KUALA LUMPUR, June 29 — Jeli MP Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed today denied Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s claim that he left Umno to “save themselves” from alleged graft investigations.

In a statement this evening, Mustapa who is also Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) said Ahmad Zahid’s statements were meant to only tarnish his reputation as a minister and Member of Parliament.

He also denied Ahmad Zahid’s claim that he had misappropriated funds from the Kelantan Umno machinery, that was to be used for logistics to bring Kelantan voters who are working or living in the Klang Valley to return to vote in Kelantan.

“I did not receive any pressure from anyone to join Bersatu, and I have never misappropriated funds from Umno Kelantan Liaison Body for the 14th General Election (GE14).

“I am ready to cooperate with the authorities if I am needed to,” he said.

Mustapa explained that after GE14, he was called in by authorities on two occasions, the first being in late 2018, and the second being in early 2019.

He said that the first time he was called in was by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to provide a statement with regards to the minutes of a Cabinet Meeting on the Trans Sabah Gas Pipeline project.

The second was related to alleged funds obtained by 1MDB sources that was deposited into the Umno Kelantan account, to which he was called in by the police.

“The Bagan Datuk MP’s statement has been raised by several parties before. MACC has already denied this on September 20, 2018, while the secretary of Umno Kelantan’s Liaison Body at the time explained the management of GE14 funds on January 16, 2019.

“These allegations are intended to tarnish my reputation as a minister in the Cabinet and as an MP,“ he said.

Yesterday, Ahmad Zahid suggested in the High Court that Masjid Tanah MP Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin, Bagan Serai MP Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali and Mustapa left Umno after the GE14 to “save themselves” from alleged graft investigations.

He claimed to have proof of this after being elected to power following Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s resignation as Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman and Umno president, of which both positions were taken over by Ahmad Zahid.

“Because of that, I know and have proof on the matters that I have stated, based on the capacity of my positions that I held then,“ he said.

Ahmad Zahid is facing 47 charges, namely 12 counts of criminal breach of trust in relation to charitable foundation Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds, 27 counts of money-laundering, and eight counts of bribery charges.