Friday, February 26, 2021

Arrested man a ‘close family friend’, not aide, says ex-minister

Xavier Jayakumar distances himself from being implicated in a corruption probe involving his former ministry.

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PKR vice-president Xavier Jayakumar today said a fellow party leader who was remanded over a graft investigation involving companies dealing with his former ministry was not an aide, but a “close family friend”.

Xavier, who was the water, land and natural resources minister, was responding to reports that MA Tinagaran, who was arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) yesterday, had acted as his special officer.

“I also hope that the public will show respect for the authorities in the handling of the investigation involving Tinagaran,” he said in a statement.

Xavier also distanced himself from the probe, saying he never condoned corruption during his time in government.

“In a recent media report, my name was implicated and it has brought prejudice against me as an elected representative.

“Acting on the advice of my family and friends, I am here to clear my name with the authorities,” he said, adding that he would “never abandon my values as one of the early reformists” in PKR.

Former minister Xavier Jayakumar with Perak PKR deputy chief MA Tinagaran, in this picture taken in 2019. Both were recipients of the Datuk title from the Kelantan royal household.

Yesterday, MalaysiaNow quoted sources close to the investigation as saying that Tinagaran, who is the Perak PKR deputy chairman, was arrested alongside two company directors in an operation in Ipoh.

The report also said MACC confiscated cash worth RM1.2 million from a house and an office belonging to a proxy, while several individual and company bank accounts worth RM77 million had been frozen.

It is understood that the case is linked to the award of sand mining projects.

Xavier today said leaders tied to corruption must be held accountable to preserve the integrity of the institution.

“Major decisions made by ministries must be approved collectively in the Cabinet,” he said.

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