By Nurbaiti Hamdan | The Star

The Sessions Court here has allowed Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin access to his passport for an overseas trip to attend the opening of a restaurant in Bangkok.

Sessions judge Azura Alwi, in her decision on Thursday (Feb 8), agreed with the prosecution’s submission that Muhyiddin’s trip was not urgent but noted that the court has a wide discretion to consider such applications.

Muhyiddin’s passport was surrendered to the court as part of the bail conditions in his money laundering case and to serve as a travel restriction.

“Although the applicant has been imposed with (travel) restriction, bail, and bail conditions, it is unreasonable to stop the applicant from living his life and doing his duty as per normal as he has not been convicted,” the judge said.

Based on the supporting affidavit of the application filed on Jan 31, the Perikatan Nasional chairman and Bersatu president said he applied for the temporary release of the passport until Feb 23 to travel to Bangkok because his close Malaysian friend wants him to officiate the opening of his new Thai restaurant.

Earlier, the court heard from Muhyiddin’s lawyer, Amer Hamzah Arshad, who submitted that his client was not a flight risk and should be allowed his application to have his passport returned temporarily.

According to Amer, the trip involved networking, which was part of a politician’s job.

“Being a politician or a former prime minister, it is not uncommon for them to be called to officiate functions, be it a business function or a personal one,” he said.

The lawyer gave assurance that his client would come back for his court dates.

Meanwhile, Deputy Public Prosecutor Noralis Mat objected to the application on grounds that it was frivolous, not urgent, and vague.

She said, “If this application is allowed, it would burden other parties, especially the respondent (the prosecution). “