‘No selective prosecution of Parti Warisan Sabah leaders’
PUTRAJAYA: Umno Grassroots Movement (GAUM) chairman Datuk Zulkarnain Mahdar yesterday rubbished claims that there is selective prosecution of Parti Warisan Sabah leaders.
He said the alleged embezzlement involving projects under the Rural and Regional Development Ministry was raised in 2011.
“This was reported by an opposition-friendly portal, Malaysiakini, quoting Kota Kinabalu member of parliament Dr Hiew King Cheu (DAP) in 2011,” he said after submitting new information, including documents, to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
The matter was also reported to MACC and police by the opposition back then, he added.
He said the opposition’s accusation that the prime minister and Sabah chief minister had ordered for the probe to be carried out because the general election was drawing near was unfounded.
“They claim that this is a clear sign that Barisan Nasional is afraid of Parti Warisan Sabah, which is illogical.
“I am part of the election machinery and we are ready to face Parti Warisan Sabah in the coming general election.”
Zulkarnain said he had been told by MACC that it would take time for any action to be taken relating to the case .
“It was only a coincidence that things started to happen this year, about six years later.”
He believed MACC would swing into action even if former rural and regional development minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal was still in office.
Shafie is Parti Warisan Sabah president and his younger brother had been detained by MACC to assist in its investigations.
Up to 350 projects under the ministry were reported to be on MACC’s radar over allegations of the embezzlement of RM1.5 billion of federal funds meant for rural development projects in the state.
The projects were carried out between 2010 and last year in nine districts in the state — Kota Kinabalu, Kudat, Kota Belud, Ranau, Beaufort, Keningau, Lahad Datu, Tawau and Sandakan.
MACC has estimated that RM1.5 billion was siphoned off from the RM7.5 billion allocated for projects in Sabah involving water, electricity and road infrastructure development.
It is learnt that the ministry awarded the projects to 260 companies but initial investigations by MACC had revealed that the selection of 65 of the companies was made under dubious circumstances, as some were awarded with more than two projects.
MACC recently had revealed that more than 60 companies were under investigation and 32 witnesses from various backgrounds had been identifed to facilitate the probe.
On his visit to MACC, Zulkarnain said he could not divulge details of the information he had submitted to the anti-graft body.
“MACC has told me that it will look through what I have given it today (yesterday) and I am ready to cooperate with the commission (if the need arises).”
Should there be more new information, Zulkarnain said he would bring it to MACC.
He said issues relating to Shafie’s former ministry came to light because the ex-minister had kept those in Sabah in the dark of projects being carried out in the state.
Umno Grassroots Movement chairman Datuk Zulkarnain Mahdar (centre) showing a 2011 Malaysiakini report on the alleged embezzlement involving projects in Sabah outside the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s office in Putrajaya yesterday.