Four down, three to go: Decision in Muhyiddin’s Jana Wibawa corruption case puts spotlight on AGC, govt

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s acquittal on four corruption charges in the Jana Wibawa case has put the spotlight on the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the government after the former prime minister claimed the charges against him were politically motivated, says political analyst Associate Professor Dr Azeem Fazwan Ahmad Farouk.

Azeem said the court’s decision raises two important questions:

  • Why was the charge sheet incomplete for such a high-profile case?
  • Will Muhyiddin’s ‘victory’ further strengthen support for Perikatan Nasional, following the outcome of the recent state elections?

Earlier today, Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin said Muhyiddin’s four corruption charges linked to the Jana Wibawa programme were not in accordance with Sections 152 and 153 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Muhammad Jamil said the “charges brought by the prosecutor did not disclose any offence, that the charges are defective, and there was an abuse of process”. He also added that the charges lacked sufficient particulars as required under Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

“The court’s decision will get people talking on whether the prosecution should have taken their time to build an iron-clad case against Muhyiddin. It also gives the impression that the cases were rushed, just before the recent state elections,” said Azeem.

He said the narrative by Muhyiddin’s supporters is that the government had exerted pressure to punish a political rival ahead of the state polls.

“Muhyiddin had also claimed that he is a victim of political persecution. Today’s decision gives credence to the suggestion.”

Muhyiddin’s Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) Youth chief, Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal, has called for the MACC chief, Tan Sri Azam Baki, and Attorney-General Tan Sri Idrus Harun, to step down, as “the court’s ruling demonstrated how unfounded and unjustifiable the accusations against Muhyiddin were”.

Besides these four charges, Muhyiddin is also facing three others – two counts of receiving RM195 million in funds from unlawful activities between Feb 25 and July 16, 2021, and Feb 8 till July 8 last year, and one more count of receiving RM5 million from Bukhary Equity Sdn Bhd, that were allegedly proceeds from unlawful activities on Jan 7, last year.

Azeem also said Muhyiddin, as leader of Bersatu and its Perikatan Nasional coalition, made inroads in the state elections despite the charges hanging over him.

“Although PN failed to take Penang, Selangor, and Negeri Sembilan, it increased its presence in all three states,” said Azeem.

“They also nearly blanked out the Pakatan Harapan-Barisan Nasional alliance in Kedah, Kelantan, and Terengganu, losing just five seats and winning 108.

“The government must be worried, that despite facing seven charges, Muhyiddin was still a force in the elections,” he added.

The Attorney-General’s Chambers, in a statement today, said the prosecution has filed a notice of appeal against the High Court’s decision.

“The prosecution would like to explain that the application heard by the High Court today to strike out the case was only for the four charges under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act. Three other charges under Section 4(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLATFPUAA) still remain and the case is set for mention at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court on Sept 19,” the statement read.

Muhyiddin’s lead counsel Datuk Hisyam Teh Pok Teik had this morning told reporters during a press conference that the three charges under (AMLATFPUAA) would not stand as it is predicated to the main charges which were dropped today.

Hisyam said the legal team will be meeting in the next few days to discuss the three remaining charges.