KUALA LUMPUR: The abuse of power and money laundering charges against him are “selective political prosecution", says Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Reading a prepared statement to the media here after being charged on Friday (March 10), the former prime minister said the charges concerned alleged abuse of power and not bribery.
“I was not charged with receiving bribes for myself. That is because after they did not find a single sen of the public’s money entered my pocket throughout my duration as prime minister.
“This is vastly different from accusations that I had apparently swindled RM600bil of the economic stimulus package during the height of the pandemic,” he said.
He added that this was a ploy by Umno to confirm a supposed "court cluster" in Perikatan Nasional.
“I deny these accusations. I did not have any powers to approve these projects (Jana Wibawa). All were approved by the Finance Ministry using the legal rules and means of acquisition,” he said.
The Perikatan chairman doubled down on his claims of political prosecution, saying that the decision to charge him had been made before his statement was taken at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters on Thursday (March 9).
“Yesterday, before my statement had been fully taken on the tax cancellation appeal by Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, I was told that the Attorney General’s Chambers had decided to charge me.
"How could a decision to charge be made when my statement on the matter was still being recorded?
“I find that this decision to charge me was made much earlier by the highest powers before investigations were concluded," he said, adding that he had always obeyed the law in his 50-year political career.
“Government officers who have served with me know my behaviour and stance in obeying the rules and laws.
“I have always fought against corruption and abuse of power from the beginning and that's what my party stands for as well.
"I am innocent until proven guilty by the court,” he said.
The Bersatu president said he and his lawyers would use the court system to find justice.
"I will leave it to Allah and the fair judge to determine my fate," he said.
Muhyiddin expressed his thanks for the support from Bersatu members, Perikatan supporters and the rakyat but advised the public from protesting on the streets to defend him.
"Be patient and give me a chance to defend myself through the law.
"This is a time of economic turmoil due to Covid-19.
"People are experiencing hardships in life and I do not want to burden people," he said, adding that everyone must obey the law and maintain national security.
"I only hope for prayers from the people so that justice will prevail and we are all protected by Allah."
Asked about his position as Bersatu president, he said he left it to the supreme council to decide.
“I will bring my (situation) to the party's supreme council for them to decide and... whatever decision they come to, I will (comply with it)," he said.