Malaysia ex-PM Muhyiddin Yassin set to be charged for corruption

Veteran politician questioned over funds allegedly channelled from building contractors to his party in exchange for projects.

Muhyiddin Yassin, who was Malaysia’s prime minister as the country locked down over COVID-19, is expected to be charged on Friday with corruption over the alleged diversion of funds to his party.

Muhyiddin went voluntarily for questioning at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on Thursday morning in relation to allegations that building contractors deposited money into the accounts of his Bersatu party in exchange for contracts during the pandemic.

MACC chief Azam Baki told state news agency Bernama that the former prime minister would appear in court on Friday.

Muhyiddin, who was pictured praying and surrounded by supporters before heading into the MACC office, has denied the allegations and said he is the target of a political vendetta.

A number of other Bersatu politicians have been questioned over the allegations and two have been charged.

Muhyiddin became prime minister in March 2020 after a week of political paralysis caused by an internal power struggle within the reformist coalition that came to power after historic elections in 2018 and he had once been part of.

He lost the job in 2021 to more political manoeuvring, and his coalition then lost a hard-fought election to Anwar in November.

Anwar has promised to crack down on corruption, ordering a review of government relief programmes during the pandemic.

Najib Razak, who was once Muhyiddin’s boss and Anwar’s colleague, became the first Malaysian prime minister to be sent to jail when he was found guilty of corruption in a case related to the multibillion-dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB. He faces a number of other trials over 1MDB.

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