HomeAsiaMalaysia anti-graft body probes ex-finance minister for abuse of power, money laundering

Malaysia anti-graft body probes ex-finance minister for abuse of power, money laundering

Malaysia anti-graft body probes ex-finance minister for abuse of power, money laundering, Daim Zainuddin neglected to disclose his assets despite numerous petitions from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

KUALA LUMPUR(Reuters/CNA) – Malaysia’s anti-graft agency said on Saturday it was investigating a former finance minister and key ally of ex-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad under the country’s abuse of power and money laundering laws.

In a statement, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) confirmed media reports this month that it had seized Ilham Tower, a 60-storey building in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur, as part of its investigation into Daim Zainuddin.

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Daim, 85, said in a statement on Thursday that he denied all wrongdoing and said he was not informed what offence he had allegedly committed despite repeated queries to the MACC.

He also described the probe against him as a “political witch-hunt” driven by the anti-graft agency and Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

Anwar, who came to power last year, has vowed to weed out high-level corruption, but has faced accusations by some critics of targeting political rivals.

CNA reported last week that the multi-million-dollar Ilham Tower, a prime commercial building owned by the Daim family, had been seized after he refused to declare his and his family’s financial holdings.

According to the MACC, it issued a notice to Mr Daim on Jun 7, requesting that he declare all his assets in Malaysia and abroad.

The agency added that he had applied for an extension five times – all of which were granted on Jul 6, Aug 10, Sep 11, Oct 11 and Nov 14.

It urged the public not to speculate on the case while investigations are ongoing.

The MACC said it had asked Daim to declare his assets in June and granted five extensions to the former minister to do so — the latest on Nov. 14.

It added that “he has every opportunity to clear his name if the case is brought to the court of law.”

Daim held the finance portfolio twice: between 1984 and 1991, when he was succeeded by Anwar; and from 1999 to 2001 after Anwar was sacked by then-PM Mahathir for alleged corruption and sodomy.

Though retired from active politics, Daim remains an influential figure.

In 2018, when Mahathir came out of retirement and returned as prime minister, he appointed Daim to lead a government advisory council tasked with scrutinising everything from government policies to the management of state-linked firms.

Daim also led talks to renegotiate several deals with China, including the East Coast Rail Link project, part of Beijing’s Belt and Road programme.

($1 = 0.7856 pounds)

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