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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Make AG Gani Patail Explain or Make him Resign

Make AG Gani Patail Explain or Make him Resign

by Din Merican

On November 24, Raja Petra Kamaruddin (RPK)’s blog, Malaysia-Today, posted an article entitled “Taking the Good Lord for a ride” about Attorney General (A-G) Tan Sri Gani Patail and Shahidan Shafie, who is Tajuddin Ramli’s proxy, doing the Haj pilgrimage together, like a family, in Makkah.

Gani Patail and Family and Shahidan Shafie in Makkah

RPK also produced Tabung Haji’s documents which showed that A-G Gani Patail and his family (his Puan Sri and son) and Shahidan have the same booking reference, the same Haj package, the same travel itinerary, the same listing – as if they are part of the same family.

I was startled at first upon reading that article. I thought that could all just be a coincidence. That RPK, as he is often accused of, was just conjecturing. That RPK was embellishing an innocent fact. After all, there are hundreds of thousands of Malaysian Muslims who go to Haj annually. After all, as Muslims, we are not supposed to be suspicious of other Muslim’s motives and intentions. We are supposed to “berniat baik dan beringat baik” (good intentions and good thoughts), especially towards the Hajis and the Hajjahs (male and female Haj pilgrims).

A human tide of pilgrims in the Mina valley carrying bags of pebbles to symbolically stone Satan on the third day of the Haj, as Muslims worldwide marked the Eid festival.

So I told myself not to be jaundiced about this revelation by RPK. I told myself to analyse the facts objectively before coming to any conclusions. So let’s be objective. What are the facts that we already know?

Two Police Reports lodged against Tajuddin Ramli by MAS

I tracked Malaysia Today’s series on The Untold MAS Story: Part 1 to 10and discovered that this is what we should already know and that is, during Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli’s time as Executive Chairman of Malaysia Airlines (MAS), the national airlines suffered losses in excess of RM8 billion, no small money by any measure. We are aware that Dr Mohamadon Abdullah and Dato’ JJ Ong of MAS had lodged two police reports alleging various breaches and fraud by Tajudin Ramli. It is known to us that the A-G Chambers had directed the police case to be NOD (No Offence Disclosed) and the file was thus closed.

PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub claimed that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) jeopardised the investigation into the RM8 billion losses suffered by MAS more than 10 years ago.

MAS initially lost Arbitration Case

We know that because of the collusion between the Police and the A-G Chambers, MAS initially lost an arbitration case in relation to MAS’s termination of a 10 years cargo handling contract with a German company called ACL GmbH (ACL) following Tajudin’s departure from MAS in 2001. ACL had insisted that MAS should perform that contract although it almost bankrupted MAS. ACL then claimed Euro 63 million (RM300 million) against MAS, although MAS claimed that the contract favoured Tajudin’s family companies. The European Arbitration Panel took a simple position. They couldn’t be bothered to help a Malaysian national company if the Malaysian authorities themselves want to cover up the case.

Dato’ Seri Idris Jala as Managing Director of MAS had sought the assistance of Dato’ Ramli Yusuff, then Director of Commercial Crimes Investigations Dept (CCID), to re-open the investigations.

We also were told that Dato’ Seri Idris Jala as Managing Director of MAS had sought the assistance of Dato’ Ramli Yusuff, then Director of Commercial Crimes Investigations Dept (CCID), to re-open the investigations. We know that Dato’ Ramli Yusuf, accompanied by Idris Jala and the MAS Board of Directors, briefed former Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi and recommended that Tajudin should be charged for various offences. And I have written before that instead of charging Tajudin Ramli, the Anti-Corruption Agency, now known as the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC), charged Dato’ Ramli and Lawyer Rosli Dahlan in 2007. So the case was closed for the second time. Idris Jala was then appointed as a government Minister, yet the case remained closed. Complicated? Not yet, read on.

