Malay chamber president accuses rival of power grab

Malay Chamber of Commerce president Rizal Faris Mohideen Abdul Kader (left) and secretary-general Don Nazwim Don Najib.

PETALING JAYA: Newly re-elected Malay Chamber of Commerce (DPMM) president Rizal Faris Mohideen Abdul Kader has described attempts to challenge the validity of his position as a power grab.

According to Rizal, who was re-elected on Saturday, members of the chamber were not interested in the issues raised by former deputy president Syed Hussein Alhabshee.

“When I met them, they said they were more worried about how to protect the welfare of their staff and how to continue to survive in the business sector.

“They are not interested in the claims made by him (Syed Hussein),” he said.

Rizal was referring to Syed Hussein’s claim that he is the legitimate president of DPMM, having been duly elected at the annual general meeting (AGM) on June 15, attended by the majority of the state chapters.

Syed Hussein was also reported as saying he had not been able to get the Registrar of Societies (RoS) to amend its records yet.

Speaking to reporters at the DPMM office today, Rizal said Syed Hussein and 17 others were no longer members as they had breached the chamber’s constitution.

“This document we obtained from the RoS today tells you who is the valid elected president.

“My question to Syed Hussein is whether he can prove that he is still a DPMM member.”

He said the DPMM constitution states that whichever member brings chamber matters to court without exhausting all avenues to resolve the problem will be automatically stripped of his chamber membership.

“This is the reason why they are no longer members of DPMM.

“So whatever meetings they have been holding are illegal, in addition to using the chamber’s letterhead and name,” he said.

At the centre of the dispute between the chamber and the 18 members is an allocation of RM5 million from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Syed Hussein and the 17 others had filed a suit two months ago accusing Rizal of misusing the allocation. They alleged that the money was deposited into the account of Yayasan DPMM Pulau Pinang Berhad without approval.

Syed Hussein and his group also sued the chamber, its president and secretary-general, seeking a court order for an extraordinary general meeting to be held to account for how the RM5 million was spent.

Rizal said if it were true that Syed Hussein wanted to strengthen the chamber, he should have gone ahead with the court case.

He said the fact that he withdrew the case proved otherwise.

“He withdrew the case immediately after he claimed he was elected president. This tells you he was only interested in a position,” he said.

Asked about his next course of action, Rizal said he would leave it to the chamber’s lawyers.

“We want to end the dispute. Anything after this, we are handing it over to our lawyers,” he said.