How Shahrizat got into the picture
Umno Women’s chief Shahrizat Jalil, who is now a senator and appointed minister in the Najib administration, was at that time overshadowed by Wanita veteran Rafidah Aziz aka Mrs AP or Authorised Permits (for motor vehicles). To be under the shadow of such a tough and bossy Rafidah is not easy at all.
For Shahrizat, it was indeed the lowest ebb of her political life; nothing she did turned out right. She was defeated by PKR’s Nurul Izzah Anwar in her long-held Lembah Pantai parliamentary seat during the 2008 general election. She also no longer held much interest in her old law firm. Her husband, Salleh Ismail, was also at the end of his academic and research career while their three young children had not started out on their own careers yet.
Indeed, the situation was so bad for Shahrizat that she had to approach her boss Badawi for some kind of help. She did not know it then but she was going to be very fortunate.
Muhyiddin part of the KJ jigsaw puzzle
Muhyiddin, who during the time when Mahathir Mohamad had retired in favor of Badawi, had been suggested as an alternative to Najib Razak for the post of Deputy Prime Minister. But Muhyiddin ended up being the Minister of Agriculture, which is seen as one of the lower ranking ministries.
Muhyiddin was very disappointed, more so since he had no control and had no guaranteed support from Johor UMNO. In fact, Muhyiddin’s position in UMNO was rather precarious despite being a minister. He was not the Johore UMNO head; Mentri Besar Ghani Othman was and still is. Muhyiddin had to have some sort power base or at least be relevant in UMNO activities. For that to happen, he had to find some sort of strong support, i.e. influential patrons and power-brokers.
When Shahrizat approached Badawi, she was ‘naturally’ referred to Khairy, who was notoriously possessive in wanting to screen anyone who wanted to see his dad-in-law first. In a flash, Khairy saw an opportunity to wave his powerful magic wand and kill two cows with one stone, so to speak.
The MoA under Muhyiddin was then in the midst of embarking on an agricultural ‘transformation’; yes, the ‘T’ word was popular in Putrajaya even before Najib, the current PM, stole it for his Government Transformation Programme and Economic Transformation Programme.KJ called Muhyiddin – the rest is historyBadawi was very interested in getting Beef Valley set up as a small legacy of his own that was different from the previous prime ministers. It wasn’t easy having to compete with Mahathir’s Cyberjaya, Putrajaya, Twin Towers and what-not.So it was that Badawi was said to have asked Khairy to help Shahrizat by getting her involved in the NFC project. When Khairy allegedly called Muhyiddin, the then Agriculture minister, he was more than willing to help because this kind of favour to Khairy and Badawi could only boost his political future and add to his war chest of favors owed.Of course, with Khairy then the “de facto” PM, by showing obedience, Muhyiddin figured he would also be demonstrating his flexibility and loyalty to a future PM. Future PM as meaning Khairy, although right now it is difficult if not impossible to imagine how KJ could ever fill that post.
According to the Umno grapevine, Khairy decided that the agricultural transformation plan must come on sooner than planned so as to please his father-in-law. He instructed the “scheme” to be implemented in his home-base state of Negeri Sembilan so as to bring about some development there. He awarded it to Shahrizat’s husband taking the proposal from LAT as the project’s framework. It was not a bad choice actually because the Gemas-Gemencheh area already had some sort cattle farming activities going on.Lamberts Agricultural Trade (M) Sdn Bhd knew what was coming and there was no need for them to further waste money, effort and time doing farming business in Malaysia anymore; so they ‘killed the dog’ and quickly backed out.Doomed from the startNow, can Malaysian figure out why NFC was doomed from the start. The whole idea behind the NFC was not at all what was initially envisioned. The original plan was a professionally laid-out and detailed program to incubate, grow and develop a flourishing livestock industry. It had vision and mission ideals such as achieving set goals like food security and supplying 40% of the nation’s beef consumption. Sad to say, what was actually eventually floated was all about politics, political survival and money – lots of money.
The NFC was the ultimate tool; a scheme within a larger scheme where power was wielded and money changed hands. As usual, Mr Oxford graduate Khairy Jamaluddin thought he had all corners covered. But not all the power in the world can turn mutton into lamb.And it looks like no university in the world, no matter how prestigious, can teach this simple basic lesson of universal goodness and retribution. When an idea born out of good and positive wishes is turned into a selfish and self-serving plan, no amount of packaging or public relations can save it. It is only a matter of time before the plot turns awry and for the Shahrizats and NFC, it took only a quick 3 years for their dream to come crashing down again.Apart from karma, NFC failed because it was not implemented in full to ensure success. Only a ‘quickie’ was pushed through to give an aura of work-being-done. Just the feedlot part of the complex plan was hastily worked out under the guise of “Projek Berimpak Tinggi” or High Impact Project. It was implemented without much thought and proper planning; the NFC was doomed from the start Now UMNO has to bear the brunt of the impact of its less than perfect leaders. Shahrizat is being accused of letting everyone down and being very ungrateful for getting both Badawi and Khairy into hot soup. It is sad because such thinking only goes to show how far gone UMNO is on the down road to perdition. Stealing and free-for-all corruption is regarded as its right.As long as you do it properly and well and spread it around, like Mahathir and sons have been accused of doing, then you are a good leader who is deserving of top party positions, even as high as the presidency. But if you don’t know how to ‘wipe your mouth’ after partaking of the ill-gotten spoils, then you are letting the party down.
