‘Mukhriz has to ex­plain his wealth’

Se­lan­gor Umno wants Mukhriz to ad­mit how he got money to run multi-bil­lion ring­git busi­nesses

New Straits Times - - Front Page -

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

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