Sabah opposition leader Shafie Apdal remanded 4 days for graft probe

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Mohd Shafie Apdal has been arrested over a probe into the alleged skimming of RM1.5 billion meant for rural development projects.
Mohd Shafie Apdal arrived in an ambulance after he was admitted to the hospital for overnight observation due to high blood pressure. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KOTA KINABALU - Sabah opposition leader and former Malaysian Cabinet minister Mohd Shafie Apdal was on Friday (Oct 20) remanded for four days to assist in a graft probe over RM1.5 billion (S$482.7 million) in rural development funds.

The Parti Warisan Sabah president, who turns 60 on Friday, had earlier arrived at the court house in an ambulance from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital where he was admitted.

Dressed in a white shirt and black pants, Shafie was greeted by supporters in orange t-shirts shouting "Happy Birthday" as he arrived at about 2.15pm.

The MP for Semporna and former Umno strongman had been admitted to the hospital for an overnight observation due to high blood pressure after his arrest on Thursday (Oct 19) night. He has claimed that the investigations are part of "political assassination" moves to destroy him, and that these attempts have been afoot since he left Umno and set up Warisan last year.

His arrest followed nearly four hours of questioning by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) at its office in Kota Kinabalu. He had flown in from Kuala Lumpur to be questioned.

The former Rural and Regional Development Minister is the 10th person held in connection with a graft probe into the alleged skimming of up to RM1.5 billion in government funds allegedly siphoned off through the ministry.

More than 45 people have been questioned since the probe began two weeks ago. Those who have been detained include Warisan office-bearers, members of the ruling party Umno, and Shafie's brothers Hamid and Yusof Apdal. Datuk Yusof, a state assemblyman who is Umno chief for Silam in Sabah, remains in custody, while Hamid was released on bail Thursday.

The MACC is expected to make more arrests as it sifts through about 350 projects that were given to some 60 companies between 2009 and 2015. The RM1.5 billion was allegedly siphoned from RM7.5 billion worth of project funds.

The commission has so far frozen RM170 million in bank accounts and assets of some of the companies involved.

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