'Selling point that backfires': Bersatu’s frozen accounts bad news for PN, says analyst
Published on: Friday, February 03, 2023
By: FMT, Samuel Chua
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'Selling point that backfires': Bersatu’s frozen accounts bad news for PN, says analyst
Muhyiddin Yassin has denied claims the PN government misappropriated billions of ringgit when he was the prime minister. (Facebook pic)
PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s decision to freeze Bersatu’s accounts will impact Perikatan Nasional on two fronts in the run-up to the state elections, a political analyst said.

The coalition might not be able to push its “clean and stable” government narrative, while funding for its election machinery could be affected, said Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya.

In the last general election, PN had campaigned on being able to set up a government that was corruption-free, and highlighted the fact that its political rivals had leaders who were facing charges in court.

“This was their selling point and now it looks like it will backfire,” he told FMT.

On Tuesday, MACC chief Azam Baki confirmed that Bersatu’s accounts had been frozen.

It is understood to be linked to an investigation into the alleged misappropriation of billions of ringgit meant for Covid-19 stimulus packages.

Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin had denied claims his government had misappropriated funds when he was the prime minister.

The party’s secretary-general, Hamzah Zainudin, meanwhile, accused Putrajaya of using the anti-graft agency as a political tool, an allegation which Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim denied.

Awang Azman said Hamzah’s claim would not stick as MACC had arrested and prosecuted individuals from the opposition when PN was in government.

He also said it would be difficult for the party to mobilise its machinery now that its accounts had been frozen.

“Bersatu might have to sell its assets just like Umno did when its accounts were frozen in 2018,” he said.

Azmi Hassan of Akademi Nusantara said “the damage has been done” regardless of the outcome of the MACC investigation.

He said it will affect how Bersatu will campaign in the state elections, adding that the coalition could ramp up its attack on deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is facing corruption charges.

“They will attack Zahid, there’s no doubt about that, but it will be very dangerous because it will backfire,” he said, referring to allegations Bersatu had received donations amounting to more than RM300 million.

Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs said PN’s support would be adversely affected if Bersatu could not continue to provide “material inducements” to its supporters because of its frozen accounts.

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