Lawyer confirms Zahid is Covid-19 negative in second test

Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur September 21, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur September 21, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23 — Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s second Covid-19 test has returned negative, his lawyer confirmed today.

“Negative,” Zahid’s lead defence lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik told Malay Mail this morning when contacted.

Zahid, who is also Bagan Datuk MP, is on trial for 47 counts of corruption when he was home minister from 2013 to 2018.

His trial was paused two days ago after another one of his lawyers, Hamidi Mohd Noh sought the High Court’s permission to vacate hearing pending the results of a Covid-19 swab test, the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) — which is considered to produce more accurate results.

The first test was understood to be a Rapid Test Antigen Kit (RTK) test, which the Health Ministry previously said may produce false negative results for an average of one in 10 people.

Hamidi told High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah on Monday that Zahid’s second test results were expected to be available by Tuesday evening. He did not disclose in court the reason why Zahid went for the two Covid-19 tests.

A check of Zahid’s official Facebook page indicated that he was in Sabah last week and throughout the weekend in conjunction with the Sabah election campaign.

Justice Sequerah agreed to the defence lawyer’s request, adding that the trial would resume next Monday as previously scheduled if the second test returned negative as well.

Zahid was said to have gone for testing at the private KPJ Tawakkal Hospital here on Monday when the court broke for lunch.

Zahid’s previously scheduled trial dates for September were September 21-22, 28-30, with other trial dates scheduled from October until next March.

The campaign period for the Sabah state election is for two weeks from September 12 to September 25, with polling this Saturday.

Last month, Zahid succeeded in having his pre-scheduled trial dates of September 23 to September 25 vacated, as he intended to go to Sabah to assist in BN’s election campaign on those days and as his lead defence lawyer Hisyam would be handling other court cases in Putrajaya on September 23 and September 24.

In this trial, Zahid ― who is also a former deputy prime minister and former home minister ― is facing 47 charges, namely 12 counts of criminal breach of trust in relation to charitable foundation Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds, 27 counts of money-laundering, and eight counts of bribery charges.

Also on Monday, Umno supreme council member Datuk Mohd Razlan Muhammad Rafii was reported as having tested positive for Covid-19 while campaigning in Sipitang, Sabah via a rapid test kit, and was also reported as waiting for the results of a RT-PCR test with hopes of getting a false positive result.