PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak today criticised the government’s move to freeze the bank accounts of opposition outfits Umno and Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP), saying there is nothing wrong with them getting political financing.
He also challenged parties in the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to verify that the political funds they themselves received were not from sources involved in illegal activities.
He said allowing the accounts to operate would not hinder any investigation into alleged connections between the parties and funds from 1MDB in the 13th general election held in May 2013.
He added that their transaction records could be easily obtained for investigation.
“Umno and SUPP are innocent. Just like other political parties, including those in the Pakatan Harapan coalition, it is customary for them to receive political donations,” he said in a Facebook post today.
“Under current laws, there is no legal provision stipulating that political financing is wrong.”
Najib said the move to freeze the accounts would hamper attempts to develop an effective opposition, and could be viewed as an attack and denial of basic democracy.
He said it would impede the parties’ activities, including social aid services to people who needed assistance, and cause difficulty to the parties’ paid employees and their families.
“How can a political party verify the source of its funding?” he said.
“Can PPBM or DAP verify that the donations they themselves receive are not from donors involved in illegal activities or the black economy?”
Najib added that he welcomed any investigation on himself following allegations by PH in its election campaign that he was involved in wrongdoing, but said the political parties should not be victimised.
Acting Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also vying for the presidency in today’s party election, recently announced that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had frozen the accounts of the Umno headquarters and Selangor Umno.
Johor Umno chief Mohamed Khaled Nordin also reportedly confirmed today that one of the state party’s bank accounts had been frozen.
SUPP president Dr Sim Kui Hian meanwhile said yesterday that the party had received a letter from its bank informing it that its headquarters’ account was frozen for a three-month period for MACC investigations.
“SUPP will comply with any investigation by the authorities, as it always has,” Sim said.
Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who is PPBM president, said the action was within MACC’s jurisdiction and that the agency had always acted based on its findings.