Mahathir received RM2.6 million political donation, says witness in Zahid’s corruption trial

Former Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad
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A key witness told the Shah Alam High Court on Monday (Jul 25) that former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad had received a political donation of RM2.6 million (US$580,000) from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB).

UKSB is a local company implicated in the ongoing corruption trial of former deputy prime minister and United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Ahmad Zahid is facing 33 charges of receiving bribes totalling RM42 million from UKSB as an inducement to extend the company’s contract as the operator of the One Stop Centre (OSC) service in China and the foreign visa system (VLN) for the Home Ministry.

Former UKSB administrative manager David Tan Siong Sun said the firm gave RM2.6 million to Dr Mahathir for political funding purposes.

Tan said during cross-examination by defence lawyer Ahmad Zaidi Zainal that the funds were paid through Dr Mahathir’s nephew Rahmat Abu Bakar, with the code “Kedahan” used as reference in the ledger.

When asked by the defence lawyer on whether the RM2.6 million was given to Rahmat to be given to Dr Mahathir for political funds, Tan replied: “That’s correct.”

He said the contributions were for Dr Mahathir as well as Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), which Dr Mahathir co-founded in 2016 after leaving UMNO.

Dr Mahathir, who led the opposition Pakatan Harapan coalition to election victory and returned as the prime minister in 2018, was also Bersatu chairman from 2016 to February 2020.

According to Tan, two payments of RM1.3 million each were made after Malaysia’s 14th general election in August and September 2018 respectively.

Tan was also questioned by the defence over the purported political funding given to Pagoh MP and former home minister Muhyiddin Yassin in 2018, totalling RM1.3 million in relation to the VLN.

Tan told the court that UKSB made the contribution to Muhyiddin through SHH Resources Sdn Bhd director Teo Wee Cheng, whom Tan described as Muhyiddin’s good friend.

Muhyiddin is the current Bersatu president.

Tan also agreed with the defence lawyer that the money received by Ahmad Zahid was meant as political funds.

In addition to the 33 bribery charges, Ahmad Zahid was also charged with another seven counts as home minister for receiving cash in several currencies totalling more than RM6.85 million.

In May, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that a special Cabinet committee had agreed in principle to the proposed enactment of the Political Funding Bill to regulate the financial activities of political parties.

In a statement, he said that the Bill was important as there has yet to be any law or policy in the country that regulates such matters.

“It can prevent the risks of corruption and abuse of power involving politicians, which could bring negative impact to the country’s image and to the government,” he said on May 19.

 

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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