NEWSPandora Papers Leaked : Malaysia Ranked 5th In The World For RM 1.8 Trillion Illicit Outflow – Najib , Muhyiddin & Daim Among 1,500 Who Own Offshore Companies Account



ILLICIT financial flows from Malaysia have been growing rapidly for over a decade. By encouraging Malaysian corporations to invest abroad, “legitimate outflows” have also been growing rapidly with financial liberalisation.

It is generally presumed that illicit financial flows are related to tax evasion and corruption. Many international financial centres are involved in intense competition to attract customers by offering lower tax rates and banking secrecy. This has, in turn, forced many governments to lower direct taxes, not only on income, but especially on wealth.

With the official ambition for Malaysia to become another global financial centre in the face of premature deindustrialisation, the authorities have been promoting financial liberalisation, exposing the country to greater macro-financial risk.

Such financial flows are largely handled by financial service providers, accounting firms, law offices, and companies with transnational activities, often involving investments in real estate and other assets abroad worth billions. Besides governments enabling facilities and regulations, such firms and shell companies have been helping to accelerate these trends.

Illicit financial flows

Pandora Papers Leaked : Malaysia Ranked 5th In The World For RM 1.8 Trillion Illicit Outflow – Najib , Muhyiddin & Daim Among 1,500 Who Own Offshore Companies Account


ILLICIT financial flows from Malaysia have been growing rapidly for over a decade. By encouraging Malaysian corporations to invest abroad, “legitimate outflows” have also been growing rapidly with financial liberalisation.

It is generally presumed that illicit financial flows are related to tax evasion and corruption. Many international financial centres are involved in intense competition to attract customers by offering lower tax rates and banking secrecy. This has, in turn, forced many governments to lower direct taxes, not only on income, but especially on wealth.

With the official ambition for Malaysia to become another global financial centre in the face of premature deindustrialisation, the authorities have been promoting financial liberalisation, exposing the country to greater macro-financial risk.

Such financial flows are largely handled by financial service providers, accounting firms, law offices, and companies with transnational activities, often involving investments in real estate and other assets abroad worth billions. Besides governments enabling facilities and regulations, such firms and shell companies have been helping to accelerate these trends.

A Global Financial Integrity (GFI) report has estimated that Malaysia lost up to about US$431 billion (RM1.8 trillion) in illicit outflows between 2005 and 2014. The Washington DC based think tank estimated illicit financial outflows from Malaysia at around 6-10% of the value of Malaysia’s trade of US$443.2 billion for the year 2014, i.e. between US$26.6 billion and US$44.3 billion.

Malaysia was fifth among all countries for illicit capital flight, after China, Russia, Mexico and India, but took first spot on a per capita basis. Malaysia accounted for around 6% of total illicit flows out of all developing countries.
In 2014, Malaysia’s illicit financial outflows were between 6-10% of its total trade while such inflows were 7-13% of the country’s total trade of US$443.21 billion. About 87% of illicit financial outflows during 2005-2014 was attributed to fraudulent “trade mis-invoicing”.


According to Malaysiakini , Top Malaysian politicians, their family members and well-heeled associates are among those owning secretive offshore companies in Singapore and the British Virgin Islands, according to an explosive cache of leaked documents.

They include former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s son Mirzan, Federal Territories and Urban Well-being Minister Raja Nong Chik Zainal Abidin and Michael Chia, the alleged ‘bagman’ for Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman.

The files, which were obtained by Washington-based International Confederation of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and examined by Malaysiakini , show more than 1,500 Malaysians owning offshore companies in Singapore – dubbed as the new Switzerland – as well as the British Virgin Islands (BVI), an international tax haven.

The ICIJ list comprises a curious mix of Forbes-listed tycoons, parliamentarians, retired politicians, civil servants and their spouses, members of royal families, famous and infamous businesspeople, underworld kingpins and even former beauty queens.

“Years of experience with businesses and governments in the developing world have taught us that the decision to bring illicit flows into a particular developing country often marks only the first phase of a strategy to subsequently move funds out of the country. Together, illicit inflows and outflows sap the crucial financial resources needed to reach the Sustainable Development Goals,” he added, referring to the United Nations’ goals to end poverty and to protect the planet.

According to the GFI report, illicit financial inflows into Malaysia were estimated at between 8 and 13 per cent of the US$3.6 trillion total trade from 2005 to 2014, which translated to between about US$287 billion and US$466 billion.

