Mahathir’s super-rich children in trouble after Dubai Move failed

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The MACC and the courts will be grilling every single offspring of Mahathir, exposing how they got mega-rich so young and so easily.

King Sultan Abdullah has spoken, and he specifically told Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim during a pre-cabinet meeting on Tuesday (Jan 9) that the Palace would not get involved in any political manoeuvre. Basically, the monarch was saying that he was busy packing his stuff before moving back to Pahang as his term as the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) ends on January 30, 2024.

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Actually, as early as February last year (2023), the King already expressed his desire for the current unity government to remain until the end of its term. Since his appointment as the Agong on Jan 31, 2019, his impressive resume included working with four prime ministers, the first hung Parliament in the country’s history, multiple coups and political instability due to power-crazy politicians.

From Mahathir’s abrupt resignation on Feb 24, 2020, in a despicable “Sheraton Move” to help Muhyiddin seize power to stop Anwar from taking over, before traitor Muhyiddin was forced to resign on August 16, 2021, after just 17 months in power, to the appointment of yet another backdoor prime minister – Ismail Sabri – on August 21, 2021, the King was sick and tired of political coups.

After the 15th General Election (Nov 2022), the country faced its first hung Parliament when none of the three major coalitions – Barisan Nasional, Perikatan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan – managed to secure enough seats to form the government. Anwar-led Pakatan finally formed the federal government with Barisan after the Muhyiddin-led Perikatan arrogantly rejected a Unity Government proposed by the King.

It was a huge tactical mistake for Perikatan Nasional, after which there were uncountable plots and schemes to overthrow the Anwar administration. Nationalist Bersatu and PAS Islamist party, the two major components of the opposition, simply could not live without power after 33 months of indulging in corruption, abuse of power, money laundering and whatnot.

By hook or by crook, the opposition must stage another backdoor deal to return to power. When Anwar Ibrahim took over the country, his pledge to crack down on corruption was initially seen as nothing but political rhetoric. After all, Malaysian institutions, including the Royal Malaysia Police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), were seen as corrupt.

However, it started to raise more eyebrows when PM Anwar repetitively dropped hints – even pressured – the MACC to act without fear or favour. The premier said enforcement agencies should take immediate action against irregularities at the various levels regardless of position and ideology. In fact, he gave the “green light” for MACC to probe allegations of corruption against any minister or government official.

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Things became spicy when MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki revealed how Anwar told him not to wait for his instructions to investigate anyone involved in corruption – suggesting that the anti-graft buster was not fully independent and had all along been a tool of previous prime ministers. When Anwar said that very rich and powerful people, even those with the “Tun” title, could be investigated, the MACC finally sprang into action.

The recent “Dubai Move” – in reference to the Opposition and government leaders hatching a despicable scheme to seize power via backdoor while holidaying in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) – was just a follow-up to endless secret meetings held since the Nov 2022 general polls, intensified after multiple corruption charges slapped on opposition leaders, including Bersatu president and ex-PM Muhyiddin Yassin.

Just because Mahathir has denied travelling to Dubai does not mean he did not participate. There’s something called Zoom or video conferencing. In fact, ex-PM Mahathir was the prime mover of the Dubai Move, who together with his biggest financier and most trusted lieutenant, former finance minister Daim Zainuddin, were willing to splash RM750 million to bribe MPs to go against Anwar.

Some simpletons might think it was insane, even preposterous, to believe that billionaire Daim would spend so much money. But they had no idea how rich Tun Dr Mahathir and Tun Daim were after more than two decades of stealing and plundering national coffers. It’s not an exaggeration to say that RM750 million was like a loose change for Daim, what more Mahathir?

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Daim had accumulated so much money that he actually once owned a Swiss bank – ICB Banking Group – which operated approximately 222 branches and 130 ATMs worldwide. Under the banking group, it owned another 14 banks throughout Asia. In addition, he was reported to own at least RM65 billion worth of shares in the Malaysian stock market.

It’s worth noting that the Dubai Move was triggered only “after” the MACC seized the 60-storey Menara Ilham owned by the family of Daim on Dec 18, 2023. The tower, designed by award-winning “Foster + Partners” and built at an estimated cost of US$580 million (RM2.7 billion), is the crown jewel of Daim’s fortune. It was seized because Daim repetitively refused to entertain MACC’s petition to declare his and his family’s financial holdings.

Daim probably thought he was so rich and influential that he was untouchable. Even if he wanted to, the tycoon can’t explain the source of his incredible wealth. Therefore, his 274m-tall skyscraper along with other assets – both domestic and foreign – were seized under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLA) and Section 41 of the MACC Act.

The bold move effectively cuts Mahathir’s access to funding to overthrow Anwar. To make matters worse, a “Plan-B” to smuggle RM750 million cash to bribe MPs to declare their “loss of confidence” in Anwar’s government was similarly intercepted and thwarted, thanks largely to the Anti-Terrorism Financing Act, which grants the authorities the power to seek cooperation from foreign powers.

Money talks and bullshit walks. After the RM750 million went missing, disgraced blogger-turn-fugitive Raja Petra Kamarudin, the mercenary who operates the Malaysia-Today portal, was paid to cook a half-baked story about 120 MPs having sent statutory declarations to the Palace indicating that they do not support Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s unity government.

But the so-called five-page long list of 120 MPs who had lost faith in the PM was so fake and laughable that even Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s Youth chief Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal quickly clarified that no statutory declarations were signed by Perikatan Nasional to overthrow the government – a slap in the face of Raja Petra before even the King cares to comment.

