Archive for the ‘Sabah’ Category

July 2nd 2020 – AirAsia Group Bhd secured a RM300 million loan from Sabah Development Bank Bhd (SDB).

Two weeks earlier, somewhere in June 2020 – prominent Sabah businessman Ambrose Lee, Kalimulah Hassan, Kamaruddin Meranun and Tony Fernandes and a few more from Air Asia were seen in Kota Kinabalu having sumptuous Fish Head Curry, celebrating the approval of 300 million loan.

Shafie Apdal has to answer how come loan approved without public knowing it and without the usual funfair when such huge loans are approved by a state agency? Even Air Asia only now in October 2020 was forced to admit and to come out to say that RM300 million loan from SDB was approved and already disbursed.

How can SDB being a state agency that should be serving Sabah Industries and businesses gave a huge RM300 million loan without letting Sabahans know?

And is it true that the RM300 million loan was hurriedly released to Air Asia when Chief Minister Hajiji Noor was in the intensive care unit (ICU) of Queen Elizabeth Hospital II (QEH II) receiving treatment in hospital for Covid-19?

This loan was approved on July 2nd 2020 when in early June Air Asia had already started retrenching staffs, including in Sabah. The Air Asia staffs even complain compensation was not enough. It was even reported that the airline had laid off over 2,400 employees since Malaysia’s borders were closed on March 18 this year. So how can SDB approve RM300 million loan to Air Asia when airlines everywhere were grounded due to COVID-19 and international borders were closed? How can SDB approve this loan on July 2nd when Sabah also stopped Chinese flights in January followed by other international flights?

Since the emergence of Covid-19 in early 2020, demand for air travel has been hampered and exacerbated by international borders closures. This has taken a heavy toll on most airlines’ operations globally.

Even before this loan was approved and hurriedly disbursed bigger airlines like Virgin, Cathay Pacific, American Airlines were already retrenching tens and thousands of workers and also facing bankruptcy.

What was the collateral Air Asia gave the Sabah state government to secure this loan? If it was shares of Air Asia it has no value as Tony Fernandez owes creditors 60 billion as reported. Even Malaysia Airports Holdings is suing Air Asia for RM78.16 million. High debt levels have made the situation even dicier.

So how can Warisan government approve this loan to Air Asia on July 2nd?

Looking at some of the directors of SDB shows that they are mostly Warisan people, see here

And the Managing Director of Sabah Development Bank (SDB) –

Can we imagine how much RM300 million can do to the Sabah economy during this COVID times? SDB should be made answerable for the loan approval and Shafie has a lot of answering to do.

As coronavirus reduces travel, Air Asia is in a tough spot owing to its high levels of debt.

This is total madness and this doesn’t make sense at all!

UPDATED OCTOBER 28th

I’ve nothing to hide, says Shafie over MACC probe into RM300 million loan to AirAsia

KOTA KINABALU: Former Sabah chief minister Shafie Apdal welcomes any investigation into the RM300 million loan from state-owned Sabah Development Bank Sdn Bhd (SDB) to low-cost carrier AirAsia.

The Semporna MP said that as the former chief minister and state finance minister, neither he nor anyone in the previous administration had anything to hide over the approved loan, adding that “nothing was hidden” too in the whole process.

“This is because the loan was not approved overnight. Instead, SDB had carried out its own investigation and thorough risk assessment before deciding to approve the loan.

“AirAsia is a public-listed company with Bursa Malaysia, hence, the approval for any transaction worth RM300 million will only be given after all conditions of the loan are met by the borrower,” Shafie said, in a statement here today.

The Warisan president said as a favourite airline among Malaysians, AirAsia had a development plan that would benefit Sabah, adding the carrier had targeted to create 100,000 job opportunities in the state.

“As a state administrator, we cannot depend on one company alone, such as Malaysia Airlines. The role of other companies, especially AirAsia, should not be underestimated.

“In line with that, as a government responsible to develop the economy, close cooperation was needed with AirAsia because, if their plan worked, Sabahans will reap the benefits.”

Earlier today, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) office in Sabah had confirmed it had initiated a probe on SDB’s loan to AirAsia to establish if there were elements of graft involved.

A local daily had reported that Chief Minister Hajiji Noor had also ordered a probe into how the RM300 million approved by SDB, under the previous Warisan-led administration, was disbursed in a hurry to AirAsia after the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah government took over.

