Maszlee, The Latest Member Of The ‘Court Cluster’?

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Will Maszlee be joining the Court Cluster soon?

If Maszlee is charged, he will be the latest edition to the PH ‘court cluster’ joining Lim Guan Eng and Syed Saddiq

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has launched an investigation on Simpang Renggam MP Maszlee Malik for corruption and misappropriation.

The latest action by the graft-busters leads to the possible entry of Maszlee to the bandwagon of ‘court cluster’ a name which was given to Umno leaders who are tainted with alleged corruption charges. 

If Maszlee is charged, he will be the latest edition to the ‘team’ joining DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and Muda’s co-founder Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman. 

Maszlee, the former education minister during the Pakatan Harapan (PH) regime claims that the agency’s actions were related to his support of calls for its chief Azam Baki to be investigated over allegations about share dealings.

He alleged that MACC officers had gone to his service centre recently and questioned his officers about activities that were organised in the constituency.

MACC has denied it had intimidated Maszlee’s staff, contrary to the latter’s claims.  

The agency, in an official statement on Saturday (29 Jan) said, they have received two official complaints about corruption and misappropriation against Maszlee and was investigating the matter.

The anti-graft agency also said an investigation into the matter was necessary and was adhering to its standard procedures by interviewing witnesses.

“We will not be pressured by those who attempt to deflect issues revolving around graft and misappropriation,” the agency said.

It is unclear what the two investigations were about, but according to online news Malaysiakini, quoting unnamed sources, the allegations involved money from a ministry supplier and the use of a Toyota Vellfire.

Maszlee is alleged to have received a Toyota Vellfire from Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS) a company linked to the Education Ministry.

The controversial Toyota Vellfire allegedly solicited by Maszlee

EMGS Owned By The Ministry

EMGS is a company established on 13 April 2012 and limited by guarantee, incorporated under the laws of Malaysia and wholly owned by the Ministry of Higher Education.

It acts as the one-stop centre for international student services as well as tasked to promote Malaysian education to the world.

This all goes towards providing convenient, fast and professional services to global students who choose Malaysia as a study destination.

The scope of EMGS services includes management and processing of international student applications for a student pass/visa for studies in public and private higher education institutions, language schools, and skills training centres in Malaysia.

EMGS was also tainted with some scandals when its chairman Abdul Rahman Mohamed Shariff was charged for money laundering involving RM150,000 at the Sessions Court in Johor on 20 January 2020.

He was charged under Section 4 (1) (b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (Act 613), which is punishable under Section 4 (1) of the same Act by the MACC. 

He pleaded not guilty to the charges and the court then set bail at RM30,000 with one surety. 

Besides Abdul Rahman, EMGS’ deputy director Wafiy Abd Aziz was also charged for trying to cover up for the Chairman and by intimidating and sacking a whistleblower in Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court on 18 September 2020. 

According to the charge, Wafiy was accused of taking action that harmed an informer, by provoking Abdul Rahman to sign the termination of employment document against the employee, in retaliation towards the employee’s expose on his improper conduct to the anti-graft body.

Wafiy was the first to be charged under Section 10(3)(b) of the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 (Act 711) since it was enforced in 2010.

The Corruption Charges

The allegation that Maszlee had asked the Chairman for EMGS to buy him a Vellfire for his personal and official use while he was the education minister despite the ministry having already allocated him an official car is serious. 

If these allegations are true, this is certainly an abuse of power as he has no right to ask EMGS to buy and let him use a car, whether for personal or official use.

A possible charge under Section 23(1) of the MACC Act – Abuse of Power or even Section 405 of Penal Code – Criminal Breach of Trust is applied to these allegations. 

It is hard for Maszlee to dispute the car or if this matter is fictitious due to numerous photos and videos of Maszlee using that Vellfire is already all over the internet even when he was no longer a minister. 

Mazlee should come clean on this as he is akin to getting caught with his pants down. There is no way one would believe these were trumped-up charges just because he was vocal on ousting the MACC’s chief. 

Johor Polls

There are indications that Mazlee is most likely to contest in the upcoming PRN Polls as a PKR candidate and also rumours are spreading like wildfire he might be even the choice PH candidate as the Menteri Besar. 

The million-dollar question will be if PKR or PH will name him as a candidate with these corruption allegations?

PH is so much into Umno leaders and always question them why they are still elected representatives even when facing so many corruption charges.

Will PH do the same by nominating Mazlee as a candidate?

They might. Remember Guan Eng? He contested in the 14th General Election and became the finance minister under Mahathir Mohamad. 

So, what is different here when it comes to Mazlee? 

PH will never walk the talk. When any of their leaders are facing corruption charges, they will always cry political persecution, but when it comes to Umno leaders being accused of such, they are immediately announced guilty by the court of public opinion. 

It is high time the voters cast their votes accordingly this time around. Voters should realise the rhetoric talks about corruption by PH and by claiming they are whiter than white are just mere dishonest defences. – New Malaysia Herald

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