KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 25): The High Court has allowed the transfer of Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman’s trial for alleged misappropriation of funds and money laundering from the Sessions Court to the High Court.

Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan on Thursday allowed the transfer of the four charges involving criminal breach of trust (CBT), misappropriation of funds and money laundering of more than RM1 million due to “unusual questions of law that will arise” in the case.

“I am convinced there are likely to be unusual questions of law that will arise, and that it will be expedient for the ends of justice for the case of the applicant (Syed Saddiq) to be tried before the High Court. The application is therefore allowed,” Justice Zaini said.

Before he made his decision, Justice Zaini heard arguments for the transfer from Syed Saddiq’s lawyer Gobind Singh Deo and arguments against the transfer from Deputy Public Prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin.

The judge agreed with Gobind’s argument that potential issues might crop up if the case is tried at the Sessions Court because it cannot deal with issues of constitutionality.

He said that if issues of constitutionality are brought up at the trial in the Session’s Court, it will need to be referred to the High Court which could result in a disruption of the case.

“But if the trial is held here [at the High Court,] we can handle it (issues of constitutionality), it’s like a one-stop centre,” Justice Zaini said in response to Wan Shaharuddin’s arguments.

The trial is up for mention at the Sessions Court on Tuesday (Nov 30) where parties will inform the court that the case is to be transferred to the High Court. 

Syed Saddiq’s charges

For the first charge, Syed Saddiq was charged as Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) Youth (Armada) chief, who had been entrusted with control of the Armada fund, with committing CBT by withdrawing RM1 million through a CIMB Bank Bhd cheque without obtaining permission from the Bersatu supreme leadership council.

He was charged with committing the offence at a CIMB Bank Bhd branch at Menara CIMB KL Sentral, Jalan Stesen Sentral 2, here on March 6, 2020, under Section 405 of the Penal Code, which is punishable under Section 406 of the same code, providing maximum imprisonment of 10 years with whipping, and a possible fine, if convicted.

The former youth and sports minister also faces a charge of misusing RM120,000 in donations meant for the GE14 campaign collected through the Maybank Islamic Bhd account owned by Armada Bumi Bersatu Enterprise.

The act was allegedly committed at Maybank Islamic Bhd, Taman Pandan Jaya here between April 8 and April 21, 2018, according to Section 403 of the Penal Code, which carries a jail term of up to five years with whipping and a possible fine, if convicted.

On Aug 5, at the Johor Bahru Sessions Court, Syed Saddiq was charged with two counts of engaging in money laundering activities, namely two transactions of RM50,000 from his Maybank Islamic Bhd account into his Amanah Saham Bumiputera account, which is believed to be proceeds of illegal activities.

He was alleged to have committed the acts at a bank in Jalan Persisiran Perling, Taman Perling here on June 16 and June 19, 2018.

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