KUALA LUMPUR: The graft case involving Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB) against Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was a political prosecution after the Barisan Nasional coalition was defeated in the 14th General Election in 2018, the High Court heard.

It was not just him as there were more than 20 Barisan leaders who became victims of political prosecution after Pakatan Harapan won and formed the government, Ahmad Zahid said.

According to him, he realised that he would be charged in court after Barisan failed to become the government of the day on May 9, 2018.

At the same time, 15 political leaders from Pakatan had their criminal cases against them withdrawn.

“Among them are Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng, Sungai Buloh MP R. Sivarasa and former PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli.

“Meanwhile, I, along with Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan, Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and 18 more were hauled to court.

“If this is not political prosecution, I don’t know what it is.

“This is a political and selective prosecution,” he said during a re-examination by his lawyer Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal yesterday.

The Bagan Datuk MP was testifying on the stand in his own defence trial in the YAB case where he is accused of misappropriating funds from the charity foundation.

The court also heard how Ahmad Zahid refused to dissolve Umno after the GE14 loss.

He claimed that the criminal charges against him had stemmed from the refusal.

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had “threatened” him to have Umno dissolved, he said.

“If I do not do so, something will happen to me,” he said.

When asked to clarify, Ahmad Zahid said the threat from Dr Mahathir was not specific to YAB – the subject matter in the charges against him – but on his party position as Umno president.

“Of course, the probe and the charges against me that came after were due to the threat,” he said.

This is the second time Ahmad Zahid has made similar allegations against Dr Mahathir.

On June 28, he made a statement from the witness stand that Dr Mahathir had told him to dissolve Umno in a meeting in June 2018, after the 14th General Election because “the party had no future”.

He claimed that Dr Mahathir wanted him to bring over all Umno members to join Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.

Ahmad Zahid also testified that he would not accept financial donations for YAB if they came from illegal sources as the charity fund was meant to help underprivileged people and for religious activities.

“Thus, it is important for me to ensure the donation to YAB comes from legitimate sources.

“As Muslims, we are forbidden to accept money from illegal sources … this is my personal view,” he said when explaining about a RM10mil donation he received from businessman Paul Wong Sang Woo, who is the director of Chia Bee Enterprise Sdn Bhd.

Ahmad Zahid is facing 47 charges – 12 for criminal breach of trust, eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering – involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to YAB.

The hearing before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues today.