In 2014, the last year which comprehensive data was available, illicit financial outflows from Malaysia were estimated at between 6 and 10 per cent of total trade of about US$443.2 billion, or between about US$26.6 billion and US$44.3 billion.

Illicit financial inflows were estimated at between 7 and 13 per cent of total trade that year, or between about US$31 billion and US$57.6 billion.

According to the study on illegal financial flows from developing and emerging economies, an average of 87 per cent of illicit financial outflows over the 2005-2014 period were due to the fraudulent misinvoicing of trade.

“Total illicit financial flows (outflows plus inflows) grew at an average rate of between 8.5 percent and 10.1 per cent a year over the ten-year period.

“In 2014, outflows are estimated to have ranged between $620 billion and $970 billion, while inflows ranged between $1.4 trillion and $2.5 trillion,” said the GFI report.

GFI recommended that governments establish public registries of verified beneficial ownership information on all legal entities and said all banks should know the true beneficial owners of any account.

Raja Nong Chik

According to the leaked documents, Raja Nong Chik, who is Lembah Pantai Umno chief, is a prominent shareholder and director of RZA International Corporation, a British Virgin Islands entity incorporated on Aug 21, 2007, through Singapore.

The company is a mirror of Malaysian entity Kumpulan RZA Sdn Bhd, a 1979-founded company dealing in real estate and equities investment.

Raja Nong Chik set up the offshore entity with his father, Raja Zainal Abidin Raja Tachik, a number of his sisters and brothers as well as other family members. Most of them are also shareholders and directors of Kumpulan RZA Sdn Bhd.

Prior to his senatorship, Raja Nong Chik was a corporate figure who founded and managed an engineering firm for 20 years.

Contacted by Malaysiakini , the minister confirmed that RZA International was set up by his father, who will turn 96 this year, “for the purpose of holding legitimate offshore investments for the family”.

However, the minister did not elaborate on the offshore investments made by his family through the company. He added that RZA International was de-registered in 2009.

“The company was not used to obscure activities of Kumpulan RZA Sdn Bhd, and neither was it used to circumvent taxes or hide transactions overseas,” Raja Nong Chik said in an email to Malaysiakini .

Mirzan Mahathir

Mirzan Mahathir, the eldest son of Mahathir, is also among those the ICIJ list as director and shareholder of three off-shore companies.

Mirzan’s major commercial vehicle in Malaysia is Crescent Capital Sdn Bhd, an investment holding and independent strategic and financial advisory firm. He is the company’s chairperson and chief executive officer.

Forbes-listed entrepreneur, Mirzan holds a non-executive director position in Philippines-based San Miguel group, which has raised eyebrows in Muslim-majority Malaysia, as beer brewery is a core businesses of San Miguel.

One of Mirzan’s offshore entities is called Crescent Energy Ltd, a Labuan offshore company incorporated on Dec 16, 2003, originally named Mainline Ltd and with an authorised share capital of US$12,000 (RM37,000).

Mirzan became a director and main shareholder six days later and the company was renamed Crescent Energy on May 16, 2008.

Another Labuan offshore company, Utara Capital Ltd, in which Mirzan is named as sole shareholder and director, was incorporated on Aug 19, 1997, with an authorised share capital of US$15,000.

The third company, Al Sadd Investments Pte Ltd. was also a Labuan offshore company. It was established on May 14, 2009, with an authorised share capital of US$12,000. Mirzan is listed as the sole shareholder and director of Al Sadd Investments.

Malaysiakini has approached Mirzan’s office for his comments on these offshore companies, but his aide said he was unable to respond on the matter as he was out of town.

Musa Aman – The Sabah ‘bagman’

Another prominent personality on the list is Chia Tien Foh, who is better known as Michael Chia – the shadowy business tycoon allegedly linked to Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman.

Chia, too, has three offshore companies in which he is listed as either as director or shareholder. One of them was CTF International Ltd , with ‘CTF’ seen as the initials of Chia’s full name. It was incorporated on April 18, 2006, in the British Virgin Islands.

CTF International gained notoriety when it was named by whistleblower website Sarawak Report of being a conduit in channelling millions of ringgit to a Hong Kong account allegedly linked to Musa.

However, Musa ( left ), has denied any business ties with Chia ( right ).

CTF was de-registered in 2008. The other two offshore companies owned by Chia are Ravenswood Development Ltd and Ark Capital Technologies Ltd.

