We received RM350,000 from Najib, Umno leaders tell court

Former prime minister Najib Razak is said to have given Umno leaders in Johor Bahru and Padang Serai a total of RM350,000 between 2014 and 2015.

KUALA LUMPUR: Two Umno leaders from Johor and Kedah told the High Court here in Najib Razak’s SRC International trial that they received a total of RM350,000 from the former prime minister between 2014 and 2015.

Johor Bahru Umno secretary Abu Talib Alias and Padang Serai Umno chief Asmadi Abu Talib said they received cheques for RM300,000 and RM50,000 respectively.

They added that the funds from Najib were meant to manage and conduct welfare programmes in their divisions.

Asmadi, who has led the Padang Serai Umno division since 2013, said he met Najib at the Putra World Trade Centre here in 2014. There, he said, he informed Najib about his plans for the division.

“I told him what I had in mind for Padang Serai, and the obstacles the division had in running our welfare programmes, in terms of manpower and funds.

“He (Najib) gave me some words of encouragement, then handed me a cheque for RM50,000 with my name as the payee,” he said when questioned by deputy public prosecutor Mohd Saifuddin Hashim Musaimi.

After receiving the cheque, he said, he deposited it into his personal bank account.

Asmadi said he deposited the money into his own account instead of the Padang Serai Umno account as the process for the latter would be tedious.

“We were afraid that the RM50,000 might not be recognised in the account,” he said, adding that the division may have to call for an annual general meeting on the money.

When asked by Najib’s lawyer, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, whether Padang Serai Umno had received funds from other sources, Asmadi said no.

“I am thankful to Datuk Seri for helping the division,” he added.

Talib, meanwhile, told the court that Najib’s late principle secretary Azlin Alias had handed him a cheque for RM300,000 at the Prime Minister’s Office.

“I was told by Tan Sri Shahrir to get the cheque from Azlin in Putrajaya,” he said, referring to Johor Bahru Umno chief Shahrir Samad.

“I only knew the cheque was for RM300,000 when I received the money and deposited it into our division’s account.”

There was laughter in the courtroom when Talib was asked to identify Najib, who was seated in the dock.

He responded by saying, “Malu apa bossku”, referring to Najib’s tagline.

When asked by Shafee whether the RM300,000 from Najib was enough to last Johor Bahru Umno a year, Talib said no.

“We need at least RM600,000 to run the division because we have 86 Umno branches under our division, and we organise a lot of activities for the community,” he said.

Another witness, Daud Muhammad, told the court he had received RM77,300 from Zainuddin Aziz, the supervisor at Najib’s house in Pekan.

Daud, the sole proprietor of Syadillah Enterprise, said he was paid the money for putting up two building tanks at Najib’s house, as well as for maintenance works.

Najib, 66, is facing three counts of criminal breach of trust, one charge of abusing his position and three counts of money laundering over SRC International Sdn Bhd funds amounting to RM42 million.

The Pekan MP was charged with committing the offences at AmIslamic Bank Bhd in Jalan Raja Chulan and the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya between Aug 17, 2011 and Feb 10, 2015.

The hearing continues before High Court judge Nazlan Ghazali.