Now, who was it who described Umno as a pirate ship – is that description unfair or is it bulls-eye!
The self-righteously indignant will denounce the immorality of public servants privately tutoring the future generation to shirk instead of work. Tick them off by asking whether corporators/MLAs/MPs should set up schools for bribery and corruption instead.
There`s only one danger. A Playing Hooky academy run by this cadre may have even more than the usual quota of truant teachers.
The Barisan Nasional is not a stupid government. After 50 over years in government, it is fair to say that it is very experienced in playing with terms and words especially in formulating paper-work that supports its less than transparent activities.
The government has insisted that it did not pay any commissions to company Perimekar Sdn Bhd, which acted as a go-between for the purchase of the Scorpene submarines from French arms giant DCN. Deputy Defence Minister Abdul Latiff Ahmad himself said on Wednesday that finding any documentary evidence of such would mean the government is “stupid”.
“You think the government would write down that it paid commission to Perimekar? That means the government of Malaysia is stupid! Why don’t you use your brain?” Abdul Latiff, the MP for Mersing, said.
Arrogance and the writing on the wall
These brash and arrogant words were said to Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar during the winding-up of the debate on the Supply Bill 2012. Pushed again if the government could confirm that it had never paid a single sen in commission to Perimekar, Abdul Latiff emoted: “Benar, benar, benar dan benar!” (True, true, true and true!)
Words that are bound to return to haunt him if he lasts in Malaysia’s fast changing political scene, but given his performance and lack of polish so far, he seems headed for the has-beens heap
Yes, indeed, as Abdul Latiff had unwittingly albeit rudely pointed out, it is a case of ’Catch us if you can. Certainly, we won’t be so stupid as to print it out in black and white for you to use against us. Find your own proof. In the meantime, as far as we are concerned, we have never paid a sen in commission!
Corruption is corruption, whatever you call it
Shocking? But sad it may be, this is the depth that BN has sunk to. They seen to have lost all their orientation and moral bearings, grasping and grabbing at straws to stay politically alive.
No, Perimekar – an obscure firm linked to Najib’s close friend Abdul Razak Baginda – was not paid commission but was instead paid 114.96 million euro (approximately RM574.8 million) for “coordination and support services” for helping the Malaysian government seal the RM7 billion Scorpene submarines deal.
In the wording of their agreement, the money paid out was not a commission. Yet, to all intents and purposes it was a commission – whether the Najib administration cares to admit it or not.
Permekar brokered the deal for the submarine purchase and for that, it was awarded a contract to provide coordination and support services, when they had no experience in the given field. What guarantee do the Malaysian public have that Perimekar did not negotiate to be paid RM574.8 million for their part in securing the deal?
The use of the term “coordination and support services” as opposed to “commission” is little more than smart accounting. Something the current BN government is very good at, it is apparent. This can be seen in the NFC scandal, its justification in the purchase of 2 super-luxury condos, another ministry’s purchase of overpriced binoculars and in the government’s bloated spending bill.
Source of the money hidden by fancy accounting?
Whatever it is, Abdul Latiff’s reply in Parliament at the very least confirms that RM574.8 million was paid out to Perimekar and call it what you may; that money was paid out. The source of the money still remains somewhat of a mystery. Did the money come from the people’s coffers or was it channelled from outside funds paid to the government?
You see, if the source was public money, then the Malaysian public should know how was the money spent in supporting the two submarines which now lie off the coast of Sabah.
If the money came from outside sources, for example the government was merely a conduit for DCN, i.e. in the form of a ‘commission’ paid by DCN, then government must clarify and state it to be so. But of course, it won’t and this is what Abdul Latiff is resisting with all his might.
It must also be noted that DCN has a track history of using government conduits to channel money to facilitate its business – this was evident in the DCN-Pakistan scandal.
But no matter what, a sum of money was inappropriately expended and for a most immoral purpose – which was to close the Malaysian purchase of the two subs from DCN. Who paid out the money and how the paper trail has been worked out is the next issue and this is what Abdul Latiff and the BN are determined to keep hidden to themselves.
