KOTA KINABALU,Oct 28: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has started a probe into a RM300 million loan from Sabah Development Bank Sdn Bhd (SDB) to low-cost airline AirAsia.
Sabah MACC director S Karunanithy confirmed that investigations were underway to establish whether there had been violations of the MACC Act 2009.
However, he declined to elaborate on the case, saying “we cannot reveal much for now”.
Earlier, the Daily Express reported that Chief Minister Hajiji Noor had ordered a state probe into how the RM300 million approved by the state-owned bank under the previous Warisan Plus government to AirAsia was disbursed in a hurry to AirAsia after the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah government took over.
Quoting a source, the daily reported that Hajiji, who was sworn in as chief minister on Sept 29, had ordered a forensic investigation by an independent audit firm into SDB’s purported move.
It was reported that Hajiji was enraged that the loan, which the report said was approved by the previous administration on July 2, was allowed despite the airline having begun to let go of its staff.
The Daily Express also reported that a photo – which went viral on social media – posted two weeks before the loan signing featured the carrier’s two top guns and a journalist-turned-businessman having dinner with a businessman-cum-lawyer linked to Warisan.
The photo was accompanied by the caption: “This is how you get a RM300 million loan in Sabah! Over a delicious lunch of fish head curry!”
Deputy Chief Minister Jeffrey Kitingan and nominated assemblyman Yong Teck Lee had previously voiced out against the loan being approved by SDB, saying such funds should go to state-initiated projects.