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Thursday, September 30, 2021

Sivarasa: Was Ahmad Maslan freed to pave his way to be deputy speaker?

A PKR lawmaker has questioned if the acquittal of Ahmad Maslan of money laundering and giving a false statement was meant to pave the way for the Pontian MP to be the next deputy speaker of the Dewan Rakyat.

"The attorney-general looks completely compromised in the withdrawal of charges against @ahmadmaslan.

"Why is an offer to compound being made after the prosecution has commenced? Is it simply to clear the way for @ahmadmaslan to become deputy speaker?" Sungai Buloh MP Sivarasa Rasiah tweeted yesterday.

Ahmad was named as the government’s sole nominee for the deputy speaker post while Pakatan Harapan nominated Teluk Intan MP Nga Kor Ming as the opposition’s candidate.

An election was supposed to be held when the Dewan Rakyat resumed sitting on Sept 14. However, the vote was abruptly aborted.

The government initially cited plans to create a third Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker position for the opposition. However, it was later revealed that the vote was aborted amid concerns that Bersatu MPs won’t back Ahmad.

Following this, Umno Supreme Council member Mohd Puad Zarkashi called for Ahmad to drop out of the deputy speaker race.

Yesterday, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur acquitted and discharged Ahmad on charges of failing to declare RM2 million which he received from Najib to the IRB and giving false statements to the MACC.

This came after the prosecution withdrew the two charges after the accused paid a compound of RM1.1 million on Tuesday.

For the first charge, Ahmad is alleged to have engaged in money laundering by not reporting actual income in the Income Tax Return Form for the Year of Assessment 2013, which is contrary to Section 113(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act 1967.

He was alleged to have violated Section 113(1)(a) by not stating his real income on the RM2 million he received from former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak in that form.

The other charge was for giving false statements to the MACC when questioned by investigating officer Mohd Zairi Zainal over the issue at the media conference room of the Parliament building between 2.45pm and 3.30pm on July 4, 2019.

The charge, framed under Section 32(8)c) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, provides a maximum fine of RM3 million, or imprisonment for up to five years, or both if found guilty. - Mkini

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