Meanwhile, Shafie disclosed that AirAsia had planned several projects in the state capital, including an agriculture produce storage facility known as “OurFarm”.ADVERTISING

He added this was in line with the airlines’ target of becoming the main distributor of agricultural fishery products that would be marketed through e-commerce channels.

The Senallang assemblyman said AirAsia was also planning to spend RM110 million to develop the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) as their international hub.

“All those plans will surely benefit Sabah as a state rich with agricultural and fishery resources.

“In fact, when I was the chief minister, the 2021-2030 agriculture development action plan was launched to make Sabah a distributor of agriculture produce besides ensuring the country’s food security,” he said.

Shafie said with the creation of a product supply chain, Sabahan farmers will then be able to generate more income with a larger market reach internationally through AirAsia.

In the tourism industry, he said Sabah’s glory days as a tourist destination will be restored if AirAsia’s target of making the state as its international hub becomes a reality.

“We know that before Covid-19 hit, Sabah’s economy had increased rapidly in the tourism sector and the people enjoyed the economic windfall, not only in Kota Kinabalu but also all the way to the east coast of the state.”

from FMT, see here: https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2020/10/28/ive-nothing-to-hide-says-shafie-over-macc-probe-into-rm300-million-loan-to-airasia/

UPDATED OCTOBER 30th

AirAsia: RM300m SDB loan complies with laws, procedures

Bernama Published 9:14 pm

AirAsia Group Bhd has reiterated that the transaction whereby it secured the aggregate RM300 million loan facilities from Sabah Development Bank (SDB) was completed in accordance with all laws, policies and procedures pertaining to its application.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia today, the budget carrier also said the transaction took five months to complete from the time of application.

The facilities have been approved by SDB for the development of the various projects and are intended to bring about significant positive socio-economic impacts to the state of Sabah, it said.

“With the facilities, AirAsia’s contribution (currently at almost one per cent to the state’s gross domestic product) is expected to double within the next 10 years and help Sabah regain its position as a top tourism destination post-Covid-19,” AirAsia said.

The company said the transaction would, among others, enable AirAsia to accelerate its expansion plans to transform Kota Kinabalu into an international hub for its passenger and logistics operations.

AirAsia said it had been providing domestic and international connectivity to Sabah since 2001, flying in 660,000 visitors to the state and supporting almost 60,000 jobs in the state.

The facilities, it said, would also be used to develop and enhance cold chain facilities in Sabah that would increase the marketability of the state’s fresh produce domestically and internationally through AirAsia’s Ourfarm digital food supply platform.

“This would potentially result in increased profits for farmers and fishermen in the state, which is in line with Sabah’s mission of becoming a top food-producing state in Malaysia and contributing towards the country’s food security,” the airline said.

AirAsia’s statement follows various news articles regarding the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigating the RM300 million loan facilities given by the Sabah state-owned bank to the airline.

At the close today, shares of AirAsia fell 0.9 per cent to 55 sen.

– Bernama

https://bernama.com/en/news.php?id=1895484

THE Federal Court’s decision not to dismiss the appeal by former Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman in challenging the validity of Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal’s appointment as rightful CM as academic just because the Election Commission had set the nomination and polling dates or that the Assembly has been dissolved and gazetted, is not surprising. As we are aware even the dissolution has become an issue, not the act of dissolution per se which is any TYT’s (Governor’s) right, but the process or what went into or was not considered in making that decision.

By the oath of office, Judges are duty-bound to uphold the Federal Constitution which is founded on democratic principles. There is a view that every Governor must know that he wears two hats, one as the head of the Executive and the other as part of the Legislature and that these two arms of Government coexist along with the Judiciary as equal partners of the Government. 

As head of the Executive branch of government, he appoints the CM after an election based on his assessment as to who in the Legislature enjoys the confidence of the majority of its members. Once that duty is done his Executive duty ends. 

As to whether the CM thereafter retains that confidence of the Legislature is purely and exclusively a Legislative function that can only be exercised by the Legislature and not by the TYT any longer. 

The pending case before the Federal Ccourt is expected to settle this issue.

In the Sarawak Ningkan case the judge was sceptical of drawing conclusions on the continued majority support of the Legislature by the TYT based on Statutory Declarations, because persons who put their names in a private list supporting a certain person as the CM would hesitate to do so publicly in the Legislature. 

This is also an opportunity to distinguish the Perak case or overrule it as a bad law or a law that is ill suited to deal with the political dynamics in Sabah. One of the canons of Constitutional interpretation is the “organic interpretation “ which was advocated by the FC in the Perak Case. 

