Tok Mat slams PKR MP who asked him to return 1MDB funds

Putrajaya froze Umno’s bank accounts under the Anti-Money Laundering, Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 in June last year.

PETALING JAYA: Mohamad Hasan tonight rubbished a PKR MP’s request for the acting Umno president to return 1MDB funds allegedly given to his party by Najib Razak, saying Umno wants to respect the ongoing legal process in recovering the funds.

This comes after PKR Youth chief and Johor Bahru MP Akmal Nasir urged Mohamad to “move beyond Najib and 1MDB” and return the money “if he has some dignity”.

He added that Mohamad, better known as Tok Mat, should set a good example or risk being confined to the former prime minister’s shadow.

Mohamad said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) recent filing of civil forfeiture applications against 41 individuals and entities to recover money allegedly transferred from the account of Najib is a legal process.

He added that Umno is committed to respect that and give its full cooperation to the authorities.

“It is strange that an MP has urged me to circumvent this legal process and for me to abide by his unfounded demand,” Mohamad said in a statement today.

“Is our friend Akmal actually not convinced that the SPRM (MACC) will prove their case?” he asked.

“Does he not trust in the ability of the courts in hearing this case?”

The Rantau assemblyman said Akmal’s request was not only “baseless” but “clearly shows that Akmal is not aware of the matter at hand”.

“If the funds that were received by Umno are proven to have come from 1MDB, how can Umno return these funds when Umno’s funds have been frozen by the government?”

Putrajaya froze Umno’s bank accounts under the Anti-Money Laundering, Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 in June last year.

They will continue to be frozen so long as investigations into the 1MDB scandal are ongoing, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng in March.

Mohamad, meanwhile, urged Akmal not to speak without at least some knowledge of the “basics” in law and the facts.

“Even if he wants to appear as relevant and knowledgeable, I hope Akmal can give suggestions that, even if they are not clear, are at least rational and practical.”

Mohamad also took a jibe at the apparent tussle between PKR president Anwar Ibrahim and his deputy, Mohamed Azmin Ali.

“I am not trying to compete with anyone,” he said. “Umno does not have gangs (‘tidak bermain geng-geng’).

“My focus now is to restore Umno and strengthen it as a whole.

“This is not like the race between Azmin and Anwar,” he said, likely referring to speculation that both leaders are likely successors to Dr Mahathir Mohamad as prime minister.

Two days ago, MACC chief commissioner Latheefa Koya said the forfeitures filed under Section 56 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act are to recover RM270 million of 1MDB money transferred to Najib’s account and later to the individuals and entities.

A bulk of the money, totalling RM212 million, went to Umno divisions and branches, she added.

Other political parties named as recipients include Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah, the MCA Pahang state liaison committee, Wanita MCA and Liberal Democratic Party Sabah.

“We have filed the application at the Kuala Lumpur court, and once the affidavit is out, it will be served on them,” she said, adding that the commission is allowing the individuals concerned to return the money voluntarily, to avoid further prosecution.