(Bloomberg) -- Malaysia’s anti-graft agency will summon former premier Muhyiddin Yassin and two ex-cabinet ministers who served in his administration for the alleged misappropriation of 600 billion ringgit ($136 billion) of public funds for tackling the pandemic.
The other two are former health minister Khairy Jamaluddin and ex-finance minister Zafrul Aziz, who now heads the international trade and industry ministry in the new government, the New Straits Times reported, citing people it didn’t name. The funds for the pandemic included resources for vaccines, the newspaper added.
Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in a statement Thursday said that it had opened an investigation into the allegations. It made no mention of who it would summon, but said the probe would be conducted in a transparent and professional manner.
“There have been no calls from the MACC yet,” Zafrul told reporters at a separate event. “If contacted, I will cooperate fully. We have nothing to hide.”
Aides to Muhyiddin and Khairy, as well as anti-graft agency officials didn’t immediately respond to requests for comments.
News of the probe comes as Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim is reviewing projects and plans approved by past administrations in a bid to burnish his credentials as a reformist and fulfill his alliance’s election manifesto promises to fight corruption. Anwar himself faces criticism for picking the head of the former ruling coalition who faces graft charges as one of his deputies.
Anwar this week said the finance ministry found there was a breach of procedure in the handling of 600 billion ringgit of public funds during Muhyiddin’s time as premier. He also ordered a review of the 5G mobile services contract awarded to Ericsson AB last year, citing concerns about cost and transparency.
Malaysia PM To Review Predecessor’s Billion-Ringgit Projects (2)
Muhyiddin was prime minister from March 2020 to August 2021, and now leads the opposition. He and Anwar fought a tight election race last month that resulted in a hung parliament and set off a contest to drum up support from several coalitions to form government.
Anwar eventually got the consent from the country’s monarch to form government but he needs to keep several political blocs happy ahead of a confidence vote in parliament later this month.
--With assistance from Prem Kumar and Anisah Shukry.
(Adds comment from anti-graft body in third paragraph)
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