August 29, 2010
Justice thwarted is Justice Denied: Badawi must resign as MAS Adviser
by Din Merican
When I met Tun Abdullah Badawi in the corridors of Parliament a few months ago, we hugged each other (I have known him since our student days in Penang since 1958). “Let bygones be bygones” I said to him, ”I am only disappointed that as Prime Minister with absolute executive powers, Tun did not take on Tun Dr. Mahathir and failed to ensure that you kept your promise to Malaysian voters in 2004 who gave you a resounding mandate”.He responded, “Din, I would destroy UMNO, if I did that”.
Badawi is my friend and a likeable, kind man, but when he became Prime Minister (his public relations team with the help of the ever compliant media labelled him “Mr. Clean”), I judged him not as a friend but as my Prime Minister and leader of our country.I expected great things to happen under the Badawi administration, given the mainstream media blitz he was receiving in 2003 when Tun Dr. Mahathir handed over the reins of power. I also thought Dr. Mahathir did the right thing when he promised not to comment on his successor.
As Prime Minister, Abdullah Badawi let Malaysians down, especially men and women of my generation, and generally also the current generation, by his NATO (No Action Talk Only) approach to managing the affairs of state. His laid back approach enabled his son, Kamaluddin Abdullah and his son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin, the present UMNO Youth Leader and the 4th Floor boys, to meddle in the affairs of state and do deals which made them very wealthy.
His laid back approach enabled his son, Kamaluddin Abdullah and his son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin, the present UMNO Youth Leader and the 4th Floor boys, to meddle in the affairs of state and do deals which made them very wealthy.
A Tragic Prime Minister with Promises unkept
Have I changed my assessment of Badawi as Prime Minister? Is he really “Mr Clean”? I think, he did one thing right and I told him that. He gave us democratic space to express our views and criticise him. I said to him, “Tun, if Dr. Mahathir had been in power and I wrote about him as I did about you, critically and brutally, I would have, in all probability, landed in Kamunting”. He gave me his wry smile. He too thought that democratic space was the best of his legacy. But overall, I rated his administration poorly – a D-minus! He did not “seize the moment” (to quote the title of Richard M. Nixon’s book) to make a difference. Tragic indeed for him and more importantly for our country.
Overall, I rated his administration poorly – a D-minus!
Badawi rejected by Malaysians in 2008
So Malaysians returned him a favour in 2008. In 2004, Malaysians gave him a strong mandate because they wanted change and truly believed his election manifesto to reform the country from the authoritarian rule that they had to endure under his predecessor for 22 years. When Badawi failed to deliver, his “work with me, not work for me” administration was rejected in the 2008 General Elections when the UMNO-Barisan Nasional lost its 2/3rd majority in Parliament. As a result, he had to step down in 2009 and hand the reins of power to his Deputy, Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak. Dr. Mahathir (known to some of my friends as “Bomoh” –Medicine Man) claimed credit for Badawi’s exit as Prime Minister. As a result, the 4th Prime Minister is now emboldened to think that he can also do the same thing to Najib should the incumbent Prime Minister fail to meet his expectations. But all this is a sideshow.
Not “Mr Clean” after all
What about his “Mr. Clean” image? Well, it is a figment of the media’s creation rather than reality. I gave him the benefit of the doubt because, let us face it, he appears and paints a picture of being a devout Muslim and is the father of Islam Hadhari. He is perceived by all Malaysians as a very nice, cultured and incorruptible kind man. Having read Raja Petra Kamaruddin’s piece entitled “Now Let’s See Who Else Plundered MAS” in Malaysia Today (August 28, 2010), we can now safely conclude that the “Mr. Clean” image was just that — an image, created by the mainstream media (MSM). Foremost amongst the spin masters of the MSM was undoubtably Dato’ Kalimullah Hassan until even Dr Mahathir found it necessary to denounce him.
I would like to quote RPK : “Tajudin Ramli, however, was not the only one who plundered MAS. Abdullah Badawi himself had done the same thing back in 2002 when he was still only the Deputy Prime Minister. And what Abdullah Badawi did was – he forced MAS to give the right of privatising MAS Catering Sdn Bhd to his family company, Fahim Capital Sdn Bhd.