In addition, Chia’s wife Yap Loo Mien and another woman, who is alleged to be his mistress, Yap Siaw Lin, also appear on the list as key shareholders in three separate British Virgin Islands entities.

Loo Mien owned two companies – Perfect Minds Incorporated and StarWater Corporation – while Siaw Lin owned Splendor Success Worldwide Ltd.

Malaysiakini contacted Chia through the address stated in his company registration documents for comments, but there has been no response.


Najib Son

According to Malaysiakini , Najib Abdul Razak’s son Nazifuddin Najib caught flak after he was exposed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) as having an offshore account in the British Virgin Islands. But he is not the only Malaysian politician’s son on the list.

A check by Malaysiakini on the records from Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca that was leaked to the ICIJ, showed the sons of Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin on the list as well.

Mossack Fonseca is a law firm that provides services for the setting up of entities in tax havens where privacy laws are so stringent that the accounts established are virtually untraceable.

Documents leaked from Mossack Fonseca are now referred to as the ‘Panama Papers’.

While offshore accounts raise questions of tax evasion, it does not necessarily indicate that illegal activities were committed using these accounts, nor is it illegal to help set up or own offshore firms.

Muhyiddin Son – Fakhri Yassin Mahiaddin

Muhyiddin’s eldest son Fakhri Yassin is linked to two offshore entities, both set up in the British Virgin Islands, Malaysiakini’s checks showed.

Now head of property development firm Thriven, Fakhri set up Akila Way Limited BVI on March 11, 2004, when he was 28.

This was five years after he started work as an investment analyst at Hwang DBS – his first job after graduating with a business economics degree from the University of London.

Akila Way was set up through WBC Limited, a secretarial service firm based in Wan Chai, Hong Kong, which provides services, including addresses for setting up firms overseas.

Fakhri looked towards Panama again 10 years later, setting up Farsight Plan Investments Ltd on June 4, 2011.

There is little information on what he had used these two offshore firms for, or whether the companies are linked to Fakhri’s purchase of a majority stake in Mulpha Land for RM2 million, cash, in March 2015.

Mulpha Land was renamed Thriven, and the 40-year-old father of two was then appointed executive chairperson of the public-listed firm.

Fakhri owns 33.86 percent of Thriven and is director of Singapore-based Health Management International’s two Malaysian hospitals (Mahkota Medical Centre and Regency Specialist Hospital).

He is also director of Eden Inc Bhd, a public-listed catering firm founded by his father-in-law.

Malaysiakini contacted Fakhri for his comment, via Thriven and through his father’s press secretary. He did not respond.

Mahathir Son – Mirzan Mahathir

This is not the first time the eldest son of Mahathir has been reported as owning an offshore entity.

In 2013, Malaysiakini reported that an offshore leak revealed that Mirzan he owned Crescent Energy Ltd, Utara Capital Ltd and Al Saad Investments Pte Ltd, all based in Labuan.

In the Panama Papers, Mirzan, who was briefly a director of Philippines’ San Miguel Corp until April 2010, is listed as having registered a firm in the British Virgin Islands on March 8, 2002.

However, the firm – Sergio International Ltd – was deemed inactive on Nov 1, 2006, and struck off that year.

Mirzan, who holds an MBA from top business school Wharton, is now CEO of Crescent Capital, an investment holding and financial advisory company.

‘All very strange’

Malaysiakini contacted Mirzan via Crescent Capital, where someone who identified herself as a director in the company replied on his behalf.

“We can confirm definitely and categorically that Mirzan is not involved nor linked to Sergio International Ltd nor is the offshore entity related to the Crescent Group of Companies.

“I am interested to know how Mirzan was listed as a director/shareholder of Sergio when he did not give his consent,” the director said.

The director, who declined to be named, claimed that Crescent did not even know of Sergio’s existence until it was contacted by Malaysiakini.

However, she revealed that Mirzan informed her that the other two listed shareholders of Sergio did approach him between the years 2000 and 2002 to start a landscape business.

“But we do not have any records of this landscape business – whether it materialised or not, we do not know. All very strange,” she said.

Anifah Aman Son – Ahmad Zachry Anifah

The youngest of the four politicians’ sons whose names appeared in the Panama Papers is Ahmad Zachry, the son of Foreign Minister and Sabah Umno strongman Anifah Aman.