Interestingly, Bersatu somehow appears not as anxious or optimistic to topple the prime minister this round, largely because Muhyiddin was not the sole prime minister candidate and partly because the party might consider switching sides to support Anwar in exchange for the dropping of corruption charges. From the beginning, it has been Mahathir and the PAS Islamist party who vigorously blew the trumpet on the Dubai Move and 120 SDs.

Not only did the clumsily produced list of 120 MPs contain the name of Democratic Action Party chairman Lim Guan Eng as one of the signees who have lost confidence in Anwar leadership, but the claim that GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) was on the bandwagon had been rubbished by Sarawak Premier Abang Johari Openg as a “waste of time”.

With outgoing King Sultan Abdullah officially saying he was not interested in even looking at the dubious 120 SDs, it’s game over for any evil plan to seize power using statutory declarations, of which the document itself can be easily forged. The new Agong – Sultan Ibrahim of Johor – has made it crystal clear that one of his primary missions is to hunt all the corrupt people.

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The hidden message behind Sultan Ibrahim was simple – it was revenge time and the Royal House would make sure Mahathir, now powerless, along with his wealthy children get the opportunity to explain how they accumulate their fortune. Of course, like crooked Daim Zainuddin, the family of Mahathir is in trouble as they too won’t be able to justify their riches.

As a start, the MACC may dig into how the ex-premier enriched his family with one of the most explosive scandals in the 1990s – the bailout of his son’s Konsortium Perkapalan Berhad in 1998. In fact, the primary reason Mahathir had sacked Anwar was not merely because both men disagreed on the method to tackle the 1997-1998 Asia Financial Crisis plaguing the country.

In March 1998, Malaysia International Shipping Corp (MISC) announced that it would acquire Mirzan company. The news triggered accusations of a bailout at a time when the country was facing economic troubles. The sale included US$55 million for Hong Kong-based Pacific Basin Bulk Shipping, which Mirzan’s Konsortium bought for US$230 million in 1996 as part of an aggressive regional expansion campaign.

In addition, MISC bought the assets of KPB’s Malaysia-based PNSL Bhd for US$165 million, which Mirzan purchased for RM247.4 million from a state agency in 1992. Not only did MISC hand over a total of US$220 million to Mirzan, who owned 51% of Konsortium but would also take over a net debt of US$311 million from the acquired companies.

Interestingly, even before the 1997 Asia Financial Crisis, Konsortium Perkapalan Bhd had already accumulated RM1.7 billion debt (end of 1996) under Mirzan’s leadership. It was so bad that there were naughty rumours that Mahathir’s son was considering “suicide” over the massive debts. Without the bailout, Mirzan would go bankrupt as KPB’s market value was almost wiped out during the financial crisis.

The best part was the main shareholder of MISC was Petronas, the national oil company which comes directly under the Prime Minister’s Office. Thanks to his daddy, Mirzan’s debt in KPB was settled. Clearly, not only Mahathir had abused his power to rescue Mirzan but had also enriched his son by bailing out Konsortium Perkapalan Bhd.

The burning question is from where did his son get all the money to fund his purchase in KPB, not to mention other companies like Petron, Malaysian Helicopter Services, Lion Corp, Artwright Holdings, Dataprep Holdings, Leader Universal, Diperdana Corp and whatnot. This will be the same question that MACC is asking the family members of Daim Zainuddin.

As early as 1994, Mirzan bought at a 24% discount to the market price 1.5 million shares in steel cable firm Leader Universal, under a preferential state allocation scheme to transfer corporate ownership to bumiputras or indigenous people. At the age of 37 in 1998, analysts valued Mirzan Mahathir’s holdings in public companies alone to be in excess of US$880 million. He was said to sit on the board of 95 companies in 1999.

The rescue of his son’s company came just six months after the Mahathir Cabinet announced on September 3, 1997, the creation of a special RM60 billion fund for “selected Malaysians” – understood as a bail-out facility designed to save “cronies”. Besides Petronas, Employees Provident Fund (EPF) money had been deployed to bail out some of the most politically well-connected and influential.

Other companies that enjoyed mega bailouts, just to name a few, included UEM-Renong, Malayan Banking, Bank Bumiputra, Sime Bank, KUB, Bank of Commerce, RHB Bank, Ekran’s Bakun Dam Project, Park May-Intrakota bus and Monorail. A whopping RM2.34 billion of taxpayers’ money was used – quietly – to bail out UEM-Renong alone, which was linked to Mahathir’s political party UMNO.

But Mirzan was not the only lucky son with a strong cable to enrich him. Mokhzani Mahathir, the second eldest son of the former prime minister, joined the ranks of the country’s top 10 richest people in 2014 on the 9th spot – worth an estimated RM4.22 billion. In early Nov 2012, Petronas awarded an RM700 million contract to the SapuraKencana Petroleum mogul.

Billionaire Mokhzani also became the largest shareholder of the Pantai Group of hospital after acquiring it from Berjaya Group founder Vincent Tan, who happens to be one of Mahathir’s cronies. Pantai Hospital was part of Parkway Holdings Ltd, which in turn was started by Malaysians (Tan family of IGB Corp and the Ang family of Petaling Garden) in the 1970s.

Together with another brother, Mukhriz and Mokhzani were awarded contracts in optical fibre manufacturer Opcom Holdings Berhad, which had profited from the RM21.6 billion project of the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP). According to the opposition, close to 500 companies were registered under the names of Mahathir and four of his children.

While 16 companies were under Mahathir Mohamad’s name and 29 were under his daughter Marina’s name, a jaw-dropping 156 were under Mirzan’s name, 158 were under Mokhzani’s whereas 126 were under Mukhriz’s name. The MACC and the courts will be having fun grilling every single offspring of Mahathir, exposing how they got mega-rich so young and so easily. – Finance Twitter