Musa Aman's outburst in the State Legislative Assembly has got observers believing that he told the truth when he said the US$100 million in Zurich was Umno's.
KOTA KINABALU July 17, 2012: Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman lost his cool during the State Legislative Assembly sitting yesterday and his outburst may have put Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak in a spot over allegations of money laundering involving a Swiss bank.
Responding to Luyang assemblywoman Melania Chia’s queries regarding the alleged hundreds of million of ringgits in his Swiss bank accounts, Musa said: ” You can ask me… you can even repeat it outside the house. I won’t sue you because I am not worried at all.
“To me there is no such thing. You think if I am wrong I would be standing here.
“I am open anytime to be investigated. I am ready to face it anytime.
“What we are going to do now is to tell the truth. I am innocent until proven guilty.”
Musa’s unprecedented directness in engaging Chia’s queries, despite attempts by Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan to raise a Point of Order under Section 43(6), alerted political observers here to an earlier statement issued by Musa on the same matter.
Many now opined that Musa was probably “telling the truth” when he allegedly told the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) recently that the US$100 million in a Swiss bank account under his name was not his but Umno’s.
That admission, coupled with yesterday “explanation” by Musa, has now put Najib, who is Umno president, in the spot.
Said one observer: “Musa is clever as he passed the ball to Najib’s court, just like in the RCI issue before. Now how would Najib handle this?”
Najib must explain
About two weeks ago, PKR vice-president Tian Chua had dared Najib to respond to a supposedly leaked MACC investigation that claimed Musa told them the money was held in trust for Najib and Umno.
Tian Chua said that the onus was now for Najib to explain Musa’s alleged statement linking Umno and therefore the government to the hitherto secret party slush fund.
This issue came to light when one of Musa’s business associates, Michael Chia, whom Musa denied knowing but evidence showed otherwise, was caught by Hong Kong authorities in 2008 with a bag allegedly containing S$16 million cash.
Chia had then told the Hong Kong’s anti-corruption agency (ICAC) that the cash belonged to Musa.
It was also alleged at that time that the money was supposedly to be given to Umno to help oil its campaign in the Permatang Pauh by-election.
Recently, Sabah Umno also brushed off the calls made by certain Sabah leaders for Musa to resign in the wake of “distracting issues”.
Speaker Salleh Said Keruak, who is also Sabah Umno deputy chief, said Musa was doing a good job and that some leaders are just jealous of his achievements.
“Musa is doing a good job for Sabah and there are leaders who are power-crazy and jealous of his achievement,” Salleh had told FMT, echoing Pairin’s earlier heaping of praises on Musa as one the best chief ministers Sabah ever had.
The duo were responding to State Reform Party’s (STAR) Daniel John Jambun who had called for Musa’s resignation as he was embroiled in the ongoing investigation on the money-laundering case implicating him and now Najib.
Even Umno stalwart Lajim Ukin, the MP for Beaufort, had called for Musa’s replacement.
The pressure on Musa to step down, even temporarily, meanwhile, appeared to have little impact on him, at least publicly.
The local news prints most of the time were very reluctant to pose questions to Musa on these allegations.
On the other hand, the revelations by Sarawak Report, an online investigative portal dedicated but not confined to Sarawak matters, have exposed various details, including bank slips, on transactions involving Musa and Chia.
Also exposed were bank slips of transactions between Chia and Musa’s son and also Musa’s lawyer Richard Barnes, who used to be Sabah footballer in 1970s and 1980s.
Clare Rewcastle-Brown, the owner of Sarawak Report, had also published Musa’s family connection to the Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail.
According to Brown, Gani’s wife was a sister of the wife of Anifah Aman, Musa’s younger brother who is also Foreign Minister, implying it could be a reason why no federal punitive action was taken against Musa despite these allegations.
So far Najib has not responded to Tian Chua’s call for clarification on Musa’s statement alleging that the US$100 million in his account in Zurich was not his but Umno’s.
Najib, however, had on June 21 this year said that MACC had provided full cooperation with the Hong Kong ICAC and had completed the investigation.
He was also reported to have said that the file is with Gani.