Former DPM Muhyiddin accused of lacking credibility

Mr Najib's press secretary, Tengku Sariffuddin, said Mr Muhyiddin (left) was making false accusations.
Mr Najib's press secretary, Tengku Sariffuddin, said Mr Muhyiddin (left) was making false accusations.

A Malaysian government spokesman yesterday took a jab at former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin, saying his recent allegations against Prime Minister Najib Razak were "an attempt to distract" from his own personal scandal.

Mr Najib's press secretary Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad, in a statement, asked how Mr Muhyiddin could be considered credible when he had built his reputation on religious piety but was, "for years, committing infidelity with another man's wife".

Mr Muhyiddin, who was sacked from government a year ago by Mr Najib and recently formed a new political party with former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, alleged on Sunday that close to RM1 billion (S$335 million) was already in Mr Najib's bank account before RM2.6 billion was deposited. The government has said the money was given by a member of a Saudi royal family as a political donation.

Mr Sariffuddin said Mr Muhyiddin was making false accusations.

He said: "How can he be a credible president of Tun Mahathir Mohamad's new party, when it's a matter of court record that he was, for years, committing infidelity with another man's wife?

"Tan Sri Muhyiddin's credibility and moral fibre have been destroyed. It's clear that he preaches one thing for political expediency, but, in private, does another."

Some Malaysian media outlets on the Web reported that political blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin had alleged in June that Mr Muhyiddin was having an extramarital affair.

The blogger published a statutory declaration, said to be by a former deputy public prosecutor, alleging that his wife had an affair with Mr Muhyiddin. The document was filed for divorce proceedings, it appears, but its authenticity was not verified.

Mr Muhyiddin did not comment yesterday on Mr Sariffuddin's statement but he had dismissed the claims as slanderous and unfounded when they first surfaced in June.

Mr Sariffuddin said Mr Muhyiddin was bitter that he would never become prime minister because the attempt to unseat a democratically elected leader had failed.

He added that Mr Najib's accounts were "comprehensively investigated, and multiple authorities had ruled that no law was broken". He reiterated the government's stand that the funds in Mr Najib's accounts were a donation from the Saudi royal family.

Trinna Leong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2016, with the headline 'Former DPM Muhyiddin accused of lacking credibility'. Print Edition | Subscribe