The 32-year-old set up Green Energy Management Solutions Ltd in the British Virgin Islands on May 13, 2010, with one Pang Su Yen of Kuala Lumpur.

Zachry’s address listed in the registration documents of the firm is a post office box in Beaufort, Sabah. The firm was shut down, due to inactivity, in 2013.

There is scant information about Zachry in the public domain, except that he is the owner of Powersport Events Sdn Bhd.

At 24, Zachry and his firm Powersport Events organised the powerboat race, the F2000 World Race in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Two years later, Zachry was mentioned as owning 0.9 percent of plastics manufacturer SLP Resources. His brother Ahmad Firdauss also owned a similar chunk. This is the same year the offshore firm was set up.


The Pandora Papers — documents obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on tax havens preferred by the rich and powerful — have shed some light on business associates of former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin.

Malaysiakini reported that according to the documents, which were sighted by them, the companies and trusts held by Daim’s children, wife or known business associates jointly were worth at least £25 million (about RM141 million).

Daim’s sons, Muhammed Amir Zainuddin Daim and Muhammed Amin Zainuddin Daim were named owners of a British Virgin Islands (BVI) firm Newton Invest & Finance Limited (BVI) in 2007 when they were nine and 12 respectively.

By 2017, when the brothers were in their early 20s, they were owners of several offshore firms set up in tax havens, including Splendid International Ltd (BVI) which held London properties worth £12 million (about RM65 million at 2017 exchange rates).

Besides the two BVI firms, the brothers and their mother are also shareholders in several other offshore companies which hold properties in London.

Meanwhile, the documents also mentioned Josephine Premla Sevaretnam, a former lawyer and deputy public prosecutor who served alongside Daim in the service before holding key positions in his various ventures which includes the Swiss bank ICB Banking Group, in which Daim owns 74.4 per cent when it was listed on the London Alternative Investment Market in 2007.

Josephine was also listed as Newton Invest & Finance Limited (BVI) and Splendid International Ltd’s (BVI) business manager, based in Bryanston Square, London.

Daim’s daughter Aslinda Daim-Pan, who took on her husband’s surname, is also a director of the British company 8 Bryanston Square Freehold Limited, according to the UK’s Companies House.

In a reply to Malaysiakini, Daim called out what he believes is the news portal’s “unending obsession” with him.

He said while not all the trusts listed belonged to him, but all his dealings are legitimate and further stated that trusts are part of “estate planning” as he has retired from business.

As such, he contended that the reporting, which implies wrongdoing by innuendo and speculation, is “unprofessional” and an attempt to discredit him.

The former minister also said he has always paid taxes due for all investments and properties in any jurisdiction and that he was a “successful and wealthy” businessperson in his own right.

“I have been in business since the 1960s. It has been more than 60 years, a half-century since.

“I think some recognition should be given to a Malaysian who has successfully carried the flag for Malaysian businesses here and worldwide,” he was reported as saying.

The Pandora Papers is the largest trove of leaked offshore data in history with documents coming from offshore service providers operating in Anguilla, Belize, Singapore, Switzerland, Panama, Barbados, Cyprus, Dubai, the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, Seychelles and Vietnam.

The files were leaked to the ICIJ, which has not revealed its source. The ICIJ gave 600 journalists around the world remote access to the leaked data.

Source : Malay Mail

‘Pandora Papers’ expose leaders’ offshore millions

Pandora Papers: An offshore data tsunami

The Pandora Papers’s 11.9 million records arrived from 14 different offshore services firms in a jumble of files and formats – even ink-on-paper – presenting a massive data-management challenge

A 2.94 terabyte data trove exposes the offshore secrets of wealthy elites from more than 200 countries and territories. These are people who use tax and secrecy havens to buy property and hide assets; many avoid taxes and worse. They include more than 330 politicians and 130 Forbes billionaires, as well as celebrities, fraudsters, drug dealers, royal family members and leaders of religious groups around the world.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists spent more than a year structuring, researching and analyzing the more than 11.9 million records in the Pandora Papers leak. The task involved three main elements: journalists, technology and time

RM300 million for US-made helicopters, bought through dubious firm and never delivered

 they were not delivered despite millions of ringgit paid through a third party. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Military helicopters bought during the previous administration for over RM300 million have yet to be delivered to the Royal Malaysian Army, a source close to investigations into allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the purchase of defence assets told FMT.

