Bersatu was suspended when the fundraiser took place, Syed Saddiq clarifies
23 July 2021
By Ilona Andrew
KOTA KINABALU: Former Bersatu Youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman has gone live on Facebook and Instagram to clarify that the party was already deregistered when he held a fundraiser allegedly for the party's youth wing in 2018.
This came after he was charged in the Session's Court yesterday with two counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT) involving RM120,000 from and RM1 million allegedly belonging to the party. He claimed trial to both charged and was allowed bail of RM330,000.
Saddiq explained that while he did hold a fundraising event, it was held in his personal capacity as a candidate of Muar parliamentary seat during the 2018 General Election, and not for the political party.
The event was held on April 8, days after Bersatu was deregistered, he said.
"Bersatu was deregistered on April 3 and when it was suspended, the party's bank account and programmes were also suspended.
"The fundraiser was held on April 8. So logically and legally speaking, how can that be fundraising for the party?" he stated.
According to the 28-year-old politician, invitations to the fundraiser were extended in his personal capacity and not as Bersatu youth chief.
He said among those who attended the event was incumbent prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who was then the Bersatu president, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as well as Datuk Azmin Ali and his family, who all channelled donations directly to him and not through the party.
"If it is true that the fundraiser was held for the party, the donations would have been channelled through the party.
"Majority of those who attended the event were also not Bersatu members. The organiser was not a Bersatu member, but a friend from university and those behind the drive were a team of volunteers," he asserted.
The former minister of youth and sports also mentioned that he only managed to raise RM120,000, but the amount he spent for his political campaign was more than RM170,000.
"If I wanted to steal the money, my expenses for the general election would be less than the amount that I fundraised as I would have kept some money to myself.
"I withdrew RM50,000 from my ASB savings on April 6 for the fundraiser expenses ... I even had to take up loans because it was not enough to pay the salaries of my staff.
"So how can you say I stole the party's money when I spent so much more for during the general election?"
Saddiq was also accused of withdrawing RM1 million from the party's funds without the approval of the party's supreme council.
He affirmed that he was not the signatory for any of the youth wing's withdrawals and that the treasurer and secretary were the ones responsible for that.
"They knew that this expense was for the purpose and the wellbeing of the people ... We were at the time of Covid-19 lockdown and we needed to help the people.
"I never touched, kept or used this fund for personal purpose. There is a breakdown of what the RM1 million was used for," he said, adding that the RM1 million withdrawn was used to deliver aid to parliamentary constituencies under the party.
The Muar MP also questioned why the charges only took place one year after the order to prosecute was issued.
He indicated that the charge was very likely politically motivated as it befell a few days before the reconvening of parliament.
It was revealed by the Session's Court yesterday that the warrant of charge was issued on August 4 last year, he added.
"As a serving member and someone who has been given a mandate by the rakyat, I feel that it is my responsibility to explain and clarify all of these matters.
"I have my rights to free speech and I must answer these baseless allegations which were made... Not a single cent have I taken from the party.
"I will fight this in court and I have faith in the judges and the court system. I have faith that the judiciary is strong and independent, and will do what is right."