KOTA KINABALU: Graft busters are looking into whether money was involved in the defections of state assemblymen after the May 9 polling.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is now investigating whether RM20mil had changed hands during this time, which saw two Chief Ministers being sworn in within 48 hours.
At the centre of the probe is Sabah STAR, whose two state seats – Tambunan and Bingkor – made the party the kingmaker when the results ended with Parti Warisan Sabah and Sabah Barisan Nasional tied with 29 seats each in the 60-member assembly.
Sabah STAR president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said he was quizzed over claims that he had received RM20mil.
He said MACC investigators seized some RM80,000 in a bag and his bank card after raids on his office and house in Keningau on Monday, as well as his office here.
“I asked them what they were looking for and they told me: ‘Something regarding reports of RM20mil.’
“So, I said: ‘Go ahead, look for it,’” he added.
MACC, he said, had carried out the search and questioning professionally.
Dr Jeffrey added, however, that he hoped MACC would be fair and investigate other politicians, especially Upko members who had left Barisan to support Warisan.
His comrade, Bingkor assemblyman Robert Tawik, was also questioned by MACC in Keningau, as well as several other party members.
MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Seri Azam Baki confirmed the raids related to Dr Jeffrey but did not comment on the investigation.
After the elections, Dr Jeffrey had talked about supporting Warisan to form the state government, but eventually shifted his support to Sabah Barisan, which saw Tan Sri Musa Aman being sworn in on May 10.
But Barisan lost its majority a day later when Upko left the coalition with two assemblymen and four others defecting from Sabah Umno to Warisan.
Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal was sworn in as Chief Minister on May 12.
Musa, who maintains that he is the rightful Chief Minister, is being investigated by the police for criminal intimidation after Yang Di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin lodged a report against him shortly after the May 10 swearing-in.
The MACC probe comes after Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad vowed to investigate any element of corruption over the party hopping in the state assemblies.