No promised land for Moses?
What's the deal with Musa?
Will he or won’t he be contesting? That’s the golden question surrounding former Sabah chief minister Musa Aman in the coming state polls at the end of the month.
It initially looked like a done deal when Musa cryptically proclaimed on social media he’ll be “going back to Sungai Manila“, referring to one of the several new seats carved up from the Sungai Sibuga seat that Musa held for many terms.
But BN, it seems, had other non-Musa-related plans, as we all came to find out when Sabah BN head honcho and election leader Bung Moktar Radin announced that Mighty (not so mighty anymore, actually) Moses is not even on the list of the coalition’s candidates.
This seems to fly in the face of BN chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s recent statement that Umno was mending bridges with Musa. All in all, it kinda looks like the bridge was made out of toothpicks.
In any case, this gives rise to speculation that the veteran politician would be seeking a new home. Although he could always go it alone as an independent, he’d certainly need a willing party as a contesting platform if he wishes for a third shot at the chief minister’s post.
Analysts have warned that BN shouldn’t leave Musa out. As we pointed out yesterday, the Sabah political warlord still has some clout in the state. After all, he very briefly held the CM post in 2018 before kataks led to the state government to fall to Warisan’s hands. He also claimed to have the support of many other frogs who allegedly wanted to leap over to his side of the pond in a recent attempt to grab power, only to be thwarted by the dissolution of the state assembly instead. Of course, it’s not final as BN is only set to unveil its candidate list later today.
Anyhoo, here are some other Sabah-related news which we have summarised into bite-sized chunks for you:
- Perikatan Nasional (PN) launched its flag in Kota Kinabalu yesterday, promising to work closely with Sabah-based parties to take over the state from Warisan Plus. PN sec-gen Hamzah Zainuddin, meanwhile, says the initials P-N stood for Penyelamat Negara and named PM Muhyiddin Yassin as the nation’s saviour. Way to get in the serious brown-nosing, Hamzah.
Perhaps Hamzah wouldn’t have been so quick to hand glorious leader Moo Moo the cape just yet if he’d read this report on an analysis of Perikatan’s first 100 days in power by a coalition of civil societies calling themselves the CSO Platform for Reform. The analysis says Perikatan is only concerned about its political longevity and to return to power with a mandate. Ouch!
- Observers believe that multi-cornered fights are shaping up in almost all the 73 state seats, based on announcements by political parties. It’s not something new, though, as seats in Sabah have a tendency of seeing three or more candidates battle it out.
- Looks like some politicians need a maths lesson. Although BN sec-gen Annuar Musa has said seat negotiations with Bersatu’s been settled, he’s also revealed that between the six PN parties, there were requests for 120 seats – despite there only being 73 up for grabs! How the heck did that happen? Well, apparently because multiple parties want to contest the same seats.
- DAP’s decided to use the Warisan logo for the coming polls. This means PKR is the only party in the so-called Warisan Plus pact adamant in using its own logo. Is this a sign of widening rift within the state’s ruling coalition?
- Sabah PKR has revealed it will contest 14 seats, ahead of the planned announcement of Warisan Plus candidates today. Is this another sign of infighting within the pact? Not so, says PKR, which has insisted it negotiated the seats with Warisan president Shafie Apdal first.
- Liberal Democratic Party has instead chosen to keep mum over its list of candidates. LDP is expected to contest 46 seats, but us plebs will only know the who and where of it all once nominations are closed on Saturday.
Sabah elections will take place on Sept 26. Here’s a handy guide to the polls and the big hitters in the running. Oh, and there’s also this excellent comment piece by analyst Bridget Welsh to chew on as well.
Have more hot soup, Guan Eng
Looks like DAP numero uno Lim Guan Eng’s legal woes are far from over.
First up, he has maintained his not guilty plea after his corruption-related Penang undersea tunnel case was transferred to the KL Sessions Court. The case will now be heard together with earlier charges which were filed in the KL courts.
For those who may be a little hazy on the deets, here’s a little recap:
- Saudara Lim was charged on Aug 6 in the KL courts with soliciting a bribe from the company awarded the contract to undertake the controversial RM6.3 billion Penang undersea tunnel project. He was alleged to have asked, in March 2011 when he was Penang CM, for 10 percent of profits from Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd in order to help the company secure the project.
