The appointment of lawyer and human rights activist, Latheefa Beebi Koya, as the new chief of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has been the talk of the town lately, among other stuff. While some are clearly supportive, others like the Malaysian Bar have been questioning her appointment since it pretty much contradicted Pakatan Harapan’s electoral promise.
“We intend to have the PSC (Parliamentary Select Committee), but to do that, we need to change some provisions in the Constitution. And to do that, we need a two-thirds majority; the government currently does not have a two-thirds majority. So at the moment, we go with the old way of making appointments, that is, ‘the Prime Minister decides’.” – Dr Mahathir explained to The Star.
Regardless, some people including former MACC chief Mohd Shukri Abdull are willing to give her a chance to do her best to carry out her duties. And one possible way is probably by investigating corruption cases that may seem unsolved in the public’s eyes such as…
1. MB of Negeri Sembilan allegedly bought a luxury apartment through… a MONEY CHANGER!?
- Amount involved: RM10 million
- Case opened: 2008
- Current status: Closed in 2013
- Who wants it reopened: Rafizi Ramli, Zulkefly Mohammad Omar and Yusof Tapar of PKR
Back in 2008 when UMNO’s Mohammad Hassan (Tok Mat) was still the Menteri Besar of Negeri Sembilan, he had allegedly bought a luxury apartment in London worth RM10 million but instead of making transactions through the bank, he had transferred the money overseas through… a money changer. WTFBBQPTPTN!??
“The AG’s Office has scrutinised the details of the investigation. The RM10 million was not the product of corruption. The AG’s Office was of the opinion that it was more appropriate to take action on the money changer.” – Nancy Shukri, then minister in the Prime Minister’s Department to Malay Mail in 2013.
Strangely, this case led to a whole bunch of other consequences. First, the money changer was reportedly punished for breaching the Money-Changing Act 1998. This led to Bank Negara tracking down other money changing companies with similar modus operandi, causing three biggest money changer companies in the country to get shutdown. In fact, another Tan Sri was fined RM200 million for illegal remittances during the investigation. Despite all that, Tok Mat and his RM10 million apartment were freed.
Fast forward to April 2019 when the Rantau by-election happened, some people from PKR like Rafizi Ramli had urged the MACC to reopen the case. This is probably because back in 2013 when Tok Mat was found innocent, there isn’t any statement stating why Tok Mat had chosen to transfer the money through a money changer although it was clearly illegal.
In addition, PKR information chief, Yusof Tapar, had recently lodged a police report against Tok Mat by presenting fresh evidence – a video of Tok Mat allegedly making an admission on the case to the police.
Actually Tok Mat himself reportedly welcomes any new investigation by the MACC on this case. However, at the time of writing, there isn’t any report stating that the case has been reopened or investigated again despite the report lodged by Yusof.
2. Taib Mahmud’s alleged corruption cases and scandals
- Amount involved: Billions & Billions
- Case opened: Sometime in 2011
- Current status: Closed as of July 3, 2018
- Who wants it reopened: Bandar Kuching MP, Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen, Sarawak Report and Gerakan
After Pakatan Harapan won GE14, it had sworn to curb corruption. So Malaysians were pretty much hopeful that this would apply to everyone including former Sarawak Chief Minister, Abdul Taib Mahmud. Taib Mahmud has been accused of the timber corruption in 2011 and funneling proceeds of corruption into his daughter’s real estate company in 2018.
Tun Mahathir and Taib Mahmud were known to be close in the past, during Taib’s tenure as Federal Territories Minister in the 1980s. However, Dr Mahathir claimed that he was not made aware of the reports lodged against Taib.
“For us to take action, there must be a report by someone. Up to this moment there was a lot of talk but no proper report, so we have not taken any action just yet. But if people of Sarawak people wish us to take action, they can make a charge or complaint and we will look into it,” – Dr Mahathir, The Star, 29 June 2018
After this statement, CILISOS actually found this guy who was the first person to ever lodge a two-inch report against Taib Mahmud and his family. His name is Francis Paul Siah from Movement for Change, Sarawak (or MoCS).
After Francis, another guy named Roland Engan, Baram PKR chairman, had claimed that he had also filed a recent complaint against Taib Mahmud on June 6, 2018 for alleged corruption and power abuse when Taib was still the Chief Minister. Since then, there were reportedly 15 files opened by the MACC to investigate Taib Mahmud and his family.