LSG Sky Chefs Brahim’s Sdn Bhd (“LSGB”) is a joint venture between Malaysia Airline System Berhad, which holds 30%, and Brahim’s-LSG Sky Chefs Holdings Sdn Bhd (“BLH”), which holds 70%.
It appears like Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad knew this but he nevertheless allowed it to happen, probably so that he had something to hold against Abdullah Badawi in case the latter reneged on his promises to the former. Maybe Mahathir thought that this would be his trump card against Abdullah Badawi when the former relinquishes power to the latter in 2003.
But, regardless of all that, Abdullah Badawi still betrayed Mahathir. And he also betrayed Ramli Yusuff when he (Ramli), instead of Tajuddin Ramli, ended up in the dock. Why did Abdullah Badawi allow them to go for Ramli Yusuff instead of going for Tajudin Ramli?… Initially, it was quite perplexing as to why the head of the CCID was arrested and charged instead of the person he was pursuing, Tajudin Ramli. But when you see that the Prime Minister himself also had his hands in the MAS cash-box then it begins to make sense.
If the dirt (RPK used a different word that is taboo in my blog) in MAS were to hit the fan then some of this dirt would splash onto the Prime Minister. So better this dirt remains buried and those who were trying to bring it to the surface get sent to jail on fabricated charges. The courts have since ruled unfounded. And Abdullah Badawi demanded that he be made the MAS adviser in 2009 as part of his ‘retirement package’ so that he can continue to keep the dirt hidden.
Did the court not acquit Ramli Yusuff without his defence being called? And did the judge not chide the IGP, Musa Hassan, for this unreliable and untruthful testimony? What more proof do you need that Ramli Yusuff is a victim of persecution and that one of the reasons for this is his relentless pursuit of Tajudin Ramli.
What more proof do you need that Ramli Yusuff is a victim of persecution and that one of the reasons for this is his relentless pursuit of Tajudin Ramli.
And, to add icing to the cake, they also went for the lawyer for MAS, Rosli Dahlan. They alleged that he is an accomplice to Ramli Yusuff. But the court has ruled that Ramli Yusuff did not commit a crime. Can Rosli now still be found guilty of being an accomplice to a crime that the court says never happened? Let’s wait and see what happens because Rosli Dahlan’s trial will be decided very soon, about ten days more to be exact (6th-8th September 2010).”
Dato Ramli Yusuff and Lawyer Rosli Dahlan victimised for doing their job
I have written extensively about both Ramli and Lawyer Rosli Dahlan. Both were professionals in their respective fields, perhaps the best guys to have on my side, should Lady Luck turns against me. It seems to me that in our BolehLand professionals be it in the public sector or in commerce and industry are always victimised for doing their job. To prevent them from standing for and doing what is right, Ramli and Rosli were given a public lynching. They were humiliated in the eyes of the Malaysian public and the world, charged in court just on fabricated evidence and lies and made to suffer emotionally. That was precisely what the MACC, the PDRM (Royal Malaysian Police) and the Attorney General did (he should read and understand Article 145(3) of the Malaysian Constitution) to Ramli four times in Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur. Ultimately Ramli was acquitted without his defence being called.
Attorney General should read and understand Article 145(3) of the Malaysian Constitution)
Lawyer Rosli’s track record
Throughout my attendance at Rosli’s trial, I have seen many lawyers, senior and junior, coming up to him giving words of support . I have seen the Bar Council representatives vouching for Rosli’s integrity and professionalism as a lawyer. I have seen even DPPs walking up to wish him the best and assuring him that he would be acquitted. I have also previously received an email from an Indonesian from Makassar, Mr Fredinand Lisardy, talking about how Rosli negotiated the release of the Malaysian accountants from KPMG who were detained by the corrupt KAPOLDA (Kepala Polis Daerah) Makassar in 2005. He was practically the country’s ambassador at that time when Dato’ Zainal had yet to receive his accreditation as our Ambassador to the Republic of Indonesia. I verified this fact with Tan Sri Robert Phang who is now on the MACC Advisory Panel and all that I have heard about him is true.
Tan Sri Robert Phang who is now on the MACC Advisory Panel verified how Rosli negotiated the release of the Malaysian accountants from KPMG who were detained by KAPOLDA (Kepala Polis Daerah) Makassar in 2005. He was practically the country’s ambassador at that time when Dato’ Zainal had yet to received his accreditation as Ambassador.
