PUTRAJAYA - Malaysian media reported on Thursday (Feb 28) that the country's anti-graft agency has seized assets belonging to leaders of Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) as it probes claims that the conservative Muslim party had received RM90 million (S$30 million) from former ruling party Umno to cooperate in last May's general election.
Sources told news site Malaysiakini that the seized assets included several luxury cars - identified as a Toyota Vellfire, Range Rover and Mini Cooper - as well as a shophouse and cash. Several bank accounts containing RM2.3 million in total were also frozen.
PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan however has denied that assets were seized, telling Berita Harian that those media reports were “baseless”. and untrue.
“I ask the portals to check their articles, failing which, we will take legal action," he said, as quoted by the Malay daily.
The Star reported on Thursday (Feb 28) that sources said investigators from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had brought in the assets over the past few days.
The RM90 million is alleged to have come from troubled state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), which US prosecutors have said lost as much as US$4.5 billion (S$6 billion) to embezzlement and money laundering.
Two weeks ago, The Star reported that the corruption probe had shifted to the personal bank accounts of PAS leaders, after the agency said it had yet to find any 1MDB funds in the party's official bank account.
PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan's statement was recorded at the MACC on Thursday morning, and more PAS leaders are expected to be questioned on Friday.
"Yes, more leaders will be called," a source told The Star.
The allegation that PAS had received RM90 million in bribes from Umno first surfaced on whistle-blower site Sarawak Report on Aug 6, 2016.
PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang had sued Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle Brown for libel over the article but the matter was settled out of court in February this year and the article remains on the site.