Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Not another effing Sheraton-like move!

This blog's Monday posting to reproduce Edge Weekly article entitled "Will Malaysia avert a recession in 2023?", was meant to highlight that the economy was the priority for new Prime Minister, Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim. 

High on his list of priority is to avert a cost-of-living crisis for the low- and medium-income voters, and the fear of stagflation. 

Political stability is a key factor in addressing these economic issues. Thus there should not be frequent changes of government, be it at state or federal level. 

Agong impressed on this, thus the reason his Majesty insisted on a Unity Government as solution to the political impasse from the absence of any party holding a majority. 

This message some how did not jive with certain Sabah politicians, which sadly involved certain factions of the ruling parties in the Unity Government.  

The public, particularly the political savvy, have high expectation of Anwar. They have not forgotten his attention grabbing promises at the last two GEs including for institutional and legal reforms. 

All eyes are focussed for February, which will be a defining moment of Anwar's premiership as he will be delivering the revision to the 2023 budget presented by Tengku Zafrul prior to GE15. 

It is also the first major test on boastful Rafizi to present an economic blueprint or at least, the preparatory policies to weather the economic storm ahead. He cannot be giving Form 6 level economic explanation.   

Public will be looking at the economic benefit from his recent visit to meet his Indonesian friends. There is also plan for him to visit Brunei and Turkey. 

Anwar need to find a balance between his Western and Middle East backers vis-a-vis China. Geoglobal tensions and trade protectionism is on the rise and are serious threat to an open economy like Malaysia.  

Though his political opponents will not openly acknowledge, the strength of Anwar lies in his international connection. It could be the only available option for Malaysia to wade through the troubled waters ahead. 

The past three PMs disrupted the international relation built by Najib and Anifah Aman that attracted FDI and generated economic activities. Can Anwar realise his networking into something tangible?

Sheraton 2.0?               

Despite the two third majority in hand, politics remain a stress point for Anwar. 

Last week, Nik Nazmi lambasted Hamzah Zainuddin for hinting of another Sheraton-like move. The buzz is moves are in the work with the obvious first to oust Zahid Hamidi from the UMNO Presidency. Shahidan described the plan as "hebat dan dahsyat".

Sheraton move was the coup d'etat by factions within PPBM, PKR and UMNO, which toppled the Mahathir-led PH government in 2020. It happened in the midst of pressure on Mahathir to pass the premiership to Anwar Ibrahim. 

Though Mahathir's denial is viewed as merely an act and the emergence of his men in Annuar Musa-led Muafakat Nasional committee, he was visibly not involved. It was more the handiwork of Azmin Ali, Hishamuddin Hussein and the main benefactor, Muhyiddin Yassin.   

Hamzah's statement can only be expected from PN in their attempt to propagate divisive rhetorics to regain power and riding the shift in Malay and Muslim votes from BN and PKR to PN, especially with PAS's GE15 success.  

During the December holiday seasons, a London Move was speculated to be percolating but it was Langkah Kinabalu (Kinabalu move) that came to being.

The failed coup was fronted by Bung Mokhtar, and orchestrated by Salleh Said Keruak for Shafie Apdal to replace Hajiji Noor as CM. And, critics jumped on the opportunity to spin the failed attempt as Anwar's weakness and blame the misadventure to Zahid Hamidi. With the upcoming UMNO party election, his hands coukd be tied from acting decisively now. 

Whatever the reason, his intel failed to pick up behind the scene presence of Salleh, the former UMNO Treasurer who infuriated Zahid and Najib for refusing to deliver on a promise at the last state election. 

However, Zahid's leaning for a truce between Bung and Hajiji is giving the wrong signal. It is taking lightly the rising public expectation for good governance in Sabah. 

GRS commitment

Hajiji and GRS made the decision to go with BN in order to keep the BN-GRS coalition for Sabah intact. 

Despite Bung's personal vendetta against Ronald Kiandee to place an UMNO candidate against him at GE15, GRS standdown and stick to the understanding made between Zahid and Hajiji. Only Ronald ran under PN ticket. 

After GE15, GRS left PPBM and agree to be part of the Unity Government at the Federal level. Thus there should not have been any doubt on their commitment. 

The view of an influential UMNO FB commentator to assume of a collusion between Hajiji and Hamzah is wrong. 

