Gerakan President Dominic Lau has asked the Finance Minister to look to Muhyiddin Yassin, Mukhriz Mahathir, and Shafie Apdal for the money that was allegedly channeled from 1MDB to UMNO during the reign of Najib Tun Razak. At the time of the 1MDB cash inflow, Shafie held the post of UMNO Vice President, putting him in prime position to mishandle the money.
We do have to admit that Shafie did indeed call 1MDB into question while he was in office, and was subsequently removed from his position as Minister of Rural and Regional Development in the July 2015 reshuffle when Najib got rid of his detractors within the cabinet. Yet, this is not the first time Shafie’s name has been linked with a case for corruption.
Years ago, he was also accused of corruption in his involvement with water supply projects in Sabah, projects that were investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption agency. Contracts for water development projects were unfairly distributed, and there were allegations of embezzlement of development funds in Sabah. Shafie was arrested by MACC and eventually released after seven days.
His current defense against Lau’s accusations is that, if the funds had gone to UMNO Sabah, ‘how could I have declined it?’ as he was not liaison chairman at the time – Musa Aman was. We’ve heard this line of defense before, especially when it comes to Sabah and the slow pace of development since he and his Warisan government took over. If anyone brings up the fact that Sabah looks very much the same under his rule as it did under Musa Aman’s, it’s because the funds are not forthcoming, or he’s cleaning up Musa’s mess. But now is the time for results, not the time for attempting to gain sympathy! The people will see Shafie’s side of things if his actions were sincere – and if they benefit the people.
He goes on to say that ‘personally, I’d never received any money from 1MDB’, and that ‘I could not say I cannot accept as it was the decision of the party at the time’. It sounds like he mayhave allowed others to receive money from 1MDB on his or UMNO Sabah’s behalf; or that he mayhave been aware that the party did accept 1MDB money.
We are not fans of this prevarication. These evasive excuses only make it seem as if something did happen, although at this point it is unlikely the entire truth of 1MDB and UMNO Sabah will come out. Who can we trust if we cannot trust our leaders?