FEARLESS Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has ridiculed the RM600 bil figure that he was alleged to have embezzled, suggesting that it could be the RM530 bil spent on eight economic stimulus packages during his 17-month tenure as prime minister.
“Of the RM530 bil, the majority of it was non-fiscal, meaning that it did not involve government expenditure,” he penned in a Facebook post in the wake of Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim claiming that investigations have pointed to serious breaches of procedure in the handling of funds amounting to RM600 bil during his administration.
“These include i-Lestari EPF (Employees Provident Fund) withdrawals, i-Sinar and i-Citra worth RM145 bil; a reduction of RM10 bil worth of EPF payments; bank loan payment moratorium for individuals and companies worth RM180 bil; government guarantees for company loans worth RM80 bil and various initiatives to ease the burden of individuals and businesses.”
Maintaining his innocence, the Bersatu president said it is impossible for him to spend the money as they belong to individuals or bank and “did not involve government spending”. “As a PM at that time, I had no power over the use of this money,” he insisted.
Muhyiddin also laid bare a statement by the Finance Minister dayed June 29, 2021 which stated that expenditures involving government money in the form of fiscal injections totalled RM83 bil.
These include expenses for RM5 bil of vaccine purchases and various forms of cash aid for the people such as RM20.92 bil worth of wage subsidies, Bantuan Prihatin Nasional (RM18.2 bil), Geran Khas Prihatin (RM4.21 bil), Geran Khas Prihatin Permai (RM842 mil), Bumiputera Financing Scheme (RM500 mil) and other forms of assistance deposited directly to the bank accounts of eligible recipients.
Stating that he would not embark on a witch hunt at a media conference soon after chairing his maiden Cabinet meeting, Anwar who is also the Finance Minister said he has now handed over the investigation to the relevant authorities.
Such was the first official announcement with UMNO supreme council member Isham Jalil calling for a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) to probe the apparent expenditure of RM600 bil during the Bersatu president’s government.
Isham who is also UMNO’s information chief said this was necessary as the people deserve to know how Perikatan Nasional (PN) funded its election campaign during the recently concluded 15th General Election (GE15).
“The typical Federal budget is RM300 bil (a year) so this alleged spending is equivalent to two years’ worth of Federal spending,” he explained in a video posted on his Facebook page on Saturday (Dec 3) night.
“We didn’t get a chance to question this at the time because there was no Parliament sitting as the country was under an emergency order due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, now we want answers on how the funds were spent.”
Apart from Isham, Amanah’s mobilisation director Mohd Sany Hamzan and Youth vice-chief Ammar Atan and the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) have also recently called for an RCI into government spending during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Anwar said there was no discussion over the formation of a RCI to probe the issue and that he would leave it to the Cabinet to decide the next course of action.
“There were excessive procurements and when they were approved, the mark-up was too high. This went to certain parties, seeing that they had so much money to spend (during the 15th General Election),” explained the Tambun MP-elect. – Dec 6, 2022