By this interpretation the court will interpret the Constitution in a manner to promote the intent of the constitutional provision so as to eliminate the social evil facing the society. In Sabah one of the main political scourges which makes a mockery of democracy has been party hopping.

It has repealed the anti hopping law during the PBS era, following the FC decision in the Kelantan Case that State Anti-hopping laws are unconstitutional, the courts ought to be proactive in curbing the mischievous acts of breach of trust by the elected representatives.

Frogbuster

This was published in the Daily Express Sabah here

It may provide the guiding principle for the appointment of future chief ministers whatever the outcome of the pending Federal Court decision on the validity of Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal as the rightful Sabah Chief Minister in the coming weeks, it may help set the framework for resolving future such constitutional crises that had become a feature of Sabah politics after every election since 1985.

There have been four instances to date where the immediate outcome of the voting process took a different path than expected.

When it first happened in 1985, the Federal Government had to step in and call for the people’s mandate to be respected. Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan (now Tan Sri), whose month-old Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) won the State election with a simple majority of 25 seats in the then 48-seat State Assembly found the Istana gates locked around midnight when he and his victorious entourage went there after the result for the last seat was known.

Unknown to him, a Shakespearean plot was in play at the Istana with certain quarters accessing it via a back entrance and getting Tun Mustapha Datu Harun sworn in as Chief Minister before the cockerel crowed at dawn.

The crisis was resolved only when then Acting Prime Minister Datuk Musa Hitam (now Tun) called for the people’s mandate to be respected, Mustapha’s appointment revoked and Pairin installed as the rightful Chief Minister.

Pairin was sworn in at 8pm – or nearly 24 hours after the Election Commission had announced the results.

Then Election Commission Secretary Tan Sri Rashid in recalling the incident told the Sabah Daily Express recently that when he went to the Istana before dawn to announce the results, he was shocked to learn that another person had already been appointed as Chief Minister, describing it as “Sabah’s weird politics”,

Then Governor Tun Adnan Roberts told the court case that ensued that he was forced to swear in Mustapha when one of the plotters behind the “power grab” showed him that he had a gun and was afraid of what would happen if he had not obliged.

A dissatisfied Mustapha took the matter to court which upheld Pairin’s appointment.

Barely 10 years later in 1994, a three-day delay by then Governor Tun Said Keruak, who claimed he was too sick to leave his bed to swear in Pairin allowed sufficient time for elected representatives from his Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) to cross over to the then ruling Barisan Nasional coalition and form the new State Government.

It was soon to be an inglorious end in political supremacy for Pairin.

Like in 1985, PBS then had a simple majority of 26 seats in the State Assembly but Pairin’s grip on power began to fade due to crossovers one by one until he finally had to throw in the towel.

For unknown reason, Pairin declined to challenge the toppling of his fledgling administration in court, unlike Musa in the latest cases.

What is notable is that of four occasions where there had been disputes over the appointment of chief minister, two involved Pairin and the other two, Musa.

The latest similar instances happened within a space of two years beginning with the Barisan Nasional-led Musa losing the CM post to Shafie within 48 hours of his appointment after securing a 31-seat majority in the State Assembly with the help of Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan’s Star that made it 31 seats for Musa compared to Shafie’s Warisan-Plus coalition’s 29.

Even then, and reminiscent of Pairin’s situation in 1985, Musa had to endure an almost 24-hour nail-biting delay before his short-lived swearing in at around midnight the following day. He saw the CM chair being taken away from him after taking the oath before Tun Juhar Mahiruddin when BN coalition partner, Upko, defected to the side of Shafie’s Warisan Sabah.

And in a reversal of roles two years later, Musa was not able to claim back the post when he managed to command 33 seats in the 65-seat (including four Nominated Assemblymen) State Assembly to Shafie’s 32.

Just like Shafie following the 2018 election, Musa managed to upstage Shafie on July 29, 2020 also through crossover of a record 15 elected representatives from Shafie’s side.

There were accusations of enticement and money politics but could not be proven as no corruption reports were lodged, just like in 2018 when the defecting Upko election winners claimed they crossed over to Shafie’s side for the sake of helping his Warisan Sabah form the government, despite winning the election on platform, manifesto and funding by Musa’s Sabah BN.

Musa claimed that he was “played out a second time” when the Istana gates were closed to him on July 30, 2020.

The latest incident also saw corruption allegations levelled against a sitting Head of State for the first time, as well as police reports against both the Governor and Shafie by a Muslim NGO.

Sabah is the only state other than Perak to face such a situation where the appointment of a chief minister is no walk in the park if you secure a simple majority.

