KUALA LUMPUR: Claims made that Perikatan Nasional had used gambling money to fund its 2022 election campaign are not baseless, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
He said that investigations into the allegations that the coalition received funds from gaming companies were ongoing.
Anwar also said Perikatan was welcome to take legal action over his statement but invited them to construe it in full first.
"Read the statement in full, then only take action. If he (Perikatan chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin) wants to take it, go ahead.
"I would not have made the statement if I didn't have the basis," he told reporters after launching the Kuala Lumpur International Book Festival at the World Trade Centre here on Saturday (May 27).
When asked to confirm if investigations into the allegations that Perikatan had used funds from gaming companies for its election campaign was still going on, Anwar said yes.
"Of course. There are many agencies (involved) and when there is proof then only further actions can be taken. Let the agencies do the explaining," he said.
On Friday (May 26), Muhyiddin said the coalition would discuss with its lawyers on the next course of action over the statements made by Anwar as well as Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
This was after Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reforms) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said on Thursday (May 25) that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) did not open investigation papers against Perikatan following the claims that it had used gambling proceeds in the last general election.
"The MACC found that the information was too general and no parties were able to confirm the issue. So, no investigation papers were opened," she said in a parliamentary written reply to a question from Ahmad Fadhli Shaari (PN - Pasir Mas) on Thursday (May 25).
When asked if he would file a defamation lawsuit, Muhyiddin said they would first demand an apology.
In December last year, it was reported that Anwar had implied that Perikatan’s funds for its election campaign partly came from gambling, particularly 4D numbers.
The claim was later asserted by Ahmad Zahid.