- Three days later, he was in court in Penang, this time claiming trial to a charge of using his position at the time for personal gratification of RM3.3 million in relation to the same project.
- The next day, Lim was charged with using his position as CM to obtain gratification for dearest wifey Betty Chew, while businesswoman Phang Li Khoon was charged with abetting him and Chew with money laundering.
Oh, and if you’re wondering what this whole undersea tunnel fiasco is all about, head on over to this guide for a refresher course.
Yesterday’s re-mention of the Butterworth case in KL is not the end of it, however. The man formerly known as Tokong will also be facing two more corruption-related charges in Penang tomorrow under Section 403 of the Penal Code concerning dishonest misappropriation of property.
In an immediate reaction, LGE says the new charges were politically motivated (isn’t that what you claimed over the previous charges, saudara?). He also questioned the timing of it all, what with it being the eve of nomination day for the Sabah polls. Ponder on that.
On the topic of corruption-related court cases, there’s also the ongoing case involving a certain Rosmah Mansor. Bossku Najib Abdul Razak’s bitsy pookum, pootie pie, honey bunny, wifey dearest is facing criminal charges related to the supply and installation of solar energy at hundreds of rural schools in Sarawak.
Taking the stand yesterday was Mama Rosie’s former aide, Rizal Mansor. We have to say we’re so glad a bid by the defence to prevent the media from reporting Rizal’s witness statement failed, cos boy did he serve up some juicy details on Kak Mah’s wrongdoings (allegedly, allegedly) and quirks.
Rizal, who admitted to fleeing the country after BN’s loss in GE14 because he feared action by our graft-busters, claimed Rosmah received a total of RM6.5 million in bribes both at her private residence and Seri Perdana, the PM’s official residence in Putrajaya.
He also testified that civil servants feared Rosie as they believed crossing her would lead to them being left in cold storage. On the other hand, links with Rosmah would lead to government contracts (meaning, a lot of moolah) and datukships.
This one’s our favourite. The woman with many nicknames was so image-conscious that she allegedly dropped some serious cash (about RM100,000 a month) funding cybertroopers to counter any negative content about her on the Internet.
Hate to be the one to break it to you Rosie, but that didn’t really work out the way you wanted it to.
Khai probe completed
Remember the unapologetic Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Khairuddin Aman Razali, who broke home quarantine rules after returning from a trip to Turkey, supposedly for work and supposedly with family, in July?
Well, police investigations into the case have been completed and the investigation papers are expected to be handed over to the Attorney-General’s Chambers today.
For the uninitiated, Abang Khairuddin visited Turkey from July 3 to 7, then returned only to break mandatory home quarantine regulations to attend the Dewan Rakyat sitting on July 13 and several other events. At the time, anyone – and we emphasise the word anyone here – returning to the country was required to serve the mandatory two-week quarantine at home. Our friend here placed thousands at risk of Covid-19 infection with his decision not to.
There was, of course, a huge hue and cry over the issue and Khai was fined the maximum RM1,000 for breach of home quarantine rules. In response, Khairuddin also opted to forgo his May to August ministerial salaries.
Anyway, once the investigation papers (IP) are sent to the AG, three things can happen:
1) The AG could send the IP back to the cops for further investigation,
2) Khai could be charged with an offence which could see him get an even bigger fine or even a jail sentence,
3) The AG could decide not to take further action.
In other coronavirus-related news, our Covid-19 numbers have dropped once more into the double-digit realm as 24 new infections were recorded yesterday, of which 18 were local transmissions. Unfortunately, the number of active cases has climbed to 322, the highest in three months. On the plus side, there was no new death recorded for the eighth day in a row, leaving the total at 128.
Here are some of the other Covid-related bits of news that came out yesterday:
- The Malaysian Public Health Physicians’ Association has called on the government to consider placing states and districts in the Benteng Lahad Datu and Sungai clusters under enhanced MCO.
