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    Aug 06, 2015

    Najib to be quizzed on $963m donation


    MALAYSIA'S anti-graft unit said in a statement yesterday that it would ask Prime Minister Najib Razak to explain a RM2.6 billion (S$963 million) donation that was deposited into his private bank accounts.

    The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said it had verified the sum was given by a donor from the Middle East, but could not disclose the donor's identity.

    MACC said it had confirmed this with the donor and through documents obtained from the bank that showed the money had been deposited into Mr Najib's accounts.

    It said the donation had no connection to troubled state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

    A spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office could not immediately be reached for comment, Reuters reported.

    Meanwhile, Parliamentary Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia said yesterday that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) cannot publicise an interim report on its investigation into 1MDB, as doing so would be against Parliament Standing Orders.

    On Tuesday, PAC had announced its intention to release a brief report on the committee's investigation into 1MDB for the purposes of public knowledge, before proceedings are suspended for some three months.

    The Speaker had said on Friday that PAC cannot hold proceedings until a new chairman has been appointed.

    "Although the remaining PAC members fulfil quorum for committee members, the position of chairman has been vacated and, therefore, the PAC cannot continue its proceedings until a new chairman is appointed by the House," said Mr Pandikar.

    He added that as the position of chairman was vacant, the remaining PAC members did not have the power to elect a new chairman among themselves.

    PAC postponed its 1MDB proceedings after chairman Nur Jazlan Mohamed and three other Barisan Nasional members were appointed to ministerial posts in a recent Cabinet reshuffle.

    Before last Tuesday's Cabinet reshuffle, the PAC had 13 members: eight from the ruling Barisan Nasional and five from the opposition.

    In another development, the MACC's Chief Commissioner Abu Kassim Mohamed is on a week's leave. Deputy Chief Commissioner of Prevention Mustafar Ali will be filling in for him.

    His leave comes in the wake of MACC officers being hauled up for questioning by police over the leak of documents pertaining to investigations on 1MDB.