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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Salahuddin wants PAC to probe MAS scandal

Salahuddin: I am speaking on this matter again because this involves public funds, and my function in the special committee is neither as a rubber stamp or ceremonial. We were all appointed by the Yang DiPertuan Agong and we have responsibilities to fulfil.

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 28 — PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub has asked Parliament’s Public Account Committee (PAC) to investigate MAS’ RM8 billion losses in the late 1990s allegedly caused by its former executive chairman Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli.

The Kubang Kerian MP said today he had also asked the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) special committee, of which he is a member, to convene a meeting immediately to discuss what he claimed to be the graft buster's failure to investigate the case.

“After I spoke on the issue, I have met with the MACC in parliament, but I was not convinced that any action would be taken against the culprits,” he told a press conference here.

Salahuddin first spoke on the issue last month after receiving a complaint from the national airlines’ lawyer and copies of various reports lodged Tajuddin in his capacity as a member of the special committee.

The MACC special committee consists of lawmakers from the Dewan Rakyat and the Senate and is chaired by Kangar MP Datuk Seri Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad.

“I am speaking on this matter again because this involves public funds, and my function in the special committee is neither as a rubber stamp or ceremonial. We were all appointed by the Yang DiPertuan Agong and we have responsibilities to fulfil,” said Salahuddin.

“I am willing to face any consequences for my action,” he added.

Today, Salahuddin also called on the government to form a royal commission of inquiry to investigate the case.

“Some people may think that a royal commission is a waste of time, but I think it is necessary as it involves three high profile bodies, the Commercial Crime Investigations Department, the MACC and MAS,” he said adding that a royal probe would at least reveal more facts of the case.

MAS had first lodged a police report against Tajuddin in 2002 for allegedly causing the national carrier to suffer losses in excess of RM8 billion.

Tajuddin was the executive chairman from 1994 to 2001.

According to a report to the MACC, one of the single biggest loss under Tajuddin was caused by the relocation of MAS’s cargo operation in Amsterdam and Frankfurt to a single hub in Hahn, Germany, where the airline was forced to enter into a disadvantageous aircraft lease contract with a company, which was later found out to be under the control of Tajuddin’s family.

The new cargo hub operation had caused MAS to suffer losses of between RM10 million and RM16 million a month before the project was terminated after the government regained control of MAS in 2001.

The termination resulted in a RM300 million arbitration claim against MAS by the company said to be linked to Tajuddin.

The report to the MACC dated May last year also alleged that the Attorney-General has been reluctant to prosecute Tajuddin, despite the then-CCID chief Datuk Ramli Yusoff’s assurance in 2007 that it had identified various prosecutable offences.

It also claimed that Tajuddin had been given access to the investigation and police records, which were used to facilitate the arbitration claim.

courtesy of Malaysian Insider

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