A former senior police investigator has questioned Putrajaya’s directive for all GLCs to drop civil suits worth billions of ringgit against Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli, stating that the move raises the question of whether hundreds of millions of ringgit were being held by Umno nominees.
Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim wrote in an article sent to The Malaysian Insider
that the former MAS chairman held RM70 million in trust for Tun Daim Zainuddin(picture)
who was finance minister during Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s administration.
“The question of whether the money belonged to Tun Daim, or was shared with someone else or if it belonged to Umno will become an issue. In short, the public has the right to raise 1,001 questions on this issue,” said the former city CID chief.
Putrajaya had directed earlier this month all government-linked companies, including Malaysia Airlines and the national debt restructuring company Danaharta, to cease all civil suits against Tajuddin, a poster boy of the Mahathir-era plan to groom Bumiputera entrepreneurs.
Mat Zain today cited his privileged position as the investigating officer in 1995 when an unnamed minister and Umno supreme council member asked police to investigate money held in trust by another of Daim’s nominees, former Renong chairman Tan Sri Halim Saad.
“A few months before the 9th general election, several top Umno leaders were concerned that the hundreds of millions of ringgit controlled by Halim Saad would fall into the hands of a third party,” he wrote.
Mat Zain, who led the probe into former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s 1998 black-eye case, said that Tajuddin and Halim were among three Daim proteges named by Anwar in police reports made in 1999 alleging that Daim had received bribes worth hundreds of millions of ringgit while he was finance minister.
Mat Zaid added that included in the report were letters signed by Halim, Tajuddin and former Maybank chief executive Tan Sri Wan Azmi Wan Hamzah stating that they held RM117 million in shares, RM70 million in cash and RM150 million in cash for Daim respectively.
He said that in the course of his investigations, he believed all three letters to be genuine and the minister who asked police to initiate the 1995 probe into Halim did not deny the truth of the letters.
‘Weak’ Najib vs ‘disobedient’ Muhyiddin
Kita president Zaid Ibrahim says that all is not well in Putrajaya and warns the premier that he may see a repeat of the coup that sent his predecessor packing.
LUMPUR: Kita president Zaid Ibrahim suggested the possibility of a rift between Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin since the latter consistently contradicted the premier’s policies.
The former Umno law minister said voters could see Najib’s leadership as weak following the failure to discipline Muhyiddin’s open display of inconsistencies.
“Someone asked me if there is a power struggle going on in Umno right now. I said no, only in the Cabinet. This poser was perhaps brought about by the way Muhyiddin skilfully contradicted Najib on several important issues,” said Zaid in a statement today.
He cited Muhyiddin’s open contradiction of Najib’s effort to foster racial harmony under his 1Malaysia clarion call when Muhyiddin declared he was “Malay first” and “Malaysian second”.
Zaid also alleged that it was a known fact that Najib would like to have Science and Mathematics to be taught in English but Muhyiddin, who is the education minister, decided against it.
Almost immediately speculation that there was a split between the two spread in light of Najib’s inaction but the two subsequently denied the allegation and attributed the rumours to the opposition.
Zaid said several days ago, the deputy prime minister once again refuted Najib’s decision openly – this time on his administration’s plan to set up a Parliamentary Select Committee on polls reforms.
The move was seen as an attempt to contain the likely voter backlash from Najib’s administration’s high-handed handling of the Bersih 2.0 rally. It was also seen as an admission that Bersih 2.0′s demands for electoral reform were valid.
Muhyiddin, however, said the committee was merely to “tweak” an otherwise clean elections system.
Najib must take control
Zaid then cited how the deputy prime minister was the key architect in the coup to remove former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi with the support of the latter’s powerful predecessor Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He pointed out that the prime minister must take control and must be seen as having control of his Cabinet to prevent a repeat of the coup within Umno that saw Najib take over the reins in 2009.
“Is history repeating itself? I hope not but the PM must lead. He must show us clearly who is boss. His ministers are his subordinates in government. The Cabinet is not the Politburo of the Central Committee.
“The people are looking for leadership. They will not understand – nor will they follow – a leader who is repeatedly refuted, corrected, contradicted or rebuffed publicly by any minister, for such an individual is no leader at all.
“The PM must be resolute and stay the course of change. If he can do this, he will surely be rewarded with the support of the people,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, a battle-hardened veteran, has suddenly found that time is not on his side at all, and with good reasons too. He stands poised at 64 to enter the wrong side of the 60s in the blink of an eye.
The word from his people is that their man has to decide, sooner rather than later, from among several strategic options arrayed before him.
He may prefer, as he has been doing for some time now, to run hard in the same place. Such an approach is clearly exhausting and can by no means be retained for the long haul.
His current education portfolio, once a minefield and a stepping-stone to the premiership, is a virtual bummer after all the politicising that has gone on here for so long.