Not content to take things lying down, the resilient Musa succeeded in taking both “travesties of justice” as he sees it up to the Federal Court.

The Federal Court granted him leave to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s decision to be recognised as the rightful chief minister.

Federal Court Judge Abdul Rahman Sebli said “the people of Sabah had the right to know whether Musa’s removal was done lawfully and in accordance with the Sabah Constitution.” He also said the legal questions raised were of grave constitutional importance and have a far-reaching implication, which ought to be resolved by the Federal Court and should not be left hanging.”

A separate action also filed by Musa in the Federal Court which has also seen light of day related to the 32 elected representatives aligning with him on July 29.

Whatever the outcome of the two pending cases before the Federal Court, they may provide the guiding principle for the appointment of future chief ministers, especially in a simple majority election outcome, hopefully it may put to rest future such crises.

And whether it was right and proper for the former Chief Justice Tan Sri Richard Malanjum to advise the Governor to proceed with the appointment of Shafie when he already appointed Musa, is another discussion for another day.

N.B. this came out in MALAYSIA TODAY, see here & Daily Express see here

For 15 years, from 2003 to 2018, a remarkable confluence of circumstances generated and strengthened the view that Sabah had arrived. There was a structural upturn in the economy triggered by an unprecedented investment boom, accompanied by an unprecedented credit boom. Huge investments were made into construction, production and into infrastructure. Investment as a proportion of GDP went as high as 40%. The Sabah growth story started unfolding. In the fifteen years of Musa Aman before the May 9th 2018 elections, Sabah clocked 6% to 8.2% annual growth on average. Sabah weathered the global financial crisis reasonably well and came out of the crisis sooner than most states.

Things started unraveling after Shafie Apdal took over the CMship on 12th May 2018 when many projects got delayed and stopped. Investments soured. Bad loans mounted. The financial sector came under stress. In popular perception, this reversal in prospects is associated with crony capitalism. While there certainly was a bit of that, it will be misleading to attribute the entire downturn to crony capitalism; there were several other factors at play.

For example, just after taking over the Sabah state government, the Warisan-led government abruptly took action of terminating the concession contracts of companies operating 58 water treatment plants. Five firms involved in water supply and treatment plant maintenance filed a RM254 million lawsuit against the Sabah state government over what they claimed to be wrongful termination of their contracts.

Then in March last year, Pelangi Prestasi a company related to one of the richest bumiputras in Malaysia, Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary won a tender to acquire all the assets of the pulp and paper milling company Sabah Forest Industries Sdn Bhd (SFI) for RM1.2 billion. Pelangi paid a 10% deposit of RM120mil for the asset. In May 2018, Warisan led Sabah Government rejected the issuance of fresh timber licences to Pelangi in relation to Pelangi Prestasi’s proposed acquisition of Sabah Forest Industries (SFI).

Now, there is a civil suit between Pelangi Prestasi and the Warisan-led Sabah government. This is a RM1.2 billion legal suit against the Warisan-led Sabah government.

Another company, Boonrich Sdn Bhd, which is linked to former chief minister Harris Salleh is also suing the state government for RM91.6 million over the ban on log exports by the Warisan-led administration last year. Boonrich cultivates teak trees on its OWN LAND on a commercial basis for 27 years and have been exporting cultivated timber for years. Now with the blanket ban on log exports by the Warisan-led state government,  even commercially cultivated timber cannot be exported.

Perhaps, this is a record of the Warisan-led state government which is facing close to RM2.5 billion damages claim. Never in the history of the Sabah state government has it ever been sued for over RM2.5 billion in damages. Warisan starting off on the wrong foot is facing multi-billion-ringgit lawsuits in just within 26 months in power.

Then there were also delays in projects because of delays in clearances and permissions. Court orders cancelling some government decisions added to the delays. Contractors too were not getting paid. As a result of all these factors, the investment engine switched off. With investment and net exports not contributing substantially to GDP growth, during Shafie Apdal’s 26 months in office, the economy was firing on a single engine, the engine of consumption. But even that consumption engine has now petered out with the result that growth has declined sharply to negative territory. With Covid, its even worst now.

Sabah recorded a slower growth of 1.5 per cent for 2018 and 0.5 per cent for 2019 as compared to a strong growth of 8.2 per cent in the previous year during Musa Aman at the helm. Mining & quarrying and Agriculture sectors too were affected to negative 5.6 per cent (2017: 15.7%) and negative 0.3 per cent (2017: 4.6%) respectively.