Tajuddin’s Deceit

We then know that MAS managed to get new information about Tajudin’s deceit through a web of companies in order to hide his ultimate ownership. So we know that the supposedly German company called ACL GmbH is actually owned by Tajudin and this fact was presented to the European Arbitration Panel. Consequently, the European Arbitration Panel awarded a small sum of Euro 5.5 million against ACL’s claim of Euro 63 million. Despite the initial finding, the Europeans do have fair sense of justice when hard evidence were presented to them, and thus awarded ACL only a paltry sum because they too did not want Tajudin to benefit from this crooked deal.

Instead of charging Tajudin Ramli, the Anti-Corruption Agency, now known as the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC), charged Dato’ Ramli and Lawyer Rosli Dahlan in 2007.

But what happens when the same evidence are presented to our local authorities? They charge the innocent and cover up for the crook. That is what happens here in Malaysia – Bolehland, where everything is possible. So you have Dato’ Ramli Yusuff and Lawyer Rosli Dahlan being charged but Tajudin Ramli remain a free wealthy rich man until today.

It’s all a Family Affair

The Managing Director of MASKargo, Shahari Sulaiman, lodged a report with the MACC in 2009. From that report, we know that the main front-man for Tajudin is Shahidan Shafie who is the cousin and adopted brother of Rizana Daud. Tajudin appointed Rizana as the Company- Secretary of MAS in order to cover up all his tracks. Tajudin trusted Rizana because she is married to his brother, Bistamam Ramli. So, all this camouflaging is done in the family. A real web of deceit!

Managing Director of MASKargo, Shahari Sulaiman, lodged a report with the MACC in 2009

Enter a new Maestro, Shahidan Shafie and Deceit continues

And the new Maestro is? Shahidan Shafie! An ex-policemen previously charged for taking bribes when he was the OC SS in Johor (Officer in charge of Secret Societies), a very powerful post indeed. With all that experience, Shahidan knew how to snoop, to forge alliances with those in the corridors of power and to dig and bury deep like how secret societies operate. So, ifShahidan is so smart, how did Malaysia Today manage to make all that expose’?

That is because AG Gani Patail began to feel he is too powerful. Like most despots he began to suffer a delusion that no one can touch him. He is the Attorney General of Malaysia vested with absolute discretion under Art. 145(3) of the Federal Constitution over all matters relating to the prosecution of an offence. So he alone decides.

He decided to charge Dato‘ Ramli Yusuff and Lawyer Rosli Dahlan instead of Tajudin Ramli. He decided that despite Dato‘ Ramli having been acquitted by three different courts, Lawyer Rosli Dahlan must still be made to suffer. He will drag Rosli’s case regardless that it made no sense to do so. He will show his power regardless that it will make the MACC look bad. He couldn‘t be bothered that Dato’ Mat Zain Ibrahim, formerly OCCI KL, had accused MACC of being his stooge:

“It only shows that MACC and the Chambers are prepared even to go to the extent of affirming false affidavit to screen Gani Patail from legal punishment.”

Recalling the Eusoff Chin-VK Lingam Holiday Escapade to New Zealand

Let us reflect what happened when former Chief Justice Eusoff Chin was caught holidaying in New Zealand. Eusoff Chin explained that he had paid for his holiday in New Zealand in 1994 where he “bumped” into Lingam. He said he was on his way to a zoo when he met Lingam who tagged along and later posed for photographs with him. That photo surfaced in the “VK Lingam Correct Correct Correct Scandal” during the Royal Commission of Inquiry on manipulation in judicial appointments. In case you have forgotten, I reproduce Lim Kit Siang’s statement (below) calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry.

But let’s go back to analysing the documents disclosed in Malaysia Today in an objective manner. Could it be a coincidence that A-G Gani Patail with his Puan Sri wife and son bumped into Shahidan in Makkah? Could it be that they knew each other by pure coincidence? Could it be that they didn’t plan to go to Haj together and it was all Tabung Haji’s fault for making the Haj records appear as such? Could it be that this is a conspiracy to frame A-G Gani ?

