November 30, 2010
Malaysia Airlines’ Multi-Billion Ringgit Losses: Social Care Foundation’s Robert Phang urges the Attorney-General to explain
by Leven Woon Zheng Yang@http://www.malaysiakini.com
Social Care Foundation chairperson Robert Phang Miow Sin (left) said records and pictures from a whistleblower website of Abdul Gani together with an individual said to be close to former MAS chairperson Tajuddin Ramli have added a different dimension to the controversy.
Phang, who is also a member of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) consultative and advisory panel, said Abdul Gani may see adverse public speculation over his connection to the issue if he ignored the allegations.
Phang was responding to the emergence of photographs on news portal Malaysia Today, showing Abdul Gani together with one Shahidan Shafie during their recent haj pilgrimage to Mecca.
Abdul Gani’s relationship with Shahidan was a close one, Malaysia Today alleged further, as reflected in the former’s early exit from a Malaysia Day function last September to accompany Shahidan to the hospital when the latter’s child suffered an accident.
The website had in September and November also claimed that it was Shahidan, said to be an ex-police officer, who had convinced Abdul Gani not to press charges against Tajuddin.
Tajuddin, who was MAS’ executive chairperson from 1994 to 2001, has been blamed for the national carrier suffering losses amounting to more than RM8 billion.
MAS had also filed several reports against Tajuddin with the MACC, citing Tajuddin’s move to relocate MAS’ cargo operations in Amsterdam and Frankfurt to a single hub in Hahn, Germany, as the single biggest loss suffered under him.
The new hub operation reportedly incurred monthly losses of between RM10 million to RM16 million before it was terminated and the government took over control of MAS in 2001.
At a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Phang said MACC is entitled to investigate the AG if there was a directive to do so by the Prime Minister’s Department. Also the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Mohamed Nazri Aziz, can appoint a panel to oversee the MACC’s investigations into the matter.
He hesitated, however, to say whether MACC would initiate its own probe. “They (Home Ministry) must form the panel first, then MACC can investigate,” said Phang.