Overall, these numbers are not looking good for Sabah. From 8.2% economic growth nosediving to a paltry 1.5% and 0.5% all in two consecutive years says a lot about Warisan. 

While freezing timber licenses and curbing mining projects are positive steps, but what replaces these projects as sources of employment and job creation in Sabah?

Sand mining is still rampant, and so is timber logging even with the freezing of timber license.

According to former Chief Minister Yong Teck Lee, the Warisan-led State Government in its two years announced investments totalling more than RM70 billion but with nothing to show, just empty talk. “Where is the money?” he asked.

It is true that there was a lot of business support for Shafie when he first came into office nearly two years ago. In fact, in 2018, Shafie campaigned mainly on an economic platform — that he would create jobs and revive investment. There were high hopes and expectations that he would plunge headlong into implementing structural reforms to redeem these campaign promises. That required political capital, and he had plenty of that. Arguably he had more political capital than any other previous Sabah chief ministers. He had a rock solid majority in the Sabah state assembly from all the “froggy” Assemblymen. More than two-thirds.

Regardless Shafie seemed disinclined to invest his enormous political capital to implement the ‘politically’ difficult reforms. Sure, some important reforms got under way during his 26 months. But he initiated none of these reforms; these were all initiatives that he inherited. It’s happenstance that they culminated on his watch. On his own, Shafie did not initiate any notable fresh economic reform.

Shafie somehow seemed to have succumbed to the mistaken belief that the Sabah economy will run on autopilot.

Sabah government set to fall to Malaysia PM Muhyiddin’s coalition

It is understood that discussions between Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin (left) and Umno's Musa Aman have paved the way for the coup.It is understood that discussions between Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin (left) and Umno’s Musa Aman have paved the way for the coup.PHOTOS: AFP, THE STAR/ASIA

NEWS NETWORK
Published
4 hours ago
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Shannon Teoh
Malaysia Bureau Chief

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s Sabah state is on the verge of changing governments, with assemblymen formerly loyal to chief minister Shafie Apdal expected to defect to the Perikatan Nasional (PN) pact helmed by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

Well-placed sources told The Straits Times that at least 14 assemblymen have agreed to desert Datuk Seri Shafie – a staunch ally of former premier Mahathir Mohamad – and back his predecessor and rival Musa Aman instead.

“There may be more (defectors). But for now, we have to wait for an audience with the governor,” a top PN official said, referring to the ceremonial head of state.

This would make Sabah the latest in a string of states lost by Pakatan Harapan (PH) and its allies after its federal government collapsed at the end of February. PH was left without majority support in Parliament after Tan Sri Muhyiddin led some 40 lawmakers out of the coalition.

He was sworn in as prime minister on March 1, backed by the loose PN pact that includes his supporters in Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, former ruling party Umno, Parti Islam SeMalaysia and Gabungan Parti Sarawak.

With Sabah under its belt, PN would control 10 of Malaysia’s 13 state governments. PH, which had previously lost Johor, Melaka, Perak and Kedah to PN, would be left with the country’s richest state Selangor, Penang and Negeri Sembilan.

Tan Sri Musa, who is from Umno, had been Sabah’s chief minister for 15 years before Umno’s shock defeat in the May 2018 election to PH. His comeback gathered momentum after all 46 counts of graft levelled against him when PH was in power were withdrawn on June 9.

Sources with knowledge of the impending changes in Sabah told ST that there had been dissent within the PN ranks as to who should head the government of the east Malaysia state, with Bersatu state chief Hajiji Noor among the front runners.

But it is understood that discussions between Bersatu president Muhyiddin and Mr Musa, brokered by Senior Minister for the Economy Azmin Ali, paved the way for the coup.

However, Mr Musa’s return to power must still obtain the assent of state governor Juhar Mahiruddin, a founding member of Umno in Sabah.

If it is clear that Mr Shafie no longer commands support of the state assembly, Tun Juhar must ask him to resign. But the Parti Warisan Sabah president can also ask the governor to call for snap polls.

Mr Shafie is currently backed by 45 assemblymen, or two-thirds of the 65-seat state assembly. This means the Bersatu-led opposition will need at least 13 defectors to secure power.

A change in Sabah could significantly impact the federal situation, where the PN government only holds a slim majority with 113 of Parliament’s 222 lawmakers. Some of the 10 Sabah MPs currently in federal opposition could be persuaded to cross the floor if PN takes over the state.

SEE THE REST HERE!

This is featured in The Singapore Straits Times. 