The consolation is that no matter how complex, a top-notch independent audit firm, such as the one which uncovered the RM12.5billion PKFZ scandal, will be able to unravel the layers given time.
The truth will come out, no one can escape retribution
With the French authorities closing in on the issue of the RM574.8 million; it is logical that the Defence Minister who approved the deal to purchase the submarines will be called to testify and this is personality is not the current Defense Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi; who appears to be more than than willing to be summoned to testify in a French court.
Instead, the Defence Minister in question is the sitting prime minister but we all know his track history with court summons. Yes, Najib Razak, who together with his wife Rosmah Mansor, shirked a subpoena to testify in the sodomy trial against Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim is likely to pull the same irresponsible stunt, leaving Zahid and other Umno colleagues to pick up the mess.
The Scorpenes scandal shows the depth and breadth of how the current Malaysian government is willing to hide the truth, which indicates the likelihood that individuals involved in the scandal are not limited to a mere handful of people.
Instead, it seems that the conspirators could be the entire BN government and its apparatus since everyone is all out to protect the truth from coming out by hiding behind legislation and the authoring of creative financial and legal documents.
But commission or not, as stated in government documents, RM574.8 million did change hands and it also caused the death of a Mongolian national. Her name was Altantuya Shaariibuu and like the rest of Malaysia, she is waiting for the truth to be uncovered, slowly, painfully but surely.
In the end, both she and the Malaysian people can expect justice to be dealt out for sure, for no one is ever safe from God’s wrath and retribution.
Allegations of internal politicking, nepotism and cronyism are swirling in the Attorney-General’s Chambers and fed-up deputy public prosecutors (DPPs) are tendering their letters for optional retirement.
Those interviewed by FMT agreed to voice their grievances on condition of anonymity These legal eagles believe that the rot is beyond repair and pin the blame on Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail himself.
According to them, it is an open secret that those loyal to Gani rise up the ranks and are given key tasks irrespective of whether they are qualified for the job or otherwise. Those considered hostile or critical of the AG’s decisions often land in cold storage.
“The only criteria (required) is that the DPP must be close to him (Gani) and not go against his or his men’s word,” said a former senior DPP who served for nearly 30 years.Initially, only a handful felt upset with Gani but the number has grown over the years and they are tendering their application for optional retirement.
“The AG in his capacity as the head of the department is approving the applications without the slightest of hesitation,” said another vexed DPP.In their application, most of the DPPS cite “personal reasons” for their decision.
“It’s very difficult for them to state the actual reason since only the AG has the discretionary power whether to approve their applications or not. They will be asking for trouble if they state ‘AG’s conduct’ as being the reason,” said the DPP.
Son, Daughter-in-Law promoted
Quizzed on their grouses regarding Gani and his men, one DPP cited the management of the International Centre for Law and Legal Studies (ICELLS), where the AG’s son and daughter-in-law are attached to.
“Both of them have less than five years experience in the service but have already been promoted to Grades L48 and L52 respectively. In our service, there was never such a promotion exercise.
“As far as I know, it is only in Malaysia that the AG and his next-of-kin are working in the same department and same building,” he said.
He added that initially research division head K Muniandy was slated to helm ICELLS. “Muniandy was the former deputy head of prosecution and highly respected in the legal fraternity but he was sidelined, prompting him to put in his optional retirement papers at the age of 50.
“He was the only ‘Jusa A’ Indian officer in the Chambers and probably in the entire civil service. So there must be something seriously wrong when someone of his calibre and experience chooses to quit,” he added.
For the record, besides Muniandy, other senior DPPs who have left the service are S Devanandan, Ahmad Firuz Zainal Abidin, Dr Sabirin Jaafar, Shamsul Sulaiman and Sallehuddin Saidin.
Solicitor-General II on the way out
In a related development, FMT also learned that Solicitor-General II Mohamed Yusof Zainal
Abidin, 56, has also submitted his application for optional retirement.
“This is the third time he has submitted his application. When he applied the first time in 2008, former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi convinced him to stay while his second application was submitted a few months after Najib Tun Razak took over as prime minister. Najib also persuaded him to stay.
“But this time around, Yusof decided that he will not let anyone talk him out of his decision. He is frustrated with the empty promises of restoring the integrity of the AG Chambers,” said an officer.
He also disclosed that for the past three years, Yusof’s only task has been to handle Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s Sodomy II trial. Other DPPs, he added, are told that Yusof’s offce is considered off limits and the latter is almost kept in “isolation” at his desk.
“Those in the Chambers are aware what is prompting senior DPPs to throw in the towel, while those who choose to remain, do so grudgingly. The country’s leadership is also aware of what is happening but no action is being taken to fix the problem.
“We fear that the situation has now come to a point of being beyond redemption,” said another former DPP.