March 13, 2023
KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Monday claimed trial to one count of money laundering at the Shah Alam Court, in connection with a government stimulus programme during his premiership.
The charge was framed under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001. The Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) chief is accused of receiving RM5 million (S$1.5 million) in Bersatu’s account on Jan 7, 2022, stemming from alleged illegal activities of investment company Bukhary Equity Sdn Bhd.
If found guilty of money laundering, the 75-year-old statesman may be sentenced up to 15 years in jail and fined five times the amount involved, or RM5 million, whichever is higher.
On Friday, Muhyiddin was also charged with multiple charges of abuse of power involving RM232.5 million (S$70 million) in the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court over projects awarded under his government’s stimulus programme.
Muhyiddin, who was Malaysia’s prime minister for 17 months between 2020 and 2021, was also charged on the same day with two counts of money laundering involving RM195 million (S$58.4 million).
He is accused of using his position as former premier and Bersatu president to obtain RM232.5 million (S$67 million) from three companies – Bukhary Equity, Nepturis and Mamfor – and an individual named Azman Yusoff between March 1, 2020, and Aug 20, 2021.
The seasoned politician is also accused of receiving RM120 million (S$36 million) of proceeds from illegal activity from Bukhary Equity between Feb 25, 2021, and July 8, 2022.
Muhyiddin claimed trial to the charges on Friday, which were read before Judge Azura Alwi.
The charge sheet used the name Mahiaddin Md Yasin, the former prime minister’s legal name. Bail was set at RM2 million with two sureties, and Muhyiddin’s international passport will be held until the case concludes.
If convicted, he faces 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of five times the amount of gratification involved, or RM10,000, whichever is higher, for the abuse-of-power charges.
Muhyiddin is the second former Malaysian premier, after Najib Razak, to be charged with corruption.
Najib is serving a 12-year sentence after he was found guilty of one of the charges linked to state fund 1Malaysia Development, Berhad.
He has repeatedly denied the allegations, calling them political slander.