No one except for the oddball here and there is in the least bit interested whether national schools retain Malay or English, or both, for the teaching of maths and science. The deputy prime minister is trying to squeeze water from a stone here.
No one batted an eyelid either when Muhyiddin called in recent days for the teaching of English to be reviewed. There was only ominous silence when he revealed that after 17 years of learning English in school – two years nursery, two years kindergarten, six years primary, five years secondary and two years pre-university – a student can only smile and giggle nervously when interviewed in English.
Muhyiddin can also work out an exit strategy, anathema to his many supporters, or go for broke and take on Najib Tun Razak, his boss and Umno president who is a good many years his junior.
Screaming that enough is enough is not an immediate option since Najib has craftily postponed the Umno elections until after the next general election. The excuse was provided by Muhyiddin’s infamous statement not so long ago that he’s Malay first, a Malaysian second. That was seen as knocking Najib’s 1Malaysia theme for his administration in the teeth at a time when he most needed support.
Muhyiddin has survived the storm in a teacup that followed. However, his deliberately calculated insult on national television has neither been forgiven nor forgotten by Najib’s people. It will be payback time at the first opportunity that Najib gets to even scores with a deputy whose loyalty is now seriously in doubt.
Najib knows that he has to keep looking over his shoulder now all the time when he’s not sleeping with an eye open, his rusting keris poised at his side. Such is the intrigue that has gone on in Malay politics since the Malayalee Muslims in Singapore first raised the banner of Malay nationalism to cope with the Chinese commercial spirit.
Muhyiddin has to now contend with the distinct possibility that many of his supporters will be summarily dropped from the slate for the next polls. Many of those who are retained will certainly not be given places in government if they win. Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the eternal Machiavellian, employed this strategy to good advantage during his long innings, 22 years, in power.
Muhyiddin has yet another option – to wait it out until the general election is over and gamble on the possibility that Najib will be ousted if the ruling Barisan Nasional fails to wrest back its two-thirds majority in Parliament. That’s the fate that Najib’s predecessor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, suffered after a drubbing at the 2008 general election. The opposition alliance, Pakatan Rakyat, retained Kelantan as expected and bagged another four states in Peninsular Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur.
Muhyiddin’s best bet is that Najib would have proven himself weak, at least on the surface, in the face of the machinations of the grand puppet master Mahathir within the Umno supreme council, which is in his pocket. The former premier, going on to 87, is determined to witness his son, Mukhriz, occupying Muhyiddin’s chair before he meets his maker. In order for that to happen, Mahathir has to stage-manage Muhyiddin’s political career and have him kicked upstairs to be a seat-warmer for his son.
In short, Muhyiddin can adopt the do-nothing strategy but it’s by no means a safe strategy.
Time is not on Mahathir’s side.
However, there is still, as yet, no sign that he will become senile in the near future and/or succumb to dementia although he has been known to plead temporary amnesia in the past.
If Mahathir forgets, Muhyiddin will be history, Najib too but that be more because the latter will die laughing. They may all, as yet, cancel each other out and remove themselves from the political equation. That would be one huge relief to all Malaysians who see Mahathir as the bane of their life, Najib a pitiful clown and his deputy one long in the making.
Between Najib and Muhyiddin, there are brickbats and bouquets as well for guessing if the opposition can fathom who’s the lesser of two evils. Blame this on the Mahathir factor, among others, which has seen Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim embroiled in a long-running Sodomy II in court.
True, Mahathir used Najib to launch Sodomy II, a fact which Muhyiddin’s people keep reminding Anwar. But Muhyiddin is no angel either as evident from his involvement with Mahathir and Mukhriz to ease out Najib from the premiership.
He (Anwar) may yet beat the odds and at least have the long, last laugh when the next general election results drift in. He is no doubt keeping his fingers crossed.
Power is the glue of politics. That is why a government is expected to be in array and opposition generally in disarray. Ideology is a fickle custodian of unity in an age of convenience. Its absence has eliminated the difference between single-party rule and coalition government. Both are held together by individual or sectarian self-interest, which is why they last. Ideology is a differentiator; it makes a partnership untenable even if the partners consider it sustainable. Sentiment is irrelevant to any political marriage. This is true of all democracies where coalitions become necessary. Politicians live for power; why would they invite a premature death?
Assets financial, moral and honourable and a trifling matter of billions were called into question this week after the scribe A Kadir Jasin, sometime chief editor of NSTP group, aimed an artful screed at the learned and eloquent Zaid Ibrahim of Parti Keadilan Rakyat.
What had seemed to be a timely and newsworthy profile of Zaid quickly ballooned into a question of billions in Umno assets including the Umno media empire, of Kadir’s own credibility as a journalist and his performance in leading the NSTP group in the 1990s.
A whole can of worms could be opened with further inquiries down this track. And someone really should.
“Follow the money” said Deep Throat, the government source who fed Bob Woodward of the Washington Post in his now legendary takedown of President Richard Nixon though his exposés with fellow-reporter Carl Bernstein in the 1970s.
