Malaysia’s slated future prime minister Anwar Ibrahim has accused the opposition alliance Islamist component party PAS of having received illegal funds from the former government’s main component party UMNO led by former prime minister Najib Razak.
PAS (Parti Islam Se-Malaysia) has allegedly been working to cause a split in the country’s current Pakatan Harapan government, an alliance in which Anwar leads the major component party PKR (Parti Keadilan Rakyat).
Anwar dangled what he says is evidence of the Islamist party paying Sarawak Report to quash the defamation case it initiated against Clare Rewcastle-Brown, the Sarawak born blogger who alleged that PAS received money from Umno prior to the general elections in May last year.
The case is now closed, PAS allegedly paid for the expenses – a hefty amount of RM1.4 million – coming from the boss of a government-linked company. PAS is denying it paid the blogger.
But it is the bold stance taken by Anwar – who has stayed away from the limelight for a long time – that is out of the ordinary.
“My name is Anwar Ibrahim, I won’t fight without evidence,” says the PKR leader in an expose on how the funds were channelled to PAS.
“1MDB funds were not channelled directly to PAS but to a former leader. However, PAS did get the money from Umno,” he insists.
The Malaysian anti-corruption agency is still looking into all corners to link PAS or its leaders to an elaborate network of cheats worthy of the bad guys in a maze runner challenge.
The same method was allegedly used by the 1MDB fraudsters who built a network of fake companies, companies using similar names to well-known business entities across the world in a clear bid to hide the sources and the origins of the laundered money.
In the case of the Islamists, Anwar is accusing them of taking Umno’s dole under cover of a similar network, but this time, they used various other parties and companies or NGO’s to streamline the money that, eventually (say those who exposed the crime), went to PAS.
Indeed Anwar expects anti-graft busters to dot the lines and make the link between PAS, the seized assets, Umno and perhaps, who knows, stolen 1MDB money.
Nevertheless, it is the way the MACC reacted to Anwar’s attack on PAS, brandishing a photocopy of what he says is evidence that PAS paid Sarawak Report to agree to close the case of the Rm90 million gift allegedly given by Umno to the Islamists.
PAS is still battling the accusations. Its leaders, the people who received the money in their personal accounts, the GLC boss and many others were called in by the anti-graft agents.
While PAS has left investigation in the hands of Allah, it is certain there will be some fallout from the MACC investigation.
For example, people banking in large sums of money to individuals and NGO accounts will have to explain why these payments were made.
MACC’s forensic department will definitely detect where the transactions started and where it ended.
The recipients of the money will have to give concrete answers. Why did they get the money and where did the money go?
It is a question of time before the story is cleared and the hidden pieces are put together.
On the other hand, the Sarawak Report boss says she had documents to prove that she had been paid RM1.4 million, and was confident it was paid on behalf of Hadi and PAS.
Hadi, the PAS leader, yesterday denied that he or PAS paid off Rewcastle-Brown, as they did not have the financial means to make the payment.