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MACC 'hounding' Anwar opponents, says Bersatu after new probe linked to Radzi

It says opposition MPs 'are being subjected to interrogations, investigations and politically motivated criminal prosecutions'.

Staff Writers
2 minute read
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission headquarters in Putrajaya.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission headquarters in Putrajaya.

Bersatu today slammed the investigation linked to allegations of corruption during Putrajaya MP Radzi Jidin's tenure as education minister, saying the chronology of events suggests "the systematic targeting and hounding by enforcement bodies" of the government's political opponents. 

Sasha Lyna Abdul Latif, the deputy chairman of Bersatu's legal and constitutional bureau, said Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim had "suddenly made a baseless accusation" against Radzi while "purporting to explain" his stance on the discharge not amounting to acquittal (DNAA) granted to his deputy, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, in the Dewan Rakyat on Sept 19. 

"Later on the same day, a WhatsApp message went viral with false allegations of the Putrajaya MP’s involvement in a graft scandal involving the project of J-Qaf books publication for preschoolers and some other project," she said.

"On Sept 21, Umno's Batu chief division, now politically allied with the prime minister, lodged a complaint to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). On Sept 22, MACC announced that it had arrested Radzi's former political secretary when he was the education minister."

In a statement, she said the chronology of events was "important and astounding". 

"It is irrational, unrealistic and laughable to suggest that the swift and sudden moves by MACC and Anwar’s political allies from Wednesday to Friday against Radzi are unconnected with the bitter spat with the prime minister on Tuesday."

The episode in the Dewan Rakyat had seen a shouting match among MPs after Radzi took offence at Anwar's remarks suggesting that he was involved in accusations of corruption.

Radzi's repeated demands for a retraction from Anwar were refused, while speaker Johari Abdul said there was no issue if the prime minister was convinced of what he stated.

Radzi responded by saying that he, too, could say he was convinced that Anwar, the Tambun MP, was a sodomiser, believed to be a reference to the PKR leader's previous sodomy convictions. 

MACC chief Azam Baki said on Sept 24 that the agency did not rule out the possibility of calling Radzi in for questioning over the investigation, which is believed to be related to the arrest of two individuals, including Radzi's former political secretary, over allegations of corruption involving a book printing contract worth RM80 million when he led the education ministry.

Sasha said it should be remembered that the MACC chief answers directly to the prime minister. 

"His position is at the mercy of the prime minister’s discretion," she said.

Adding that such things had happened before, she cited the decision to discontinue the case against Zahid despite the prima facie case established against him. 

"One after another, opposition MPs are being subjected to interrogations, investigations and politically motivated criminal prosecutions. 

"Now mired in the moral swamp of Zahid’s DNAA, Pakatan Harapan-Barisan Nasional seem bent on falsely painting the opposition as being corrupt by subjecting them to highly publicised MACC investigations."