Azalina admits receiving RM300,000

But the former minister says it was for the sale of her classic car to a businessman and was not bribery.

(Free Malaysia Today) – Former Cabinet minister Azalina Othman Said today admitted to receiving money from a Johor businessman but denied speculations that it was for corrupt purposes.

Rather, the RM300,000 cheque that Azalina received from Advance Maintenance Precision Management Sdn Bhd and Gerbang Perdana managing director Yahya Abd Jalil was for the sale of a classic car, according to her media officer Zulkifli Mat Rawi.

“Two years ago, when she was minister, she bought a classic Mercedes Benz 280SL (1969 ). It was her hobby. But then she realised that maintaning such cars was quite expensive so she stopped this hobby and put out advertisements to potential buyers. In March last year, Yahya contacted her, and she sold it to him,” Zulkifli told FMT.

Zulkifli was speaking on behalf of Azalina, who is Umno MP for Pengerang. She was Tourism Minister from March 2008 until April 2009 and was also Youth and Sports Minister from March 2004 until March 2008.

Yahya is said to be a committee member of Umno Pasir Gudang.

“We refused to give any media statement earlier because we did not want to disrupt the MACC investigations. But now that MACC has taken her statement, we want to clear the air as we have no intention of hiding anything,” Zulkifli said.

Yesterday, Azalina gave her statement to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) at its headquarters in Putrajaya to assist investigations.

Zulkifli said she had supplied all the necessary documents to prove that Yahya purchased the vehicle from her.

“There is no corruption. To say it is conflict of interest is wrong. No such thing. Plus, she was not a minister then, and had no capability to offer any projects. Secondly, she is not an Umno national leader and has no other position other than Pengerang Umno head. She has, and had, nothing to offer the businessman,” Zulkifli said.

He added that MACC officers told Azalina that there was no case against her and nobody has lodged any reports against her.

“She was not called in as a suspect. They also did not ask for her for a second interview. There is no case. She was merely assisting investigations into earlier allegations,” he said.

“However, she says she is ready to offer herself to give further cooperation to the MACC. No problem,” he said.

Political contributions

Last week, the allegation first surfaced when anonymous blogger TheWhistleblower711 alleged that Azalina received RM300,000 from Yahya. The blogger published a photograph of what appeared to be a cheque amounting to RM300,000, dated April 7, 2011, addressed to Azalina.

However, the blogger did not say or explain how it amounted to bribery and had asked Azalina to explain it herself.

On Dec 18, FMT first reported The Whistleblower711′s allegations of covert dealings implicating, and naming, Deputy Finance Minister Awang Adek Hussin, and two aides working under Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin respectively.

The blogger claimed to have top-level informants and had alleged that the three government officials had received kickbacks and were “bought” by the same businessman, Yahya, for the purpose of obtaining contracts from the federal government and its agencies.