PM, wife told to come clean on RM50m defection fund

Wong Choon Mei, Harakah Daily

Pakatan Rakyat has slammed Prime Minister Najib Razak for using “unprincipled methods” to regain a two-thirds majority in Parliament, urging him to come clean on accusations that he was using taxpayers’ money to set up a RM50 million fund to lure opposition lawmakers to the Umno-BN coalition.

“We strongly condemn any unprincipled means such as these to regain the political upper hand,” PAS deputy president Nasharudin Mat Isa told Harakahdaily.

“It is no use and the people will see through it. It is better for Umno to try and beat Pakatan through free and fair elections rather than using unscrupulous defections and gerrymandering exercises.”

Two-thirds craze to shore up sagging prestige

Indeed, Najib has intensified a campaign to rock the Pakatan in a bid to shore up his sagging prestige in Umno. He must call for the next general election before March 2013 and fears are high within his own coalition that he will not be able to help them regain voter confidence by then.

The Pakatan has been gaining ground on a multitude of issues including the non-payment of oil royalty to heartland Malay state, the trumped-up sodomy charges against Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and the abuse of federal institutions such as the police and the courts to stamp Umno’s will on the people.

“Why is he crazy for a two-thirds majority in Parliament? Barisan Nasional has enough seats to pass law easily,” PKR senior leader Zaid Ibrahim said to a press conference on Friday.

“He should not resort to this. It will only destroy his credibility and Umno’s even more.”

The first couple and the former sec-gen

In the past four weeks, Najib has enticed three PKR MPs – Zahrain Mohd Hashim, Tan Tee Beng and Mohsin Samsuri – to become Independents friendly to the BN. Another two, including problematic Kulim Bandar Bharu MP Zulkifli Noordin, are expected to follow.

Top PKR leaders believe that the PM and his wife Rosmah Mansor had zoomed in on former secretary-general Salehuddin Hashim for his in-depth knowledge of party members and their strengths and weaknesses. They sought his help to ‘persuade’ his party mates to quit.

“Najib and Rosmah met with almost all of them, those who could be used, enticing them with all kinds of reward,” said PKR deputy president Syed Husin.

“It is not impossible that Salehuddin used his six years in PKR to dig out the secrets of his colleagues and used the information to his advantage,” PKR strategic director Tian Chua told Harakahdaily.

Taxpayers’ money

Accusations are also buzzing that Najib had granted a federal government power deal to his cousin so that commission of RM50 million could be churned to raise funds to finance the defections.

“We have enough evidence to show that this was something that was orchestrated some months back. It is very difficult to obtain hard evidence but we have enough information about these meetings and offers,” Zaid said.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has been urged to probe the scandal immediately.

“These are very serious allegations involving the very top leadership of the country. The MACC must restore confidence by immediately initiating an investigation,” PKR Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar Akin told Harakahdaily.