The Najib Government is even more shambolic than its predecessor, the Abdullah Government, not only the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing, but Cabinet Ministers and the DPM in the dark as to what the PM is doing.
It has resulted in the Sabah Speaker and Sabah UMNO Deputy Liaison Chief , Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak virtually demanding for the resignation of the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and three Cabinet Ministers, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal and Khairy Jamaluddin for “trying to save their own necks” on the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal and the latest 1MDB-LTH bailout fiasco by breaching the principle of collective Ministerial responsibility, “making statements as if they are outsiders and not part of the Cabinet”.
“Are they suggesting that these matters currently attracting controversy were never discussed in the Cabinet meetings or that they were and that they had disagreed with the decisions?
“If Cabinet Ministers have anything to say then it should be done during the Cabinet meetings… so if they feel they no longer have confidence in the Prime Minister or disagree with certain Cabinet decisions then they should resign instead of trying to derail what the Prime Minister is doing.”
I agree with Salleh that it is “absolutely unethical” and unacceptable for any Cabinet Minister, including the Deputy Prime Minister, to continue as “members of the Cabinet and then deny all responsibility and refuse to accept collective responsibility.”
But this proposition cannot apply if the 1MDB-LTH land deal bailout fiasco was never discussed in the Cabinet, which would give justification for the quartet – Muhyiddin, Hishammudin, Shafie and Khairy – to publicly express their concerns.
The best person to throw light as to whether the Cabinet had discussed the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal and the latest 1MDB-LTH land deal bailout fiasco is the Prime Minister himself, whether in his meeting with Sabah Umno leaders later today and with UMNO Division chiefs in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow.
The 1MDB-LTH land deal bailout fiasco has already opened a can of worms, with revelations by The Malaysian Insider that this is not the first instance in which Tabung Haji, a savings fund for Muslim pilgrims to perform the haj in Mecca, had been abused to help out an ailing company.
In 1998, under the chairmanship of then-prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s brother-in-law, the late Tan Sri Ahmad Razali Mohamed Ali, Tabung Haji overpaid for two buildings that it purchased in Kuala Lumpur.
The two buildings in question were TH Perdana, which it bought from Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd for RM117.08 million more than what it was worth, and TH Selborn, which was developed by Swasta Setia Holdings Sdn Bhd and sold at a price that was RM51.38 million more than its actual value.
Tabung Haji paid a total RM436.38 million for the two properties, even though the valuator estimated that they were worth RM267.92 million.
Malaysiakini meanwhile has quoted whistleblower site Sarawak Report that the misappropriation of religious funds isn’t entirely new, citing the case in Sarawak where a state minister allegedly invested Baitulmal funds into development projects.
The relates to an expose in 2013, where Sarawak Assistant Islamic Affairs Minister Daud Abdul Rahman is accused of awarding the construction contract for a state building to a company reportedly owned by him.
These cases will be an acid test, not only for Prime Minister Najib and Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem, but also for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission whether they are serious about accountability, transparency and good governance and the fight against corruption and abuses of power in high political places.