It is understood that six MD530G light scout attack helicopters, manufactured by MD Helicopters of US aerospace giant McDonnell Douglas, were ordered in 2016 by the defence ministry (Mindef) then headed by Hishammuddin Hussein.

The helicopters, better known as “Little Birds”, had reportedly impressed Mindef officials during a demonstration at the 2015 Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (Lima) exhibition.

But an investigation into the deal has revealed more startling details, including the fact that the Malaysian army never took delivery of the helicopteIt was found that the helicopter which performed at LIMA 2015 wasn’t really an MD530G but another variant, the MD530F (with the serial number N369FF),” the source told FMT contacted Mindef for more details but was told that investigations are still ongoingT
he ministry recently published its findings on suspicious “land swap” deals involving military land, and urged the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate what it said could be discrepancies resulting in the loss of some half a billion ringgit involving 16 projects.

FMT now understands that after Lima 2015, a local company with strong ties to “a very senior” Mindef official (“Company A”), which was the appointed agent in Malaysia for MD Helicopters, had made a proposal to Mindef to acquire the six MD530G.

The proposal was then submitted to former prime minister and finance minister Najib Razak for approval.

It is understood that the finance ministry gave the green light for the acquisition from Company A through direct negotiations.

It is also learnt that the Economic Planning Unit exempted the deal from undergoing value management checks.

A contract was signed in November 2016, in which the helicopters were to be delivered in two batches with the second batch scheduled to arrive by last year.

As per the contract, Company A was paid 35% of the contract value, amounting to some RM113 million.

“The main issue is that no real due diligence was done with the government,” said the source, adding that the approval was given just about four months after submission of the proposal.

“The decision-making process for vital military assets would take time so that market research, due diligence, and value management checks could be done.”

The source said in the absence of due diligence, Mindef was not aware that at the time the agreement was made with Company A, it had already been terminated as the local agent for MD Helicopters over its failure to meet financial obligations.

“This was very irresponsible because it opened up the government to the risk of financial losses and a failure to obtain the helicopters.”

There were also concerns among the top brass of the Malaysian Air Force about the ability of the MD530G.

“One complaint was that it did not have a combat-proven record,” a retired air force official told FMT.

The contract was also “vague and lacked key details”, including issues over military specifications and the certificate of airworthiness (CoA), required by helicopters in order to operate.

There was also another major problem with the deal.

In 2015, Company A sent a proposal to Hishammuddin worth US$60 million.

“Just three months later, it submitted another proposal, this time over US$70 million,” the source told FMT.

“In just three months, the price inexplicably went up by over 20%.”

A separate investigation into Company A found that it was financially weak before the deal was struck, having suffered losses in 2015 and 2016.

The deal is also believed to have been the first contract for the company, which had no experience in implementing a multi-million ringgit agreement.

“It only owned computers, furniture and office supplies valued at under RM50,000. Mindef could have gone directly to MD Helicopters and saved millions in taxpayers’ money.”

FMT is contacting Hishammuddin for a response


Following the collapse of Melaka state government on Monday (Oct 4), Governor Ali Rustam swiftly agreed with Chief Minister Sulaiman Md Ali, who had effectively lost his majority support, to dissolve the state legislative assembly. This means a state election must be held within 60 days. But the way Mr Sulaiman lost his power is both interesting and hilarious.

 The chief minister was actually toppled by his own comrades after four lawmakers pulled their support for him. The leader of the rebellious team was none other than Melaka former Chief Minister Idris Haron, with the remaining 3 assemblymen being Nor Azman (UMNO) Hassan, Noor Effandi Ahmad (Bersatu or PPBM) and Norhizam Hassan Baktee (DAP-turn-independent).

 This is the second time the state administration collapsed in two years. In March 2020, the Melaka state government under Pakatan Harapan (PH) also collapsed after defections of four assemblymen. PH won the state of Melaka for the first time in history during Malaysia’s May 2018 General Election, clinching 15 seats out of the 28-seat state assembly

However, thanks to traitors Muhyiddin Yassin and Azmin Ali, who betrayed their respective Bersatu and PKR party at the federal level by forming a backdoor government – Perikatan Nasional – with defeated Barisan Nasional coalition and extremists Islamist party PAS, the chain reaction of the collapse of democratically elected PH quickly spread to Melaka.

