Friday, December 23, 2011

Two fall guys and a fall gal?

Former Selangor Mentri Besar Dr Mohamed Khir Toyo was sentenced to 12 months' jail today for abusing his power as Chief Minister by buying a bungalow worth RM6.5 million for RM3.5 million and has filed an appeal.

Soon after the court announced its decision, Dr Khir told Malaysian Insider that he was "made a political fall guy".

The former Selangor Mentri Besar has maintained his innocence, insisting that the deal was at market value and on a “willing buyer, willing seller” basis, the Malaysian Insider reported.

If what Dr Khir said is true, then the political leaders could have decided to make him the sacrificial lamb to show the people that the Barisan Nasional government is walking the talk regarding tackling of corruption involving those in positions of power and even those from Umno.

This could possibly be the way - at least in the minds of the Barisan political strategists - to win back some votes in the coming general elections.

The question now is whether there will be another political fall guy and a fall gal.

It is interesting to note that another event with far-reaching consequences occurred today - Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission officers raided the office of the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) at Solaris Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur.

NFCorp runs the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) in Gemas, which has been at the centre of a storm of controversy ever since the Auditor-General highlighted the publicly-funded cattle raising project as “a mess” in his report this year.

It is headed by Datuk Seri Dr Mohamed Salleh Ismail, husband to Women, Family and Community Minister and Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil. Their children are also directors in the company.

Today’s raid follows an announcement by MACC yesterday that it would investigate allegations the NFC had misappropriated government funds, despite previously saying it would not probe the matter, the Malaysian Insider reported.

The MACC also confirmed yesterday it had remanded a businessman, said to be a Datuk, for questioning in relation to the case.

The 45-year-old suspect had earlier been detained by police for allegedly trying to bribe senior CCID officers believed to be involved in the NFC probe, reported the Malaysian Insider.

Could this MACC raid mean that someone at the top has decided to apply pressure to 'convince' Datuk Seri Shahrizat to resign? After all several political leaders including former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad have either blatantly said or blatantly hinted that she should resign.

And who's the most likely candidate to be the other possible fall guy?

On Jan 27 next year, former Transport Minister Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik will know whether he has to enter his defence in the Port Klang Free Zone trial.

Dr Ling was charged in July last year with knowingly deceiving the Cabinet into approving land purchase for the Port Klang Free Zone, which resulted in wrongful losses for the government, according to the Malaysian Insider.

The former Minister also faces two alternative charges of deceiving the Cabinet into believing that the purchase at RM25 psf and the 7.5 per cent interest rate were acknowledged and agreed to by the Valuation and Property Services Department despite knowing that there was no such agreement.

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