Anwar on Bersatu’s frozen accounts: Won’t be afraid if clean

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

PETALING JAYA, Feb 6 — Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia should be prepared to cooperate with enforcement agencies after its accounts were frozen for an investigation, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today.

Anwar pointed out that corruption had already become systemic in Malaysia, and this was a complex and difficult problem, before urging political parties not to make excuses but to cooperate.

Pleading with the public to cooperate and support good governance, Anwar said the unity government was determined to stop abuses of power and corruption, and said such efforts — which cuts across all parties, races and territories — are to save Malaysia as it was on the edge of destruction due to such abuses.

“Therefore, political leaders, don’t use religious excuses, racial excuses to dispute the act of eradicating corruption,” he said after a PKR leadership meeting.

He highlighted that the freezing of bank accounts of political parties is not a new thing, and that Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had in the past backed such actions by anti-corruption investigators against Umno.

“When the party Umno’s accounts were frozen, Tan Sri Muhyiddin gave strong support towards the duties, the professionalism of the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission). Now the freeze was carried out on Bersatu’s accounts in large amounts and were also linked to several government decisions under his leadership.

“They should be prepared to provide explanations where needed and not to interfere with enforcement bodies, whether it is the police, LHDN (Inland Revenue Board) or MACC.

“And if there is prosecution, let the judiciary act independently,” the PKR president said at a press conference at the PKR headquarters here

Anwar said he was making this call as he had observed that reasons based on religion were sometimes given, but questioned such actions.

“I make this call because I see sometimes frivolous religious excuses are used. How is it possible for any religion to be used to defend corruption and abuses of power, what more Islam which firmly rejects abuses of power and corruption in systems that originate from corruption that is widespread in our country?

“That is what I urge for, so that we don’t have to repeatedly stress this, but this needs the cooperation from all, give space to these enforcement bodies to act firmly. If clean, won’t be afraid. All say that we are a clean party and form a clean party, we should support all,” he said, questioning rhetorically how corruption could be cleaned up if powers are not given to enforcement agencies to carry out and fulfil their duties.

On February 1, MACC chief Tan Sri Azam Baki confirmed the anti-graft body had frozen several of Bersatu’s bank accounts to facilitate investigations under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, and said witnesses would be called in to help with the investigations.

On February 2, Anwar said the federal coalition government did not use institutions to act in this matter involving Bersatu, noting that investigation bodies and the judiciary remain independent.