KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 — PAS leader Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor yesterday rubbished the allegation that Perikatan Nasional (PN) had embezzled and used Covid-19 stimulus funds for its elections campaign.
Malaysiakini quoted the Kedah mentri besar as saying he had fabricated the figure of “RM600 billion” in order to explain to voters how PN has aided the public during the pandemic, adding that he was surprised that the amount has been cited by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
“I was among the first few people to say it was RM600 billion because I felt the sum spent by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in response to the Covid-19 pandemic was huge,” he reportedly said.
“He launched so many programmes to help the people facing the crisis that up to RM600 billion was spent. Then the PM plucked that figure. But I was only saying it, not like it was true, the total sum was actually RM530 billion. It isn’t in cash but in the form of programmes like bank loan moratoriums and relief withdrawals from the Employees Provident’s Fund.
“The only cash was RM80 billion of Bantuan Sara Hidup, that’s all. So how come the prime minister plucked that figure?” he added.
Yesterday Anwar claimed his government found procedural breaches in how the Covid-19 stimulus packages were disbursed and spent but did not provide any proof. Anwar has suggested that there should be an investigation.
This came following allegations of Muhyiddin’s administration misappropriating “RM600 billion” from Covid-19 funds.
Muhyiddin has since said he was not afraid of being investigated, saying he is baffled how critics came up with the amount.
Calls for an official investigation into the stimulus spending have mounted following suspicions around PN’s well-funded campaign in the lead-up to the 15th general election. Muhyiddin’s Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia is the lead party in PN.
Muhyiddin took office right at the onset of a devastating Covid-19 pandemic that was estimated to have cost up to RM2.4 billion for each day of lockdown.
Throughout his short stint as the country’s eighth prime minister unveiled several stimulus packages worth RM530 billion alongside other recovery programmes under a RM322.5 billion federal spending plan for 2021.
Based on news reports, up to RM330 billion from the total sum had been utilised as of October last year. It is unclear if all the money had been used.