Former Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali today admitted receiving cash linked to state investment arm 1MDB and its former unit SRC International but said he did not realise the connection as the cheque had carried the name of Najib Razak.
“I admit that I received a personal cheque from Najib with his name on it, but I did not realise that it was related to money from SRC or 1MDB as there was no mention of either on the cheque,” he said in a statement following news that 22 civil suits linked to the scandal had been lodged against individuals and entities accused of wrongfully receiving money from the funds.
“I do not remember when I received it but it was certainly before the 1MDB issue was revealed after the 13th general election,” he added.
“If it had already been revealed, I would not have accepted it and Najib himself would not have been using that account anymore.”
Ibrahim said for five years after winning the 12th general election on a PAS ticket, he had been an independent MP friendly to Barisan Nasional (BN).
“As an independent MP, I did not possess the funds to hold programmes for the people in my constituency,” he added.
Heading into GE13, he said, he had been forced to source for funds from anyone willing to contribute in order to help his constituents.
“If I had to, I used my credit card to its limit,” he said.
“After GE13, I met Najib to ask for help to resolve the financial issues as much had been spent throughout those five years including while contesting GE13.
“He agreed to help, I thought, because I was an independent friendly with BN. I did not know where he obtained the funds to help me. Perhaps from the coffers of Umno or BN, or from his personal finances.
“What need was there for me to reject the help he gave? Certainly I did not question the source of the funds given that Najib had been in the Cabinet for a long time, since his 20s. Surely the amount was within his means.”
Ibrahim, who now leads the Putra political party, said he had used the money to pay for programmes for the people in Pasir Mas, stressing that nothing had been spent on personal matters.
“For the record, as president of Perkasa, I was among the earliest individuals who had called for the government to form a royal commission of inquiry to investigate the 1MDB scandal,” he added.
“I am ready to wait for the suit and to answer in court. Let the court decide if I should return the money or not, as I spent it all not knowing whether it came from a wrongful source.”
The 22 writs by 1MDB and SRC International were filed on May 7 for the recovery of assets with a combined total in excess of RM96.6 billion, including some RM300 million against various local parties.
Both 1MDB and SRC International said these parties had been unjustly enriched by the wrongful receipt of money from them.