Posted: 14 Aug 2011 11:43 PM PDT
The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak and Minister in Prime Minister's Department must be warned that they could be sued for gross negligence in the carrying out of their duties by directing Government Linked Comanies (GLCs) to withdraw all civil suits against former MAS Chairman Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli.
Should the civil suits be withdrawn before a satisfactory settlement is achieved, and if a settlement could not be achieved subsequently, there will no longer be any recourse for these GLCs to reclaim the debts outstanding or damages and compensation from Tajuddin.
This is because they would not be able to continue with the existing suit against Tajuddin once they are withdrawn. At the same time, because the claims were for actions which occurred more than 6 years ago, the GLCs will not be able to initiate new legal actions against Tajuddin as it would be time-barred.
It would mean that Tajuddin will get away scot free without having to pay a single sen for his billions of ringgit in debt as well as any compensation for damages he may have caused to the various GLCs, especially MAS through negligence, abuse or maladministration.
Tajuddin who is well-advised, would have little or no incentive at all to "settle" any of the outstanding sums or claims once the suits are withdrawn. This is unless of course, the intended "settlement" is not with the GLCs but a clandestine "off-site" solution with Najib, as suggested by the latter.
What assurance can Najib or Nazri give to Malaysian tax-payers that their monies will be well-protected and that Tajuddin will indeed pay off the bulk, if not all of his debt to the Government and GLCs? If no assurance can be given, one can only conclude that the Ministers have been reckless and grossly negligent intentionally or otherwise, in decreeing the withdrawal of civil suits against Tajuddin, knowing full well that the latter is in all likelihood going to get away scot free.
If the current Attorney-General is unwilling to consider the above action against the Prime Minister due to the complete lack of independence of the former's office, Najib can be assured that full, open and transparent investigations will be carried out by the Pakatan Rakyat government against his misdeeds should we secure victory in the next General Election. This is to ensure that those who have knowingly and negligently caused losses to the Government's coffers will be held accountable and will not be let off unpunished.
In the meantime, Nazri must immediately withdraw his directive to GLCs to ensure that the rakyat's interest can be fully protected by the respective Board of Directors and the legal advisors they have entrusted with the legal suits.
Posted: 14 Aug 2011 04:37 PM PDT
The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak's meek attempt to explain the withdrawal of civilian suits against Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli as an "off-site" solution epitomises the former's complete lack of political will to fight patronage, rent-seeking and cronyism in Malaysia. In fact, the "off-site" solution by Najib suggests some secret rendezvous between the two parties to thrash out a handshake deal by subterfuge.
In his oft-quoted speech to foreign investors at the launch of his landmark New Economic Model (NEM), Najib said that "we can longer tolerate the behaviour of rent-seeking and patronage". However, the crude and blatant attempt to direct all Government Linked Companies (GLCs) to withdraw their multi-billion suits against Tajuddin to reclaim outstanding debts as well as other alleged misendeavours when he was the Chief Executive of Malaysian Airlines System (MAS) leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
The directive proves beyond doubt that Najib is not only failing to live up to his NEM promise, he is doing the complete opposite. The Prime Minister is more than tolerating behaviour of rent-seeking and patronage, he is protecting the richest cronies who have benefited from the largesse handed down by the Barisan Nasional government.
In one of the most outrageous bail outs in Malaysian history, the Malaysian government paid RM1.79 billion to acquire MAS shares belonging to Tajuddin's corporate vehicle at RM8.00 per share despite its market price then being only RM3.62 per share. In addition, gross mismanagement by Tajuddin since 1994 has resulted in MAS suffering billions in losses and was laden with RM9.5 billion in debt.
Despite MAS debts being whittled down via a "asset unbundling" exercise where Penerbangan Malaysia Bhd (PMB) was set up to acquire all MAS aircrafts and their associated debts, MAS never really recovered from Tajuddin's maladministration with its share price today struggling below RM1.80 per share.
The attempt by Najib to withdraw all suits againts Tajuddin, and to even replace all the lawyers independently appointed by the GLCs with a well-known UMNO lawyer smacks of letting Tajuddin getting away scot free.
Is Najib trying to tell us that when the respective GLCs including MAS, Telekom Malaysia, Prokhas (formerly Danaharta), many of which are listed, were poorly advised and did not know what they were doing when they filed their suits against Tajuddin?
Is the Government telling us that the existing panel of appointed lawyers, including some renown names, were wrongly advising the GLCs to claim billions of ringgit in debt and damages from Tajuddin? Were their advice so bad that they must be replaced wholesale by an UMNO lawyer?
Given the billions of ringgit in rakyat's money involved, the Government must be completely transparent in its actions and not sweep everything under the carpet. The public interest in this case is paramount and must be protected at all cost.
Najib must immediately withdraw the directive to GLCs to drop the suits againts Tajuddin because it is improper, an abuse of power and a corrupt practice to protect a billionaire crony. The Government must instead make public the case against Tajuddin to prove the Prime Minister's determination to eradicate rent-seeking behaviour, political patronage and cronyism.
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