Malaysian prosecutors drop graft charges against Najib ally
KUALA LUMPUR : Malaysian government prosecutors withdrew corruption charges yesterday against an ally of former premier Najib Razak, whose party returned to power in a new coalition three months ago after having lost the last election amid massive graft scandals.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court acquitted Mr Musa Aman, a senior figure in Najib's United Malays National Organisation (Umno) and former chief minister of Sabah , after the prosecution dropped all 46 charges of alleged bribery in timber concession deals and money laundering, Reuters reported.
Mr Musa's lawyer, Mr Amer Hamzah Arshad, said the charges had been akin to "political persecution", Reuters reported.
Attorney-General Idrus Harun said he withdrew the charges due to a lack of documentary evidence from the companies and banks allegedly involved.
Mr Idrus said in a statement some prosecution witnesses had also either "passed away, suffered serious medical ailments or are not in Malaysia anymore".
The charges involved a total of RM403 million (S$132 million).The opposition Pakatan Harapan coalition described the decision as "confusing and disappointing", Reuters reported.
Opposition leaders and critics fear political influence could sway the outcome of the cases against Najib and other politicians as Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is dependent on Umno's support.
In a separate development, former Malaysian prime minster Mahathir Mohamad and several others yesterday filed a lawsuit to challenge Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia's termination of their memberships and leadership positions nearly two weeks ago, the Malay Mail reported.
They also want the court to declare that Mr Muhyiddin is not the acting chairman.