CAPTAIN M

1.  Shafie Apdal melalui portal Malaysiakini berkata beliau menjadi sasaran serangan Najib Razak apabila bekas perdana menteri itu membocorkan beberapa surat berkaitan projek kerajaan suatu masa dulu.

2. Shafie percaya tindakan berkenaan diambil Najib selepas namanya disebut sebagai calon perdana menteri daripada pembangkang.

“Agaknya dia bimbang apabila Dr Mahathir (Mohamad) menyebut nama saya sebagai calon perdana menteri kesembilan. Hal sebegitu tidak pernah berlaku (sebelum ini).

shafie perasanYe ke tidak pernah berlaku didedahkan surat projek 2013 itu? surat itu terbukti didedah sejak 2016 lagi. Bukan Najib lagi memang ada dalam laman sosial

Benarkah dakwaan Shafie Apdal itu?

3. Najib dalam facebooknya menafikan bukan kerana Shafie dicadangkan menjadi PM maka semua itu didedahkan kerana sejak sekian lama memang Najib mendedahkan semua pemimpin PH termasuk Shafie Apdal.

4. Benarkah Kedua-dua surat bertarikh pada 2013 mengenai dua projek pembinaan jalan di Johor dan Sabah hanya didedahkan Najib?

Najib dedah surat ShafieFB Najib: Hanya sebahagian surat itu..Permulaan dan  tandatangan

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It all started in 1967 when United Pasok Momogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (UPKO) ( corrected, UNITED PASOK KADAZAN ORGANIZATION), was the 1st political party to practice party-hopping in Malaysia. Upko left Sabah Alliance. After the elections, Upko’s assemblyman for Kiulu, Payar Juman, crossed to Usno, enabling the party to form the government then. Tun Mustapha offered Payar the Social Welfare Minister’s post in the Usno government. Upko was then dissolved and merged into Usno in 1967.

Then in 1994, former Upko president Bernard Dompok from then opposition PBS joined the BN alliance to form the government. The PBS government collapsed.

Again in 2018, after winning their five seats on BN symbol, flags and manifesto, Upko decided to ditch the BN coalition. Yet again practiced party-hopping which caused Shafie Apdal to form the Sabah State Government despite Musa Aman legally appointed the Chief Minister of Sabah.

And so Upko lived up to this image of unprincipled politics.

Regardless of how they defended it, by removing the Anti-hopping Law in the early 90s’, Dr Mahathir had allowed this unhealthy culture of party-hopping to be institutionalise in Sabah. Voters and political parties had no legal remedy at the moment due to a 1992 ruling by an apex court that had legalised party-hopping. Dr Mahathir even said, “we are a democratic government, we believe in democracy and democracy allows even frogs to jump.” The term “frog” or “political frog” is used to describe the act of a certain politician who had hopped from one party to another.

So now Shafie is supporting the very same person – Dr Mahathir, who encouraged party-hopping and who many people especially the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) supporters blame for the collapse of the PBS state government in 1994. What happening right now is reminiscent of Sabah 1994. Betrayal of the people’s mandate at the highest order. Then Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) had just won the 1994 state elections with a slim majority of 25 seats against BN’s 23 seats. PBS government lasted only about two weeks before it was forced out of power through undemocratic manouverings by BN. Sabahans were aware of the carrots received by those PBS assemblypersons who defected to BN.

Since Shafie is supporting the very same person who encouraged party-hopping in Sabah, he should not have any worries about his Warisan and Upko assemblymen wanting to jump.

What about the time Shafie accepted the BN representatives who jumped regardless of whether any incentives were offered? The present Warisan government would not have been possible if Shafie did not exploit it.

Now with the defection of two state assemblymen from United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (UPKO’s) Limus and Ratib, the state coalition holds 45 seats in the 65-seat state assembly, including four nominated assemblymen.

Hence, Shafie should not be too upset that more of his people are about to jump.

An angry Shafie has hit out at Muhyiddin’s PN for ‘engineering’ these defections. Shafie’s anger may be justified  but perhaps it’s something Shafie once sowed.

What was once legitimised by Shafie supporters has come back to haunt him.

With changing times, political karma seems to have caught up with the Semporna strongman.

You can have all the people around you but when the time comes and its a matter of survival, they will dump you.

And in the meantime, Musa Aman’s civil suit appeal over the right to the chief minister’s post is expected to be heard in the Federal Court real soon, two years has passed. Shafie by now must be having sleepless nights!

Sabah’s hunger games!

