Muhyiddin claims he is blameless after Anwar wants to counter-sue for RM200m

EIGHTH prime minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is standing his ground in the FELDA settlers’ debt waiver issue by stating that he would face Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in court for he was never a born liar.

“I don’t lie. My tok guru (cleric) dad had always taught me not to lie,” the Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman told a sold-out crowd at the Munajat Rakyat Kelantan event in Stadium Sultan Muhammad IV in Kota Bahru last night (July 21).

“Of course, I’m not lying for I have the evidence to prove it. So, when he (Anwar) says I’m wrong, he’s defaming me, so I can sue him.”

“Today I received news that he wanted to sue me for RM200 mil by claiming that I was lying. Let us go to court and hope the court will give a fair judgment. I just want to stress that I’m not in the wrong. But this PM named Anwar is ignorant – he does not know what debt is and what sukuk is.”

The feud between Anwar and Muhyiddin revolves around who should take credit for resolving FELDA’s debt woes with Anwar who is also the Finance Minister claiming that he arranged the funds to settle the debt with Muhyiddin asserting that the debt waiver was initiated under his administration.

This led to Anwar issuing a letter of demand to Muhyiddin seeking RM200 mil in damages for alleged defamation related to the debt disposal. He demanded a public apology from Muhyiddin within 24 hours but the Bersatu president refused to back down.

In response, Muhyiddin announced his intention to sue Anwar for defamation, arguing that the documents presented by Anwar did not concern the debt waiver but rather the issuance of sukuk and revolving credit to FELDA.

The conflict between the two leaders escalated as Muhyiddin accused Anwar of incompetence and lacking an understanding of financial matters during his tenure as finance minister.

He claimed that the debt waiver was carried out during his time in government and questioned Anwar’s comprehension of the difference between debt waiver and sukuk issuance.

FELDA, the government agency involved in the debt waiver, has clarified that the assignment for the financial service reserve account (FSRA) agreement is intended to restructure the settlers’ financial commitment, including the write-off of 80% of their bad debts amounting to RM8.3 bil.

The agency further emphasised that it has implemented the debt write-off without any financial assistance from the federal government in 2021 and 2022, hence significantly impacting its cash flow and performance.

The ongoing dispute has created a tense situation between Anwar and Muhyiddin who refused to budge from their stand. As the legal battle unfolds, it remains to be seen how the courts will adjudicate the matter and whether the dispute will have broader implications on Malaysia’s political landscape. – July 22, 2023

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