However, even after thorough investigation, the MACC reportedly could not detect any evidence of wrongdoing or corruption committed by Taib and his family.
“We have to stop the investigation on Taib at this point. We have already opened 15 files on Taib. It is true he was involved in part of the allegations. But there was not even in one case where he chaired the meeting or made the decision. The law does not allow us to take action if he does not make a decision.” – Former MACC chief, Shukri told The Edge Markets.
He also added that the only way to implicate him with those allegations is by receiving new information from the people behind the scenes or witnesses who can actually assist in the investigation.
3. FT Minister allegedly receiving RM160 million from the Taman Rimba Kiara project
- Amount involved: RM160 million
- Case opened: Sometime in 2018
- Current status: Currently under investigation
- Who wants it reopened: Hannah Yeoh and C4
Way back in 2016, residents of Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) started seeing a new project development in their beloved park called Taman Rimba Kiara. And they weren’t happy about it.
When the project was initiated, Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan, which owns Taman Rimba Kiara land, is reportedly a joint venture partner with a private company called Memang Perkasa Sdn Bhd for this project. The project was allegedly awarded without an open tender.
Anyway, the plan was to develop the land to build affordable houses and condominiums. However, there were allegations that although Memang Perkasa bears all the development costs, a fixed amount of RM160 million was channeled to the foundation. And guess who owns the foundation?
It was Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, who was also then Federal Territories Minister.
Since then, the residents of TTDI have been protesting against the project. Not only that, you might have also heard of the dispute between the current Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad and Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh over this project. According to Hannah, the project reportedly has an element of conflict of interest.
Hannah also recently claimed that the project had 273 violations listed under the Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020. Despite the allegations and violations, Khalid Samad scaled down the project and stated that he would only cancel it if authorities really find elements of corruption linked to it.
At the time of writing, the Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) had presented their findings on alleged corruption on the project to MACC. And because of C4’s findings, the case has been reopened and is currently under investigation again. In fact, MACC claimed that it is in its final stage of investigation before the papers are submitted to the public prosecutor.
4. The case where even the MACC was shocked when it was closed
- Amount involved: RM2.8 million
- Case opened: March 2016
- Current status: Closed as of September 6, 2018
- Who wants it reopened: Gerakan
Back in 2015, Lim Guan Eng has allegedly used his positions as then Penang Chief Minister and the state Planning Committee (SPC) to approve the conversion of an agricultural land to a public housing zone. Hold on, we’re not done yet. There was another charge on him where he has allegedly purchased a bungalow below market value (at RM2.8 million). Businesswoman Phang Li Koon was charged as well since she was involved with the process of purchasing the bungalow (which he can actually afford btw, not like some other former ministers *ahem*).
And just last year, Guan Eng and Phang were acquitted and discharged from all of their charges. Well, of course a lot of people questioned the acquittal and you can find out why here.
So, it probably makes sense why Gerakan had recently requested Latheefa Koya to look into this case again. But, at the time of writing, there isn’t any report stating that the case has been reopened again.
And when we mention Guan Eng, some of you might be thinking about the Penang undersea tunnel case too. But the Penang undersea tunnel project is currently under investigation. If ugaiz have been following the news about this project, you may have heard of a certain G Gnanaraja who allegedly cheated RM19 million of the contractors and was reportedly charged with 68 counts of corruption. You can read more about that here.
Since the project is still being investigated, C4 had urged the Penang govt to put the project on hold.
5. Terengganu stadium’s roof collapsed but no one was held responsible!?
- Amount involved: RM35 million
- Case opened: 2009
- Current status: Closed as of January 31, 2011
- Who wants it reopened: Pakatan Harapan chief, Datuk Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah
Remember that time in June 2009 when the roof of Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin stadium collapsed? State Pakatan Harapan chief, Datuk Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah recently called for a fresh investigation into that case.
The case was reportedly closed sometime in 2011 when a local consultant engineer, Wan Man Wan Ali was charged under the Penal Code over the incident. He allegedly acted like an approved examiner who issued, signed and submitted the document on the main roof system and its related work to construct the main stadium to the state Public Works Department.
But besides Wan Man, there weren’t any other parties held responsible for the incident. Not even the South Korean company that designed and built the roof at the cost of RM35 million. Raja Kamarul believed that the company should be held responsible and that the full report released by the MACC on the incident in 2009 didn’t really answer a lot of questions.
