Saturday 3 November 2012

Do not be quick to judge Nazri, says Muhyiddin - By Mohd Farhan Darwis

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 3 — Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin appeared today to back Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz in the uproar over the latter’s allegedly corrupt links with Michael Chia, urging the public not to pass early judgment on his Cabinet colleague without knowing the true picture.

The Umno deputy president pointed out that Malaysia has a sound justice system in place and Nazri’s actions, whether wrong or right, must be viewed from a legal standpoint.

“Do not be so quick to pass judgment... this must be seen on the principles of responsibility and law.

“We have a system and legislation... but do not pass early judgment,” Muhyiddin (picture) said at a press conference after attending World Teacher’s Day celebrations at the CIDB convention centre here this afternoon.

He said the allegations were no surprise as opposition leaders were known for claiming many things but pointed out that if Nazri’s accusers believe the minister had committed an offence, they could very well refer him to the authorities.

But he said it would not be fair to penalise an individual simply because of an allegation from another person before it is rightfully proven by the relevant authorities if any wrong had been committed.

“If they feel something is amiss here, report to the police, and the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) could investigate,” Muhyiddin said.

On Thursday, PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli had alleged a conflict of interest in Nazri’s responses on Chia’s graft and money-laundering case by drawing links between the minister and the Sabah timber trader, who was part of an international corruption probe involving Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman.

In his allegation, Rafizi had questioned if Nazri’s apparent “relentless” defence of Chia was due to his son Nedim’s use of the businessman’s RM500,000 Hummer, to which he provided photographic evidence to prove.

Chia was recently cleared of graft allegations involving Musa after local and Hong Kong anti-graft authorities reportedly found that the RM40 million he was accused of attempting to smuggle to Malaysia was a “political donation” to Sabah Umno and not for Musa’s personal use.

According to past reports, Chia was arrested in Hong Kong in 2008 for attempting to smuggle the cash back to Malaysia. At the time, he had reportedly told the Hong Kong authorities that the money was meant for Musa, alerting them to kick off investigations against both men.

Rafizi insisted that Nazri, who recently declared himself the “No. 1 law minister”, may be guilty of corruption as he had been the sole minister who told Parliament recently that Musa was cleared of corruption.

By announcing Musa’s innocence, Rafizi explained, Nazri had effectively cleared Chia as well, despite failing to provide details of the probe against both men, either by the MACC or Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

Prior to Nazri’s first reported reply to Parliament declaring the Musa-Chia case closed, there was no official declaration from either the MACC or the ICAC stating the same.

When responding to Rafizi’s allegation the same day, Nazri had neither denied nor confirmed that his son has been using Chia’s Hummer, but said that he saw no wrong if this were true.

The senior minister also pointed out that there was no conflict of interest in the matter as he had not been the one who investigated or cleared Chia of corruption.

At another press conference yesterday, Rafizi announced plans to lodge an MACC report against Nazri and his family on Monday.

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