And, he failed to realise the sudden presence of Hamzah in Kota Kinabalu to meet Hajiji was to intended to worsen the suspicion of BN against GRS. Another case of UMNO's failed intel and gullibility to simple psychological game. 

Hamzah was taking the opportunity to persuade the below 50 year olds among reform minded UMNO branch and divisional leaders and members to join PN. The five UMNO state assemblymen giving support to Hajiji fall into this segment of Sabahans. 

Bung never had the numbers of from day one. Only five UMNO assemblymen are with him. It is believed three will crossover to support Hajiji. The balance are holding back, but not with Bung

He tried to emulate a Zahid Hamidi but failed to realise he could not command the respect in UMNO Sabah to hold control over UMNO Sabah assemblymen. 

While anti-party hopping is a law for Dewan Rakyat, it is still a grey area for Sabah state assembly. It has yet to be passed into state law. More so. all the disputing parties are part of the Unity Government at federal level.  

Shafie used PN's argument when GRS dissociate from PPBM and unashamedly claim they are not the party with the majority to lead Sabah. This is going against the interest of the Unity Government for political stability, which GRS support and Shafie is part of.    

Salleh may have thought that offering Shafie CMship will sway TYT their way. Him and Bung ignored the role of Agong in the Unity Government. And they miscalculated TYT will be obliged to any decree from Agong to not entertain any power game. 

Strange dealings     

According to a Sabah-based blog, the plan was to put Shafie as Chief Minister, Bung Deputy Chief and Salleh for Finance portfolio. The ulterior motive is to save Bung from the offense of approving 43 contracts and issuing 43 Letter of Intent amounting RM1.3 billion prior to GE15. 

Bung claimed Hajiji renegaded on a gentlemen agreement but the fact is none of the LOIs issued were approved by Sabah cabinet or underwent due administrative process or in the case of concession, received approval from UKAS, the same approving agency for the KL Tower concession.  

This is still the tip of the iceberg. The lack of good governance or bluntly put, questionable integrity of Bung have long been known. Hajiji had to act.

It is a surprise why Sabah MACC have not moved in. For few years, talk is rife that Bung had a hand in "jalan hantu", non-existent roads in which constitutional allocation for road maintainance were channeled to friendly contractors. 

Where he is supposed to clean-up JKR Sabah, Bung did not remove the colluding Director and associates of the corrupt former exco member, Peter Anthony. 

Bung was further angered by the removal of Salleh as Chairman of Qhazanah. The SLC was about to sell its telco subsidiary cheaply to friendly party, just days prior to a RM3 billion LOA issued for JENDELA contract from Annuar Musa's Ministry. 

And, the subsidiary Chairman, Ghazali Ansing is Bung's man and UMNO Tawau Division Head. For almost a year, words have been circulating in Sabah that his house was raided by a law enforcement agency and tens of millions cash found.   

There is also the monopoly concession award for all state utility management to a Johor-based company. The name of Suhaimi Nasir, husband to Ismail Sabri's controversial Principal Private Secretary, Nazimah turned up in a company search. 

Suhaimi is also member of the Board of Director the recipient company, likely shareholder and believed to be on the Board of Directors of Qhazanah. By design or coincident, Salleh happened to be one of the original Director of the recipient company.  


The last heard of Salleh is that he has flown abroad in a state of shock with the sudden change in attitude of the TYT. 

He will be more disappointed to know Putrajaya authorised Sabah and Sarawak to approve projects valued at RM50 million and below

For Bung, he managed to get postphonement for his case but inevitably, he will be going in. The wife and Unit Trust Agent admitted sharing commission. And she is a second wife under syariah law, thus acknowledged as legal wife under civil law too.    

If #SPRM is monitoring this blog, investigate the exposure by the Sabah blogs. For a start, sack the MACC Sabah Director. 

This repeat of past nonsense should not be allowed, especially with the country and leaders, both in ruling government and opposition, should be focus on the state of the economy and peoples' well being than self serving political game and corruption cover-ups.   

UMNO should immediately replace Bung as Sabah Liaison Chief and reprimand Salleh and Suhaimi. 

Bung has been loyal to UMNO after GE14, but his conduct in government is untenable and will smear UMNO's name in Sabah. The higher his position in the party and government only made him more a nuisance than an asset. 

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