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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

I didn’t ditch Umno to ‘save’ myself, says Tok Pa


Mustapa Mohamed, who used to be the Kelantan Umno chief, maintained that all of the state chapter’s funds were managed in line with its guidelines. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Jeli MP Mustapa Mohamed has denied leaving Umno for Bersatu in 2018 to “save himself” after allegedly misappropriating funds belonging to Kelantan Umno.

Mustapa, who used to be the Kelantan Umno chief, maintained that all of the state chapter’s funds were managed in line with its guidelines, including its election allocations.

He was responding to Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s testimony in the Kuala Lumpur High Court, where the Umno president claimed that the Jeli MP was among three former Umno MPs who were being probed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Without naming Mustapa, Zahid had said that the person was the Kelantan Umno chief responsible for bringing voters from outside the state to vote in the elections.

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Zahid claimed that RM30 million was set aside but it was not spent.

Mustapa, also known as Tok Pa, denied that he joined Bersatu to avoid being investigated by the authorities, pointing out that he was called in to give his statement on two separate occasions in 2018 and 2019.

The first instance involved the minutes of the Cabinet’s meeting on the Trans Sabah Gas Pipeline project. He later gave his statement to police over funds deposited into Kelantan Umno’s bank account which allegedly came from 1MDB.

“The Bagan Datuk MP’s (Zahid) allegations had been raised by other quarters in the past. The MACC has denied the matter on Sept 20, 2018,” Mustapa, who is economic affairs minister, said in a statement.

“The Kelantan Umno secretary at the time had also explained how the GE14 funds were managed.

“(Zahid’s) allegations are merely aimed at tarnishing my reputation as a member of the Cabinet and an MP. I have never been pressured to join Bersatu and I did not misappropriate Kelantan Umno funds meant for GE14.”

Mustapa reiterated that he was willing to cooperate with the authorities in any probe on the matter.

Zahid had also said Masjid Tanah MP Mas Ermieyati Samsuddin was entrusted with funds to manage Puteri Umno in GE14, but claimed it was transferred to another account for her personal use.

In a separate statement, Mas Ermieyati maintained Zahid’s allegation was not true and that the funds had been distributed nationwide as required by the party.

She also said she left Umno for Bersatu in 2018 so she could serve her constituents better by supporting the government of the day.

Noting that Zahid’s claims were made on the witness stand, she said she needed to study whether the matter needed to be handled in a “more serious manner”.

“The statements are baseless and can tarnish my image and reputation as a party leader and serving Cabinet member.” - FMT

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