Former MCA president Chua Soi Lek has shed some light on where some of the RM2.6 billion in Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s personal bank accounts may have gone to.
Chua, when asked about the RM2.6 billion in a Mandarin interview with Cari.com.my , recollected how Najib had in a BN supreme council meeting before the 13th general election made an unprecedented pledge to fund BN component parties.
“I must admit, during the BN supreme council meeting approaching the May 5 general elections, he (Najib) in his capacity as prime minister and BN chairperson, did reveal that in that election, BN will support its component parties’ finances.
“I remembered clearly, I was the first to thank him.
“I said that I have joined politics for more than 20 years and gone through five general elections, (we) have never received a single sen from BN before.
“So everyone agreed and many thanked him. When the election came, he delivered - he was able to disburse some funds (to the component parties),” he was quoted as saying.
When asked by the interviewer if Chua was convinced that the money was purely for the general elections, the former MCA president said he did not know.
“Of course, if there are some parts that was not used for the general elections, no one knows.
“That is why we need to wait for the investigations to be completed,” he said.
'Najib needs to do more convincing'
In July, both Wall Street Journal and Sarawak Report cited leaked investigation papers which found RM2.6 billion had been deposited into Najib’s personal bank accounts.
The reports claim that US$681 million came from Tanore Finance Corp while another RM42 million came from state-owned SRC International, a former subsidiary of 1MDB.
Sarawak Report later claimed that US$650 million of the money in Najib’s account was remitted to Singapore.
Coincidentally, funds from state-owned 1MDB for its joint venture with PetroSaudi International in two tranches of US$700 million and US$330 million were reportedly misappropriated after they were diverted to an unauthorised third party account - Good Star Limited - which is controlled by Penang-born billionaire Jho Low (photo) , a close associate of Najib's family.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) confirmed the RM2.6 billion deposits in Najib's personal bank accounts but ruled out 1MDB as the source.
It is, however, still investigating into SRC International.
Najib had denied taking pulic funds for personal gain while his supporters claim the money was a “donation” from the Middle East.
‘No one wants to ride on Najib’s image now’
In the interview, Chua said he had still met Najib even though the former had retired from politics and told the prime minister that while his support in the top echelon appear intact, much work still had to be done at the grassroots level.
“I told him you still have a lot of work to do, you need to convince people that the money that entered your account, in law, is not wrong.
“So long as the money did not come from the government or 1MDB, there is nothing wrong.
“Because in Malaysia, there is no law to say that when people donate money to you for the election, you need to report it,” he said.
However, Chua conceded that people were not convinced as the sum of RM2.6 billion was too big.
Chua said he was fortunate that these tough issues had exploded only after he had stepped down as MCA president.
However, Chua said there was nothing wrong if the MCA president publicly speaks out, including on alleged interference in the investigations against 1MDB.
“There is nothing wrong; I’m sure Najib will accept it,” he said.
Chua also acknowledged that confidence in Najib had eroded.
“On the lack of confidence in him, I can understand it because in the May 5 general election, many people used Najib’s 'rock star' image to promote (themselves).
“Now, I don’t think anyone wants to use Najib’s picture; this is the reality,” he said.