Umno leaders must choose sides now, says Singapore paper after damning Najib exposé


(Malay Mail Online) – Umno leaders cannot remain on the fence in the fight between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his predecessor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Singapore’s Straits Times said today after an explosive news report emerged linking Najib to nearly US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) in cash deposits allegedly funnelled from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Adviser to the Special Affairs Department (Jasa) Tun Faisal Ismail Aziz told the Singapore paper’s Sunday edition, The Sunday Times, that Umno leaders would have started taking sides, looking at how “desperate” Dr Mahathir has become to “get rid of Najib”, with the former prime minister having called on months for Najib to resign, citing the controversy surrounding the debt-laden 1MDB.

The Sunday Times also reported other Umno insiders as saying that Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s statement yesterday, which called for an investigation on the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report describing a money trail from 1MDB ending in Najib’s personal bank accounts just two months before the 13th general election, indicated he may be moving away from staunchly supporting Najib.

The Singapore paper reported that Umno president Najib may lose more support from within his party if it was confirmed that he had received millions in campaign funding in 2013, but did not disburse the money to Umno division leaders.

The Sunday Times also reported that concern has been growing in Umno over the fact that Najib has not denied the existence of the bank accounts purportedly in his name in AmBank, nor the allegation that billions of ringgit were banked in to those accounts, except to say that he has “never taken funds for personal gain”.

Some Umno leaders reportedly questioned why Najib did not ask Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz or AmBank to deny the flow of money to the bank accounts.

“Ask Zeti to deny or AmBank to deny. Nothing!” an Umno MP told The Sunday Times.

Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail confirmed yesterday that a special team comprising the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the police and Bank Negara have started investigating the alleged flow of funds from 1MDB to Najib’s personal bank accounts.

He also said he has received documents on the allegation of fund transfers from state-owned fund 1MDB to Najib’s personal bank accounts.