Let’s analyse the Tabung Haji list as follows:

KT MH 12 –​This is the flight number, which is MAS fight MH 12. So A-G Gani Patail, his family and Shahidan are all on the same flight together. Those who have gone to Haj, or for that matter any package tour, will realize that as part of a package tour, you will fly together, be transported together, move together, stay together, eat together and follow the same itinerary throughout the trip.

Kod Pakej PZ2 - This the Zamrud pacakage of 2 persons to a room. My checks with Tabung Haji disclosed that this is a very premium Haj package where you travel and live first class. So the A-G, his family and Shahidan are treated like VIPs in the Holy Land. Whoever said that everyone is equal before God? By this alone, you know that is absolutely not true.

According to the Tabung Haji website, this Zamrud package cost RM66,900/- per person. Since the A-G is accompanied by his Puan Sri wife and son, you would have to multiply that by 3. So, RM66,900/- x 3 =RM200,700/-.

RM200,000.00 for a short trip of 20+ days! It is certainly expensive to see God with a certain level of comfort when the normal muassassah cost about RM15,000/-. That’s certainly a lot to pay when one is supposed to suffer a bit and show humility before God.

Is that RM200,000/- paid for by the government? If so, it’s not too bad to be a government servant. If it was paid for by Gani himself, then that would be a lot of money for a public officer. Would the MACC please explain if that is considered as having unusual wealth for a public officer? But I suppose if it’s to meet God, then it’s for a good cause and the MACC can close one eye.

But if it was not paid for by the government, who did ? If it was sponsored by someone, who is that person? According to RPK it waspaid by Shahidan. I am not sure if that is true because RPK did not produce any evidence, although I suspect RPK has that evidence and is just keeping it for a more explosive expose’ later.

I recall that when a company wanted to openly sponsor a haji trip last year for Tok Guru Nik Aziz, a furore erupted. Should we not ask and subject the A-G to the same scrutiny? If it was a gift or present from a Muslim philanthropist, I would suggest that the A-G is not an entitled asnaf (recipient) to such donations. In any event, public officers like the A-G should not take any gift that would constitute corrupt gratification. I will leave that to MACC’s Abu Kassim to clarify this since he is appears so vociferous about stamping out bribes and corruption.

Image from Malaysia Flip Flop

Number 096 -​This is the joint booking number. So the A-G’s family’s Haj trip was booked together with Shahidan’s. So, unlike CJ Eusoff Chin’s holiday trip with VK Linggam which was a chanced meeting when they “bumped” into each other in New Zealand, A-G Gani and Shahidan actually planned and booked this Haj trip together.

Room 01-03 - By this room arrangement, it shows that the A-G and his Puan Sri wife twin-shared a room and the AG’s son Faezul Adzra twin-shared with Shahidan. So, RPK was justified to say that they are indeed like a family, Puan Sri having all these men as her muhrim.

Is it therefore a coincidence that A-G Gani and Shahidan are together at Haj? How long has the A-G known Shahidan? Are they kampong mates? That can’t be because AG Gani is a Sabahan while Shahidan is a Kedahan. So how long have they known each other? Since the MAS case? Was that why the MAS case was closed?

Whatever it is that is happening between A-G Gani and Shahidan in Makkah, only God knows. But aren’t the Malaysian public also entitled to know? Are we not entitled to know if there is manipulation in the investigation of corruption cases? Are we not entitled to know if there has been selective prosecution? Are we not entitled to hold the Chief Commissioner of MACC, Dato Sri Abu Kassim, to his pledge that he will investigate all corruption cases against “the big fishes” and if he fails to do so he will resign? Would Abu Kassim dare to investigate whether A-G Gani’s relationship with Shahidan is tainted with corruption? I invite YB Salahuddin Ayob to raise this in Parliament.

Make AG explain, and if he can’t, then make him resign!

