KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 4 —Umno information chief Isham Jalil, today called on the new government to probe how former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s government had spent the RM600 billion in Covid-19 stimulus unveiled during Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) short rule.
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 Bersatu Pribumi Malaysia is the lead party in PN.
Isham who is also an Umno supreme council member suggested that a royal commission of inquiry be established.
“We saw that they (PN) spent a lot of money on GE15. Therefore, people want to know the source of all that money,” he was quoted saying by news portal Free Malaysia Today (FMT).
“Was the money from the taxpayers’ RM600 billion? This should not be happening.”
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, he unveiled several stimulus packages worth RM340 billion alongside other recovery programmes under a RM322.5 billion federal spending plan for 2021.
The stimulus packages were distributed amid controversy. Muhyiddin was able to secure an Emergency declaration from the King that enabled him to suspend Parliament and bypass scrutiny. His critics said the expenditures should have been tabled and debated first before being distributed.
Isham said a royal inquiry is the only platform with the capacity to conduct a thorough auditing of the expenditures.
PN, a bloc comprising Bersatu, PAS and Gerakan, mounted a surprise electoral bid to win the second highest number of seats after Pakatan Harapan, 73 in total. The latter won 82 seats.