Note: See here, this piece came out in Malaysia Today

Editor’s Note: The Government has been urged to enact anti-hopping legislation to prevent lawmakers from switching parties, which has led to the current political turmoil.

Notwithstanding the judicial pronouncement in the case of Dewan Undangan Negeri Kelantan & Anor v Nordin bin Salleh & Anor [1992], Malaysians are of the view that there was no prohibition from the said case for Parliament to legislate anti-defection laws at the Federal level.

The case of Dewan Undangan Negeri Kelantan v Nordin Salleh [1992], came to the conclusion that an amendment to the Kelantan constitution, which prohibited party-hopping was inconsistent with Article 10(1)(c) of the Federal Constitution, which provides that Parliament may by Federal law, impose restrictions on the freedom to form associations in the interest of security, public order or morality.

That the switching of political allegiances after being voted in by the rakyat, can be considered as a betrayal of trust, and politically immoral.

Anti-hopping laws were very much required in order to enhance political stability and public confidence in the democratic process and respect for the decision made by the electorate.

In a democratic nation where the rule of law is held sacrosanct, it is high time for Malaysia to enact laws that make crossing of the floor in the State Assembly or Federal Parliament, illegal.

 

JUSTICE HAS BEEN DONE. MUSA AMAN STANDS VINDICATED AND ACQUITTED OF ALL CORRUPTION CHARGES!

The charges were bad from the start and were subject to constitutional challenge. Musa was already cleared of all these allegations in 2012 by two independent bodies, namely the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Independent Commission Against Corruption of Hong Kong.

And in the absence of documentary evidence and witnesses, the prosecution “is unlikely to succeed”. No prosecution should be conducted unless there is a high probability for a conviction at the end of the day. AG did the right thing! Justice was served!

From the FMT Reporters – June 9, 2020 7:24 PM

PETALING JAYA: The attorney-general this evening cited the inability to obtain vital documentary evidence from Hong Kong as among the reasons for freeing former Sabah chief minister Musa Aman of his 46 corruption and money laundering charges.

Idrus Harun said the documents were needed to prove a case of such nature.

He said documentary evidence from companies and banks, which were expected, could not be obtained through the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters ordinance from Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Department of Justice, he said, advised that companies and banks there were only required to keep records for seven years.

It was highly unlikely that either the banks or the companies would still have the records, he said..

“Apart from that, there are witnesses for the prosecution who have passed away, suffered serious medical ailments or are not in Malaysia anymore.

“This recent development including the aforesaid affidavit in support that was filed has caused a situation wherein it is no longer tenable to continue with the prosecution of Tan Sri Musa Aman,” Idrus said in a statement, referring to the affidavit to strike out the application against all of Musa’s charges affirmed by former attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail.

He said the decision was strengthened by a letter dated Dec 22, 2011 from Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) stating that its investigation against Musa was complete.

The ICAC also said it would not pursue further investigative action “on the basis of known facts”.

SEE THE REST HERE

And the media release by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S CHAMBERS, MALAYSIA is here…

MEDIA RELEASE

PP V TAN SRI MUSA AMAN

1.On 5 November 2018, Tan Sri Musa Aman was charged in the Sessions Court (8) of Kuala Lumpur with thirty five (35) charges under section 11(a) of the Anti-Corruption Act 1997, for corruptlyobtaining gratification of USD 44, 111, 559.61 and SGD 507, 636.00 in relation to timber concession contracts in Sabah between the month of August 2004 and March 2008. Five (5) charges were later withdrawn on 18 October 2019.

2.On 5 March 2019, Tan Sri Musa Aman was charged with sixteen (16) charges under section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-TerrorismFinancingAct 2001, for laundering money of USD 40, 345, 492.35 between the month of June 2006 and May 2008. Thereafter, on 6 May 2019, the prosecution applied for both cases to be transferred to the High Court of Kuala Lumpur for trial. The High Court (4) of Kuala Lumpur fixed the trial dates on 14-18 September 2020, 24, 26 October 2020 and 10-27 November 2020.

3.On 13 February 2020, Tan Sri Musa Aman filed two Noticesof Motion as follows:i.to set aside and quash the charges as groundless;andii.torefer a constitutional question to the Federal Court (question regarding a Certificate by a Diplomatic Officer under section 82(2) AMLATFAPUA 2001).

