KUALA LUMPUR – July 30, 2015: Netizens have questioned the motives of sacked former deputy prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin following the posting of a ‘leaked’ video clip which went viral yesterday.
Several of them even believed that the video clip was intentionally posted in cyberspace with Muhyiddin’s consent.
Muhyiddin, in the video clip which appeared to be secretly recorded, claimed that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had admitted to him that a sum of US$700 million was transferred to his personal bank accounts.
The allegation against Najib was first made by New York-based daily Wall Street Journal which earlier this month alleged that the money originated from companies linked to state-owned strategic investment company 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
In the video, Muhyiddin appears to be speaking in the presence of Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, former minister Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir and several others.
The transcription of what Muhyiddin said in the conversation is as follows;
“I asked him (Najib) whose money was it but he did not answer the question. He only said that it was from someone in the Middle East.
“I later asked on how much money was wired to him. He said it was hard for him to make up the numbers but he admitted it was a lot.
“I then questioned why was the money wired into his personal accounts? (Looking at Kadir) How much? US$700 million! If converted to Malaysian ringgit, RM2.6 billion went into his personal account. He mentioned this, he admitted. So I said why put into your personal account?”
The video was leaked a day after Najib announced his Cabinet reshuffle where Muhyiddin, who is also the Umno deputy president was stripped off of his ministerial posts.
Pro-Umno news portal MyKMU.net in its posting yesterday questioned the claim by Muhyiddin as the video clip was cut off abruptly.
“The video ended so suddenly. It shows that the person recording the video does not want Najib’s answer be revealed to the public.
“In the video, it is clear that Najib did not specifically mention the RM2.6 billion. Muhyiddin was the one who mentioned that amount of money, trying to make it look as if it was a Najib’s confession,” the portal wrote.
MyKMU.net further speculated that Muhyiddin could be the culprit who gave “false information” to elder statesman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that the RM2.6 billion mentioned was used for the financing of Barisan Nasional campaign in the previous general election in 2013.
“Furthermore, it seems like there were not many people in the video. It is impossible for them to be that oblivious, not noticing that a person is recording the conversation,” it added.
Department of Special Affairs (Jasa) adviser Tun Faisal Ismail Aziz on his blog opined that the amount of money in personal bank accounts is an individual’s right and privacy.
“Money that goes into a personal account is individual’s rights and privacy and does not need to be declared to the public; just like when money is put into our personal accounts.
“This is unless if there are allegations that the money was coming from illegal sources. Only then the person should make a declaration to the authorities, not to the public,” he wrote.
Faisal also commented on the talks that the aforementioned RM2.6 billion was used for the general election’s funding.
“If there are people who want to put some money into a personal account as a political fund, it is actually an aid to the individual.
“It is up to the receiving person on how he would want to use it. Whether he wants to use it to help people or give it to the (election) machinery, it is his right,” he elaborated.
Anonymous pro-opposition blogger of Ameno World also found the video to be “dubious”.
“Muhyiddin looked like he was aware that he was being recorded. This means that at least he knew the risks that would follow.
“Could this be Muhyiddin’s first attack against Najib after the prime minister left him out of the new Cabinet line-up?” he wondered.
Ameno further expressed his suspicion after spotting other shortcomings of the video clip.
“Why was the recording cut from the whole video? Are they trying to gain some political mileage? Why did they not leak the whole video?
“I would like to hear what was the excuse given by Najib (for keeping the money),” he added.
Meanwhile, social media users took the posting of the video clip as a sign that Najib’s position is under a serious threat.
Joe Harris in a Facebook posting wrote: “The most dangerous gang for now is Mukhriz, Dr Mahathir and the gang.
“Dr Mahathir is mastering all the chaos and if possible will put his son Mukhriz as prime minister. Now of all people, Mukhriz is the Kedah’s Menteri Besar and he is on his way up,” he opined.
Chew Wee Liam was of the opinion that the posting of the video in cyberspace was intentional: “I believe the video was setup by Muhyiddin himself to expose Najib,” he said.
Soonkong Chan however expressed his support for the sacked deputy prime minister: “The truth often hurts! Go all the way for it dear YB. We are all behind you.
“You have done an excellent job for the country! I hope your Umno members are like you. Then our beloved country will be safe!” he posted.
Real Afral urged Muhyiddin to further elaborate what he said in the video: “We are getting closer to the truth now and Muhyiddin must issue official statement following the leak (of the video),” he wrote.
Jon Won suggested a simple way out: “Najib by now needs to go on leave. This is extremely serious and if the cabinet knew this and hide this, it is the same as abetting to crime,” he said.