Shafie arrives in Kota Kinabalu to give MACC statement

By JULIA CHAN
Shafie (centre) was arrested last Thursday night to facilitate investigations into an alleged RM1.5 billion embezzling case under his former Rural and Regional Development ministry. ― Pictures by Julia Chan

KOTA KINABALU, Oct 19 ― Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal arrived here today to a rousing welcome from supporters at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport amid fears of his arrest by anti graft investigators.

Supporters arrived as early as 2pm, crowding the arrival hall awaiting the Semporna MP’s flight which was due at 3.30pm from Kuala Lumpur, and cries of “Sabah Ubah” were quickly muffled as leaders told them to quiet down.

The Parti Warisan Sabah president, who arrived at about 3.45pm was surrounded as he exited the hall and had to be forcefully ushered to his car by bodyguards as the 300-strong supporters did not give way and came closer to show their support by shaking hands and hugging him.

Before getting into his vehicle he told reporters that he will be heading to the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) at 5pm to give his statement.

Shafie, a former Umno vice president was sacked from the federal Cabinet in 2015 following his criticism of the beleaguered 1Malaysia Development Berhad investment firm and soon after started Parti Warisan in Sabah with the aim of toppling the state government.

His appointment with MACC comes as no surprise as the investigators have honed in on RM1.5 billion worth of projects under his former Rural and Regional Development Ministry from 2009 to 2015, while he was minister.

His younger brothers Lahad Datu assemblyman from Umno Datuk Yusof Apdal, 54 and Hamid Apdal, 52 as well as party leaders have already been hauled up and arrested along with other party aides. Yusof is currently being detained while Hamid was released today.

The investigations, which focus on some 70 infrastructure projects in rural Sabah have seen some RM170 million in bank accounts belonging to more than 60 companies frozen.

MACC has so far arrested nine people to facilitate their investigations.

Aside from Yusof and Hamid, the other eight who have been arrested and released on bail are Warisan vice-president Datuk Peter Anthony, a Sabah-based construction company owner, a former deputy secretary from the ministry, Warisan Youth chief Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman, Tenom Umno Youth chief Jamawi Jaafar, and Tawau Umno Youth chief Ariffin Kassim and Hamid’s 37-year-old son-in-law Manzur Hussein Awal Khan.

More than 45 people have been also called up for questioning since the probe began two weeks ago.

A Warisan member Amarjit Singh was arrested after he arrived at the MACC office here to give his statement at about 3pm today.