Malaysia opposition leader arrested for corruption

This file photo shows Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, right, arriving for a working dinner on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on March 31, 2016. (AFP)
Updated 18 October 2018
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Malaysia opposition leader arrested for corruption

  • Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was detained after being questioned by anti-corruption authorities
  • He was arrested in “relation to an investigation into abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering,” the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission said

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s opposition leader was arrested Thursday on suspicion of corruption, a fresh blow to his party which was ousted at elections this year after six decades in power.
Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, a former deputy premier and ally of scandal-mired ex-leader Najib Razak, was detained after being questioned by anti-corruption authorities. He will be charged Friday.
He is head of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the lynchpin in a coalition of parties that ruled Malaysia from independence in 1957 until their shock defeat in May polls.
The UMNO has been on the ropes since, with many coalition partners abandoning a party that had become synonymous with widespread graft, divisive racial politics and a rotten ruling elite.
Najib has also been arrested and charged over allegations he oversaw the plundering of state fund 1MDB, a scandal that played a major part in the election defeat.
Ahmad Zahid was arrested in “relation to an investigation into abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering,” the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission said.
It gave no further details but local media reported that he was accused of misappropriating 800,000 ringgit ($190,000) from a foundation he chairs to settle credit card payments in 2014 and 2015.
“I urge UMNO members to remain calm and follow the rule of law,” Ahmad Zahid told AFP before his arrest.
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.
“This action is a strategy to portray Zahid as an untrustworthy and unqualified leader,” said Jalaluddin Alias, a member of the party’s supreme council.
Ahmad Zahid, who also served as interior minister in the last government, stuck by Najib even as other senior figures abandoned him over the 1MDB graft scandal.
US authorities say more than $4.5 billion was misappropriated from the fund, with nearly $700 million diverted into Najib’s personal bank accounts. The ex-leader has denied any wrongdoing.


At least one dead in multiple shooting in Dutch city of Utrecht

Updated 2 min 9 sec ago
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At least one dead in multiple shooting in Dutch city of Utrecht

  • Terrorism not ruled out
  • Shooter remains at large

DUBAI: At least one person is dead and multiple others injured in a shooting incident in Utrecht, The Netherlands, according to Dtuch news agency ANP.

Police are not ruling out terrorism as a possible motive in the shooting that left several people “heavily injured” - the shooter remains at large. Police have advised schools in the area to keep their doors closed.

Police have erected a white tent over an area where a body appears to be lying next to a tram following reports of a shooting in the Dutch city of Utrecht, AP reported.

“At 10:45 a.m. local time, multiple shots fired inside a tram near 24 Oktoberplein in Utrecht,” police told Arab News, adding that “there were multiple shots causing multiple, heavy injuries.”

The Utrecht local government has set up a hotline to address queries about the situation.

 

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced that the government is currently holding crisis talks.

The head of the Dutch national counter-terrorism service, Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg, said on Twitter that he was having “crisis consultations”, adding: “Terrorist motive not excluded. Information not yet full.”

 

Local media reports have said counter-terrorism police were seen at the scene.

“Shooting incident... Several injured people reported. Assistance started,” the Utrecht police Twitter account said. “It is a shooting incident in a tram. Several trauma helicopters have been deployed to provide help.”

The 24 Oktoberplein is a busy Utrecht traffic junction, with a tram stop. Tram traffic was temporarily stopped due to the incident, but the trams are currently running again between Zuilenstein, Nieuwegein and IJsselstein.

(With AFP and Reuters)