'Not a single sen'
His former boss Najib Razak’s court outings may command more column inches and attention internationally but on Monday, here in Malaysia, it was mainly about ex-DPM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and a whole bunch of dodgy deals that allegedly resulted in the rich (read: Zahid) getting richer and the poor getting jack shit.
Zahid faces a grand total of 47 charges in this particular case i.e. 27 for money laundering, eight for bribery and 12 for criminal breach of trust (CBT). And the prosecution told the court it’d begin by focusing on the CBT charges, specifically how not a single sen from some RM31 million collected for the poor through charity foundation Yayasan Akalbudi was actually used to help them. Instead, in a case of harapkan pagar, pagar makan padi, the money, it seems, was used by the current Umno No. 1 to pay personal credit card bills, motor vehicle insurance policies and road taxes of private vehicles.
Yes, folks, the guy who once talked about being sensitive to the plight of the poor had no apparent qualms about stiffing them when he came face-to-face with a big wad of cash.
The prosecution says it will call up at least 20 witnesses to prove the matter and when that’s done, it will move on to the other charges, specifically related to RM21.25 million in bribes and RM65 million which was allegedly laundered into Zahid’s account and which he used to buy not one, but two multi-million ringgit bungalows.
Make no mistake. The charges look damn serious. And there’s another trial – involving 40 charges over a dodgy visa system – pending. So maybe the fella may want to focus less on politicking (like, you know, trying to get Pakatan Harapan to dissolve Parliament), and focus on his many legal battles. Just a suggestion.
Honour among thieves?
Round Three of The People vs. Najib Razak kicked off in the KL High Court yesterday and even though it’s only just begun, we feel fireworks could well be in store.
Briefly, this case concerns the alleged tampering of the 1MDB audit report before it was tabled by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee in 2016. Jib, who was PM at the time, is accused of using his position to order changes to the report to avoid disciplinary action. He’s charged alongside then 1MDB chief executive Arul Kanda Kandasamy, who allegedly helped remove mentions of Jho Low and other detrimental stuff from the report.
How the trial promises to get interesting though is in the prosecution’s desire to turn Arul against the Jibster.
If found guilty of tampering, Jibby faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to RM10,000. However, since the punishment for abetment is the same, Arul’s lawyer says he’ll only consent to his client testifying against Najib if the prosecution promises to let Arul go free.
Talk about there being no honour among thieves, huh? Also, you gotta wonder how Jibby must be feeling knowing a one-time chum isn’t ruling out feeding him to the wolves.
The law – Section 63 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act – does indeed allow for a court to grant accused parties who give true and full evidence against another accused indemnity from legal action. However, the question is whether the prosecution will be willing to let Arul walk.
BTW, Arul aside, the prosecution is set to call in some other big guns which it probably hopes will prove the Jibster’s guilt. These include former PAC chairmen Nur Jazlan Mohamed and Hasan Arifin, ex-Auditor-General Ambrin Buang, Ali Hamsa, the former chief secretary to the government and our favourite of ’em all, Arul’s predecessor as 1MDB CEO and current court superstar, Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi.
Tanjung Piai: The fallout continues
He’s not resigning (And we could have confirmed that even without the denial of that fake viral message.) But PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad is, nevertheless, shocked by how badly the ruling coalition got hammered in Tanjung Piai.
Anyway, a “detailed, serious and honest post-mortem” has been promised. But what does that mean exactly? Will it mean Pakatan going to the ground to actually hear what the public and the grassroots are saying? Will it entail the ruling coalition making major changes to its policies or God forbid, actually fulfilling the promises in Buku Harapan? Will Pakatan become less racially polarising and more centrist? Will it jettison non-performing ministers?
But the sharks have already begun circling. Veteran PKR leader Syed Husin Ali feels there’s no other way around it – the PM must go and must go now if Pakatan is to stand any chance in the next general election. However, others, like Azmin Ali – whose career at the top obviously depends on Maddey sticking around – don’t agree.
Yet, of all the suggestions and views aired by government politicians in the aftermath of Tanjung Piai, though, this one by PKR’s Pasir Gudang lawmaker Hassan Abdul Karim makes the most sense – go back to the pre-GE14 manifesto and fulfil your damn promises.
Sadly, a late night meeting at Azmin’s house which was apparently attended by Barisan Nasional and certain PKR peeps to, rumour has it, keep Dr M in office suggests that perhaps, it doesn’t really matter what’s right or what the people want.
What matters is power, and who has it.
Odds and ends
Here’re a few more things that happened yesterday that we felt you should know about:
- Musician and former telco boss Jason Lo pleaded not guilty to separate charges of criminal trespass and doing meth. Both cases are due for mention next month.
- The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) is considering increasing the fees for airlines using Malaysian airspace. Hmmm. We’re no experts but shouldn’t zeroing in on the damn issues that got us downgraded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) be the priority? Also, don’t increased costs for airlines usually trickle down to passengers?
- The government will make a decision sometime in December on allowing refugees to work here, says Human Resources Minister M. Kula Segaran.
- Amnesty International Malaysia wants charges against 11 men for “attempted gay sex” to be dropped. It says the true crime here is the fact criminal charges were slapped on the men, and the LGBTIQ community, in the first place. Indeed.
- Several Asian airlines, including AirAsia, are set to cut flights into troubled Hong Kong.
- Loss of Chinese support in Tg Piai doesn’t seem to have stopped Money Minister Lim Guan Eng from wading further into the Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC) issue. He insists the institute will get the millions in ringgit the gov’t has set aside for it – if MCA relinquishes its control.
“The real reason why Robin Hood robbed only the rich was that the poor had no money.”
- Evan Esar -
IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS
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- The internet has been all but shut down in Iran as the country’s government tries to keep a lid on protests that have engulfed the country for several days now.
- France has returned a sword, formerly belonging to a Senegalese scholar and ruler who led a struggle against the colonisers in the 19th century, to its rightful owners.