But we should also be fair to A-G Gani Patail. Let him explain himself when he returns from Haj. Perhaps, in his state of purity we can discover the truth. Make him explain, and if he can’t, then make him resign!

_______________________________________________________________

Media Statement by DAP National Chairman : Eusoff Chin and Rais Yatim

Cabinet should establish a Judicial Propriety and Integrity Commission to uphold public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of judges

Yesterday, the Chief Justice of the Federal Court Mohd Eusoff Chin broke his silence about the photographs of him and lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam holidaying in New Zealand which had been posted on the Internet for the past few years.

LKS visited the Internet site which put up four photographs of the families of Eusuff and Lingam holidaying together in New Zealand. In two of the four photographs, it was not just Lingam putting his hand over Eusoff's shoulder, but also Eusuff putting his hand over Lingam's shoulder.

He said he had paid for his holiday in New Zealand in 1994 where he “bumped” into Lingam. He said he was on his way to a zoo when he met Lingam who tagged along and later posed for photographs with him.

He added that even when he was visiting London, he had met some senior lawyers, law students and court officials, and they liked to have their photographs taken with him.

He said: “Sometimes people put their face close to you or put their hands over your shoulder when taking photographs, and you just can’t push them away.”

As a result of Eusoff’s comments, I visited the Internet site which put up four photographs of the families of Eusuff and Lingam holidaying together in New Zealand. In two of the four photographs, it was not just Lingam putting his hand over Eusoff’s shoulder, but also Eusoff putting his hand over Lingam’s shoulder.

One photograph shows the two families in a boat. Did they go to the zoo in a boat? Be that as it may, national and international opinion take a serious view of the principle behind the controversy, now involving a Cabinet Minister, that justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done; that judges must not only be fair, but seen to be fair, including that judges should not be perceived as having specially close personal relationships with certain lawyers who appear before them.

It was in this regard that the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department responsible for law and justice, Datuk Rais Yatim, said in Canberra last month that Eusoff had been told that it was inappropriate to holiday with the counsel of a prominent business tycoon.

Rais (whom Eusoff ridiculed as Minister for “tables and chairs”) said in Australia: “Certainly such socialising, shall I say, is not in keeping with the proper behaviour of a judicial personality and we have intimated to the Chief Justice that this is a behavior improper, and this has been intimated to him in no uncertain terms.”

Yesterday, Eusoff denied that anyone had talked to him, saying: “As far as I am concerned no one had any dialogue with me. Never talked to me at all. Not only about this. Not about any other matter as well. He only speaks to the papers.”

The ball is now in the court of Rais and the Cabinet, who should make it very clear to the Chief Justice and the judges as to what is proper and improper judicial behaviour.

The Malaysian public would want to know whether the Cabinet is going to back up Rais in his stand that the Chief Justice’s “socialising” with lawyer Lingam while holidaying in New Zealand was not “proper behaviour of a judicial personality”.

If the Cabinet backs Rais, then the Cabinet should set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to review all cases involving both the Chief Justice on the bench and Lingam as one of the counsels to remove all doubts that such improper behaviour had in anyway compromised judicial independence, impartiality and integrity.

A Judicial Impropriety and Integrity Commission should be set up to uphold public confidence in the independence, integrity and impartiality of judges with powers both to receive and investigate public complaints of any lapses as there is no proper mechanism to deal with this problem. The Anti-Corruption Agency is just unacceptable as it has no record of effectively dealing with serious complaints about corruption. Furthermore, not all complaints about improper judicial conduct fall under the purview of the Anti-Corruption Agency.

The comment by the Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Lamin Yunus when asked about the judiciary’s “tarnished image” is most distressing. Lamin’s reply that he did not care about such criticism “as long as my conscience is clear” is reflective of a judiciary which has contempt for public opinion and the principles of accountability and transparency which runs counter to the fundamental principles of good governance.

Parliament at its meeting next month should hold a full and comprehensive debate on the state of the judiciary in the country.

- Lim Kit Siang -

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