Defensive BN maintains candidate’s innocence

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid, The Malaysian Insider

Barisan Nasional (BN), which has been put under severe pressure over their “tainted” candidate, took pains to explain that Rohaizat Othman is innocent.

Umno and BN information chief Ahmad Maslan in a press conference here today reiterated that Rohaizat was a “victim of circumstances” and that it was his legal firm’s partner who absconded with the RM 161,000 belonging to the Penang Rubber Tappers Co-operative.

Ahmad said the sum, intended for the purchase of some real estate, was paid exclusively to Rohaizat’s partner, someone by the name of Yusri Ishak. He was also alleged to have handled all the transactions and processing by himself and without Rohaizat’s involvement.

At the time when the complaint was lodged to the Bar’s disciplinary committee, Yusri had already left the firm and Rohaizat was named instead as the person responsible.

The Umno information chief, who was doing all the explanation despite Rohaizat being present at the press conference, said the latter was not allowed to explain himself before the disciplinary committee.

Rohaizat had attended the disciplinary hearing the first time but they only had time to question a representative from the co-operative, said Ahmad. Rohaizat supposedly fell sick on the day he was supposed to cross examine the representative from the co-operative and give an explanation to the committee. He was subsequently disbarred.

A settlement was reached between Rohaizat and the co-operative after the body was reimbursed by the former and its chairman wrote a letter to the committee appealing for the former’s disbarment to be overturned but there was no reply. Copies of the letter were distibuted to the media.

To back his claims, Ahmad had brought along the treasurer from the co-operative, Umar Hamid, who confirmed that the problems between the body and Rohaizat had been settled amicably.

“So he is actually a hero. He saved his firm.This is the quality of a good leader and it should be admired instead of being chided,” Ahmad added. Also present was Penang Umno deputy chairman Datuk Zainal Abidin Osman.