4.The High Court fixed 9 June 2020 as the case management for both applications. JABATAN PEGUAM NEGARA, MALAYSIA(ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S CHAMBERS, MALAYSIA)NO.45, PERSIARAN PERDANA, PRESINT 4PUSAT PENTADBIRAN KERAJAAN PERSEKUTUAN62100 PUTRAJAYATel. : 03 -8872 2000Faks : 03 -8890 5609W eb : http://www.agc.gov.my2

5.On 13 May 2020, Tan SriMusa Aman sent a representation to the Attorney General’s Chambers(AGC)seeking the case against him to be withdrawn and all charges to be quashed.

6.On 5 June 2020, AGC received an Affidavit which wasfiled in the High Court by Tan Sri Musa Aman. This Affidavit was affirmedby the former Attorney General, Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Abdul Gani Patail supporting the application by Tan Sri Musa Aman to quash all the charges against him. The former Attorney General defended the decision taken in 2012 to take no further action against Tan Sri Musa Aman asinvestigation revealed the monies involved were political funding.

7.The former Attorney General also stated that the decision was made collectively, by high level individuals beingDatuk Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah (the former Head of Prosecution Division), Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamad (the former Chief Commissioner of MACC) and Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali (the former Director of Investigation Division MACC). After studying and perusing the Investigation Paper from a legal stand point, the former Attorney Generalin exercise of his discretion decided not to proceed with prosecution.

8.In light of the representation and the recent development in the form of the Affidavit by the former Attorney General, it is the responsibility of this Department to review the whole evidence forthis case.

9.Having studied the whole available evidence and upon discussion being held with the prosecution and investigation team, I decided to withdraw all the charges against Tan Sri Musa Aman. In cases of this nature, documentary evidence is vital to prove a case. Documentary evidence from companies and banks which were expected could not be obtained through Mutual Legal Assistancein Criminal Matters from Hong Kong. The Department of Justice Hong Kong advised that companies and banks in Hong Kongareonly required to keep records for seven (7) years and it is highly unlikely that neither the banks nor the companies would still havethe records. Apart from 3that, there are witnesses for the prosecution who have passed away, suffered serious medical ailments or are not in Malaysia anymore.

10.This recent development including the aforesaid Affidavit in Support that was filed has caused a situation wherein it is no longer tenable to continue with the prosecution of Tan Sri Musa Aman.This decision is strengthened by a letter dated 22 December 2011 from the Independent Commission Against Corruption Hong Kong stating that their investigation against Tan Sri Musa Aman is complete and on the basis of known facts no further investigative action will be pursued. Mydecision is taken in accordance withpowers exercisable at mydiscretion under Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution.

ATTORNEY GENERAL MALAYSIA

9 JUNE 2020

Dear all,
This evening, the 14th of April, 2020, my attention was brought to the above mentioned article. Concerned friends pointed out that the quoted spokesperson of the article “Sevarajah Somalia”, had bore some resemblance to myself. In an effort to distance myself from the content of this article, I would like to clearly state to all, that I AM IN NO WAY THE PERSON QUOTED IN THIS ARTICLE. As such, I do not have any knowledge on whether or not the content is in any way real or fabricated and humbly request for everyone who has read it to stop associating my person with this article. 

Sincerely,
Selvaraja Somiah

The High Court decision that Sabah and Sarawak have the right under the Federal Constitution to impose sales tax on petroleum products sourced from the state is a major victory which suggests that the judiciary is free from political interference and more fair.

I dare say that such a decision would have been unheard of before where the federal government could be easily formed by one dominant party which even boasted about it.

Perhaps it is not too late to file for a judicial review of the 1992 federal court decision during Dr Mahathir’s administration that the Anti-Hop Law to prevent unprincipled politicians from frogging is undemocratic.

It was in 1985, that the idea of an Anti-Hop Law was mooted by the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) government.

In 1992, the Federal Court, the highest court in the land, ruled that an Anti-Hop law was unconstitutional as it is against the freedom of free association by an individual. Since then the Anti-Hop law was repealed.

That controversial decision allowed Dr Mahathir to form a backdoor government in Sabah despite PBS having won a slim majority of 25 seats against BNs 23 seats in the 1994 state elections.

Pairin Kitingan had to wait for more than 36 hours outside the palace (Istana) gates before he was sworn in as the chief minister because of manouvering by Barisan Nasional leaders who could not accept the people’s democratic verdict. PBS government lasted only about two weeks or a little more before it was forced out of power.

Happened again in 2018, May 9th GE14 after Musa Aman was sworn in as Chief Minister, UPKO frogs defected, the Head of State Tun Juhar Mahiruddin said that Musa no longer commanded the majority and Shafie was sworn in as chief minister on the night of May 12. Another backdoor government via frogging!