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KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 — Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin should stop his “elegant silence” in the face of claims that his party Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) benefited through kickbacks from the government’s recent settlement with Goldman Sachs, former DAP ally Tony Pua said warned today.
The Damansara MP said Muhyiddin is at risk of tainting his legacy if he continued to do so.
He said that if Muhyiddin was really in favour of a transparent government, he should clarify if certain professionals had been paid for their part in the settlement and how much.
“The failure to do so will only ensure that Muhyiddin’s legacy will soon be as tainted as that of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s.
“There can be no bigger irony if funds which were painstakingly recovered from Goldman Sachs, a process which started under the Pakatan Harapan administration, to repay the enormous debts of 1MDB caused by Najib’s kleptocracy, are now being siphoned in part for the benefit of Muhyiddin and Bersatu’s political interest,” Pua said in a statement.
This was after Rosli Dahlan, the lead counsel for 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) lodged a police report against a trio of politicians who alleged that he received massive payouts for his role in the deal, funds which were later channeled to Muhyiddin’s Bersatu.
Pua said the lawyer stopped short of revealing the true amount of fees he received in his police report.
He hoped the government would disclose the amount of legal fees paid, asserting that such information is not bound by any confidentiality clause, despite de facto law minister Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan’s insistence that the government cannot divulge the settlement terms.
“While his government may have unnecessarily signed an NDA with Goldman Sachs over the settlement, the fees 1MDB had paid to its professionals would not be covered under the NDA and can be revealed to Malaysians,” Pua said, using the abbreviation for non-disclosure agreement.
He contrasted the current Muhyiddin government to the one it displaced, asserting that the PH administration practised what it preached about transparency by making information surrounding contracts and mega-project agreements available to the public.
“However, the Perikatan Nasional government is behaving exactly like the Najib administration by hiding secrets and protecting vested interests,” he said.
Pua also dismissed the recent attempt by Bersatu information chief Datuk Wan Saiful Wan Jan who leapt to Muhyiddin’s defence in denouncing the allegations as slander and character assassination against his party president.
“Most laughably, he emphasised that Bersatu ‘was formed to fight for integrity and transparent governance’,” Pua said of Wan Saiful’s defence.
“If it was really about ‘transparent’ governance, then why is the Muhyiddin government hiding behind the veil of secrecy?” the DAP man questioned.
He added all such conduct and silence from the government only added onto a growing unsettling concern among the public that the settlement was not done by the book.