Parti Warisan Sabah president Shafie Apdal was today remanded for six days for investigation into alleged power abuse and misappropriation of federal funds meant for rural projects in Sabah. The order was issued by Magistrate Cindy Mc Juce Balitus on an application by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
The former rural and regional development minister, who turned 60 today, was arrested at 9pm yesterday after he was called to the MACC office for questioning. Shafie arrived at the courthouse in an ambulance and was made to wait for more than 30 minutes before he was taken into Cindy’s chambers by MACC officers. More than 500 supporters, led by vice presidents Junz Wong and Peter Anthony and youth chief Mohd Azis Jamman, gathered outside the courthouse.
Sabah Pakatan Harapan chairperson Christina Liew was also there to give her support.
The supporters used the opportunity to celebrate Shafie’s birthday by presenting him with a birthday cake, albeit from outside the court gate. Three other birthday cakes were brought into the courtroom, and Shafie’s family members did the honours by cutting them.
Shafie, who was not handcuffed, was represented by lead counsel Martin Tommy who was assisted by Darell Leiking, Loretto Padua Jr, Zakaria Abd Jalil, Hamid Ismail and Cedric Choo. Shafie is the 11th person to be arrested by the anti-graft agency in its ongoing investigation into the alleged RM1.5 billion misappropriation, with two of his younger brothers among those arrested earlier.
According to Leiking, who is also Warisan deputy president, Shafie is suffering from exhaustion after spending the last few days working and campaigning for the party and was deeply affected by the weather.
“He was interviewed for more than three hours before MACC told him he would be remanded.
“As part of the MACC procedure, he was taken to Queen Elizabeth II Hospital for a medical check-up and his blood pressure was found to be a bit high.
“Doctors advised that he should be warded for health reasons instead of being kept in the lockup,” he said.
Leiking confirmed that MACC officers attempted to detain the Semporna MP at the Kepayan police lockup instead of the MACC lockup, which led supporters to brand the graftbusters as inhumane and unprofessional for treating Shafie as a convict.
“I am baffled why MACC wanted to send him to Kepayan instead of keeping him at the agency’s lockup.
“I thought the government had given millions of ringgit to MACC to build its lockup facilities,” he said.
Nevertheless, he admitted that prior to this, MACC had also used the Kepayan police lockup to detain two witnesses in the graft probe. It was earlier reported that the MACC was still scrutinising a total of 72 projects out of an original list of 350 under the ministry of rural and regional development for suspected embezzlement.
The projects were planned to be carried out between 2009 and 2015 – when Shafie was the minister — in Kota Kinabalu, Kudat, Kota Belud, Ranau, Beaufort, Keningau, Lahad Datu, Tawau and Sandakan.
The RM1.5 billion was said to be part of RM7.5 billion allocated for water, electricity and road infrastructure development projects. Some RM170 million in bank accounts and assets of the companies involved in the projects were reported to have been frozen.More than 45 people have been questioned since the probe began two weeks ago.
Opposition leaders claimed the investigation was politically motivated to smear the image of Warisan ahead of the 14th general election but Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and MACC denied this, saying the agency operated independently.