PUTRAJAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the slew of corruption cases being investigated against Umno leaders is not because they are from the party but instead, to investigate the crimes they had committed.
He said there were “thousands” of corruption cases which occurred during former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration.
“We have thousands of cases from during Najib’s administration. We cannot resolve 1,000 cases in one day, so we are focusing only on the major ones. Most of the major ones involve Umno.
“This is why we are taking action against these people. Not because they are from Umno, but because they committed crimes,” he told a press conference after chairing the 5th Special Cabinet Committee on Anti-Corruption meeting at Perdana Putra on Wednesday.
Also present were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as well as Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption Centre (GIACC) director-general Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed.
The prime minister was responding to claims that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission was deliberately targeting Umno and not those in other Barisan Nasional component parties over corruption allegations.
Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Dr Puad Zarkashi, in making the allegation, was quoted as saying that it was part of Dr Mahathir’s “game plan to destroy Umno.” Puad had also claimed Dr Mahathir did not view MCA, MIC and Gerakan, who were part of the previous BN government, as a threat.
Meanwhile, when asked on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) move to reopen a probe into Malaysia’s RM4.67 billion purchase of the French-made Scorpene submarines, Dr Mahatihir said the MACC has a right to review the case if they had sufficient evidence.
“This happened in the past. We may look into it if there was hanky-panky,” he said.
However, when asked on whether he was aware that the case was being reopened, Dr Mahathir replied in the negative and said he only knew based on what was reported in the media.
MACC recently confirmed that it had reopened investigations into the purchase of the two submarines, which were done in 2002 during Najib’s tenure as defence minister.
Malaysia had purchased one Scorpene submarine and an Agosta submarine from the French DCNS.
Najib had presented himself at the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya on Monday to provide his statement on the case. Sources had indicated that several other people would be questioned, including Najib’s former advisor Abdul Razak Baginda, who was said to have been involved in the dealings.
Meanwhile, the prime minister was also asked whether he was aware of allegations that eight out of 10 contracts under a ministry had been awarded directly (without an tender), and that a former minister’s son was involved.
Dr Mahathir replied that the MACC would look into the case.
Additional reporting by Irwan Shafrizan Ismail and Zanariah Abd Mutalib