The ruling party was rocked today by a high-level investigation involving bribery allegations and a prominent minister preparing to run in a party election that will shape Malaysia’s next administration.
In a vaguely worded statement today, the Tourism Ministry said “some of its personnel have been asked to provide statements” to assist the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in its investigations.
It denied that any offense has occurred, but said the ministry will “extend its cooperation in all investigations,” including a probe into misuse of ministry funds.
The New Straits Times daily reported last week that 11 people have been questioned. Among them is Tourism Minister Azalina Othman Said’s political secretary, who was allegedly found with 70,000 ringgit (USD19,000) cash, purportedly ministry funds, in his car, it said.
The probe puts Azalina in the spotlight as she prepares to contest a post in the ruling party’s powerful Supreme Council during the March 24-28 elections. The Supreme Council takes all major party decisions.
The investigation has revived complaints that elections to the top posts in the ruling United Malays National Organisation party are usually tainted by bribery, with contestants paying huge sums of money to delegates to win votes.
The anti-corruption commission has not commented on the case.