Wanting to clear his name, The Edge owner tells former Bank Negara assistant governor to withdraw 1999 SD

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 8 — Tan Sri Tong Kooi Ong wants former Bank Negara assistant governor Datuk Abdul Khalid Murad to withdraw the statutory declaration (SD) he made back in 1999 where he accused the former of hiding billions of ringgit in ‘master accounts’ belonging to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The owner of financial publication The Edge denied claims that he had facilitated some of these ‘master accounts’, while the existence of these accounts was never proven till today.

As such, he called for Murad to publicly withdraw the SD in order to clear his name.

“What I seek is simple. For Murad to publicly withdraw his SD now. Apologies are not necessary.

“This is the only way this episode will finally end,” he said in an article published by the financial daily today.

Tong said he, his family and his friends suffered as they were constantly harassed by the Anti Corruption Commission (now Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) and Bank Negara authorities incessantly to the point many decided to migrate to Australia.

In the article, Tong explained that in Murad’s SD the latter accused Anwar Ibrahim of having 20 “master accounts” where some RM3 billion were hidden.

The funds were allegedly derived from gains made in various corporate exercises used to further Anwar’s political ambition.

Tong said it was here that Murad implicated him as one of these facilitators who established and managed one of the “master accounts”.

He recalled how their passports were seized, bank accounts frozen and phones were tapped by the authorities. He said he and his late wife were forced to sell PhileoAlliedBank and were robbed of their shareholdings in the bank’s parent company that was listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange after the bank was sold for cash.

Subsequently, he, his late wife and young children migrated to Canada.

Tong recalled the incidents that led to the SD being produced in 1999. He said Anwar in 1998 was sacked by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who was the prime minister at the time, from his Cabinet posts as deputy prime minister and finance minister.

Anwar was then expelled from Umno and arrested on September 20 under the Internal Security Act and charged with corruption and sodomy. In 1999 Anwar was sentenced to six years in prison then convicted of sodomy on August 8, 2000 and sentenced to nine years in prison.

“The flurry of accusations and counter accusations were exacerbated by the SD of Murad on October 26, 1999, portrayed as a major coup for the then government against Anwar,” Tong said.

Apart from that, the SD was used two more times. Once in June 2012 when Murad brought it up again offering his cooperation to the authorities who were willing to investigate the matter.

Despite the threat of legal action from Anwar Ibrahim and current Minister of Economic Affairs Rafizi Ramli, Murad never apologised nor withdrew the SD, Tong recalled.

The last time the SD was brought up was in 2017 when Murad implicated Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim in his testimony on the first day of an inquiry into the billions of dollars lost in foreign exchange trades in the 1990s.

Tong also revealed that he was approached by two powerful individuals to cut a deal to be cooperative by providing information that could assist the powers that be.

Hence in order to clear his name once and for all Tong is asking Murad to withdraw the SD.

“For one, it is necessary to set the record right and let the truth prevail. The 1999 episode went on to become an important turning point in the history of our country. Secondly, surely no one wishes that we reward those who fabricate lies,” Tong said.

“And for me personally I want to see the last of these false accusations against me put to rest.”

Tong is back in Malaysia and is a witness in Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s 1MDB trial. He had testified back in November 2022 in the 1MDB-Tanore trial as the 43rd prosecution witness before judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah.

Tong is also the person who gifted whistleblower Xavier Andre Justo US$2 million (RM8.8 million) in 2019 for helping to expose wrongdoings at 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).