Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin Finally Breaks His Silence On The 1MDB Scandal

"Don't underestimate the people, we cannot lie."

Cover image via ST

Home Minister Zahid Hamidi says Muhyiddin should have stood by his leader

Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi

Image via Free Malaysia Today

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's stance in taking a different stand on the 1MDB issue from his boss Najib Abdul Razak was below him, a cabinet minister said today.

"How can I approve (the statement of the) deputy prime minister? He should have stood by the leader and the party. Please prove what you said Muhyiddin," said Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said in an interview.

As deputy prime minister and Umno deputy president, he added, Muhyiddin being openly at odds with Najib was beneath his dignity.

Najib addresses everyone, including his deputy, to avoid making remarks on 1MDB

Image via Malaysiakini

Malaysia's prime minister told his deputy and other officials on Monday to stop commenting on a graft scandal at the country's state investment fund, saying arguments among leaders would erode support for the government.

The fund, 1MDB, has debts of more than $11 billion, and is being investigated by authorities for financial mismanagement and graft. The state-owned firm’s advisory board is chaired by Prime Minister Najib Razak.

"All administrative officials including the deputy prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, should wait for the results of the investigation. Rationally, we should avoid making statements that can roil people's perceptions toward the country's leadership, government and Umno," Najib's office said in a statement.

27 JUL: Reader of UMNO website calls Muhiyiddin a "traitor to the Malays and Umno"

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin

Image via The Star

The Umno website today highlighted a reader’s email that condemned Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin as a traitor to the Malays and Umno. The reader, Amin Yatim, referred to a speech Muhyiddin delivered last night, which was critical of Najib in his role as chief adviser of the scandal ridden 1MDB.

Addressing the DPM, Amin said, “It was confirmed last night that you, the Deputy President of Umno, has the status of a traitor to the Malays, Umno and your Cabinet colleagues. You have not only placed the party president in a bad light and questioned the Cabinet’s handling of the 1MDB issue, but you’ve also divulged what you discussed with your Cabinet colleagues."

Amin also took offence at Muhyiddin’s remark that Barisan Nasional would lose if the general election were to be held today. He said such discouraging words were out of place and added that Muhyiddin spoke as if he was contesting for the Umno presidency or “intending to destroy” the party.

If you had any sincerity, you would have said it was best to let the relevant authorities find out the truth and establish justice in the 1MDB case. Unfortunately, you chose to try to be a hero by assaulting the party president.”

Speaking at the Cheras UMNO division meeting on Sunday night, 26 July, Muhyiddin Yassin, the UMNO Deputy President, finally broke his silence on the WSJ's reportage on the 1MDB scandal

The Deputy Prime Minister being greeted by delegates at the Cheras UMNO meeting on Sunday.

Image via The Star Online

He admitted that the issue raised many unanswered questions

The Wall Street Journal's (WSJ) accusation that billions of ringgit was transferred from state-owned funds into the personal accounts of Najib Razak is a serious matter that needs explaining, Muhyiddin Yassin said, adding that the issue had caused some worry as it does not involve a small amount but millions of (US) dollars.

Muhyiddin said that he had no ill intentions in questioning the controversial fund and that Najib himself should personally take the lead to explain the issue to the people, adding that Putrajaya should not underestimate the people's negative sentiments towards 1MDB

“Don’t underestimate the people, we cannot lie, when the Second Finance Minister explains on 1MDB the critics rebut him and when the Housing Minister speaks he is also rebutted.

“We cannot explain properly because even we don’t know the real facts, so who is going to tell us the real facts, it should the Prime Minister, true or not,” Muhyiddin asked the delegates.

"When the news first came out, I texted the prime minister, saying: 'Sir, this was something serious that you have to deny'. He replied, saying thanks and told me he had already done so."

"Although there was a denial, it was from the Prime Minister's Department. I told him again that he had to be the one to do it as the allegation was made against him and then only there was denial," he said when officiating the Cheras Umno division meeting.

A file photo of the Deputy PM Muhyiddin shaking hands with Najib during a wedding ceremony in June.

Image via ST

Admitting that although he had been criticised by the public for being silent on the 1MDB issue, the Deputy PM, adding that it wasn't an easy matter to explain, said he had raised the 1MDB issue at the Supreme Council meeting and also the weekly Cabinet meetings

"I have a responsibility as deputy prime minister. I have at the Cabinet meetings every week stressed there must be a solution to this problem. If this is not settled it will be a burden. If there is no 1MDB there would be no problem” he said.

He said that is why he was supportive of the special task force set up to investigate the 1MDB and felt it should be allowed to carry out its duties without any interference from anyone. Muhyiddin said he did not object if the Auditor-General’s interim report on 1MDB was made public.

"I don’t have any objection to this. If the report is made public no one will ask if the international news agencies were distorting the 1MDB reports,” he added.

In his 70-minute speech, Muhyiddin revealed that he had asked Najib to step down as chairman of the board of advisers of the controversial 1MDB but the Prime Minister ignored his advice

"I told him to let go off his post in 1MDB, but he didn't want to listen. I don't have any evil intention, my will is to help him," he said when officiating an Umno Cheras meeting in Kuala Lumpur tonight. He said 1MDB was something that could not be ignored and a solution had to be found.

"I am the first minister to make a stand on 1MDB even though the prime minister had made a decision on the matter. I said we should find a solution, not point fingers,” he said, he had been the most vocal in raising his concerns about the matter at the Umno supreme council and Cabinet meetings.

Muhyiddin said he had noted that the RM42 billion debt run up by 1MDB was a huge figure and had exceeded the budget allocations for some states in the country and was a burden to the country at a time when the ringgit was dropping.

"I have told the Prime Minister but I don’t dare say it in public as I fear it will be misconstrued and people will say that I was out to topple the Prime Minister. I don’t want a clash with the Prime Minister as our party is not strong,” he added.

Muhyiddin also said that he had to read The Edge to get information on the 1MDB issue. He then questioned if news reports on 1MDB by The Edge could not be trusted, which source could people trust.

Muhyiddin Yassin (right) and Umno Cheras chief Syed Ali Al-Habsee at the division meeting on Sunday night.

Image via Seth Akmal

"I myself also found it difficult to understand what was going on with 1MDB, and so much so that I had to read The Edge. People tell me The Edge reports were not correct. So tell me, what is correct," he said.

Muhyiddin said his Cabinet colleagues Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah and Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan had issued statements to explain the 1MDB situation but it had done little to ease public scepticism on the matter.

"Who should tell you the truth? It is the prime minister. But he said wait for the PAC and audit report. So wait, wait and wait. I have yet to even read the (auditor-general's) interim report," he said, adding the best way to convince the public now was to make all reports on the matter public. He said this will help regain public trust.

In his wide-ranging speech, Muhyiddin also warned UMNO that voter sentiment following the 1MDB controversy may cause the party to lose should the General Election be held tomorrow

He said he had asked at a number of meetings and gatherings whether Barisan Nasional would win the next general election and the response was always negative or uncertain.

“I say this not to blame anyone because I too am part of the system and among the people responsible to help the Prime Minister but I feel worried if we fail to manage some of the important issues well.

“I want to give you a stern warning that if nothing is done now to manage these issues, Barisan will lose, God forbid.”


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