KUALA LUMPUR: The pressure on Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman to step down, even temporarily, is building in the wake of investigations into his involvement in a money-laundering scheme that is being aired almost daily in the online media.
Daniel John Jambun, a hawkish leader of the state opposition State Reform Party (STAR), made fresh calls amid reports that Musa had told Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) recently that the money under his name was actually not his but is an Umno slush fund.
“Musa should step down. In other countries, the leader would have relinquished his government posts, until his name is cleared,” Jambun told FMT following reports that the stink of the three-year-old scandal is still trailing the Barisan Nasional government.
PKR vice-president, Tian Chua, earlier this week demanded that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak clarify “leaked” investigation papers that a Swiss bank account linked to Musa containing US$100 million actually belong to Umno.
According to Tian, Musa allegedly told the MACC officers that the money in question which was traced to a bank in Zurich, Switzerland, and is under investigation by banking and criminal investigation agencies overseas, is not his but Umno’s.
He said Najib must now explain Musa’s alleged statement linking Umno and therefore the government to the hitherto secret party slush fund.
The money is part of a large sum being traced by international investigative reporters who published details of transactions connecting Musa, Sabah businessman Michael Chia as well as many in Malaysian and Swiss banking in questionable financial deals criss-crossing several countries.
Issue now a hot topic
Meanwhile, a senior leader of another opposition party, Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), lawyer Peter Marajin, said it was heartening to note that many are working together to try uncover the truth around this sordid affair.
“I believe the powers-that-be are equally determined to put this under wraps as is always the case in this ‘bolehland’ Malaysia, when accountability of state money is an issue.
“Let third parties like Monica Roth and Suaram in the case of French submarine deals, be encouraged to take up the cases against those involved via foreign jurisdictions, to unearth the hidden treasures of ‘pirates’ masquerading as caring leaders of the people,” he said in a text message on the matter which had become a hot topic in various political circles throughout the country.
When Chia was caught with S$16 million in Hong Kong few years ago, he reportedly told the Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) that the money belonged to Musa.
Musa, however, immediately denied knowing Chia and by inference anything about the money.
However, pictures of them together and details of transactions including payments to Musa’s two sons in Australia were then exposed by the online media, raising further questions about the matter.
This prompted further exposure of information by the authorities in Zurich, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur.
File on Musa with A-G
According to Tian, on June 15, PKR deputy secretary-general Darell Leiking, MP R Sivarasa and he held a press conference in the Parliament House questioning the government’s inaction despite detailed information becoming public of a money-laundering operation that has implicated Musa.
“On June 21, I received a reply from the prime minister on the status of the investigation of corruption allegations against Musa following the arrest of Chia in Hong Kong.
“The answer from the prime minister stated that MACC had provided full cooperation with Hong Kong ICAC and had completed the investigation. At present, the file is on the table of Attorney-General but so far no action has been taken,” he had said.
Tian added that the case received new attention when NGO activist Prof Monika Roth filed a suit against Swiss UBS Bank linking the bank with the money-laundering operations in Sabah.
However, once again, there was total silence from the Malaysian government, he said.
“A few days ago, I received a mysterious phone call from an unknown person who claimed that he was a staff member of MACC.
“He revealed that the MACC had initiated a new investigation on Musa where he was interviewed by several MACC officers on a date not told to me.
“Musa defended his actions and told the MACC officers to ‘check their facts with the prime minister’.
“Musa claimed that a large part of his multi-million fortune held in foreign currency accounts overseas was not privately owned by him.
“Instead it was held in trust on behalf of Umno. Now the public is eager to know whether this is true, and if the prime minister is aware of this.
“As the phone call was confidential and I had no means to verify the information, I hereby call upon the the prime minister to step forward to clarify whether the MACC had initiated a new investigation on Musa.
“I also call on [Attorney-General] Abdul Gani Patail to step aside vis-a-vis the investigation related to Musa as it is clear that the A-G is unable to convince the public of his impartiality,” said Tian. – FMT