Musa Aman scandal punctures Najib’s vision

While MACC’s head of investigation is claiming that it is still in the midst of investigation, how could minister Nazri claim in the same breath that MACC has concluded that there was no evidence of corruption?

Kim Quek

Prime Minister Najib Razak’s refusal to disclose the donor of the S$16 million contraband cash seized at the Hong Kong International airport, following his minister’s earlier acknowledgement of the cash as donation to Sabah Umno, has only heightened suspicion over the web of deceit and cover up of high corruption in the corridor of power.

His minister Nazri Aziz had earlier (Oct 11) given a written reply in parliament denying that the said S$16 million cash was Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman’s money, claiming that it was a donation to Umno party in Sabah instead, even though the carrier of the cash, Michael Chia Tien Foh, was a well known personal agent and close associate of Musa Aman, as will be elaborated later.

In a further attempt to dismiss the notion of any impropriety over the episode, minister Nazri added in his statement that the Malaysian Anti-Corrupition Commission (MACC) has concluded that “no element of corruption was proven”.

However, this statement has glaringly contradicted MACC’s latest stance on the issue, aired only a few days earlier. 

Answering questions by reporters on the sideline of the recently concluded Sixth Conference of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA) in Kuala Lumpur, MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Shukri Abdul said on Oct 5: “The investigation against Musa is on corruption and we have completed the investigation, but the panel has instructed us to get more evidence.” 

By “the panel”, Shukri Abdul was referring to MACC’s operations review panel, which instructed the operation division to collect further evidence against Musa after being presented with the report on the case during the panel’s last sitting in May.

While MACC’s head of investigation is claiming that it is still in the midst of investigation, how could minister Nazri claim in the same breath that MACC has concluded that there was no evidence of corruption?


Obviously, one of the two is lying; or more likely, both are lying, as there is no credibility in what these two gentlemen have said, if we were to take into consideration the full circumstances of the case.

Nazri is unlikely to have told the truth, as he couldn’t have known more than the head of investigation.

As for Shukri, how serious can we take his word that MACC couldn’t come to a conclusion despite four long years of investigation into a simple case of someone caught red-handed while smuggling an enormous sum of laundered cash? After all, evidence galore in the Internet of the intricate network of money flow originating from timber corruption in Sabah with Michael Chia as one of the focal points of the trail that eventually ends up in Musa Aman’s personal account in UBS AG in Zurich. In fact, a flow chart showing these money movements complete with account details was produced by the Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), a copy of which has been conveyed to MACC, according to Sarawak Report website, which has also posted the chart in It is not difficult to see from this elaborate network of bank accounts and money transactions that the S$16 million incident is only the tip of the iceberg of a  clandestine operation to siphon massive timber corruption money from Sabah.

Apparently, ICAC has also forwarded its findings to MACC, and requested for inter-country co-operation to wrap up the case, but such attempt was reportedly blocked by Attorney General Gani Patail.

Can MACC deny that it is in possession of the fruits of ICAC’s laborious investigations into the case including the said money flow chart that conclusively crucifies Musa Aman? Perhaps the parliamentary select committee on corruption should summon MACC chief commissioner Abu Kassim to answer this question.


Adding to the credibility crisis of the duo – Nazri and Shukir – is the blanket denial by Musa Aman of all allegations against him.

Responding to Sarawak Report’s various allegations that among others, Musa’s two sons studying in Australia regularly received timber kickbacks from bank accounts controlled by Chia, Musa flatly denies these in a written statement on April 12, 2012 that reads:

“I deny all these allegations. I wish to put it on record once again that I have no business association whatsoever with an individual named Michael Chia”.

Musa’s denial, however, was contradicted by banks statements produced in the Singapore High Court in a civil suit (Suit No.752 of 2010/N) in June that was brought by Chia’s former associate and now adversary involving a money dispute.

To defend its position in the dispute, UBS AG produced bank statements that clearly showed that Musa’s sons Mohammed Hayssam Musa and Hazem Musa Hazem Mubarak Musa were regular recipients of money remitted from accounts of companies which Chia claimed to be under his control. These British Virginia registered shady companies with large amount of unaccounted for cash regularly flowing mysteriously through their accounts are obvious vehicles of money laundering.

Thus both UBS AG and Chia, out of the necessity to defend their respective positions, had unwittingly produced in court evidences that tell us that Musa Aman has told a blatant lie that he has no link whatsoever with Michael Chia. More than that, these bank documents also collaborate documents in Sarawak Report’s possession (including the abovementioned flow chart) that regularly surface in its frequent exposure of Musa Aman’s nefarious ventures as the notorious timber baron of Sabah. 

Interestingly, according to Sarawak Report, these secret reports are leaked documents from not only ICAC, but also from MACC, which has carried out a parallel investigation on Sabah timber corruption, following the arrest of Michael Chia in Hong Kong on 14 Aug 2008 for money smuggling and laundering.

Judging from MACC’s long silence and inaction despite the wealth of evidence of Sabah timber corruption in its hands, it is not difficult to visualize the limitations under which it has to operate.


Prime Minister Najib Razak certainly didn’t help matters with his curt refusal to divulge the source or any information that may lessen the gravity of this scandal. In that encounter with the press after chairing the Barisan Nasional supreme council meeting on Oct 12, he even tried to sanitize this sordid incident by saying “every political party has the right to receive political donation as long as it is done in a proper way”.  He added that the amount of the donation is irrelevant, repeating the proviso that “as long as it is done in a proper way”.

It really boggles the mind to think that the Prime Minister could consider such bizarre fashion of conveying donation as “the proper way”.

May we remind the Prime Minister that money smuggling and money laundering are serious criminal offences, for which Michael Chia would have been prosecuted, convicted and jailed and the cash confiscated, if not for the Malaysian government’s refusal to extend its co-operation to the Hong Kong authorities.

And since Michael Chia is only a courier, the master for whom he serves – Umno – is even more guilty.

In any democratic country, law enforcers would have swung into action following the Prime Minister’s open admission of such association of breach of law; but of course, in Boleh Land, this is business as usual – nothing to make a fuss about.

This latest scandal is only one of many that have been incessantly popping up lately despite the imminence of a crucial election. It only serves to reinforce the hard fact that our self-styled “reformist” Prime Minister’s many “transformations” he claimed to have brought to the nation are more illusion than substance.

As for his vision of “best democracy” and “developed nation” status in the near future, is it not a land too far to reach?