Even as new revelations surface about MACC thwarting investigations in Sabah, infighting within Sabah Umno is threatening Najib's influence.
KUALA LUMPUR: Sabah’s most influential men – Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail, Chief Minister Musa Aman and his brother Foreign Minister Anifah – allegedly blocked the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) investigations into tens of millions of ringgit worth of secret timber concessions and money laundering.
Leaked MACC documents revealed that Gani had allegedly shelved files on the investigation and refused to prosecute.
MACC’s investigation into Musa nominee Michael Chia’s arrest in Hong Kong in 2008 had allegedly thrown up details of the secret timber concessions within the family and Gani’s close ties to the Aman family.
Gani himself is from Lahad Datu, one of many entry points for illegal immigrants in Sabah. Gani’s wife is connected to Musa’s close associate, Johan Abdul Samad, who is also the deputy director of Yayasan Sabah.
Anifah’s wife is Johan’s sister. Musa himself is chairman of Yayasan Sabah, which holds monopoly over Sabah’s forest.
MACC investigations into the Chia case led to the revelations of tens of millions of ringgit worth of timber concessions which Musa had awarded his brother Anifah and nephew Hairul from the time he assumed power in 2003.
Chia was detained by the Hong Kong authorities at the Hong Kong International Airport for alleged money trafficking. He was caught trying to smuggle out of Hong Kong some S$16 million (RM40 million).
Apparently when he was caught, Chia told the Hong Kong authorities that the money was for Musa.
Gani’s “protective” instinct and the fact that Musa himself had a “close” relationship with former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin has kept Musa above the law.
At the time of the incident, rumours were that Musa had promised Abdullah the money in time for the Permatang Pauh by-election which saw Anwar Ibrahim return as MP.
However, such comfort has long since vanished. Musa and Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak are not pals. The only link between them is Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor, who is said to be “close” to the Aman family.
Najib losing control in Sabah
Najib, however, prefers to put his own man Shafie Apdal – Umno vice-president – at the top seat if he can squeeze Musa out and this is no longer a closed-door secret.
Infighting within Sabah Umno is now rumoured to be at a “dangerous” level that even Najib is said to be losing control.
According to Sabah blogger Selvarajah Somiah, the 2009 allegation listed out by PKR Youth in its report lodged with Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) “threatened not only Musa but Najib’s credibility as well”.
“The central core of the exposé is Musa’s corruption of the state and the many questionable business deals linked to his relatives and cronies.
“The infighting in Sabah Umno is now in the open and numerous factions within are plotting to overthrow him. It’s all to do with money, ” he said.
In its 2009 complaint to ICAC, opposition Youth chief Shamsul Akmar had revealed that four Musa nominees had been linked to “corrupt and shady practices” involving funds belonging to the Sabah state government and several government-linked companies including Innoprise Corporation Sdn Bhd, Rakyat Berjaya Sdn Bhd and the Yayasan Sabah group.
“The public funds were illegally obtained and were siphoned out from Malaysia. They were deposited into various accounts in Hong Kong at UBS AG, Bank of East Asia Ltd, HSBC, Credit Suisse and Citibank,” Shamsul had reportedly said.
Revealing the depth of the “secret” deals, online portal, Sarawak Report, posted that Gani had refused to allow charges to be brought against Musa and Najib was “scandalously turning a blind eye to the affair”.
“Gani had forced the MACC to shelve its entire investigation in Sabah, which was one of the largest and most extensive ever undertaken by that body and involved sums amounting to billions of ringgit, siphoned out of the state by corruption at the highest level,” said the portal.