DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang today hit out at the Umno court cluster over the Johor state election to come after revelations by former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin that he had been asked to intervene in the judicial process to help politicians facing corruption charges.
Accusing the court cluster of forcing a state election in Johor, Lim who is Iskandar Puteri MP dismissed denials that the dissolution of the legislative assembly had anything to do with them.
“The Umno ‘court cluster’ want the Johor state election to be a rehearsal of the 15th general election which they hope will restore Umno’s political hegemony with the return of Umno hegemon/kleptocrats to power – and possibly a convicted criminal of corruption as the 10th prime minister of Malaysia,” he said.
In a statement, Lim added that Muhyiddin’s revelation that the court cluster had asked him to intervene in their court cases while he was still prime minister was “shocking”.
“It shows that the top Umno leaders do not uphold the principles entrenched in the Malaysian constitution and the Rukun Negara such as the rule of law and the doctrine of separation of powers among the executive, parliament and the judiciary,” he said.
MalaysiaNow reported last week that Muhyiddin, who resigned from the top office after losing his majority of support last year, had disclosed details to back his claim of attempts to convince him to interfere in cases centred on Umno politicians facing corruption charges.
He said among others that he had been approached by former prime minister Najib Razak, who is fighting a conviction and sentence for corruption related to funds from 1MDB unit SRC International, with requests that “a very senior lawyer” be removed from prosecuting in the ongoing graft cases.
MalaysiaNow also reported in October 2020 that former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had approached Muhyiddin in a bid to have his corruption charges dropped.
Zahid, the Umno president, was dealt a blow this morning when the Kuala Lumpur High Court ordered him to enter his defence for 47 charges of criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering involving funds from charity outfit Yayasan Akalbudi.
Najib meanwhile lost his bid in December last year to have his RM210 million fine and 12-year jail term dropped, and is now pursuing a final appeal at the Federal Court.
Lim said denials that the Johor election had anything to do with the court cluster were “weak and unconvincing”, adding that the “ministers cluster” would have “no say whatsoever” in determining the line-up of Umno candidates.
“A good test of whether the Johor election was triggered by the ‘court cluster’ in Umno is whether Umno is prepared to elevate the issue of the war against corruption as one of the top issues in the Johor polls,” he said.
“It is clear that the Umno ‘court cluster’ have deviated far from the Umno principles of the first four Umno presidents – Onn Jaffar, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Razak and Hussein Onn.”
Johor Umno Youth yesterday denied that the dissolution of the legislative assembly and election to come were triggered by a power struggle or to protect the court cluster.
Johor Umno Youth chief Mohd Hairi Mad Shah instead said it was a democratic effort needed to establish a stable government to administer the state.