Another ally of former premier Najib Razak gets handed a court release in a corruption case. Unfortunately for Tengku "pocket change" Adnan Tengku Mansor though, it doesn't seem like he's fully in the clear just yet.

In other news, the political crisis in Perak looks far from being settled; an unlikely company wins an exclusive Covid vaccination contract; Sarawak and Petronas ink a landmark deal; and a wild piggy wiggy causes commotion in a Putrajaya mall.

Catch and release

I want to break free

Another day, another early discharge in a high profile court case. However, in contrast to the coupla times before — i.e. the corruption cases involving ex-Sabah chief minister Musa Aman and Najib Razak’s stepson, Riza Aziz — it appears that Tengku Adnan, the fella being set free this time, isn’t really being let off the hook.

If you aren’t too familiar with the deets of Ku Nan’s case, the long and short of it is that the ex-federal territories minister was accused of having pocketed a cool RM1 million from a businessman to help increase a company’s plot of land. This is over a development project in KL. 

The businessman has since pleaded guilty to abetting the ex-minister and was fined RM1.5 mil as a result. 

Back to the present, the High Court yesterday had agreed to prosecutors’ request for the case against the Umno man be dropped via a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA). Reason? There’re apparently new developments to the case that require further investigation.

Why this doesn’t spell immediate good news for the accused Mr Ku is that a DNAA doesn’t mean he gets to walk scot-free. The way DNAAs works is that the orang kena tuduh faces the possibility of being hauled back to court over the same charges. 

Legally speaking, there ain’t nothing wrong with DNAAs. In Ku Nan’s case, however, two big issues surrounding the discharge are that: 

  1. No deets have been given about what these so-called “new developments” are and; 
  2. Just how long the relevant parties will take to conduct new investigations is anyone’s guess. 

All we know is what the MACC had noted in its statement that the accused had raised new issues, and a report was apparently lodged against a witness in the case.

It goes without saying authorities can’t always spill all the juice for fear of prejudicing the entire investigation. Thing is though, as the Malaysian Bar rightly points out, this particular case is a matter of public importance. We, the people, have every right to know what the deal is.

We’re not saying there’s something shady afoot. We just wanna know what’s going on so we know for sure there’s nothin’ shady ‘cos ya see, not too long ago our glorious PM Muhyiddin Yassin promised that his “government will always uphold the rule of law“.

By the way, Ku Nan’s got another corruption case pending that’s set to be decided on Dec 21. 

El drama de Perak

It’s been four days since ex-menteri besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu got dumped at the Perak assembly, three days since he and his excos resigned and two since Umno prez Ahmad Zahid Hamidi met with the sultan. Yet the drama over the MB hot seat is still playing out.

Blur on what’s gone down? We got you covered – our newsletter yesterday has all the deets. The tl;dr version though is this: Faizal, a Besatu man, lost his position as MB on Friday and since then there’s been much talk as to who’ll replace him and form the new Perak government. 

Umno, the big man on campus with the most number of seats in the state assembly, wants to fill in that butt print left in Faizal’s MB throne. 

Anyways, the situation in Perak still appears to be very fluid. Here’re some important updates to keep you clued in:

  • Is Umno gonna stay friends with gang Bersatu and PAS or reach over across the aisle? Well, following its supreme council meeting last night, the party has said its gonna continue to defending the state Perikatan Nasional gomen

    We oughta point out this line is strikingly similar to what Umno sec-gen Ahmad Maslan said in the immediate aftermath of Faizal’s ouster, but mere hours before big bossman Zahid went on record to say Umno’s open to working with everyone, even Pakatan Harapan! 
     
  • Could there still be a possibility of Perak Umno linking hands with Pakatan? Sources contacted by Malaysiakini earlier Monday said aye, but Umno’s statement last night suggests maybe nay. Hey, what can we say? Politics.

    In any case, PH head honcho Anwar Ibrahim has said any decision on Perak is for the opposition coalition’s state-level reps to make. Perak Amanah and PKR reps though have appeared to stick with their earlier stand that any agreement with Umno will be entered to only en bloc, meaning with DAP, or not at all.
     
  • Anyhoo, Umno’s meeting yesterday appears to the first of many meets, including by BN and the loose coalition of Muafakat Nasional, to find a way out of the mess. 
     
  • Bersatu, an MN member party, is feeling a lil’ like an unwanted stepchild (after being bumped off its throne in Perak and all) and has now vowed to foster closer ties with PAS.
     
  • Zahid is set to have an audience with Sultan Nazrin Shah today, and it’s understood that he’ll be submitting the name of Umno’s candidate for MB to the ruler.

    Saarani Mohamad, the man Umno and Perak BN have picked for the big job, though, wants everyone to remain calm and stop speculating on what’s gonna happen. Easier said than done, bruh.

Stranger than fiction

Malaysia’s Covid-19 numbers stayed pretty much in the same ballpark on Monday with 1,600 cases and deaths. Sabah’s still leading in terms of fatalities, and Negeri Sembilan has taken over at the top of the daily infections chart. 

Yet the big Covid story from yesterday was about a peculiar agreement for a Chinese-made vaccine that will apparently see MyEG, the gomen’s digital services provider, serve as the drug’s exclusive distributor here.

MyEG has said Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical is conducting trials here for its coronavirus treatment. When that’s all done, there’ll need to be a system to get the vaccine to the people. Hence, the deal with the Chinese pharma company.

To be clear, this vaccine isn’t linked to the drug being developed by the Institute of Medical Biology at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences which the Malaysian Health Ministry previously said would be trialled here. It’s also separate from the gomen’s previously announced deals with Pfizer and the global COVAX Facility. 

