The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has begun an investigation into a claim that Umno paid RM90 million to PAS leaders to secure their support for the party.
It was reported that the MACC opened the investigation after receiving a report on Tuesday (Feb 5) from the police on the matter and the commission would call up several people for questioning as part of its investigation.
“A report was made by a civilian to the police, and the police have referred the report to the MACC.
“Therefore, the MACC will carry out investigations based on the authority and regulations given to the commission,” it said in a statement on Wednesday (Feb 6).
The probe was reportedly being conducted in accordance with the MACC Act 2009 and the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.
An article carried by the Sarawak Report news portal in 2016 had claimed that Umno allegedly paid RM90 million to PAS leaders to secure their support and that the money could have been from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds.
On Feb 5, the deputy chief of the Parti Amanah Negara youth wing, Faiz Fadzil, urged the authorities to open an investigation to determine if allegations that PAS received monies from Umno or 1MDB were true.
He made the call after PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang opted for an out-of-court settlement with Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle Brown.
Abdul Hadi had sued Rewcastle Brown for libel over an article she published on Aug 6, 2016, alleging the party received RM90mil in bribes from Umno.
She filed a counterclaim in October 2017 but last Friday (Feb 1), the case was settled out of court.
Terengganu Amanah chairman Datuk Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah has also called on the PAS leadership to give a full explanation on why it opted for an out-of-court settlement with Rewcastle Brown over the defamation suit.
Earlier, the National Patriot Association (Patriot) and the media and communications adviser to the prime minister Kadir Jasin also called for an investigation.
Kadir said the truth of the allegations by Rewcastle-Brown could only be known if police and the MACC open an investigation into the case.
PAS leaders said the decision to enter into an out-of-court settlement with Rewcastle-Brown was due to the high legal costs involved, adding that the party felt the millions of ringgit could be put to better use.