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Don't challenge me: Malaysia PM Anwar tells Muhyiddin over alleged government contract breaches

Don't challenge me: Malaysia PM Anwar tells Muhyiddin over alleged government contract breaches

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim speaks during a media briefing at the Ministry of Finance on Dec 6, 2022. (Photo: Prime Minister’s Office of Malaysia/Sadiq Asyraf)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has warned his predecessor, Mr Muhyiddin Yassin, against challenging him to reveal alleged procedural breaches in the awarding of government contracts while the latter was in office.

He was responding to remarks by Mr Muhyiddin, who stated on Monday (Dec 5) that he was not afraid to be investigated after police reports were lodged against him for allegedly embezzling government funds of RM600 billion (USD137 billion) meant for managing the COVID-19 pandemic during his tenure as prime minister. 

Mr Anwar was quoted by Malay Mail as saying on Tuesday: “I want to remind Muhyiddin not to challenge (me) because it is evident there are processes and procedures that were not followed.”

He stated that there were “tens of billions” of ringgit allocated by Mr Muhyiddin’s government that had violated existing rules and procedures. There were even companies with vested interests involving familial links, the new prime minister added. 

Mr Anwar, however, did not elaborate on the companies and the nature of the business they were involved in. 

He was quoted as saying by the Star: "They are not (clean), as it was found that there were approvals done without following the regulations.

"This includes approvals made during the movement control order." 

The movement control order (MCO) was implemented under Mr Muhyiddin’s administration to manage the spread of COVID-19. It included lockdowns and restrictions on social gatherings, among others. 

On Monday, Mr Anwar, who is also the finance minister, said he was informed by his ministry that there had been several procedural breaches during the PN administration, according to Malay Mail. 

This came after the allegations of misappropriation of RM600 billion in funds by Mr Muhyiddin’s administration for COVID-19 funds.

In a Facebook post on Monday, the PN chairman denied the allegations, saying that he is baffled by how critics came up with the amount.

“Not a single cent of this money went into my personal account.

“It doesn’t make sense that the money meant for public aid, which is directly deposited into people’s accounts, could be diverted into mine,” he added. 

Mr Muhyiddin also claimed that these allegations only came to light recently as a way to silence the opposition against the new unity government.

Calls for an official investigation into the stimulus spending during the pandemic have been growing, due to perceptions that PN had run a well-funded election campaign leading up to Polling Day on Nov 19.

On Monday, PN secretary-general Hamzah Zainudin clarified that PN only gave RM50,000 to each of its candidates who contested in the election, according to a report by New Straits Times. 

This comes after Mr Anwar reportedly implied that PN's election funds partly came from gaming companies involved with special lottery draws.

On Tuesday, Bernama reported Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail as saying that he would have a further discussion with Inspector-General of Police Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani over the alleged misappropriation of government funds during the PN administration.

A vote of confidence will be held during the next parliament session on Dec 19 to end the question of the legitimacy of the unity government led by Mr Anwar. 

Source: Agencies/ya(nm)

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