Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) is calling for authorities to reveal the sources of the RM40 million “political contribution” to Sabah Umno, that a Sabah businessman was caught trying to smuggle into the country from Hong Kong.

NONEReferring to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz's parliamentary written reply to Batu MP Tian Chua, its secretary-general Josie M Fernandez said TI-M was “appalled” that Nazri has stated “no elements of corruption was proven” in the case.

“Nazri (above) has stated that the funds were contributions to the Sabah Umno liaison body. He further stated that the MACC has concluded that ‘no element of corruption was proven’ in the case. However, the MACC must investigate if corruption was a factor in the political contribution of RM40 million,” she said in a statement.

Nazri’s written response, she pointed out, raises many serious questions on the transparency and accountability of party finances.

She added that TI-M has been urging the Malaysian government to regulate political financing and to fully disclose financing of politics in the country, even submitting a memorandum on reforming political financing to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak last year.

Mother of corruption

NONE“TI-M calls for the full disclosure of the sources of the RM40 million as a 'political contribution' to Sabah UMNO.

“Absolute transparency is essential in political contributions to rule out the possibility of influence peddling in the political process.

“Money politics contributes to the cancer of corruption. Political corruption is the mother of all corruption,” Fernandez (right) said.

On Aug 14, 2008, businessman Michael Chia was caught in Hong Kong with Singapore currency amounting to RM40 million and was charged with money laundering and trafficking by the Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC)

The money was reportedly earmarked for Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman and were part of funds being deposited into a Swiss bank account containing US$30 million allegedly being held in trust for Musa by a lawyer.

These claims were followed by allegations by whistleblower website Sarawak Report that linked the monies to timber kickbacks for the chief minister for approving timber licences. The allegations were later denied by Musa.

However, in his written reply yesterday, Nazri said the money was “not for the personal use of the chief minister” but was meant for the Sabah Umno liaison body and that MACC had found “no element of corruption”, which he claimed led the ICAC to take no further action in the case. - malaysiakini