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Why the time frame for trillion-ringgit graft probe, Anwar asked

The prime minister is urged to hold a comprehensive investigation spanning his time as finance minister and deputy prime minister as well.

Nur Hasliza Mohd Salleh
3 minute read

A Bersatu man has urged Anwar Ibrahim against selective investigation after the prime minister's order for a probe into a report that Malaysia suffered losses of up to RM4.5 trillion within 26 years due to corruption and leakage. 

Razali Idris, the Bersatu information chief, said Anwar should instead carry out a full investigation covering as well his 15 years as finance minister and deputy prime minister, from the 1980s since his sacking in 1998. 

"Start from the 1980s," he added. "That will show that he is serious about cleaning the country of such cases. Where are Anwar's rich cronies?"

Razali also called for an investigation into what he said was a leakage of RM7 billion each year due to illegal activities in the shadow economy. 

He was responding to Anwar's instructions to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Inland Revenue Board, Bank Negara Malaysia and the police to investigate the reports in line with existing legislation. 

Lawyer Rafique Rashid agreed, saying Anwar should not focus on just 26 years if he wanted to uncover leakage and wrongdoing in the government administration. 

"It's common knowledge that Anwar was in the Cabinet and government from 1982," he said. 

"Why doesn't he go further? For example, 1982 to 1998 – that's 15 years." 

Acknowledging that Anwar had been sacked by then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, he said he had nonetheless held important portfolios throughout his time in government. 

"If you want to be fair, investigate more than 26 years."

Anwar was appointed as finance minister in 1991 and elevated to deputy prime minister in 1993 after winning the post of Umno deputy president.

The report of trillions lost due to corrupt activities was published by independent think tank Emir Research.

The think tank, led by Rais Hussein who joined PKR in the run-up to the general election last year, also said that the estimated losses since the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997 were conservative, and that the number was likely to be greater. 

Rafique said the probe instructed by Anwar could have been carried out at any time and did not require specific instructions from the prime minister. 

"Anyone can carry out an investigation as long as they have the authority to do so," he added. 

Lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla meanwhile said there were two main issues at hand. 

He, too, questioned the time frame of the probe, citing news reports of cronyism during Anwar's initial time in government. 

"If you want to investigate leakage, everyone has to be involved," he said. 

"Everyone must be investigated including Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Muhyiddin Yassin. Everyone." 

Haniff said there should also be clear proof that the country had in fact lost RM4.5 trillion. 

"We have to know how the study was carried out," he said. 

"The investigation will not be accurate until we ascertain that the amount lost was really RM4.5 trillion or otherwise." 

Haniff said it would be better for Anwar to confirm the study first, and the actual amount lost from the treasury. 

Rafique meanwhile urged the people to follow up on the issue through the services of their MPs. 

"Use your MPs to ask if the investigation has begun or not, who has been called, and who has been arrested or accused. 

"There is no time limit for criminal offences. If the offence occurred in the 1970s, charges can still be brought today if there is enough evidence."