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10 APRIL 2024

Thursday, March 30, 2023

RM10m PKR bond: I was forced to sign, didn't know details - Zuraida

Former PKR vice-president Zuraida Kamaruddin testified she did not know the details of the RM10 million bond that she signed before being allowed to contest in Ampang under the party ticket during the 14th general election (GE14).

In her witness statement against PKR’s RM10 million suit for leaving the party, the former plantation industries and commodities minister claimed that she was forced to sign the document and that she did not know the details of it.

The former Parti Bangsa Malaysia member claimed that she had no time to go through the document as she only received it without any explanation the day before the GE14 nomination in 2018.

Zuraida, who crossed over to Bersatu from PKR in February 2020, testified before the High Court in Kuala Lumpur that she was only told to sign the document and that she was not given any other option.

She claimed that she would not have signed if she had known the actual content of the document. However, due to all the above reasons as well as her desire to safeguard the interest of Ampang constituents, she ended up signing it.

“Honestly, I do not know whether I signed the document contained in Enclosure 1 (RM10 million bond agreement) or not.

“As I have said, I had signed a similar document and other similar documents related to GE14. But I did not read the document’s contents given to me at the material time.

“In fact, nobody explained to me the document’s terms and impact and I also was not given copies of any documents at any time,” Zuraida testified.

Shocking expulsion

Contrary to the previous testimony of PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, the defendant claimed that it does not make sense for the party to calculate the bond at RM10 million involving her only for GE14, contending that the party’s lawsuit is malicious and an opportunity to enrich the party.

PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail

Zuraida also said she was shocked upon finding out through media reports of her expulsion from PKR.

She claimed that before the media announcement of her expulsion, she already replied to PKR’s show-cause letter over three allegations, adding that she felt optimistic and “sangka baik” over her explanation to the party and that she thought the matter could be amicably resolved.

“But I was shocked and did not expect that the party would resort to announcing my expulsion via the mass media.

“I was also disappointed as I felt my presence was no longer appreciated by the party, seeing how easily they expel me without considering my loyalty to the party and its struggle over the years.

“With the expulsion, I felt that my sacrifice for more than 21 years (since 1999 during PKR’s formative years) was no longer appreciated and acknowledged by the party.

“After thinking for a while, I finally made the decision to step down from the party,” said Zuraida, adding that she would not have left PKR if not for the announced expulsion.

The defendant, who was the Ampang MP from 2008 until last year, claimed that this was all the more so taking into account her and several party members being detained under the now-defunct Internal Security Act (ISA) in the early 2000s.

In his testimony yesterday, Saifuddin claimed that Zuraida willingly signed the RM10 million bond before being allowed by PKR to contest Ampang under the party banner.

Zuraida also testified that towards the end of her time in PKR, she had lost faith in the party leadership following party president Anwar Ibrahim’s (and now prime minister) release from jail in 2018.

She alleged that after Anwar’s release from incarceration over the Sodomy 2 case, PKR no longer practises the ideals of justice but instead practises cronyism through the appointment of Anwar’s wife and daughter to hold the highest posts in the party.

She also alleged that despite her meeting face-to-face with Anwar to raise the issue, he ignored her concerns and failed to give a satisfactory answer over a few sexual allegations.

“On the contrary, I found that the atmosphere at the party became more tense and aggravated after our discussion.

“This shows that my views and opinions as a long-time member of the party were no longer needed. But I never planned to leave the party at any time.

“Behind my good intentions to give critique to the highest party leadership for the goodness and continuation of the party, I was instead accused of betraying the party.

“I, who all this while had always taken the effort to uphold the party’s good name, was instead seen as someone who injured the party,” the defendant testified.

June 23 decision on legal action

Following her completion of giving her testimony today, the court then set June 23 for a decision on the legal action.

Zuraida, along with 11 other MPs led by former PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, left the party in February 2020 to support Bersatu, Umno-BN and GPS in forming Perikatan Nasional.

Former PKR leaders Zuraida Kamaruddin and Azmin Ali

This formed part of the Sheraton Move that led to the downfall of the then-Pakatan Harapan administration.

In September of that same year before the High Court in Kuala Lumpur, PKR filed a civil action to demand RM10 million over her leaving the party.

However, in May last year, she left Bersatu to join PBM. In December last year, Zuraida and 10 other PBM members were sacked amid a leadership struggle with incumbent president Larry Sng.

Earlier this year, Zuraida was selected as deputy president of Muafakat Nasional NGO.

In GE15 on Nov 19 last year, PKR's Rodziah Ismail won Ampang with a 29,681 majority, defeating Zuraida (PBM), Ivone Low (MCA), Sasha Lyna (PN), Dr Nurul Ashikin (Pejuang), and Bryan Lai (Warisan), as well as three independents.

The plaintiff (PKR) is represented by counsel Navpreet Singh, while lawyer Nizamuddin Abdul Hamid acted for the defendant. - Mkini

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