Malaysia

Shafie Apdal denies giving RM1.5m to actress

The Umno vice president said there was political motivation in the spread of the police report. — File picThe Umno vice president said there was political motivation in the spread of the police report. — File picKUALA LUMPUR, April 23 — Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal denied today PKR’s allegation that he paid over RM1.5 million to actress Zahida Mohamed Rafik.

He said in a statement that the police report by one Noor Azman Azemi, who claimed the federal minister hired him to be the actress’ personal driver to allow him to “monitor her movements” since 2009, was “completely untrue.”

“Accompanying statements by the individuals who have spread the police report far and wide are in bad faith and politically motivated,” the Umno vice president added in the statement, which he posted on his official Twitter account.

Although most news reports did not name the minister or the actress, some websites and blogs had disclosed the names mentioned by PKR in the press conference held at the Parliament lobby on April 18.

The minister and the actress have previously denied any ties to each other.

But rumours of their alleged affair began to swirl again last week, after PKR lawmakers produced Noor Azman’s police report that said he went to the police on March 13 after being accused by Zahida earlier that month of absconding with over RM200,000.

Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin had said Noor Azman’s relative came to her with the report, which stated that the Sabah Umno leader gave the actress between RM100,000 and RM200,000 every time they met “secretly in hotels around Kuala Lumpur each week”.

The 38-year-old, who claims to be a widower, said in the report that Shafie and the actress had “an intimate relationship with one another and I was the trusted middleman.”

The Wanita PKR chief alleged that the actress had received RM58,000 last October, RM112,000 in November and RM330,000 in December, as well as RM510,000 in January this year.

Noor Azman, a father of two, added in the police report that he resigned at the end of February as he could not take the pressure of working for the minister, which he said involved reporting on the actress’ movements whenever the minister was abroad.

He also alleged the minister did not pay his Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contributions.

But the rural and regional development minister said today he is ready to take legal action against “anyone who continues to slander me and links me to this matter.”

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