Malaysia’s ex-PM Muhyiddin likely to be charged on Mar 10: Reports
Mr Muhyiddin Yassin had previously been summoned to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission headquarters to assist in their investigations into the Jana Wibawa aid programme.
KUALA LUMPUR: Former Malaysian prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin is likely to be charged in court on Friday (Mar 10), the chief commissioner of the country’s anti-graft agency Azam Baki told local media.
Mr Azam was quoted as saying by The Malaysian Insight (TMI) on Thursday that the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) president was currently giving his statement at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters.
“He will most likely be charged tomorrow, not today,” Mr Azam was quoted as saying by TMI and The Star.
Separately, Mr Azam told The Star that it is up to investigators to decide if Mr Muhyiddin will be remanded overnight at the MACC headquarters.
Earlier on Thursday, Mr Muhyiddin, who is also Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman, presented himself at the headquarters of MACC.
The night before, Mr Muhyiddin said that he was summoned to the agency at 11am. In a Facebook post on Wednesday night, he denied claims that he had been arrested by the authorities after a Malaysian news portal reported that he was nabbed while on a golf course.
Members from Mr Muhyiddin’s PN coalition, of which Bersatu is a component party, were seen outside MACC’s headquarters on Thursday morning.
Bersatu information chief Razali Idris told local media that Mr Muhyiddin may be arrested on Thursday, though he later said that the party is “waiting to see what happens next”, The Star reported.
Mr Muhyiddin had previously been called to give a statement to the anti-graft agency on Feb 17 to assist in their investigation into the Jana Wibawa programme, though he said then that he was not a suspect in the probe.
Speculation was rife earlier this week that Mr Muhyiddin will be arrested by the authorities over the stimulus aid programme.
The Jana Wibawa programme was an economic generation project during Malaysia’s COVID-19 movement control order. It was a stimulus aid package that was meant to help Bumiputera contractors.
The MACC has been investigating allegations that the chosen contractors for the aid programme had deposited RM300 million (US$67.69 million) into Bersatu’s account.
Two members of Bersatu have since claimed trial in connection to the Jana Wibawa case - Tasek Gelugor Member of Parliament Wan Saiful Wan Jan as well as businessman and Segambut Bersatu division deputy chief Adam Radlan Adam Muhammad.
Separately, another man has been charged for accusing the MACC of offering RM10 million to Wan Saiful to implicate Mr Muhyiddin in the Jana Wibawa case.
Calls for an official investigation into the stimulus spending during the pandemic grew due to perceptions that PN had run a well-funded election campaign leading up to the 15th General Elections on Nov 19 last year.
The probe into Jana Wibawa began after Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim found in his capacity as finance minister that high-expenditure projects such as Jana Wibawa did not go through a tender process.
Several bank accounts belonging to Bersatu are currently frozen by the nation’s anti-graft agency.
A separate probe into Mr Muhyiddin is also ongoing over allegations that a government contract was awarded to a relative during his tenure as prime minister.
He had previously been summoned by the anti-graft agency last month over the contract which was said to be worth over a billion ringgit.
MUHYIDDIN BARRED FROM TRAVELLING OVERSEAS
Local media also reported that Mr Muhyiddin has been barred from travelling overseas.
According to Free Malaysia Today (FMT), Bersatu is challenging the travel ban imposed on its party president in a judicial review application filed in the High Court.
The application by Bersatu said that the travel ban was imposed as “Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim is worried that Muhyiddin will speak about the political changes and developments in Malaysia at an international forum”, FMT reported.
Bersatu further claimed that the travel ban was wrongly imposed and was aimed at tarnishing the Pagoh Member of Parliament’s reputation, FMT reported.
PM ANWAR SAYS NOT INVOLVED IN MACC INVESTIGATIONS
Separately, Mr Anwar on Thursday said that he did not play any role in the anti-graft agency’s investigations into the case against Mr Muhyiddin.
This comes after several Bersatu members claimed that the investigations against their party leader were politically motivated.
According to The Star, Mr Anwar said that each case has to be reviewed based on its own merit.
“If any investigations by the MACC are regarded as politically motivated, does it mean that no one can be investigated or arrested?” he told the media.
He added that the anti-graft agency’s decision to charge several people with corruption are based on documents from the finance ministry.
"What I have said all this while about Jana Wibawa and flood mitigation was based on documents from the finance ministry, not the MACC or Attorney General's Chambers," he was quoted as saying by The Star.