‘Mukhriz has to explain his wealth’
Selangor Umno wants Mukhriz to admit how he got money to run multi-billion ringgit businesses
DATUK Seri Mukhriz Mahathir’s former special officer Haris Che Mat should ask the former Kedah menteri besar, during a debate initially slated for tomorrow, how he and his brother acquired capital to conduct their multi-billion ringgit businesses.
Selangor Umno information chief Datuk Zein Isma Ismail said he hoped Mukhriz could answer the question.
“We all remember Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as a clean and trustworthy person, but when it was found that some of his children became ‘instant multi-billionaires’, it opened the people’s eyes.
“Even if you take out a bank loan, you need mortgages and collateral worth billions of ringgit. Banks will not give out loans without collateral.
“Everyone is asking how Mirzan Mahathir (Mukhriz’s brother) acquired the money to buy San Miguel and Petron. I urge Haris to ask Mukhriz this.”
Mukhriz and Mirzan are the sons of Dr Mahathir, who was prime minister from 1981 to 2003.
Haris, who is also Pokok Sena Umno division vice-chief, had recently challenged Mukhriz to an open debate over allegations that Mukhriz had amassed billions of ringgit within a short period.
Mukhriz, who is Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia deputy president, had accepted the challenge unconditionally.
Before entering politics, Mukhriz was active in the corporate sector, where he held several positions, including M Ocean Diving Sdn Bhd managing director, Opcom Holdings Bhd chairman and managing director and Ajiya Bhd executive officer.
Mukhriz has a 23.5 per cent direct stake in Opcom, while his wife, Norzieta Zakaria, has a 26.9 per cent indirect stake. The company was incorporated in 1994 and was cofounded by Mukhriz and Chhoa Kwang Hua. The firm’s current chairman is Mukhriz’s elder brother, Tan Sri Mokhzani Mahathir.
According to a letter dated Oct 7, 2003, that has been circulating, the Finance Ministry had, that same year, approved an application for Opcom to obtain a contract worth RM214.2 million without going through a tender process.
The letter bore the Finance Ministry’s letterhead. It stated that Opcom was awarded the contract via direct negotiations, and that the project would involve Opcom supplying fibre optic cables to Telekom Malaysia Bhd over three years.
Dr Mahathir was, at the time, serving as finance minister.
Mukhriz said he was shocked by the allegations that he had amassed billions of ringgit.
In Alor Star, Haris told the New Straits Times that the debate would be postponed until further notice as he needed three weeks to recover from a surgery to remove kidney stones.
He said he underwent the twohour surgery at Kedah Medical Centre yesterday.
“The surgery went well, but I need about three weeks to recover. The debate is still on, but allow me to recover first.”
In Yan, Mukhriz wished Haris a speedy recovery, adding that he would wait for him to recover before proceeding with the debate.
“I will wait for him to recover. I have no problem with the debate being held in Jerlun as insisted by Haris,” he said after a gathering with residents of Kampung Kuala Dulang Besar here.
Mukhriz said he would donate RM500 million each to the Jerlun and Pokok Sena constituencies if Haris provided proof that he had amassed RM1 billion in wealth.
Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia deputy president Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir was slated to debate his former special officer Haris Che Mat tomorrow, but it has been postponed until further notice.
Datuk Zein Isma Ismail