Ahmad Zahid completed giving evidence to defend himself after 17 days in the witness stand.

Ahmad Zahid, 69, is facing 47 charges, namely 12 charges of criminal breach of trust, eight charges of corruption and 27 charges of money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to YAB. – Bernama