 Describing himself as “Hulk”, the disgraced Norhizam Hassan Baktee won his seat under DAP (Democratic Action Party), but he switched sides the moment his party lost power. He was formerly an UMNO member before joining DAP in 2006. Likewise, Noor Effandi Ahmad defected and joined forces with Barisan Nasional in Melaka, following Muhyiddin’s betrayal at national level.

 Eventually, United Malays National Organization (UMNO) managed to reclaim Melaka in March 2020 when two Bersatu assemblymen and “Hulk” Norhizam Hassan Baktee along with PKR assemblyman Muhammad Jailani Khamis joined the defeated 13 UMNO lawmakers. That left Pakatan Harapan with only 11 seats compared to 17 on the other side.

However, Idris Haron, who had been the 10th Chief Minister of Melaka from 2013 until the defeat in the 2018, was not returned as the chief minister in March 2020. Instead, fellow UMNO Sulaiman Md Ali was installed as the new chief of the state. So, it was all about power grabbing, backstabbing, betrayal and whatnot between two UMNO chief ministers. It was UMNO-Malay vs. UMNO-Malay.

 Behind the scene, Sulaiman was chosen as the Melaka chief minister because he was a bigger supporter of Muhyiddin than his own party president – Zahid Hamidi. On the other hand, Idris was a strong supporter of former PM Najib Razak, who happens to be a political rival of Muhyiddin. In fact, Idris once said he will not support any move to put Bersatu in charge of the state.

 After Muhyiddin lost power, forced to resign as prime minister in August due to Zahid-Najib’s betrayal, Idris saw an opportunity to make a comeback. Of course, the naughty opposition Pakatan Harapan, in its attempt to drive a wedge between the two power-hungry Melaka UMNO leaders, as well as to create havoc between UMNO and Bersatu, has conveniently lent support to the rebel leader Idris Haron.

Even Zahid was agreeable to Idris’ coup when he recklessly recommended a snap state election to resolve the latest political crisis in Melaka. As UMNO president, he could solve the internal power struggle quite easily. But he had a cleverer plan, or so he thought. Mr Zahid wanted to use the state election as a testing ground to prove that UMNO can win on its own.

 If UMNO-led Barisan Nasional can win Melaka in a three-corner contest against Muhyiddin’s Perikatan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan, not only will Zahid show off his great leadership, but the gamble might see a demoralized Bersatu disintegrates. It could see all former UMNO assemblymen and MPs, who had defected to Bersatu, return to UMNO in droves.

 More importantly, if UMNO goes solo and succeeded in winning Malacca state election, it also means it could win the next 15th General Election – without Bersatu or PAS. However, Zahid’s wishful thinking did not get very far. Prime Minister Ismail Sabri poured cold water, telling all and sundry that Melaka (Malacca) crisis is Zahid’s problem. The general public is also against an election at this time.

Coronavirus - Malaysia Covid-19 Cases - ICU

Apparently, nobody wants to be held responsible for another wave of Covid-19. Turtle-egg Sabri was smart enough to understand how power-hungry Muhyiddin lost power largely due to the Sabah state election, which sparked the third wave of Coronavirus pandemic since September 2020 and never ended even on the day Muhyiddin resigned in August, just 2 months ago.

 Zahid quickly made a U-turn, saying it is dangerous to hold snap elections in Melaka. Now, he suggested a State of Emergency, like what was done in Sarawak. But Sarawak’s state assembly was not dissolved when an emergency rule was declared. Melaka Governor Ali Rustam obediently and hastily dissolved the state assembly the moment Zahid suggested a snap election.

 Ali Rustam was one of the most corrupt UMNO warlords during his office as Melaka Chief Minister between 1999 and 2013. After he lost twice in the 2013 and 2018 General Election, he was promoted, a comical tradition in UMNO, as the 7th Governor of Melaka on June 2020, replacing Mohd Khalil Yaakob (another corrupt UMNO politician) who ended his sixteen-year tenure as the Governor of Melaka

But what is so rewarding about the Chief Minister of Malacca that Sulaiman and Idris fought tooth and nail for the position? The short answer – China’s BRI (Belt and Road Initiative). The long answer – kickbacks from multi-billion-dollar mega projects in the “Historic State” that was once conquered by Portuguese in 1511 due to its strategic location in the Strait of Malacca.