As for service to MAS, Bernama reported in 2009 that the MAS legal team led by Rosli succeeded to defeat a claim by a a German company called ACL, and reduced MAS’s liability from €63mil (RM300million ) to just €5mil (RM25million), which is less than 10% of the full claim. Then earlier this year Bernama again reported that Rosli secured MAS to be released from an ICC Arbitration claim by Air Maldives for US$90 million(RM315million). Both these liabilities were the just some of wrongdoings of Tajudin through his corporate vehicle, Naluri Berhad. And yet Tajudin walks away still a filthy rich man living in a horse ranch residence named AlRaudah (Garden of Heaven).
That Rosli acted so ably in negotiations with the Attorney-General of Maldives and Ministers of the Government of Maldives, showed that he did his best not just for a GLC but also in acting for the country. While Tajudin plundered MAS and totally depleted the RM600mil cash in MAS’s kitty, eventually leaving it with a deficit of RM8billion, this unassuming lawyer had actually saved MAS from a RM600mil liability over just two ventures. There may be many more that are yet to be disclosed.
Lawyer Rosli should be acquitted in the interest of Justice
Lawyer Rosli was made to suffer all that because the Unholy Trinity of the IGP, the AG and the MACC wanted him to squeal on Ramli and to serve as a warning to other professionals not to go against them.
With all the above good deeds, does Rosli deserve to be treated as he is now? Did he deserve to be brutalised, arrested and charged like a rapist or a murder? Lawyer Rosli was made to suffer all that because the Unholy Trinity of the IGP, the AG and the MACC wanted him to squeal on Ramli and to serve as a warning to other professionals not to go against them. They wanted Lawyer Rosli to betray his client and classmate, a friendship formed since their days at the International Islamic University. But Rosli is not Abdullah Badawi who would betray his oath of office. Rosli is not Dato’ Nordin Hassan, the MACC Director of Prosecution, who was also Rosli’s and Ramli’s classmate, but who would betray them and sell them down the river just for his career and his Dato’ship. But Rosli refused to be compromised just to save himself. Rosli stood steadfastly by what is right and true and defended Ramli’s innocence till the end. Now we know why both Ramli and Lawyer Rosli were brought down.
If these two professionals were allowed to finish their job, the scam that the Badawi family was doing to MAS would also be revealed. RPK’s expose` had shown the Badawi’s family interest in the extremely lucrative MAS catering contract.
As of now, Ramli is a free man. Logically Lawyer Rosli should also be freed. His case which will resume a few days before Eid-Mubarak should be a clear cut one and the verdict is obvious to me that he should be acquitted without his defence being called. The MACC witnesses like Kevin Morais and others are not only incredible in their testimonies but they have also been shown to have lied out rightly. I should know as I have been attending his trial and have been writing about Rosli’s case on this blog.
Badawi should be removed as MAS Adviser
It has become common practice for former Prime Ministers to be made Advisers to GLCs. Tun Hussein Onn was Adviser of PETRONAS. Tun Mahathir is Adviser to PETRONAS and PROTON. Not to be left out, Badawi too insisted to be made an Adviser to MAS. Isn’t this a clear conflict of interest when his family is having a vested interest in MAS Catering? In analysis, only Tunku Abdul Rahman, the father of Malaysian Independence, retired from his post without any advisory role. Therein lies the difference between these men. I think we should discontinue this practice. It appears that Badawi wants to be MAS Adviser just to enjoy First Class travel, to enjoy First Class perks and to protect his family’s interest. That is very repulsive.
It appears that Badawi wants to be MAS Adviser just to enjoy First Class travel, to enjoy First Class perks and to protect his family’s interest. That is very repulsive.
Both Mahathir and Badawi who are already well compensated for their services (more of a disservice, I think) to our country must be asked to step down or removed if they are not prepared to do it of their own accord. Prime Minister Najib should remove them to avoid conflicts of interest or risk inciting public anger.
In a few days we will celebrate Merdeka and then Malaysia Day. On behalf of all Malaysians, I ask Najib to unshackle himself from the baggage of his predecessors. Najib must “merdekakan” (liberate) himself from their shadows. Najib must do what is right, less Malaysians will teach him a lesson in GE13, the way they did to Badawi in GE12 in 2008. The question is: will the Prime Minister do it?