Malaysia’s anti-graft body arrested another suspect in connection with Jana Wibawa corruption scandal

Malaysia’s anti-graft body arrested another suspect in connection with Jana Wibawa corruption scandal

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA — The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) arrested a suspect known as ‘Datuk Roy’, in connection with the Jana Wibawa program, which the anti-graft body is investigating.

The suspect is 54-year-old Mohd Hussein Mohd Nasir, who appeared at the Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday (14 March), escorted by two MACC officers and wearing an orange lockup garment.

The suspect has a previous conviction for graft.

At the hearing, an application was made for a remand order. Magistrate Noorelynna Hanim Abd Halim issued a remand order of three days against ‘Datuk Roy’ to facilitate MACC’s investigations.

MACC issued a warrant yesterday calling ‘Datuk Roy’ to assist in the investigation.

Malaysia media Harian Metro later reported that ‘Datuk Roy’ was arrested at 3 pm yesterday after he surrendered himself to the MACC.

Razaliah Ab Rahman, the Director of MACC Kuala Lumpur, stated that the case is being investigated under Section 16(a) of the MACC Act 2009.

‘Datuk Roy’ is believed to be a key mastermind in the Jana Wibawa corruption scandal.

The Jana Wibawa program, also known as the “Program Jana Ekonomi Pemerkasaan Kontraktor Bumiputera Berwibawa,” was initiated by the administration of  Former Malaysian Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin with the goal of enhancing the capabilities of Bumiputera contractors in the construction industry to become more resilient and competitive.

The program also aimed to accelerate their projects to support the country’s economic recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Four people, including a MACC officer and a woman, were arrested on 9 March for soliciting and accepting a bribe of RM400,000 to stop an investigation into the case.

MACC turned its attention to the son of a political leader

According to Free Malaysia Today  (FMT), MACC is expanding its investigation and has turned its attention to the son of a political leader.

The source claimed that the arrest of ‘Datuk Roy’ revealed that the politician’s son, a businessman, is also under investigation.

‘Datuk Roy’ allegedly obtained a list of names associated with the program from a senior MACC officer and then contacted those individuals, offering to help prevent action against them in exchange for a large payment.

It is believed that ‘Datuk Roy’ received money from someone close to the political leader to help the businessman avoid being remanded, the source claimed.

The source described ‘Datuk Roy’ as an opportunist who preys on MACC suspects, seeing the investigation as an opportunity to make money from those involved in a high-profile case.

Malaysia’s ex-PM slapped with seven-counts of charges related to Jana Wibawa scandal

Muhyiddin Yassin himself has been slapped with total of seven counts of abuse of power, and money laundering charges which he claimed trial on all charges.

Last Friday (10 March), he was hit with four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling 232.5 million ringgit (US$51.4 million) for his party, BERSATU (Parti Pribumi Bersatu).

The BERSATU president was then slapped with two charges of money laundering involving 195 million ringgit deposited into his party account, according to the charge sheets.

On Monday (13 March), Muhyiddin was charged for the alleged illegal transfer of RM5 million (US$1.11 million) to BERSATU’s AmBank account from Bukhary Equity Sdn Bhd.

According to Malaysiakini, Bukhary Equity Sdn Bhd is owned by Syed Mokhtar Shah Syed Nor and his wife Sharifah Zarah Syed Kechik, with Syed Mokhtar holding 99 per cent of the shares.

Another company, Nepturis Sdn Bhd, which appeared in Muhyiddin’s charge sheet last week, is a construction and engineering company; the ownership is equally divided between Aliza Abdul Malek and Rizman Akum Khan.

In the 2021 financial year, the company had a revenue of RM13 million and a profit of RM1 million.

The company’s records show that it is an investment holding company located in the center of Kuala Lumpur and within walking distance of Masjid Negara.

Muhyiddin was briefly detained on 9 March after anti-graft authorities interrogated him in connection with the Jana Wibawa programme.

Muhyiddin denied the allegations against him, calling it an attempt to silence the opposition by the new unity government.

Muhyiddin defended that he has “never given instruction” to the Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance (MoF) or influenced the latter’s decision in relation with Jana Wibawa.

“I have to stress that I did not commit any wrongdoing in the eyes of the law.”

“I was not the party who had power to approve any government project. The power to approve [government projects] is under the purview of the MOF, ” he clarified in a Facebook post on 9 March.

“I only executed the decision of the Cabinet, which required the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to forward the request for projects to be considered by MOF in accordance with the rules and regulations in place,” Muhyiddin said.

Muhyiddin disappointed that the programme is being portrayed as a scheme to steal the nation’s money.

MACC investigating alleged funds transferred to BERSATU

The MACC is investigating Jana Wibawa programme for claims that selected contractors allegedly funnelled political funds into the Bersatu party account.

Almost all the donors who contributed to the party’s accounts were contractors who were awarded government contracts during Muhyiddin Yassin’s premiership as the 8th PM from March 2020 to August 2021.

On 2 February, MACC Chief Commissioner Azam Baki confirmed that the commission froze several Bersatu bank accounts as part of its investigations into the alleged use of RM600 billion in funds by the previous PN-led government during the COVID-19 pandemic from 2020 to 2022.

Last month, Datuk Wan Saiful Wan Jan, the information chief of BERSATU, was charged with accepting nearly RM7 million (US$1.5 million) in bribes related to the Jana Wibawa programme.

He is accused of accepting a bribe in the form of cash amounting to RM6.9 million through his own company’s bank account, from a Maybank account of Nepturis Sdn Bhd. as payment for helping the latter obtain Letters of Acceptance (LoA) for the project.

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