Malaysia ex-PM Muhyiddin charged with corruption, laundering - GulfToday

Malaysia ex-PM Muhyiddin charged with corruption, money laundering

Muhyiddin Yassin waves as he arrives at a courthouse on corruption charges in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. AP

Former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin was charged on Friday with corruption and money laundering, making him Malaysia's second ex-leader to be indicted after leaving office.

Muhyiddin, 75, pleaded innocent to four charges of abusing his power to obtain 232.5 million ringgit ($51.4 million) bribes for his party and two charges of money laundering involving 195 million ringgit ($43 million). His party said he is expected to face an additional charge on Monday.

Muhyiddin vowed to clear his name, slamming the charges as an "evil slander" to embarrass him and crush his Islamic-dominated opposition ahead of state elections. He denied abusing his power to award contracts to select ethnic Malay contractors in return for bribes, and to approve an appeal by a business tycoon on the cancellation of his tax exemption.

"It is an organised political persecution,” Muhyiddin told a news conference after he was released on bail. "I accept this charge against me with patience. ... I choose to stand upright on the principles that I hold. This is the price that I have to pay."

Muhyiddin was first arrested Thursday and released later in the day by the anti-graft agency, which questioned him a second time over government stimulus projects for Malay contractors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Outside the court building on Friday, some supporters chanted and carried banners that read "malicious intent.”

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim rejected accusations that the charges were politically motivated and noted the investigations were carried out independently by the anti-graft agency.

After taking power in November, Anwar ordered a review of government projects approved by past administrations including Muhyiddin, who led Malaysia from March 2020 until August 2021. Anwar has said many of the projects awarded were overpriced and given without tender.

Two senior members from Muhyiddin's Bersatu party were recently charged with graft. The anti-graft agency has also frozen Bersatu's party accounts.

Associated Press


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