Report: New Evidence of Umno Funding PAS Election Campaign

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Whistleblower site Sarawak Report (SR) today published what it said was new evidence showing that PAS had received election donations from Umno, three weeks before its leader Abdul Hadi Awang testified in a London court that his party was not working with Umno.

Report’s allegations:

  • Umno secretly paid PAS to contest seats, causing at least three-way fights with PH and BN in GE14
  • PAS contested 158 seats in GE14 – the most number of parliamentary seats by any party in the country to date 
  • Bank transfer of RM2.5m from former Umno treasurer Salleh Keruak’s aide into PAS’ account
  • Hadi lied about PAS not colluding with Umno, with both parties openly cooperating after GE14
  • Sarawak Report about to submit new evidence to London court as part of its editor’s defence, but Hadi made a surprise offer to settle the case

The website shows a screenshot of a bank transfer from an aide to then Umno treasurer and former minister Salleh Said Keruak for RM2.5 million into PAS’ account at a Bank Islam branch on March 21 last year.

Sarawak Report

This contradicts the statement by Hadi, who testified before the High Court of Justice in London on April 17 that his party was not colluding with Umno, whether politically or otherwise.

The article accused Umno of “secretly paying” PAS to contest several seats, which later led to both parties’ cooperation right after the conclusion of the general election.

Sarawak Report has now received confirmation that this money paid to PAS was used to pay for several of PAS’ record numbers of election deposits at GE14, together with another million or so ringgit that was apparently later also deposited in cash by Umno into PAS accounts around the same time in the same way,” the report said.

PAS has admitted receiving the money but denied it came from Umno.

SR, however, did not list the name or number of seats where the deposits were allegedly paid using the money.

A deposit of RM10,000 is required to contest a parliamentary seat and RM5,000 for a state assembly seat.

PAS contested 158 seats in GE14 – the most number of parliamentary seats contested by any one party in the country to date – but won only 18.

The party’s contest in those seats had caused at least three-way fights with PH and BN.

In comparison, it had contested just 73 seats in 2013, winning 21 or nearly three in 10 seats contested.

In 2008, it contested 66 seats and won 23.

“It certainly presents a very different picture to the claims made by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang that there was no collusion during the election and no alliance between the parties,” the report said.

“PAS was still claiming at the last election to be an opposition party for Umno/BN and insisted that the unprecedented and extremely expensive decision to fight in all federal and state seats had nothing to do with a plan to split the opposition vote on behalf of Umno.”

As it turned out, the report said it was Umno who secretly paid for PAS to contest the seats.

It noted that almost immediately after the elections, the two parties openly appeared as allies, to the extent of supporting each other’s candidates at the by-elections following GE14.

“It begs the question as to whether Hadi’s new conversion to supporting Umno is purely the product of a sudden willingness ‘to forget past wrongs and unite Muslims’ or just a question of bought friendship in the form of those paid for deposits and indeed the other inputs of cash from Umno into PAS which Hadi’s senior supporter Nik Abduh referred to in a tape that he at first denied was genuine, but now admits was true?”

Hadi had filed a defamation suit in London against SR editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown over a report published in August 2017 alleging that senior PAS leaders could have received RM90 million from former Umno leader Najib Razak for the Islamist party’s cooperation in GE14.

After months of litigation, Hadi made a surprise offer to settle the case on undisclosed terms, which the defendant accepted. She was also not required to take down the offending article.

SR said it was about to submit the new evidence to the London court as part of Rewcastle-Brown’s defence, but PAS dropped the suit on the grounds that it was too costly to sustain.