I never got a sen from Paul Phua, Zahid swears on Allah’s name in Parliament


(Malay Mail Online) – Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi swore to Parliament today in Allah’s name that he has no ties with controversial gambling kingpin Paul Phua, despite reports and allegations stating otherwise.

Zahid insisted that he had been completely professional in his correspondence with US investigators on the matter, and that his letter to the FBI was done within his purview as Home Minister.

“In this matter, as a Muslim, in the name of Allah, I have never received a single sen from that gambler, and I have never been involved with that person (Phua),” Zahid told Parliament during his ministry’s winding-up session.

He also confirmed that Phua is still a Malaysian citizen and had never revoked his citizenship.

“From time to time, the home ministry always receives applications from various foreign governments to do checks on the citizens of this country,” he added.

Zahid also said Phua was not part of 14k triad.

Two weeks ago at a forum in Penang, the embattled minister made a similar declaration, insisting again then that he had never received any payments from Phua or other illegal gambling groups.

Last month, it was reported that Phua had reportedly taken up citizenship in Montenegro — which according to Malaysian law, means he is no longer Malaysian.

Malaysia’s Federal Constitution does not recognise dual nationalities for its citizens; those who do obtain the citizenship of another country will be stripped of his Malaysian citizenship.

News portal Malaysiakini previously reported Phua, 50, was born in Miri, Sarawak though he was nicknamed “Sabah kia”.

Back in January, a letter from Zahid surfaced at the trial of Phua, a former Macau junket operator, who is facing illegal gambling charges in the US for taking bets during the World Cup last summer.

Zahid’s letter to the FBI dated December 18, 2014, was reportedly withdrawn as evidence in Phua’s illegal gambling trial in Las Vegas after Putrajaya objected to it being made public.

In the letter signed by the home minister, it clearly states that based on the ministry’s information, Phua is neither a member nor associated with the 14K Triad.

The letter also stated that according to its records, Phua has on numerous occasions assisted the Malaysian government on projects affecting the country’s national security.

Zahid defended his decision to write a letter to the FBI clarifying Phua’s alleged involvement with the 14K triad, saying it was done within his powers as the home minister.

He also said he could not reveal why he wrote that Phua was assisting Putrajaya on security matters, adding that the letter was written following a request by the firm representing Phua here, Shafee & Co

US authorities have alleged that Paul is part of the 14K triad, which has been described as a fearsome Hong Kong-based triad with international reach.

Both Phua and his son Darren were charged in a Las Vegas court on August 5 last year and both are now free after posting bail totalling US$2.5 million (RM7.97 million).