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PKR sues Najib over breach of election law in S$914m 'donation'

KUALA LUMPUR — Opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) yesterday filed a civil suit against Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak for committing election offences, after it emerged that up to RM2.6 billion (S$914 million) worth of political donations was deposited into Mr Najib’s personal bank accounts prior to the general elections in 2013.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar (picture) speaking at the party's headquarters in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, yesterday. She stated that the facts of lawsuit will reveal 'all kinds of bribes and corrupt tactics' she said were used by the ruling coalition to win the 2013 elections. Photo: The Malaysian Insider

Parti Keadilan Rakyat vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar (picture) speaking at the party's headquarters in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, yesterday. She stated that the facts of lawsuit will reveal 'all kinds of bribes and corrupt tactics' she said were used by the ruling coalition to win the 2013 elections. Photo: The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR — Opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) yesterday filed a civil suit against Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak for committing election offences, after it emerged that up to RM2.6 billion (S$914 million) worth of political donations was deposited into Mr Najib’s personal bank accounts prior to the general elections in 2013.

“It is obvious that the RM2.6 billion used is more than 26 times the allowed amount as outlined by Malaysian laws,” said PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar at a press conference.

The suit, filed at the Kuala Lumpur High Court, also named ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and the Election Commission (EC) as defendants.

A copy of the suit seen by Reuters shows that the PKR wants the judiciary to declare that Mr Najib and 1MDB had acted illegally, and that BN should be de-registered and a fresh election called.

The suit was brought by the party’s jailed de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, who is serving a five-year sentence for sodomy, and several other leading opposition figures.

Citing leaked government documents, the Wall Street Journal last month alleged that RM2.6 billion had been deposited by 1MDB-linked companies into Mr Najib’s personal bank accounts. The Premier has denied taking 1MDB funds for personal gain.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has confirmed the existence of the huge sum in Mr Najib’s accounts, but said it had come from a Middle Eastern donor and not from 1MDB.

The agency did not reveal the identity of the donor and said it would ask Mr Najib to provide an explanation for what are believed to be political donations used during the 2013 general elections.

Detractors have pointed out that this would be illegal as RM2.6 billion far surpasses the legal limit allowed by Malaysia’s election laws.

Ms Nurul, the daughter of Anwar, stated that the facts of lawsuit will reveal “all kinds of bribes and corrupt tactics” she said were used by BN to win the 2013 elections.

Under the Election Offences Act, candidates are permitted to spend no more than RM200,000 when contesting a federal seat and RM100,000 for state constituencies.

“All the while, it is as if the EC turned a blind eye on blatant corruption,” she said.

To support her claim on BN’s tactics, the opposition lawmaker cited an incident from the 2010 Sibu by-election in which Mr Najib offered to make a deal with voters.

“I help you, you help me ... If Robert Lau becomes the Member of Parliament on Sunday, on Monday I will ask (for) the cheque to be prepared. Do we have a deal or not? We do! You want the RM5 million, I want Robert Lau to win,” Mr Najib reportedly said then.

But the EC had then insisted that it did not have the power to investigate such incidents, she pointed out.

EC chairman Abdul Aziz Yusof had said that the election agency does not have any investigative powers to find out if election candidates spend more than the limits of RM200,000 for parliamentary seats and RM100,000 for state seats, as they only rely on receipts submitted by the candidates.

“I stress that the government is absolutely not delaying PAC’s (Public Accounts Committee’s) investigations into 1MDB on purpose,” said Minister-in-charge of Parliamentary Affairs, Azalina Othman. “The proceeding will continue after the appointment of a new PAC Chairman and Committee Members on Oct 19, 2015.”

When asked by The Malaysian Insider yesterday, Mr Aziz said that the commission would only decide on the next course of action after its legal advisor has studied the suit filed by PKR

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