- Another 221 people were arrested for flouting RMCO regulations on Tuesday, including 118 who were detained in pubs and nightclubs. Dang, people. It’s a work night!
- Indicators in July show the Malaysian economy is recovering, with exports having increased 3.1percent year-on-year, while sales of passenger cars and commercial vehicles rose by 27.3 percent ad 44.8 percent, respectively, compared to the previous month.
Bits and bobs
As per usual, a number of other important or interesting things came out yesterday. We always try (and often fail!) to keep the newsletter short, but today’s B&B has quite a few entries. Here they are, in brief:
- In light of the alleged river pollution which led to recent water cuts at more than 1,200 areas in the Klang Valley, police chief Abdul Hamid Bador has mooted the idea of using organised crime laws such as the controversial Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (that’s Sosma to you and me) against water polluters in cases where sabotage is suspected.
- With water services having been fully restored to affected areas, the Selangor government is giving unlicensed factory and land owners one last chance to legalise their operations by the end of the year, after which any such structures will be demolished.
- FT Minister Annuar Musa says a water management body would be established in the federal capital to ensure no unscheduled water disruptions in KL. Another committee? Don’t hold your breaths in hoping this will work, folks.
- Former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad is resigned to the fact that his vote of no confidence against PM Moo will never see the light of day and so has shared his motion on the Internet. Cukuplah Atuk. Your motion would likely have failed anyway, even if by the slimmest of margins.
- The Cabinet has finally broken its silence, well kinda, over the attack against Sabahan lass Veveonah Mosibin. Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin says the Cabinet concluded the statements by two deputy ministers against the teen were “incorrect and inappropriate”. The duo had alleged Veveonah had merely been pulling a stunt to gain YouTube views by claiming she had climbed a tree to get Internet connection to take an exam. Their actions caused the poor girl to be harassed and vilified online.
- After receiving a whole load of criticism, the Multimedia and Communications Ministry has suddenly made an about-turn and said it had never mooted a 20-sen e-shopping charge. Errr… what?
- Police are probing Pasir Puteh MP Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh over his recent remarks in which he claimed the Bible had been distorted.
- This one kinda flew under the radar. Thirteen people linked to the Al Ma’unah cult were granted royal pardons on National Day. Here’s what they did 20 years ago.
- Some 4.2 million Malaysians who are eligible to vote have yet to register. That’s 22 percent of the total number of eligible voters y’all.
- Last but not least, an Umno division deputy chief in Perak has been arrested for misappropriating (allegedly, allegedly!) funds worth more than RM500,000 from an association for the disabled that he chairs. The disabled? That’s a real low, even for a politician!
“You rarely get what you want after marriage and elections."
- Anonymous -
IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS
- A new book written by veteran journalist Bob Woodward claims US President Donald Trump knew just how deadly Covid-19 was as far back as February but deliberately played it down so as not to cause panic.
- Also on the US of A, acting US Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf has acknowledged that white supremacist extremists played a role in this year’s urban violence, especially at Portland, Oregon. Meanwhile, in unrelated news, the US has also revoked some 1,000 visas of Chinese nationals, targeting students and researchers believed to be linked to the Chinese military.
- This is a real-life Bollywood drama. Indian actress Rhea Chakraborty has been sent to jail by India’s narcotics police for buying drugs for her late boyfriend Sushant Singh Rajput. Rajput was found dead in his apartment on June 14, in what initially was considered suicide. But the latest twist could see Rhea in hot soup for abetment of the suicide. The entire saga has devolved into an honestly rather gross trial by media.
- LVMH, the people behind Louis Vuitton, is walking away from the largest deal in the history of the luxury goods industry – a $16 billion bid to purchase US jeweller Tiffany (yes, the little-blue-box Tiffany’s), citing a request by the French government to delay the deal to next year over US tariff concerns. The latter, however, claims it was only “advising” LVMH.
- This one’s for fans of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. The reality TV show is coming to an end on E! in 2021 after 20 seasons spanning 14 years and several spin-offs. The show is credited with changing the landscape of reality TV, spurring the multi-million-dollar business empires of several Kardashian family members, including the modelling career of Kendall Jenner, and introducing us to the ‘momager‘. Talk about the end of an era!