23-Day Countdown to 13GE – Will Najib make a mockery of his signing of the Transparency International’s Integrity Pledge by not taking any action against Taib Mahmud and his family?

On 20th February, 2013, almost a month ago, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak signed the Transparency International Malaysia’s Election Integrity Pledge with much aplomb in the presence of many BN leaders including the Chief Minister of Sarawak and leader of PBB, Taib Mahmud.

Today, international NGO, Global Witness released a shocking video involving a nexus of prominent figures all of whom connected to Taib Mahmud. These individuals included Norlia and Fatima Abdul Rahman, daughters of former Sarawak Chief Minister, Abdul Rahman Ya’akub and cousins of Taib Mahmud. Fatima was caught on camera admitting that she could ‘speak to the CM very easily’ in order to obtain the necessary approvals for a land sale to a Global Witness representative, land which Fatima said was given to them by Taib. This land sale would involve a company, Ample Agro Sdn Bhd, whose first six shareholders are all daughters of former Sarawak CM, Rahman Ya’akub which includes not only Norlia and Fatima but also Tanjong Manis MP Nora Abdul Rahman as well as Najib’s sister in law Khadijah Abdul Rahman.

Norlia is also caught on tape asking the potential ‘buyer’ from Global Witness to undergo an illegal transaction whereby only 10% of the sale price of the land would be booked in Malaysia while the rest would be booked in Singapore in order to avoid Reals Property Gains Tax (RPGT). Norlia also said that these sorts of deals ‘have been done before’ in order to assurance the buyer that this is a standard operating procedure. The lawyer for Ample Agro, Alvin Chong, also confirmed the nature of this transaction in the Global Witness video who also proposed ways for the potential buyer to evade the 49% foreign shareholding limitation by appointing nominees based in Singapore. Alvin was caught on video saying that “I’ve put this to use many a time”.

Another individual who was implicated in this video is Huang Lung Ong, the nephew of Sarawak timber tycoon Hii Yi Peng. Ong implied that his uncle and majority owner of Billion Venture, would pay a percentage of the sale price – ‘probably 10%’ – to Taib Mahmud in order to show his ‘gratitude’ to the CM of Sarawak.

With the release of this video, I call upon Prime Minister Najib to:

(i) Instruct the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to conduct an immediate investigation into the individuals who appeared in the Global Witness video including Ample Agro’s Norlia and Fatima Abdul Rahman and lawyers Alvin Chong and Hii Yi Peng

(ii) Instruct the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri (LHDN) to conduct an immediate investigation into previous deals carried out by companies owned by Norlia and Fatima and their sisters in order to ascertain if other such previous deals had been carried out with the intention of evading Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT)

(iii) Ask the Singapore government for their cooperation in any commercial activities or transactions involving the named individuals in the Global Witness video to ascertain if these deals were done in order to evade tax and / or to circumvent the 49% foreign shareholding limit.

On the day which Najib is expected to give an account of his ‘report card’ under the Government Transformation Program (GTP) which includes the Corruption National Key Results Area (NKRA), it would indeed be a mockery of the whole process if Najib were to keep an ‘elegant silence’ in regards to the Global Witness video and make a sad mockery of the signing of the Transparency International Malaysia’s Elections Integrity Pledge.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timur