 When “Malacca Gateway”, a whopping RM43 billion project, was launched in Feb 2014 by then-Prime Minister Najib Razak (after a visit to Beijing), it was witnessed by then-Chief Minister of Melaka Idris Haron. The controversial port project off the coast of Melaka was touted as being the largest in the region when ready – even overtaking Singapore.

 Apart from the giant deep-sea port, Melaka Gateway was designed to include business district, an international cruise terminal, bungalows with a private marina, condominiums, hotels and theme parks. The ambitious project on a 546-hectare land, spanning four artificial islands, would transform the otherwise boring historical state to a modern, booming, economic powerhouse.

Heck, there were supposed to be a giant “Malaysia Eye” Ferris wheel and a seven-star hotel. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang even visited the project in 2015, giving it his stamp of approval. By 2016, little-known Malaysian company KAJ Development, the master developer of the project, revealed its three Chinese partners – Shenzhen Yantian Port Group, Rizhao Port Group and state-owned Chinese energy firm PowerChina.

Yes, Melaka Gateway was just one of Najib’s many asset sales to China in order to cover up 1MDB debts after tens of billions of Ringgit was siphoned by the despicable prime minister and his partner-in-crime Jho Low. To cover up the 1MDB scandal, Najib sold national strategic assets such as power plants, lands like Bandar Malaysia and projects like ECRL to China in exchange for kickbacks.

 The U.S.-DOJ investigation results says that over US$4.5 billion was misappropriated from the 1MDB fund, with some of the money used to finance Hollywood films, and buy hotels, private jet, luxury Equanimity superyacht, Picasso paintings, jewellery and real estate. More than US$700 million (hence the infamous RM2.6 billion) from the fund landed in Najib’s bank account.

However, when Najib administration stunningly lost the 2018 General Election, the new Pakatan Harapan government puts a stop to almost all Chinese projects, including the Melaka Gateway. In retaliation, KAJ sued the government for RM139 billion in damages on March 13, 2019. Two months later, the Transport Ministry allowed the project to proceed, prompting KAJ to drop its lawsuit.

 But the Pakatan Harapan government only survived for 22 months. On March 2020, traitor Muhyiddin was installed as the new prime minister. Along with newly crowned Melaka Chief Minister Sulaiman, the Melaka state governmentsubsequently scrapped the Melaka Gateway project in Nov 2020, accusing the developer of failing to complete the reclamation works after 3 years as contracted.

 Like any previous mega projects, the Melaka Gateway became yet another “white elephant”. All the Chinese partners had actually left the venture before the project was scrapped. Interestingly, months before the cancellation, Chief Minister Sulaiman had already started a new larger mega project than his predecessor – the RM100 billion M-WEZ, or Melaka Waterfront Economic Zone.

Described as Malaysia’s version of Australia’s Gold Coast, Sulaiman proudly introduced the M-WEZ project, which spans 25,000 acres (10,117ha) that will take 15 years (2035) to complete. The plan to establish a “maritime hub of Malaysia” would see Smart Logistic Nucleus, Melaka Harbourfront, Digital Satellite Township, Central Eco Business Park and Trade Nucleus New Township.

 In reality, Sulaiman’s M-WEZ project (RM100 billion) is just a second version of Idris’ Gateway project (RM43 billion), but on a larger scale to ensure bigger kickbacks. And you can bet your last penny that M-WEZ will also fail like Gateway. But the juice of the projects was the land reclamation, which in the case of M-WEZ, involving coastline as long as 33 kilometres from Umbai to Sg Udang.

 That explains why former Chief Minister Idris, in his justification to overthrow the Melaka state government, has exposed the monopoly, corruption, thievery and cheating of sands royalty involving Chief Minister Sulaiman and his cronies. Even two months before M-WEZ was unveiled, Sulaiman had introduced another land reclamation project involving 180-hectare worth RM1.5 billion.

It’s by design, not coincidence, that Idris made his move to topple Sulaiman less than a month after the disgraced Najib Razak told Reuters in an exclusive interview that he may seek re-election to Parliament in the next general election, despite his conviction. Najib was sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined RM210 million for abuse of power, criminal breach of trust (CBT) and money laundering.

Last month (September), Mr Najib floated the idea of bringing back the GST (goods and services tax), Bandar Malaysia and even Kuala Lumpur-Singapore HSR (high speed rail) project. Clearly, former chief minister Idris Haron is preparing to also bring back the Melaka Gateway project in anticipation of the return of Najib as de-facto leader, if not prime minister, of Malaysia.