Former PM, aides to be called up over publicity allocations spent, says MACC chief

PUTRAJAYA: A former prime minister and his aides will be called to explain how allocations for promotions and publicity were spent during his administration, says Tan Sri Azam Baki.

“We will be calling him soon. Either this week or next week at the latest,” said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Chief Commissioner.

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Azam said this when asked about the development of the investigation into the RM700mil that was spent for this purpose by the two previous Federal governments between 2020 and 2022.

Azam said the former prime minister would be asked on how the allocation was spent.

“We do not have many queries on how the allocation was decided or approved. It is more in relation to how it was spent and the companies which were given the task for the government’s promotion and publicity campaigns,” he added.

He explained that this is a normal procedure when an investigation is being carried out.

The MACC chief commissioner said the companies involved had already been summoned but did not elaborate.

Azam then said that aside from the former prime minister, investigators would also be calling several individuals from his office.

On Jan 2, the MACC confirmed that a probe had been initiated into claims of alleged misuse of RM700mil that was spent for promotions and publicity by the two previous Federal governments between 2020 and 2022.

Source said that MACC officers had gone to the Finance Ministry as well as the Prime Minister’s Department to seek information and to obtain documents in relation to the case.

Last November, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said in Parliament that RM700mil had been spent since 2020 to promote the government.

The bulk of the spending was handled by the Prime Minister’s Office for advertisements and media buys to promote government initiatives.

The Prime Minister had said that close to RM500mil was spent by the eighth prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and the balance was spent by his successor Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Anwar, however, had pointed out that Ismail Sabri did not spend that much and there was a balance in the funds which his administration had used.