“Who were the original designers and engineers of the roof and why wasn’t the South Korean company registered with the Construction Industry Development Board as required by law.” – Raja Kamarul told The Star.
Although MACC conducted a thorough investigation back then, Raja Kamarul pointed out that no main cause or culprit from this incident was made known to the public. And this is probably why he had called for the case to be reopened.
6. MIC guy lodged a corruption report against Samy Vellu for… the THIRD time
- Amount involved: RM449,595
- Case opened: –
- Current status: Nothing is actually happening…
- Who wants it investigated: Sungai Siput MIC division chief, M Lokanathan
Last but not least is a case that happened sometime in 2005 when Samy Vellu was still Works Minister. Just in case y’all forget who Samy Vellu is, he was also the former president of MIC back in those days la and was known
for his iconic quotes as the ‘Father of Indian Development’.
According to Sungai Siput MIC division chief, M Lokanathan, Samy Vellu had allegedly purchased a 40.87 hectares of land in Sungai Siput below market price.
“Samy had bought the land at only RM11,000 per-hectare when the market price at that time for the purchase of the land was RM68,000 per hectare.” – Lokanathan told NST.
Apparently, the land, which is also an oil palm estate, was bought to build affordable houses for plantation workers who were also shareholders of a farming corporation led by Samy Vellu.
However, Lokanathan claimed that no houses were actually built for the workers and they didn’t even get the benefit from the revenue that was derived from the oil palm harvested. In fact, the land ownership was allegedly transferred to a China businessman but Lokanathan didn’t name who this businessman is.
That is probably why Lokanathan has been lodging reports to the MACC to investigate Samy Vellu on this case in September 2016 and February 2017 but MACC didn’t take any action on his reports. He had then recently lodged his third report (yes, that many) to the MACC on the same case in March 2019.
This time around, MACC was reportedly threatened by former PKR deputy secretary-general Jenapala Perumal who claimed that he would lodge a report against the MACC if it still refuses to take action against Samy Vellu.
Eh, why Teoh Beng Hock case not listed!?
Ok ok…. stop screaming yo. Yes, many people like Gerakan and DAP Youth leaders have requested Latheefa Koya to reopen the case of Teoh Beng Hock – a DAP aide that was called in for questioning at MACC, and found dead outside the building not long after.
Here, it’s important to remember what the MACC stand for – The Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission, which investigates matters of corruption. Teoh Beng Hock’s case is more of a police case and MACC has leave matters to the police. As a matter of fact, the IGP is reportedly responsible to reopen the case based on the AG’s chamber’s and the minister of Home Affairs, Muhyiddin Yassin’s instructions.
“The failure of the minister of Home Affairs to direct the Inspector-General of Police to reopen investigations into the death of Teoh Beng Hock despite being urged to do so by the Attorney General is baffling and deeply regretted. The failure to instruct the IGP to act immediately raises grave suspicion of the possibility of a cover up in Teoh’s death.” – Bukit Gelugor MP, Ramkarpal Singh to Malay Mail.
Which brings us back to recently retired MACC chief Shukri Abdull. Part of the outrage of Latheefa’s hire was that Shukri was a perfectly good candidate, seen as apolitical, and yet having stood up to some serious pressure during the previous administration.
However, we also found out Shukri was actually the head of investigations for Teoh Beng Hock’s case and that the case hasn’t been reopened throughout his time as the former MACC chief. As you can see, the head of the MACC isn’t a role about abilities, but also about public perception.
If you can’t trust a policeman, can you trust that he’s arresting the right people?
Teoh Beng Hock is one of only several cases that still need to be investigated. There’s…
- Apartment scandal allegedly involving two PKR Johor excos (Gerakan has requested MACC to reopen this case)
- 1BestariNet case which has been investigated by MACC in 2015 for its alleged failure
- Cases against Dr Mahathir (Pemantau Malaysia Baru had requested the MACC to re-open these cases)
… And. Probably. Many. More.
Actually the MACC has recently began investigating a high profile case involving several ministers including former defence minister, Hishamuddin Hussein. He was allegedly involved in a land swap deal according to a corruption report by MINDEF.
But regardless of reputation, actions often speak louder. This is probably why some parties like Gerakan has been calling the MACC under Latheefa’s administration to reopen some cases, especially high profile cases, to remove the perception of political appointment.
“I believe that if Latheefa can achieve the above three KPIs, she can smash the criticism that she is a political appointment, and also prove that she is competent.” – Dominic Lau told The Star.