There’s much ado about a minister who allegedly broke Covid-19 quarantine regulations and attended several functions and meetings when he was supposed to have been isolated at home. He is now being investigated.

In other news, the man who alleged in a statutory declaration that he had been sodomised several times by a prominent opposition politician is claiming he was “manipulated” into signing the document; we could know today whether the Sabah elections will go on as planned; and yesterday, for the first time in a month, there were no local transmissions of Covid-19.

Minister in hot water

Above the law?

Plantations and Commodities Minister Khairuddin Aman Razali is in deep doo-doo.
 
A few days ago, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok alleged that Khairuddin had gone on a trip to Turkey from July 3-7, then made an appearance in Parliament on July 13. If this is true, then the minister would have violated the 14-day mandatory home quarantine ruling
 
Turkey is a Covid-19 hotbed, with some 250,000 or so infections and 6,000 deaths registered so far. So Khairuddin allegedly breaking quarantine is a big deal.
 
And it gets worse because according to Kok, the minister attended at least a dozen events and meetings after his return from Turkey, potentially exposing thousands to Covid-19. If he was infected, that is. The Seputeh rep added that this could well have led to a “Khairuddin Takiri” cluster, in reference to the minister’s Facebook page, “Ust Dr. Khairuddin at-Takiri”.

Khairuddin has since responded to the accusations. Unfortunately, instead of saying anything of worth, he urged everyone to just wait for the Health Ministry to say something, noting that “as a responsible minister”, he’d abide by whatever decision the ministry makes. 
 
Aisehman brudder! As a “responsible minister”, you should have bloody stayed at home, izzenit? Your brother minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah have been telling Malaysians every day not to violate the standard health protocols. Also, when the home quarantine ruling was in effect – before it was changed back to mandatory stays at quarantine centres – they’d been warning everyone who returned from overseas to duduk rumah.
 
So, the responsible thing would have been for you to lock yourself up in your home for two weeks. But your backside was itchy, wasn’t it? Or maybe you’re above the law? Or are you somehow a rare genetic breed that is able to kill all viruses of the corona kind upon contact?
 
Malaysians, as expected, were furious with Khairuddin. Plus, a police report has also been lodged against him, so he will now definitely be investigated for breaking quarantine rules. And Noor Hisham has confirmed that the Health Ministry is also investigating our brilliant minister. 
 
We should remind Khairuddin and the authorities of two recent court cases of Covidiots who broke home quarantine rules. An elderly woman who dined out while she was supposed to be quarantined at home was fined RM8,000 while a restaurant owner who was the index case for the Sivagangga cluster (who, BTW, is now the subject of a RM1.5 million lawsuit by 200 residents of Napoh, where his eatery is located) was sentenced to five months’ jail and fined RM12,000. 
 
By the way, it’s important to note that under the Federal Constitution, an elected rep who is fined more than RM2,000 or jailed more than a year is automatically disqualified from his or her seat. If our dear MP from Seputeh is right, Khairuddin can be charged with a dozen counts of breaking home quarantine regulations. That would mean a massive amount in fines, and even without a jail sentence, he would be disqualified as an MP.

Oh and here’s a side note for you. Guess who had loads to say about the Sivagangga cluster quarantine breaker back before all this? That’s right! Khairuddin!

Speaking of quarantines anyway, we have to question our authorities over another case, this time involving a French citizen who was spotted at the Langkawi International Airport wearing a pink wristband, the kind given to those on home quarantine.
 
At first, the authorities said the man had arrived on Aug 20 and tested negative for Covid-19 at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. He was then given approval to self-quarantine at his rented home in Langkawi. But the latest statement from the Langkawi police chief is that this approval for home quarantine has been rescinded and our Frenchie will instead have to be quarantined at a centre. 
 
The home quarantine rule, as we have mentioned, has been done away with. All those entering Malaysia now have to be quarantined at centres. So, how is it that this mat salleh from France was given permission to stay at home?
 
