Malaysia charges ex-PM Mahathir's key ally in corruption probe

Malaysia's former finance minister Daim Zainuddin arrives at the Kuala Lumpur court complex in Kuala Lumpur. (Photo/Reuters)

Malaysia has charged a former minister with failing to declare assets, the latest step in a corruption probe that's targeting several people connected to a former prime minister.

Former Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin, 85, who was just discharged from hospital, turned up in court in a wheelchair on Monday.

He pleaded not guilty to a charge of failing to declare 71 assets ranging from luxury cars to a raft of companies, properties and land. He faces up to five years in jail and a fine if found guilty.

Daim, who left office more than 20 years ago, is a key ally of ex-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Both argue that the probe is politically motivated and that prosecutors have ignored potential corruption among allies of the current government.

Daim served as Finance Minister from 1984 to 1989 and again from 1999 to 2001 under Mahathir.

'I fear for the fate of my country'

Daim pointed to the case of Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who also faced trial for corruption until prosecutors dropped 47 graft charges against him last year.

Last week, Daim's wife also pleaded not guilty to a similar charge. Daim, one of the country's wealthiest tycoons, insists his offshore assets were the result of legitimate business activities and investments.

The anti-graft agency has asked both Mirzan and his brother Mokhzani to declare their assets.

Mahathir was Malaysia's longest serving-leader, holding office for 22 years before he stepped down in 2003, and again from 2018-2020. He now supports the opposition Malay-Islamic alliance.

Mahathir, 98, has said he believes Anwar is fishing for evidence to implicate him.

The two men have a long history that has shaped Malaysian politics. Anwar was Mahathir's designated successor in the 1990s before they fell out amid the Asian financial crisis.


Source: TRT