Kadir Jasin on Zaid
The Hurricane Hattie Of PR
Wherever she went in Thornapple’s household, she created havoc. So is the Umno-nominated Kelantan Senator.
RPK on Kadir
We are talking about billions here … Can Kadir Jasin please address this and raise the right questions
Zaid on Kadir
Dia kata dia tidak berniat jahat tetapi setiap ayat yang ditulisnya berbau busuk dan jahat.
Zaid’s letter to Mkini
I ask Kadir how did he perform when he was the top man in the largest Bumiputera-owned newspaper group?
Follow the money.
And the trail will wend through the turbulent years of the late 1980s and 1990s, fuelled by abundant petro-ringgits, to the events of Umno dying and Umno Baru rising, through Kadir’s own relationship with Umno’s grey financial eminence Daim Zainuddin, and with Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and Anwar Ibrahim as well.
Kadir will have much to reveal about Umno asset shuffling involving NSTP, TV3, a management buyout through a little-known company Realmild, go-go Umno conglomerate Renong, PLUS, Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd the Sentral developer, and leading up to the current asset shuffling involving Media Prima.
And also how Kadir, son of a Kedah padi farmer, became for the price of RM1 the owner of the Berita Publishing mini-empire.
Oh, the stories he could tell.
Kadir opened himself to attack on these issues when picking on Zaid, who was in the political news again because of PKR’s internal squabbling over Sabah.
Waving the friendly flag of “no malice intended”, AKJ likened Zaid to aHurricane Hattie, a whirling dervish of deviousness and dissent everywhere he landed. The thrust of AKJ’s article left no doubt as to his intent: to sow more seeds of discontent within PKR.
No doubt he wished in the process to paint a cloud over Zaid’s head, perhaps fearful that Sabahans might otherwise see a halo where, in Kadir’s eyes, none existed.
Quickly into the fray came Raja Petra Kamaruddin of Malaysia Today. RPK drew his sights on what Kadir had implied about Zaid’s getting rich from rescuing Umno assets after it was deregistered in 1987 — and raised more questions about Umno assets and Kadir’s own knowledge of, and role in, Umno’s asset shuffling.
We are talking about billions here, and they were registered in the name of trustees … Can Kadir Jasin please address this and raise the right questions as to where those assets currently are? … Are these interests still in the name of these proxies? And if so where is the money? …Remember, PLUS, MAS, TV3, NST, Utusan, DRB-Hicom, etc., etc. etc.? What role did these proxies like Tan Sri Yahya Ahmad, Halim Saad, Shamsudin Abu Hassan, and many, many more play?
…did the pagar eat the padi?
The theatre of conflict widened after Zaid wrote a response on his blog Kalau Hati Dah Busuk
questioning Kadir’s own part vis-a-vis Umno assets, and he wrote a letter which Malaysiakini teasingly headlined Hack work from former top editor
in which he defended his record and current activities, while questioning Kadir’s performance as a journalist and editor.
Zaid put Kadir’s credibility as an editor and journalist on the line:
What surprised was the complete one-sidedness of his broadside. One would be hard put to recognise that the author is a former Group Editor-in-Chief of the New Straits Times Press… Kadir’s salvo sported no pretence to even-handedness.
and he viewed askance Kadir’s professional performance in stewardship of the NSTP and
the once profitable newspaper group’s decline, which, needless to say, accelerated on Kadir’s watch. …I ask Kadir how did he perform when he was the top man in the largest Bumiputera-owned newspaper group? Did he augment its public stature and its profitability or did he stare a gift horse in the mouth?
‣ MalaysiaKini | Hack work from former top editor
before concluding in sweetly elegant prose about “editorial has-beens like him, content, as ever, to serve the plutocracy that runs the country”.
Kadir Jasin himself has been rather coy about his role in Umno asset shuffling. This is what he wrote in December 2006 for Agenda Daily, an Umno-friendly web site (the Agenda entry is undated, but AKJ’s blog in Bahasa Malaysia on the same subject is dated 8 Dec 2006):
The NSTP … is 43% owned by Media Prima, whose ultimate controlling shareholder is Realmild. Umno is not known to have direct holdings in Realmild. Since it was created in the early 1990s as the vehicle for the management buy-out (MBO) of The NSTP and TV3 by four senior executives of The NSTP, Realmild has been ‘linked’ to the Umno President. (The MBO team started to move out of the group in 1998 following the sacking of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as Deputy Prime Minister, and was completed in 2000 when the last member resigned.)
Coy is putting it mildly. AKJ himself was one of the Gang of Four, and he was “the last member” that resigned.
And as for the performance of the newspapers, these charts say it all.
English-language newspaper circulation figures for the relevant period. AKJ left the NSTP Group in the year 2000.
Bahasa Malaysia newspaper circulation figures for the relevant period.
It was during this period that The Star began streaking ahead of the NST.