Crime & Justice

Malaysia’s former PM Muhyiddin Yassin charged with corruption

Singapore, Mar 10 (EFE).- A court in Kuala Lumpur Friday charged Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin with six counts of corruption, including four counts of abuse of power and two of money laundering.

Muhyiddin, who was arrested Thursday for alleged corruption related to a pandemic relief fund and later released on bail, appeared at a court in the Malaysian capital to hear the six charges against him, to which he pleaded innocent.

Thes charges include four counts of abuse of power over projects valued at 232.5 million ringgit ($51.4 million) launched during his brief tenure as prime minister between March 2020 and August 2021, and another two counts of money laundering involving 195 million ringgit ($43 million).

In a statement issued Friday, the 76-year-old politician slammed the charges as an “organized political persecution” and said they were designed to tarnish his reputation as well as that of his family and his party.

Muhyiddin was the prime ministerial candidate of the conservative Perikatan Nasional coalition, made up of his Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Bersatu), the Malaysian Islamic Party and the Malaysian People’s Movement Party, in the general elections in November, which were won by Anwar Ibrahim’s reformist Pakatan Harapan alliance.

Since then, Muhyiddin has been one of the most vocal critics of the Anwar administration.

Muhyiddin is the second former Malaysian prime minister to be arrested for corruption. Najib Razak was sentenced in August to 12 years in prison in a case relating to the state fund 1MDB, one of the largest corruption cases in the world.

In a statement on Thursday, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said Muhyiddin was arrested after being questioned over alleged irregularities at the commission’s headquarters in relation to the Jana Wibawa aid fund, intended to stimulate the economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Muhyiddin told reporters last month that he was not responsible for any irregularities related to the Jana Wibawa fund, which has been under investigation for weeks.

Wan Saiful Wan, the information chief of Bersatu, the party led by Muhyuddin, and businessman Adam Radlan have been charged with taking bribes in connection with the fund.

This latest corruption case has erupted with the country still coming to terms with the 1MDB scandal, which came to light in 2015, when a journalistic investigation exposed the siphoning of $4.5 billion from state coffers by Najib Razak and his accomplices, a scandal that contributed to his fall from power as he lost the general elections in May 2018. EFE


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