While Muhyiddin and his loyalists scream until blue in the face that the corruption charges slapped on the former prime minister was a selective political prosecution, in truth, he is the low-hanging fruit ready to be picked by the MACC as all evidence is still fresh and available.
Anwar Ibrahim’s pledge to crack down on corruption has sent shivers down the spine of many corrupt politicians, including three former Prime Ministers – Mahathir Mohamad, Muhyiddin Yassin and Ismail Sabri. But they are not the only sharks identified. Powerful politicians like Daim Zainuddin and super-rich cronies like Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary too are in trouble.
In July 2022, a few months before the 15th General Election, then-Opposition leader Anwar warned if he became prime minister, former finance minister Daim would have sleepless nights. When Anwar finally became the 10th Prime Minister, the anti-corruption agency started investigations on the 84-year-old Daim in relation to his secret offshore accounts exposed in the Pandora Papers.
Syed Mokhtar, the billionaire and a crony of Mahathir, quickly agreed to share 30% of net profit from his cash cow, Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas) – with paddy farmers, on top of RM60 million to rice smallholders. PM Anwar was targeting his Bernas’ monopoly of the rice industry, which made a whopping revenue of RM4.67 billion and RM182.25 million in net profit in 2021 alone.
Turtle-egg Ismail Sabri should think twice about plotting with religious extremist PAS president Hadi Awang and racist bigot Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin to overthrow the Anwar administration. Ismail could be next to be charged for possible corruptions during his administration in the second phase of RM5.7 billion Jana Wibawa scandal, which has seen Muhyiddin being implicated.
Mahathir, whose 22 years iron-fist rule (from 1981 to 2003) saw corruption, nepotism and cronyism flourished, has every reason to worry that his protégé-turn-nemesis Anwar is now targeting all his cronies besides Syed Mokhtar. It’s not a coincidence that Berjaya Corp founder Vincent Tan, another Mahathir’s crony, has suddenly stepped down as its chairman and assumes the role of adviser.
However, it would take many months to dig and build profiles of corruptions involving dirty politicians like Mahathir and Daim as they were between 20 and 40 years ago. But it doesn’t mean the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) cannot skin the fat cats beginning with their sons and cronies. This is why 97-year-old Mahathir cannot retire peacefully. His legacy and sons are in jeopardy.
While Muhyiddin and his loyalists scream until blue in the face that the corruption charges slapped on the former prime minister was a selective political prosecution, in truth, he is the low-hanging fruit ready to be picked by the anti-corruption agency as all evidence is still fresh and available. If Muhyiddin is clean and incorruptible, then Joe Biden and Rosmah Mansor are still virgins and we should believe in the tooth fairy.
On Friday (March 10), Muhyiddin was slapped with six counts of corruption and power abuse charges involving RM427.5 million. The 76-year-old Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) president was charged with four counts of using his position as the Prime Minister and Bersatu president to solicit RM200 million as a bribe from Bukhary Equity Sdn Bhd from February 8 to February 25, 2021.
He has similarly been charged for abusing his position to solicit RM32.5 million from Nepturis Sdn Bhd (RM1 million), Mamfor Sdn Bhd (RM19.5 million) and Azman Yusoff (RM12 million) for kickbacks for Bersatu between March 1 to August 2020. If convicted, Muhyiddin faces imprisonment of up to 20 years, and a fine of no less than five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher.
Additionally, he is also facing two counts money laundering involving RM195 million. The former backdoor PM who ruled for just 17 months, whose actual registered name is Mahiaddin Md Yasin, apparently received kickbacks from illegal activities – RM120 million and RM75 million – from Bukhary Equity Sdn Bhd, which is 99% owned by tycoon Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary.
Even if he could escape the four charges of abuse of power involving RM232.5 million linked to Jana Wibawa, it’s hard for him to get away with two charges of money laundering involving RM195 million. Money trails showed the RM195 million was deposited into Bersatu’s CIMB bank account between February 25 and July 16, 2021, during which Muhyiddin was the Prime Minister and Bersatu’s president.
