Better to keep RM2.6b in local accounts than in foreign banks, minister says

Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz defended the prime minister for keeping RM2.6 billion of ‘donation’ in his private bank account locally rather than parking it offshore. — File pic
Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz defended the prime minister for keeping RM2.6 billion of ‘donation’ in his private bank account locally rather than parking it offshore. — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 11 — Channelling political donations into a local bank account is more “transparent” than keeping the money in financial institutions outside the country, even if it is held in a private account, an Umno minister said today.

Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz, who was speaking in defence of Umno president and prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, added that with funds in a local bank, it would be easier to check where the money came from and how it was spent.

“How are you going to bring the money if you don’t open an account? That’s more transparent than you take cash or put the money in a Swiss bank and take bit by bit.

“It’s more transparent to put it in banks in Malaysia where you ask the prime minister you just hit a button and the records will all be there,” he said at the sidelines of the Declaration of the National Heritage 2015 event at the National Museum today.

The Umno supreme council member said Najib, who has been heavily criticised over the RM2.6 billion donation found in his private accounts, was merely a victim of the opposition’s “double standards”.

“It’s not fair to him,” he said.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Najib said he has been cleared of graft claims linked to a RM2.6 billion deposit in his personal accounts as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has determined that the amount was a donation.

Najib’s supporters in the party have been defending their leader, saying that such political donations are commonplace, and that the party president was allowed to hold such funds as the party’s trustee.

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