51 people arrested over PenjanaKerjaya fraud claims

GEORGE TOWN: A total of 51 people including 13 women have been arrested in connection with alleged false claims and misappropriation of incentives under PenjanaKerjaya programme.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki said 62 investigation papers were initiated to investigate the allegations involving the RM100mil fund.

“Investigations are still ongoing and will need some time to complete,” he said during a dialogue session with members of media from Penang, Kedah and Perlis at a hotel here yesterday.

Azam said each suspect would be thoroughly investigated and every allegation and witness statement must be verified and attached to separate case files.

But he expected the work to be completed in about a month before the cases are referred to the Attorney General’s Chambers.

Azam said investigations also showed none of those arrested was linked to political parties and that most of them represented companies suspected of abusing the fund.

“I would say it was daylight robbery. These suspects saw an opportunity to abuse government aid meant to help those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic,” he added.

In July, the MACC announced an operation to investigate allegations of false claims and misappropriation of incentives under PenjanaKerjaya.

Codenamed Ops Hire, the operation is being conducted simultaneously nationwide.

PenjanaKerjaya was announced in 2020 by then prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin under the National Economic Recovery Plan, offering financial incentives of between RM600 and RM1,000 to employers for each employee or apprentice employed for up to six months.

There were further incentives for employers to upskill or reskill their workers.

On a separate matter, Azam said the investigation into Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali had been completed.

He declined to elaborate as the matter is in the hands of the Attorney General.

Justice Mohd Nazlan was the judge who convicted former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak over the misappropriation of RM42mil of SRC International Sdn Bhd’s funds.

In his Federal Court appeal, Najib argued that Justice Mohd Nazlan had a serious conflict of interest when presiding over the trial.

Najib lost the appeal and is currently serving his jail sentence at Kajang Prison.

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