Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein gave a terse answer to a claim that the director-general of the Defence Staff Intelligence Division received money from Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak about a month before the last general election:
“I have nothing to hide.”
Stressing that the role of his ministry is clear, in that it is responsible to look after the country’s security, Hishammuddin pointed out that the military has “never been political”.
“So, if there are moves to investigate, let the agencies investigate,” he said at a press conference at the Subang Royal Malaysian Air Force base today.
“Let the investigations (be conducted) because we are not in the business of spinning this and making speculations. But I have nothing to hide.
“So. if there are things that seem off in relation to certain allegations, prove them and let investigations be conducted.”
Hishammuddin also said that he was not able to confirm whether the money was indeed paid or not.
“If I confirm or don’t confirm, because I’m the minister of defence, they (other quarters) will raise some other issues, also. So let a third party investigate.”
He, however, said that he was not in the know whether investigations have been conducted into the matter.
Whistleblower site Sarawak Report had claimed that Najib paid RM7 million to the director-general of the Defence Staff Intelligence Division on April 8, 2013.
Sarawak Report said Abdul Hadi Hussin, who occupies the role, could explain why the defence intelligence was receiving a personal cheque from the prime minister.
The Defence Staff Intelligence Division is the joint military intelligence agency of the Malaysian Armed Forces. It reports directly to the chief of the Armed Forces.
Sarawak Report claimed that the figures on the transactions came from the joint task force that had investigated 1MDB since March 2015 until it was abruptly disbanded, five months later.
1MDB had stated that no money had been misappropriated from the fund.
Najib has also consistently denied any wrongdoing and said the billions of ringgit found in his bank account was a “donation” from the Saudi royal family. He was also cleared of any wrongdoing by attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali.
MACC REPORT LODGED
According to The Malaysian Insight:
ANTI-GRAFT authorities have been asked to look into claims that a high-ranking army intelligence officer had received RM7 million from Prime Minister Najib Razak weeks before the 2013 general election.
Former air force major Zaidi Ahmad today lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in Penang over the allegations, which first surfaced on whistleblower site Sarawak Report earlier this week.
The allegation was later reported by news portal Malaysiakini.
The report alleged that a high-ranking officer from the Defence Intelligence Staff Division received RM7 million from Najib in 2013.
Zaidi, a former air force major, said the allegation that Najib had paid millions of ringgit to a high-ranking military officer just before the polls raised many questions.
He said Najib should sue Sarawak Report while the officer concerned should lodge a police report if the claim was not true.
“Najib previously said he received donations from Arab royalty, but paying an army officer RM7 million just weeks before the 13th general election is questionable.
“Payments are made for services and work. But what kind of work did the officer carry out which warranted such a huge sum of money? As a high-ranking army officer, he is not allowed to carry out any business.
“Did the work involve misusing personnel, equipment and the information database that belongs to His Majesty’s (the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong) service, and are supposed to be confidential?” Zaidi said today.
He also questioned if any alleged “work” entailed some form of election fraud involving registration of voters, or transfers and votes by professional or reservist military personnel and their families to ensure Barisan Nasional won the polls.
He said it was corruption to offer “gifts”, whether in the form of money or others, to a public servant, let alone a high-ranking military officer who “knows many national secrets, and who had control over army assets such as personnel, equipment and confidential information”.
“To regain the people’s confidence, the prime minister must take legal action against Sarawak Report, like what PAS has done recently,” Zaidi said.
PAS president Hadi Awang has sued Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown for defamation over an article that alleged the Islamist party had received RM90 million from Najib. The suit was filed in London.
Zaidi, who is Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s information officer, also asked if the military officer had declared his income, and whether he had distributed the RM7 million he allegedly received to other parties.
“If he distributed the funds, who were the recipients? How much did each of them get? Did they declare the money in their tax (return) forms?”
He said the officer should also declare his personal assets and that of his close family members, adding that the Defence Ministry should investigate this allegation.
“The officer should also be ordered to go on leave pending the completion of the probe,” he said.