‘No se­lec­tive pros­e­cu­tion of Parti Warisan Sabah lead­ers’

New Straits Times - - News -

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.

ABD RAHIM RAHMAT PIC BY

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.

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