KOTA KINABALU, Nov 6 – A Sabah opposition leader has dismissed the arrest of former chief minister Musa Aman, just days before the High Court rules on the state’s rightful leader, as nothing more than a scare tactic and political persecution.
Speaking to FMT, Jeffrey Kitingan said there were clearly “hidden hands” in yesterday’s arrest of the Sungai Sibuga assemblyman and warned that the move would backfire on the government.
“It’s nothing more than an attempt to destabilise Musa’s supporters before the judgment. Otherwise, why wait so long to take action against him?” said Kitingan, who is MP for Keningau.
He claimed this was not the first time the federal government had tried to affect the outcome of Sabah politics.
“I believe his arrest was likely because the judgment will be positive for us – that is why the arrest was meant to throw the opposition into disarray and create a negative perception of Musa in the eyes of the public.”
He added that the arrest would backfire on the government as it was obvious to the people that Musa’s detention and charges were politically motivated.
“Above all, it won’t change the facts of the case that Musa is the rightful chief minister.”
Musa, 67, was arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) yesterday. He faces 35 charges of corruption for crimes allegedly committed in Singapore and Hong Kong between 2004 and 2008. The transactions involved are said to range from US$28,500 to US$16,148,547, amounting to a grand total of RM263 million.
Musa said he had been cleared of the charges in 2012, when then-de facto law minister Nazri Aziz told the Dewan Rakyat the Attorney-General’s Chambers had found no elements of corruption in the evidence furnished by MACC.
Analyst Awang Azman Awang Pawi from Universiti Malaya disagreed that Musa’s arrest would backfire, saying sentiments in Sabah favoured Chief Minister Shafie Apdal and his state administration.
He said he believed support for Warisan and Pakatan Harapan would grow among those who wanted to see Musa punished.
“But for observers, the arrest appears political in nature given that it comes just before the courts rule on who the rightful chief minister is,” he said.
He added that while Musa would have to go through the legal process, it was the courts that would ultimately decide on his innocence.
Sabah UiTM analyst Tony Paridi Bagang however said the timing of Musa’s arrest could be a coincidence as MACC was only doing its job.
“The principle of rule of law must prevail and no one is above the law,” he said.