However, Judge Mohd Yazid was unpersuaded and found that UKSB witnesses lacked credibility. He found discrepancies between what they told the court and what they wrote in their witness statements.
He also said that the ledger was incomplete. The “remark” column in the ledger was mostly empty, and notations such as “YB”, “Z”, “ZH”, and “Monster” did not conclusively refer to Ahmad Zahid, due to contradictory testimonies by the witnesses.
“There should be no weightage given to the ledger,” the judge wrote. “I hereby acquit and discharge the Accused from all charges without calling his defence.”
Despite the acquittal, the Attorney-General’s Chambers have filed an appeal on the first weekday after the judgment. In any event, Ahmad Zahid still faces 47 charges relating to the Akalbudi Foundation case where he was accused of misappropriating the foundation’s funds meant for an Islamic charity.
In contrast to the UKSB case, the Akalbudi case is a prima facie one that has reached the defence stage at the High Court. A verdict will likely be reached in the next few months.
This means Ahmad Zahid’s relief is only temporary because the timeline for the pending Akalbudi verdict has not changed. Instead of easing pressure on Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob to call for an early election, Ahmad Zahid will likely use the UKSB acquittal to press harder — both for an early election and for the prosecution to drop the case.
The difference is that this time, he could use his UKSB acquittal as proof of the supposed political persecution that was orchestrated during the Pakatan Harapan administration against UMNO politicians.