Prosecution objects to release of Muhyiddin's passport to attend restaurant opening in Bangkok

KUALA LUMPUR: The prosecution in Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s money laundering case has once again objected to the former prime minister’s application for a temporary release of his passport, this time to travel to Bangkok, Thailand on Feb 15.

In the prosecution’s counter affidavit to the application obtained by the media, deputy public prosecutor Zander Lim Wai Keong said that based on the flight ticket, Muhyiddin is set to leave for Bangkok at 4.20pm on Feb 15.

According to Lim, the purpose of the applicant’s trip is to strengthen friendships and goodwill with acquaintances and attend the opening of a restaurant.

“The grounds are unreasonable and there is no urgent need that justifies the temporary release of the applicant’s passport. The reasons submitted in his affidavit are also without any supporting evidence,” he said.

Lim said the Sessions Court has fixed Feb 15 to hear the prosecution’s application to postpone the trial of the three money laundering charges amounting to RM200mil faced by Muhyiddin, and his application to strike out the charges.

“The applicant’s presence at the proceedings is mandatory. He is fully aware of the matter but still booked the flight ticket for that date,” he said, adding that Muhyiddin still poses a flight risk because he is facing an additional three money laundering charges.

Based on the supporting affidavit of the application filed on Jan 31, the Perikatan Nasional chairman said he applied for the temporary release of his international passport until Feb 23 to travel to Bangkok, Thailand, because his close Malaysian friend wants him to officiate the opening of his new Thai restaurant.

On Nov 29 last year, the Sessions Court allowed the temporary release of his passport to go on a family holiday in London and have a health check-up in Singapore.

Muhyiddin, 76, faces two charges of allegedly receiving RM195mil in illegal gains from Bukhary Equity Sdn Bhd deposited into Bersatu’s CIMB account.

He was also charged in the Shah Alam Sessions Court on March 13, 2023 with allegedly receiving RM5mil in illegal gains. The case was transferred to the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court to be jointly tried.

On Aug 15 last year, the High Court discharged and released Muhyiddin of four charges of using his position for bribes amounting to RM232.5mil for Bersatu, in connection to the Jana Wibawa project.

The prosecution filed a notice of appeal at the Court of Appeal against the decision on the same day and the hearing was set for Feb 28 and 29. – Bernama