Friday, April 23, 2021

‘Selective prosecution’ in 1MDB charges, Anwar told PKR MPs

The remarks were part of the PKR leader's explanation to justify his plan to cooperate with Umno.

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Anwar Ibrahim’s recent claim that Umno leaders were spared from corruption investigations after they left the party to join Bersatu under the Pakatan Harapan administration is no surprise going by his recent closed-door meetings with party leaders, a highly reliable source close to PKR told MalaysiaNow.

It said during a meeting with PKR MPs last week, Anwar not only defended his overtures to Najib Razak, but also claimed that the 1MDB charges which were also at the centre of multiple counts facing former prime minister, were an example of selective prosecution during the 22-month administration of Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The source told MalaysiaNow that during the meeting on March 16 with PKR MPs and state leaders in Petaling Jaya, Anwar explained his discussions with Umno for a possible political cooperation.

“This led several PKR MPs to ask if the talks and cooperation involved the Umno court cluster,” the source said, referring to the phrase used for a group of former government leaders who are facing a string of charges.

It also said Anwar “appeared unsettled” by the question.

“He said the 1MDB cases against Umno leaders were selective prosecution by Mahathir.”

The source added that Anwar’s claim angered several MPs, who pointed out the extent of the 1MDB scandal.

Najib is facing 42 charges of criminal breach of trust, graft, abuse of power and money laundering involving five criminal cases linked to the 1MDB scandal.

He was convicted of seven charges last year, and faces the prospect of being sent to jail for 12 years pending his appeal.

The 1MDB scandal, which triggered investigations in several countries including the US, was the main theme of Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) general election campaign in 2018 which culminated in the historic fall of Barisan Nasional.

The meeting on March 16 was held after PKR suffered the loss of three MPs, who pledged their support for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and his Perikatan Nasional government.

The three were Tebrau MP Steven Choong, Julau MP Larry Sng and Kuala Langat MP Xavier Jayakumar.

Following the meeting, Anwar, at a widely publicised press conference, declared there would be no further defections from his party.

On Monday, he met with top officials from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over his criticism that the agency had spared former Umno politicians who jumped to Bersatu.

He then urged the former and current attorney-generals to explain why cases against them were dropped as he claimed.

Meanwhile, the same source said Anwar during the March 16 meeting had sought to justify cooperation with Umno by saying that there were also dozens of “PH court clusters”, and that the issue should not be raised.

“By this, he meant DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng who is facing graft charges and Amanah president Mohamad Sabu whose former political secretary is being tried for corruption.

“Anwar also mentioned the PH court clusters during his media conference,” the source said.

At the press conference, Anwar had explained the possibility of working together with Umno which he first raised in an interview with a Malay daily.

“Don’t make assumptions about this matter as if there is already an understanding. I see many commenting, speaking as if there is an agreement in place. They raise the question of the court cluster, the question of investigations.

“I want to say, if it’s about MACC investigations, in PH there are dozens who are just waiting to be charged.”

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