We’re not too sure what to make of MyEG’s announcement yesterday. MyEG isn’t a logistics or health care company. So what’s an IT company doing distributing a vaccine, you ask? We honestly dunno. 

We’re sure we’re not the only ones who think it’s mighty weird for a company that facilitates road tax and driving licence renewals to be granted exclusive rights to a Covid treatment. What’s MyEG gonna do?! Offer the discounts on the Zhifei drug to people who settle summonses early?!  

Sidenote, the company’s shares did a 13% leap to the highest level in over two years following this announcement. 

In other vaccine news, the man with the janggut Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has assured that the challenges currently faced by Pfizer in finding raw materials for vaccine production will not affect its supply deal with Malaysia in 2021. Reason? It’s only Pfizer’s 2020 supply that’s been hit.

The Beard also stated the Malaysian gomen’s RM3 billion allocation for Covid vaccines involves not just procurement of the drugs, but storage and transport too. 

Covid cures notwithstanding, here’re a few other corona bits and bobs from Monday:

  • From two people to then, four, the National Security Council has now decided that there’s no longer a need to limit to the number of diners per table at restaurants in conditional movement control order (CMCO) areas. As long as distancing is maintained la. Hmmm. Remind us again why we need the CMCO?
     
  • It looks like some other lockdown rules — on meetings and sports, among others — have been tweaked too. Here’re the deets.
     
  • The enhanced MCO (EMCO) for the Seremban Prison has been extended till Dec 21. The prison, which has registered 964 Covid-19 cases so far, has contributed to the recent surge in cases in Negeri.
     
  • The Malaysian Medical Association has urged the government to promise undocumented migrant workers amnesty for voluntarily coming forward to be screened for Covid-19. We agree 100% with this call. However, recent incidents suggest that pigs will likely fly before this happens. Do pigs in malls count (see below)?

Of budgets and bacon

The Budget 2021 debates continued in the Dewan Rakyat with PM Moo and allies seeing three more ministry allocations — Works, Transport and Science — passed without too much fuss. For the record, the score now stands as PN 14 PH 0. 

Do we need more “strong, formidable and convincing” proof Anwar doesn’t have the support he claims?

In other budget news, an MP is attempting to get allotments for the Housing and Local Government Ministry reallocated from a ministry programme to Universiti Malaya Sabah. The Housing Ministry, headed by Azmin Ali fangirl Zuraida Kamaruddin, is set to have its budget debated today.

By the way, ZuZu has said her ministry coughed up RM172 mil in compensation for cancelled BN-era PR1MA housing developments so far. Wait, wasn’t this project supposed to help Malaysians, not cost us more moolah?

While you chew on that, here’re some bits and bobs that made the news yesterday:

  • After years upon years of complaints, Petronas has agreed to a commercial oil and gas deal with Sarawak that’ll effectively grant the state a higher revenue share. The agreement also means Sarawak will play a more active role in the state’s oil and gas industry through the state-owned energy firm Petros.
     
  • Pakatan bigwigs Saudaras Lim Guan Eng, Mohamad Sabu and Anwar are calling for a no-confidence vote to be tabled against MooMoo over Fitch’s recent ratings downgrade of Malaysia from AAA- to BBB+. 

    According to the terrific trio, the international ratings agency’s downgrade exposes PN’s failures and as such, it’s time to take not-our-Abah to task. Errr, guys, Malaysia got downgraded ’cos of our uncertain political climate, so what are you fellas trying to prove exactly by calling for a no-confidence vote that, if successful, could see this current government replaced by another?
     
  • Incidentally, it seems our national debt is now a whopping RM1.257 trillion! Even so, we still don’t think a no-confidence vote is what’s needed.
     
  • Kedah MB Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor has refused to apologise over the “drunk on the toddy of popularity” statement made against MIC leaders. Instead, he doubled down, telling critics to take Bahasa Malaysia classes for not understanding the nuances of his remarks. Seriously, dude, even Papagomo thinks you’ve been rude, and you’re still trying to cover line.
     
  • The Education Ministry will continue with the previous Pakatan gomen’s plans to introduce Jawi in vernacular schools
     
  • Finally, a wild boar caused a stir when it moseyed its way into a mall in Putrajaya on Sunday, and now the Wildlife and National Parks Department is looking to set up traps around the mall to prevent other piggies from intruding. Here’s a vid of the incident. So Baa Ram Ewe don’t work on pigs then?

“I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”

- George Bernard Shaw -

IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • The World Health Organization is considering infecting healthy young people with Covid in a bid to speed up vaccine trials. Experts disagree on whether exposing folks to a disease for which there’s no cure is the best option.
     
  • The world will watch with bated breath as Britain begins vaccinating its citizens today. Each recipient of the treatment will be administered with two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine three weeks apart.
     
  • Closer to home, Indonesia has said it’ll be ready to roll out its Chinese-made Sinovac Biotech Covid vaccines in a couple of weeks. 
     
  • mystery illness in India’s Andhra Pradesh state has resulted in one death and more than 450 people being hospitalised so far. It’s unclear what’s causing people to collapse and experience seizures and nausea, but food and water contamination are suspected. We just cannot deal with another global pandemic.
     
  • Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestlé have been named the top three plastic polluters for the third year in a row in an audit which identifies the largest number of plastic products by global brands. The companies all claim to be working to solve the plastic pollution problem, but it seems for now that not enough substantial efforts are being made.
     
  • Bob Dylan has sold his entire music catalogue to Universal Music Publishing in a deal that’s estimated to be worth over US$300 million! Music publishing, which covers the copyrights for songwriting and composition, is big business and allows publishers and writers to collect fees any time their stuff is used, including whenever songs are streamed.

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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