Najib’s Former Deputy Charged as Malaysia Graft Probes Bite

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi left raising the UMNO flag with former PM Najib in 2017

Malaysia's anti-graft agency has arrested a former deputy prime minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, in connection with an investigation into suspected misappropriation of funds from a charity foundation, the agency says. He was freed on bail.

Zahid spent the night in custody after his arrest on Thursday by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Coincidentally, Najib also made a return to MACC - the second time this week - said to answer questions on 1MDB's dealings with Abu Dhabi's state-owned International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC).

Ahmad Zahid is facing 27 money-laundering charges, eight counts of accepting bribes, and 10 for criminal breach of trust.

He left some 90 minutes before Dr Ahmad Zahid was scheduled to arrive.

Lokman, also a member of the UMNO Supreme Council, claimed that Dr Ahmad Zahid was detained because he refused to bow to pressure to dissolve UMNO.

Dr Ahmad Zahid's wife, Hamidah Khamis and daughter Nurul Hidayah were among those present.

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The UMNO quickly came to the defense of Ahmad Zahid, who was elected as party chief after May's polls, and said the arrest was politically motived.

"We shall meet tomorrow (today) at the courts".

"Zahid's image as Umno's president and chairman of BN has been tarnished, this will cause people's confidence towards Umno to decline", said analyst Awang Azman Awang Pawi of the University of Malaya. "Please pray for him", she said.

Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid who is former education minister had spent several hours on Tuesday, being grilled over the case of RM1.25bil solar energy project for Sarawak schools.

Charging Mr Zahid would also raise fears among other party leaders that they could be next, he said.

MACC sources however were tight-lipped when asked if more Umno personalities would be quizzed over questionable activities.

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