Anyhoo, there were quite a number of Covid-related news items that came out over the last two days, so we’ve compiled some of the more interesting or important ones here:

  • Wednesday saw 16 new Covid-19 cases, with 23 recoveries. But there was fantastic news yesterday as there were no local transmissions for the first time in over a month. All five cases were imported, and four of these were crew members of a ship anchored off Bintulu, meaning that they are isolated. Also, seven people were discharged, meaning there are now just 183 active cases.
     
  • The Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry will recommend to the government that Covid-19 vaccinations be given free to Malaysians when a cure does become available. 
     
  • Fitch Solutions says the retail industry in Malaysia is still reeling from the pandemic and movement curbs, but is slowly recovering
     
  • Last but definitely not the least, our hero Dr Noor Hisham, who only recently was made a Tan Sri, received another accolade when he was named this year’s Tokoh Maal Hijrah

'Conned' into signing sodomy SD

Remember those allegations of sodomy levelled against a prominent opposition politician that we spoke about in Wednesday’s edition of BTL? Well, the purported “victim” now claims that he was manipulated by the leader of a non-governmental organisation into making the accusations.

The man has now filed a report against the said NGO leader, Ramesh Rao, as well as infamous blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin.

The dude claims that Ramesh not only influenced him to sign the statutory declaration (SD), in which the allegations against the politician were made, but also made promises of rewards from a senior minister. The report against RPK, meanwhile, is due to the SD having been published on his blog. 
 
Ramesh has since admitted persuading the complainant to sign the SD. However, he denies making any promise of reward from a minister. 

Bukit Aman, meanwhile, confirms that Ramesh will be called in to have his statement recorded over the matter. In case you’ve forgotten, this the second time in as many weeks that our intrepid NGO leader has be hauled up. The first instance was over controversial tweets he made about the judge who found former prime minister Najib Razak guilty on corruption charges in his SRC International case. 
 
Anyway, as we said on Wednesday, we’re sick of all these sex allegations. These are downright dirty tactics intended to bring politicians down. It’s not that we love politicians. It’s just that we don’t think this sorta thing is right.

Even so, if the allegations are proven true, we’d be curious to see if action is taken against both the politician and the complainant. After all, it does take two to, errr, tango, doesn’t it Also, on the issue of that “manipulated” SD, since there are allegations of a promise of reward, would it then not be an issue of corruption?

Let’s wait and see if justice is done in this case, shall we?

Will Mighty Musa have his way?

Today may be the day we find out if the Sabah state elections go on as planned.
 
The High Court on Monday set today to decide whether the courts are empowered to rule on the dissolution of a state assembly. And if it does so decide, there is every possibility that it could deliberate immediately the legality of the Sabah state assembly’s recent dissolution. 
 
Tengku Fuad Ahmad, the counsel for ex-Sabah chief minister Musa Aman and 32 state assemblymen who are challenging the legality of the dissolution, says Judicial Commissioner Leonard David Shim has indicated that the judicial review will be heard straightaway if such a decision is made.

To briefly, recap, on July 29, Musa claimed that he had obtained the support of 32 other assemblymen to take over the Sabah state government. He said he’d seek an audience with Governor Juhar Mahiruddin to effect the removal of Warisan’s Shafie Apdal as CM and for himself to be appointed as the state’s new chief executive. Unfortunately for Musa, Juhar instead agreed, at Shafie’s suggestion, to dissolve the state assembly
 
Musa and Co. are now seeking a judicial review of the decision to dissolve the state assembly. And if the court decides in their favour, then it’s likely that the state elections, set for Sept 26, will not proceed and Musa could find himself in the CM’s seat.
 
It might well be the last roll of the dice for Mighty Moses, in fact, as it looks like if the elections do go ahead and even if the current state opposition does beat Warisan and its allies, Musa will not be appointed CM. Barisan Nasional state leader Bung Moktar Radin has been named the coalition’s director for the elections and it has previously been touted that Sabah Bersatu leader Hajiji Mohd Noor and Bung could be a good combination for the top posts should Perikatan Nasional win.
 
