Malaysia's Muar MP Syed Saddiq charged with criminal breach of trust, misappropriating RM1.12 million of Bersatu funds
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman pleaded not guilty to criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of funds belonging to his former party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu).
He was charged on Thursday (Jul 22) at the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur with criminal breach of trust involving RM1 million (US$236,000) from Bersatu, and dishonestly misappropriating RM120,000 in donations for the 14th general election campaign.
For the first charge, Syed Saddiq, who was then chief of Bersatu's youth wing Armada, was accused of criminal breach of trust for withdrawing RM1 million through a cheque without the approval of Bersatu's supreme council.
He was alleged to have committed the act on Mar 6, 2020. The charge under Section 405 of the Penal Code carries a jail term not exceeding 10 years, caning and a fine.
Syed Saddiq was also charged with misusing RM120,000 of donations for the 14th general election campaign, which was raised via a bank account belonging to Armada Bumi Bersatu Enterprise.
This offence was said to be committed between Apr 8, 2018, and Apr 21, 2018. The charge under Section 403 of the Penal Code carries a prison sentence of between six months and five years, caning and fine.
The prosecution was conducted by senior director at the legal and prosecution division of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Faridz Gohim Abdullah and deputy public prosecutors Muhammad Asraf Mohamed Tahir and Mohd Afif Ali.
Syed Saddiq pleaded not guilty before judge Azura Alwi. Bail was set at RM330,000 with one surety for both charges.
The judge also ordered Syed Saddiq to surrender his passport and report to the MACC office monthly, according to the Star. The cases have been fixed for mention on Sep 10.
READ: ‘I’ve learnt things I wouldn’t have elsewhere’ - Malaysia’s Syed Saddiq on Singapore experience
Syed Saddiq contested in the 2018 general election as a candidate of Bersatu, which was then helmed by Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He became the youngest federal minister when he was appointed youth and sports minister under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.
Following Bersatu's exit from PH, Syed Saddiq was sacked by the party in May last year along with Dr Mahathir and several MPs. He later co-founded Malaysia’s first youth-based party Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (MUDA).
Bersatu went on to join forces with other political parties including United Malays National Organisation to form the Perikatan Nasional government. Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin is the current prime minister of Malaysia.
Local media reported that Syed Saddiq lodged a police report over the loss of RM250,000 from a safe in his house in March last year. MACC then opened an investigation paper to ascertain the source of the money and Syed Saddiq presented himself at the graft-buster's headquarters in July to give his statement.
On Wednesday night, Syed Saddiq wrote on Twitter: "It is in moments like this that I am reminded why I joined politics."
"Truth will always prevail. I would rather enter the courts than joining Perikatan Nasional. Bring it on!" he added.