Rosmah trial: Defence recalls ex-education minister Mahdzir Khalid today for further cross-examination

Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court October 4, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court October 4, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 5 — Former education minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid is expected to take the witness stand again in Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s bribery-for-contract trial this afternoon.

Mahdzir, who was the fifth prosecution witness, was recalled by Rosmah’s lawyers to give further testimony.

Defence lawyer Datuk Akberdeen Abdul Kadir told the press that the team is exercising its right to recall the witness in a bid to clarify certain issues.

“We told the court during the cross-examination that we might call him for another round of questioning,” he said without elaborating further.

Mahdzir last testified in February of this year, and shortly before he was released as a prosecution witness at the time, lead defence counsel Datuk Jagjit Singh had informed the court that they might recall him at a later date.

Mahdzir was originally slated to take the stand at 11am today, but Rosmah’s lawyers asked that the session be postponed to 2:30pm instead, as they needed time to prepare. High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan allowed the request.

Earlier in court today, senior deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram had insisted that Mahdzir take the stand today despite the latter claiming to be in self-isolation following his return from Sabah.

“I don’t care if he has to come here carrying an oxygen tank. I want him to take the stand today,” he said.

In February of this year, Mahdzir was painted as a “corrupt” education minister by defence lawyers over his alleged role in awarding the solar hybrid project for 369 rural schools in Sarawak worth RM1.25 to Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd in 2016.

Another witness in the trial, Jepak Holdings business partner, Rayyan Radzwill Abdullah had also testified that Mahdzir had allegedly asked for RM60 million in gratification for awarding the project.

Mahdzir repeatedly denied the allegations while on the witness stand, and even outside court throughout the proceedings.