KUALA LUMPUR: UMNO acting president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Tuesday (May 22) denied claims by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Chief Commissioner Mohd Shukri Abdull that the latter had approached him to ask Najib Razak to step down as prime minister in the wake of the 1MDB scandal.
“It is outside of my knowledge. No (meeting),” the former deputy prime minister told reporters after chairing the monthly UMNO meeting at the party's headquarters.
Ahmad Zahid was asked to comment on the revelation by the MACC chief at a press conference earlier on Tuesday that the MACC had approached several ministers in Najib’s cabinet, to get them to act against the former prime minister over his alleged involvement in the 1MDB scandal.
Ahmad Zahid deflected the question to UMNO acting deputy president Hishamuddin Hussein who just answered: “No", and shook his head.
Mohd Shukri had said that among all the ministers he had approached then (in 2015 when he was MACC deputy chief commissioner (Operations)), only three - namely former Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, former Rural and Regional Development Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal and former Second Finance Minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah - had the courage to speak out against Najib on the matter.
Muhyidddin and Mohd Shafie were later booted out of the government, while Ahmad Husni resigned without completing his term of office.
Mohd Shukri added that he took up early retirement in 2016 because he failed to make headway in the 1MDB and SRC International cases, where millions of ringgit was allegedly deposited into Najib’s personal banking accounts.
The opposition Pakatan Hararapan coalition, which ended the six-decade rule of the country by the Barisan Nasional in the 14th general election on May 9, has appointed Mohd Shukri to lead the MACC in its fight to combat corruption.