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KUALA LUMPUR, June 4 — Former Felda chairman Tan Shahrir Samad today leapt to the defence of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, saying that the large amount of cash seized from two condominium units at Pavilion Residences was needed for the recent general election.
According to Malaysiakini, Shahrir said that cash was what kept the election machinery ticking, with use of money transfers or cheques otherwise posing a logistical challenge.
“People ask, ‘Why do you need cash?’ This is because not all (Umno) constituencies have bank (accounts),” Shahrir was reported to have said at a press conference.
“(This cannot be done effectively) via bank. If you need extra funds for the election, you give a cheque, it will be too late. This was for practical reasons.
“Those who criticised sometimes do the same thing too,” he added, without naming names.
Asked if the huge sum of cash — amounting to some RM114 million in 26 different currencies — found in the residential units occupied by Najib’s children was normal, Shahrir said he wouldn’t know, but insisted that the money rightfully belonged to Umno.
Umno had last month requested that police return the millions seized from Najib, claiming these were party funds that it urgently needed for the rebuilding process following its 14th general election defeat.
The Umno Strategic Communications Unit claimed the funds were ‘donations’ for elections and Umno’s management, but did not state if it meant part or all of the money seized from Najib.