Malaysia’s former premier Muhyiddin Yassin charged with corruption

Muhyiddin was also charged with two counts of money laundering involving RM195 million.

Nadirah H. Rodzi

Nadirah H. Rodzi

The Straits Times


Former Malaysian prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin arrives at Kuala Lumpur Court Complex in Kuala Lumpur on March 10. PHOTO: REUTERS

March 10, 2023

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin was charged with four counts of abuse of power involving RM232.5 million (S$69.6 million) in the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Courts on Friday, over projects awarded under his government’s stimulus programme.

Muhyiddin was also charged with two counts of money laundering involving RM195 million.

He is claiming trial to the charges, which were read before Judge Azura Alwi.

Bail was set at RM2 million with two sureties, and the former premier’s international passport is being held until the case concludes.

Muhyiddin, who was Malaysia’s prime minister for 17 months between 2020 and 2021 and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) chief, was detained by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on Thursday, after he arrived at the agency for an interview over the case.

He is the second former Malaysian premier, after Najib Razak, to be charged with corruption. Najib is serving a 12-year sentence after being found guilty on one of the charges linked to state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

The MACC is investigating allegations that contractors chosen for the stimulus programme, known as Jana Wibawa, were required to deposit money amounting to RM300 million in the accounts of Bersatu, in return for projects.

Muhyiddin denied the allegations, calling them political slander.

The Jana Wibawa programme was launched to help bumiputera – a term grouping the Malay majority along with indigenous minorities – contractors during the Covid-19 pandemic. It was conceived by former finance minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz, who is now International Trade and Industry Minister.

Responding to critics who claim that the probe is politically motivated, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on Thursday said the ongoing investigation against Muhyiddin is being carried out independently by the graft busters.

On March 2, the treasurer of Bersatu, Mr Mohd Salleh Bajuri, was arrested by the MACC and remanded for two days in relation to a probe into the party’s funds.

Datuk Seri Anwar, who came to power last November, ordered a review of government projects worth billions of dollars approved by Muhyiddin, including Covid-19 relief programmes, saying that they did not follow proper procedures.

Mr Anwar and Muhyiddin went head-to-head in a tightly contested election last November.

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