But that’s not the end of the story. The crook will be slapped with another corruption charge on Monday (March 13), and more could be coming. The best part is the RM5.7 billion Jana Wibawa scandal is just a small part of the RM92.5 billion Covid-19 Stimulus Programme. What is most interesting is that the RM195 million kickbacks were not entirely related to the pandemic recovery scheme.
So, why did Bukhary Equity pay the jaw dropping RM195 million for Muhyiddin’s political party? Hilariously, Mahiaddin has blamed Lim Guan Eng for revoking the tax exemption on Yayasan Al-Bukhary in 2018. Mahiaddin said after he became the new backdoor prime minister in 2018, Syed Mokhtar appealed to him to be exempt from taxes for works related to Islamic charities.
Even if it’s true that former finance minister Lim was responsible for revoking the 45% tax exemption, which he has denied, Muhyiddin is not able to explain why Syed Mokhtar paid RM195 million to reverse Lim’s decision. First, obviously the billionaire stands to gain more than RM195 million through the tax exemption, hence gladly paid the money to whomever Muhyiddin ordered him to.
Second, it screams kickbacks because Muhyiddin had demanded RM195 million in what appeared to be approval to Syed Mokhtar’s appeal. Exactly what type of Malay-Muslim is Muhyiddin for soliciting bribes to help Islamic charities? And if indeed Yayasan Al-Bukhary is a genuine charity house, why didn’t Syed Mokhtar sue Lim or the previous Pakatan Harapan government for revoking the tax exemption.
This is not the first time Muhyiddin was involved in corruption. He had done worse when he was the Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) of Johor from 1986 to 1995. Stamford Holdings Sdn Bhd, a plantation company owned by the Seet family (Singapore), Gan family and the Wang family (Malaysia), applied to the state government in 1984 for permission to develop a parcel of land belonging to the company.
When Muhyiddin noticed the application, he sent Syed Mokhtar and Yahaya Talib, who introduced themselves as business associates and friends of the Johor Chief Minister, to meet Stamford directors. Muhyiddin’s cronies proposed to develop 714.7 hectares of the land in a joint venture (JV) agreement where a Syed Mokhtar-led firm took a 30% stake, with the remaining held by Stamford.
The initial venture was a success, never mind Samford was forced to accept the parasites as business partners. In 1992, Muhyiddin, Syed Mokhtar and Yahaya approached Stamford with plan to develop the remaining 2,638.5 hectares. Unlike the first agreement, they greedily demanded 70% equity stake but was willing to pay only RM30,000 per acre for Stamford (in the first venture, they paid RM3,397.50 per acre).
Stamford rejected the preposterous proposal (when the Muhyiddin’s group sold their stake in 1994, their initial investment of RM1.8 million had soared to RM83.2 million – 4,522% profit). When Stamford insisted on retaining the original JV conditions, and told them to pay a fair RM70,000 per acre for the 30% equity stake, Muhyiddin threatened Stamford.
Muhyiddin warned – “Look, I have this piece of paper in front of me on my desk. All I have to do is sign it and Stamford Holdings will no longer own the 4,000 acres of land. Now, do you agree or not to develop the land and I take 70%?” Several threats followed, but Stamford remained adamant, refusing to be robbed. In July 1994, the Johor government forcefully and unlawfully acquired the land.
Stamford Holdings sued Muhyiddin, Syed Mokhtar and Yahaya in Feb 1995. After a lengthy court battle, the scandal reached the Federal Court in 1998 where all parties agreed to settle the dispute out of court. Stamford was paid compensation of RM405 million. The scandal was so massive that Asiaweek did a comprehensive investigative report and exposed Muhyiddin’s phone call threatening Stamford directors.
So, you see, Mahiaddin and Syed Mokhtar’s friendship goes back a long way. Therefore, it’s hard to believe the former premier would solicit money from his crony the same way he had threatened and robbed the Stamford Chinese businessmen. Bersatu secretary-general Hamzah Zainudin was trying to hoodwink gullible Malays when he said Syed Mokhtar can donate to whoever he wants.
