KUALA LUMPUR,. Scuffles broke out right outside the gates of the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex here today as Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was being indicted on 45 charges of power abuse, corruption and money laundering.
Red-shirted supporters of the Umno president, whose numbers had swelled to about 250 from earlier this morning, clashed with Light Strike Force policemen after being denied entry into the court compound at about 11.15am.
A team from the anti-riot squad had formed a human barrier around the closed front gates leading to the complex after the demonstrators became more agitated.
Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hassan stepped in, calling for calm and to not interrupt the court proceedings.
“As Umno members, we believe in the public institutions and we trust the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the courts and the police to perform their responsibilities professionally without prejudice,” he told reporters when met at the court complex lobby upon arrival at 7.15am.
He told the crowd the same thing, urging them to have faith in the public institutions and the rule of law.
Mohamad’s words appeared to have an effect as the supporters dispersed at the next police order, albeit slowly.
Other senior Umno members sighted in court today included Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan, Tan Sri Noh Omar, Khairy Jamaluddin, Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin, Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman and party secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa.
Former Umno president and ex-prime minister Datuk Seri Najib had turned up earlier to express solidarity with Ahmad Zahid, but left shortly before the charges were read.
Ahmad Zahid’s wife, Datin Seri Hamidah Khamis, and other family members were present in court today.