Bung’s appointment by BN as elections director has, however, met with opposition from within, including from his own party, Umno. Our “leaky Parliament” MP, however, has insisted that he is the Captain of the Sabah Umno ship and that he “runs the game” there. 
 
All this rather public airing of dirty laundry has, nevertheless, led former Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin to voice his displeasure, stating that Sabah Umno should solve their problems behind closed doors and out of the public eye. 
 
Meanwhile, here are some other political news bits from yesterday:

  • PKR will use its own logo for the Sabah elections (if it does happen, of course). Basically, this is a rejection of an earlier suggestion that all parties aligned with Shafie’s Warisan use his party’s logo. So much for unity. 
     
  • Former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s new party, Pejuang, has finally submitted its registration application to the Registrar of Societies, complete with its party logo, which we have to say looks pretty cool, even if activist Fahmi Reza thinks it resembles a dude taking a dump.
     
  • The Umno and PAS presidents have officially invited Bersatu to join Muafakat Nasional, despite the Umno grassroots apparently being sore at the possibility
     
  • PAS sec-gen Takiyuddin Hassan says the party has joined Bersatu in forming a pro-tem committee to seek the possible registration of Perikatan as a formal coalition, but is unsure if BN will join the committee. His BN counterpart Annuar Musa, in response, says there is nothing wrong with the registration of the coalition – something that needs only two parties – as this could be an option for the future. In other words, we’ll see lah whether it’s worth joining you.
     
  • Amanah has denied rumours that six of its MPs are frogging it over to Bersatu. Meanwhile, its VP Mujahid Yusof Rawa has rather cheekily said he was “frustrated” that he and Sepang MP Hanipa Maidin were not named among the six. 

Odds and ends

As usual, a bunch of other stuff made the news over the past two days. Here are some of them in brief:

  • The Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Bill, which was supposed to be tabled next week, will be withdrawn and replaced later with a “slightly different” bill under a different name. Sadly, no details have been given and we can only hope that there isn’t much difference from the junked bill. The original bill was retracted because the police had objected to it. Seriously, though, so what if they don’t like it?!
     
  • The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has failed in its bid to forfeit more than RM188,000 in funds allegedly linked to 1Malaysia Development Berhad from the Sarawak United People’s Party. 
     
  • The former private secretary of an ex-minister has been charged with soliciting bribes amounting to more than RM3.1 million from a company owner to secure an advertising tender under the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry. His fiancée was charged with abetting him. 
     
  • Bangladeshi national Mohd Rayhan Kabir, the man who found himself in a world of trouble after being interviewed by Al Jazeera in a documentary criticising Malaysian authorities for its treatment of migrants workers during the Movement Control Order, will be deported soon without having to face any charges in court
     
  • A man who drove a teen to suicide recently after threatening to expose nude pictures of her has been jailed five years and fined RM17,000. Good!

“If we tried to write about politics, you’d realise that we are all a bunch of idiots.”

- Mark Hoppus -

IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • Russia’s touted Covid-19 cure, Sputnik V, is set to enter a multi-centre clinical study phase next week. More than 40,000 people at over 45 medical centres are expected to take part in the study.
     
  • Speaking of Russia, opposition figure Alexei Navalny is reported to be in a coma in Siberia after suspected poisoning. Vladimir Kara-Murza, another opposition politician who has also survived two alleged poisonings, claims Navalny’s case was part of a Kremlin poisoning campaign.
     
  • Steve Bannon, a Donald Trump adviser who was key to el presidente’s rise to power during his 2016 presidential campaign, has been charged with defrauding donors in a scheme to help build The Donald’s US-Mexico border. Bannon is alleged to have used hundreds of thousands of dollars collected from the campaign to cover personal expenses.
     
  • The US has moved to restore all UN sanctions on Iran, arguing that Tehran was in violation of a nuclear deal it struck with world powers in 2015, even though Washington itself abandoned that agreement two years ago. 

ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER

This weekday newsletter is brought to you by Trident Media, a group of Malaysian journalists with 60 years of combined media experience in four countries across TV, print and digital media.

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Trident Media · Seksyen 35 · Shah Alam, Selangor 40470 · Malaysia

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