We are talking about RM195 million, not RM1.9 million or RM19 million. Despite being a so-called philanthropist, this is the same billionaire who systematically kill millers and paddy farmers, who happen to be ethnic Malay. In 2018, it was revealed that 300,000 farmers in Kedah were drowning in debt due to shrinking incomes and increasing operating costs thanks to rice monopoly.
On May 15, 2020, a few months before Bukhary Equity generously “donated” the mind-boggling RM195 million to Bersatu, the backdoor government of Muhyiddin quietly awarded the highly sought after 5G telecommunication spectrum to several players without open tender. One of them was little-known Altel Communications – a firm controlled by Syed Mokhtar.
It’s not rocket science that something was fishy when the sign-off by Communications and Multimedia Minister Saifuddin Abdullah went unannounced to the public, with no media statements issued. The hastily deal was bulldozed by the illegitimate backdoor government of Muhyiddin, so much so that even mobile service providers awarded the 5G spectrum were not aware of it.
As a result, the public listed companies did not have enough time to announce it to the stock exchange. Leading mobile service providers Maxis, Celcom and DiGi were awarded two bands of 10 megahertz (2x10MHz). State telecommunications firm Telekom Malaysia was allocated 2x5MHz. However, Altel, despite being a minor player, was given 2x5MHz.
Worse, Altel, which was awarded the most amount of spectrum in the 2.6GHz band to deploy 4G services by the government in late 2012, made easy money by leasing the spectrum to other telcos and piggybacked on Celcom to offer services as a mobile virtual network operator. To date, 11 years later, Altel has yet to build and deploy its own 4G LTE network for the public.
The RM195 million were most likely kickbacks for Muhyiddin in exchange for Altel’s 5G spectrum. But Syed Mokhtar cannot use Altel or his business empire to send the huge amounts of money to Bersatu as it will raise red flags. Therefore, the cover story is to use Bukhary Equity under the pretext of charity works to “donate” money to Muhyiddin’s political party.
The burning question is will the tycoon testifying in the court that he had willingly donated to Muhyiddin? If Syed Mokhtar agrees to protect Muhyiddin, the anti-graft agency would not have had arrested and charged the ex-PM, and the crook would not be crying, whining and bitching that the MACC and the Attorney General’s Chambers were working with PM Anwar to nail him.
Someone should remind crooked Muhyiddin that both MACC Chief Commissioner Azam Baki and Attorney General Idrus Harun were previously appointed by him. It’s laughable to accuse the authorities of practising selective prosecution or political persecution only when Muhyiddin is being charged now, but was praised by Muhyiddin as incredibly professional when he was the prime minister.
In the same breath, it was brilliant that PM Anwar had decided to extend the AG’s term for another six months effective March 6. While the new prime minister has the power to replace both Azam and Idrus, the Opposition will certainly twist and spin it as proof that the new MACC and AG chiefs are appointed to selectively prosecute Perikatan Nasional leaders.
Despicable Muhyiddin should stop insulting people’s intelligence over his lame excuse that he is innocent because it was former finance minister Tengku Zafrul who had approved the restoration of tax exemption for Yayasan Al-Bukhary. Zafrul took instruction from him, leading to RM195 million deposited directly into Bersatu’s account, not Zafrul’s account.
It’s also a lame defence to say Muhyiddin is clean based on the argument that he personally didn’t receive a penny from the donation. There are many kinds of gratification, including money, sex favours, properties, services, and the list goes on. In the case of him, Syed Mokhtar’s RM195 million donations could help Bersatu wins election or buys votes, which in turn would allow Muhyiddin to return to power.
Stealing people’s money and stealing government was not Muhyiddin’s only forte. He was quite experienced in stealing a wife too. In 2017, UMNO supporter Azwanddin Hamzah submitted a statutory declaration as proof about Muhyiddin’s disgraced extramarital affair with Nika Gee Siew Yee, wife of former deputy public prosecutor Stanley Clement Augustin. – Finance Twitter