KUALA LUMPUR (BERNAMA) – The High Court was told yesterday that Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was sacked from the deputy prime minister post after he had raised too many questions about the sovereign wealth fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), in 2015.
Former Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa, 64, also said former Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail was removed from his position in July 2015 as then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak lost trust in his chief legal adviser.
Ali said Muhyiddin, who is now Home Minister, raised those questions in the cabinet before he was sacked.
“When we sit in cabinet meetings, we see arguments going on. It was mostly one-sided, Muhyiddin made all the noise in cabinet; we know something is coming up,” he said.
The fourth prosecution witness said this during examination-in-chief by lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram on the second day of the trial of the former prime minister and 1MDB former chief executive officer (CEO) Arul Kanda Kandasamy on alleged tampering of the 1MDB final audit report.
Speaking on how the accused reacted to those questions raised by Muhyiddin, the witness said Najib was calm at the Cabinet meetings and some answers were given, but some were given by the second finance minister. Queried what happened to Muhyiddin after he asked those questions, Ali said, “I think he was removed from the post.”
Sri Ram: You were then the Chief Secretary to the Cabinet…to the country…to the government. You have given evidence that Muhyiddin had asked questions on 1MDB in the Cabinet and answers have been given. You also just now said he was removed as deputy pm, the fact of removal, was it in your knowledge?
Ali: The fact of that, and the removal, it was not within my knowledge because it was the prerogative of the PM (Najib).
Speaking on the circumstances of which Abdul Gani left his office, the witness said, “there was no trust on him by the Prime Minister.”
“Actually, when I handed over a letter to Gani Patail, telling him he would be released from the AG’s post, he said he expected this to happen…It was a two-stage process to sack Abdul Gani. First a letter to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong informing of the termination of his post followed by a letter from Najib addressed to Abdul Gani, informing him of the termination.
“I was called by Najib to sign the letter and give it to Abdul Gani and tell him to vacate his post, and don’t take any documents out of the office,” he said.
Sri Ram: Do you know what led to the loss of trust (in Abdul Gani)?
Ali: In the cabinet at the time, there were some issues with the deputy prime minister then, Muhyiddin. I was informed by Najib that Abdul Gani and Muhyiddin met at a shopping centre, somewhere in Kuala Lumpur while shopping. That’s one thing that may be an issue.
Previously, media reported that Abdul Gani was said to be preparing to frame charges in connection with the troubled 1MBD before he was replaced in 2015.
When asked what happened to the former Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief Tan Sri Abu Kasssim Mohamed, the witness said Abu Kassim also wanted to take leave in August 2016 after he suffered from a prolonged backache.
Najib, 66, is represented by lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, while Arul Kanda, 43, is represented by lawyer Datuk N Sivananthan.
Najib was charged with using his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report before it was tabled to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to avoid any action against him.
He was charged, in his capacity as a public officer, which was as the Prime Minister, with using the position to obtain gratification for himself, which was to evade disciplinary, civil or criminal action against him in connection with 1MDB, by ordering alterations to the 1MDB final audit report before it was finalised and tabled to the PAC, where he directly had interest in.
Najib allegedly committed the offence at the Prime Minister’s Department Complex, Federal Government’s Administrative Centre, the Federal Territory of Putrajaya between February 22 and 26, 2016.