Money is a great ‘equaliser’, Zaid says over Rafizi revelation

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PETALING JAYA: Rafizi Ramli’s revelation that former PAS deputy president Nasharudin Mat Isa had received funds allegedly embezzled from 1MDB came as no surprise to former law minister Zaid Ibrahim.

He said this was because money is a “great equaliser”.

“How does a party, that had been a sworn enemy of Umno for decades, suddenly become friends (with Umno)?

“(Well), money is a great equaliser, and PAS has never had money before,” he said to FMT.

In a press conference following his revelation this afternoon, Rafizi said PAS now has a duty as an Islamic party to make sure that not a single cent of “questionable” money has been used to fund its activities.

But according to Zaid, PAS is neither a religious nor a moral-based party.

“PAS is a ‘parti serban’, where its leaders use serban (turban) just to cover their head.

“Therefore, I am not surprised by the revelation that they took money from (Prime Minister) Najib (Razak),” he said.

Rafizi had alleged that the funds were originally channelled from a former 1MDB subsidiary to Najib’s personal account and that later, an undisclosed amount was transferred to Nasharudin. 1MDB is a state-owned investment firm, and Najib headed the advisory board until May last year.

Asked if PAS leaders should lodge a report against Rafizi if his allegations were false, Zaid said yes.

“But they will not. And even if they remain silent, they are finished.”

Meanwhile, PAS member and Pokok Sena MP Mahfuz Omar said while he had never heard of the party receiving any money from 1MDB, this was not the first time it had been accused of corruption.

Hence, if there is no truth to Rafizi’s allegation, PAS leaders are duty-bound to clear the party’s name by pursuing legal action against the Pandan MP, said the former PAS information chief.

This is especially since Rafizi himself has put his “neck on the line” by making a statutory declaration over the allegation, he added.

“To me, it’s not impossible for a person who wants a lavish lifestyle to take up an offer of money, even though he knows it is an act of corruption.

“But the party leaders should not keep quiet and they have to respond to what Rafizi alleged. Because Rafizi also highlighted the truth, which was that PAS leaders have been a little quiet on the 1MDB scandal.”

Nasharudin was known to have championed the unity government agenda between PAS and Umno. He is currently heading the Global Movement of Moderates (GMM), which is also a brainchild of Najib.

Najib has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in the 1MDB issue and has been cleared by attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali.

FMT tried to reach Nasharudin, but he has yet to answer any calls or respond to text messages.