Mahathir and Badawi in 2 separate abuse-of-power cases

Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

This week, two major corruption cases involving two of Malaysia’s past prime ministers are due to appear in the local courts, and the world at large can expect to be titillated once again by shenanigans of the country’s ruling elite.

The first, known as the Lingam Tape saga, involves Mahathir Mohamad and created so much public disdain for the BN government’s endemic corruption it led to the rise of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s Pakatan Rakyat.

The other is less well-known but its ramifications will surely send a shudder across Malaysia’s GLC-dominated corporate scene. It involves Malaysia Airlines, a true-blue GLC or government-linked-company in that it typifies the rampant abuse of public wealth by top Umno leaders to benefit themselves and their families. In this case, Malaysia’s 5th prime minister Abdullah Badawi, his brother Fahim and flamboyant fallen tycoon Tajudin Ramli are implicated.

Lingam Tape

On Monday, the Appellate Court will hear the appeals by former lord president Eusoff Chin, former chief justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim and lawyer V K Lingam over a 2007 Royal Commission of Inquiry’s recommendation that action be taken against them.

The RCI had actually recommended the government to act against 6 people after scrutinizing evidence that they were involved in fixing the appointment of judges for the purpose of influencing the outcome of certain trials.The men are Mahathir, tycoon Vincent Tan, Umno secretary-general Tengku Adnan Mansor, Lingam himself, Eusoff Chin and Ahmad Fairuz.

The RCI also said there was enough evidence to investigate all 6 men for offences under the Sedition Act, Official Secrets Act, the Penal Code and the Legal Profession Act 1976. But after much delay and despite huge public outcry, the Attorney-General has only proceeded to charge Lingam, Eusoff, and Ahmad Fairuz.

The most memorable piece of evidence in this case was a video tape showing Lingam on the phone actively brokering the judicial appointments.

MAS – skeleton in Badawi’s closet?

Also due for mention is the Advent Management Sdn Bhd versus Fahim Capital Sdn Bhd and 5 Others in KLHC CS No.D1-22-745-2004. It not only involves Abdullah Badawi and his brother Fahim Ibrahim, but also former Malaysia Airlines chairman Tajudin Ramli.

Despite the national carrier lodging a police complaint against Tajudin, a former poster boy for the country’s New Economic Policy, the government has refused to take action. And if not for Advent Management suing Fahim’s firm for reneging on commission fees, the entire web of deceit would be largely hidden from public eye.

However, within the capital markets, speculation has been rife from as far back as 2002 that Abdullah, who was then the Deputy Prime Minister, had bullied Malaysia Airlines into giving Fahim’s company an option to buy 51 percent of MAS Catering Sdn Bhd.