Friday, June 20, 2008

Senatorship, BIMP-EAGA, Special Rep Political Bribe, Says Yong

KOTA KINABALU, June 20 (Bernama)

Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) President Datuk Yong Teck Lee today admitted he received a letter, offering the post of senator and special envoy to the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines-East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

Yong said he was offered both posts through a letter from the Cabinet Division of the Prime Minister's Department on Tuesday, a day before he declared that the party had lost confidence in the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

However, the former chief minister said he regarded the offer as "political bribery" to stop him from voicing out issues related to Sabah.

"The offer was delivered to me through the chief minister. He (the chief minister) said that if I agree, the prime minister would make the announcement.

"I said I'm going to reject it even if the announcement is made... so it won't be nice," he told reporters here.

Yong was asked to comment on a statement by Abdullah yesterday that he had offered the two posts to the SAPP president.

"There is nothing personal but I'm surprise when he (the prime minister) mentioned about personal greed... I've never asked for personal things from the prime minister.

"The senatorship is suggested by the chief minister. I said, fine but I rather not accept it because people would see it as an attempt to shut me up. So it's not true that I had personal greed.

"I also said that if it is true, let other SAPP leaders who are qualified (to be offered the posts)," he said.

He also questioned what he said was the "perfect timing" for a corruption case to surface.

"This is an attempt to cultivate a climate of fear," he told reporters after chairing the SAPP supreme council meeting.

The Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) said Friday it was investigating Yong over an alleged bribery case involving RM5 million when he was the chief minister in 1996.

This was following a revelation in the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday that Yong had ordered the payment of over RM5 million profit from the sale of shares belonging to a state-owned company to his selected agents in 1996.

Yong said: "In this particular investigation, the ACA had taken my statements four or five years ago. I don't know how many hours I was at the ACA office, don't tell me it has suddenly resurfaced today.

"The timing is perfect," he said.

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