Friday, 2 November 2012

Be like Shahrizat, take a holiday from Cabinet, Rafizi tells Nazri

          UPDATED @ 04:27:29 PM 02-11-2012
November 02, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 2 — PKR’s Rafizi Ramli today challenged Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz to “be a gentleman” and follow in the footsteps of former Cabinet colleague Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil by taking a short holiday from his duties pending a probe on his allegedly corrupt link to Sabah businessman Michael Chia.

Rafizi said a report will be lodged with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) against Nazri and his family next Monday, alleging a possibility that Chia had given the minister’s son a luxury car as inducement to clear him of corruption.

“I think it is going to be very embarrassing for Nazri (picture) if Shahrizat is seen as braver and more responsible than he is.
“So if he (Nazri) is indeed the No. 1 chief, then be a gentleman like Shahrizat was... take a holiday pending a probe,” the PKR strategy director told a press conference today, his second on the issue since yesterday.

Rafizi gave a reminder that of all Shahrizat’s colleagues in the Cabinet, Nazri had been the former minister’s most vocal critic, and had even expressed worry that the Wanita Umno chief’s

alleged link to the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) scandal could hurt and weaken the party.

The PKR leader, known to be the party’s “expose man”, also challenged Nazri to sue him in court if he felt that his allegations were defamatory, chiding him for using rough words against him yesterday when responding to the issue.

“It is his right. My view is that, if he feels this is slander he should take legal action. This is a serious matter because if what I am saying is wrong, then it is defamation and he should take legal action quickly like what Shahrizat did... nothing wrong with that,” he said.

At a press conference yesterday, Rafizi had drawn links between Nazri’s family and Chia by furnishing photographic evidence showing that the minister’s son, Nedim, has been using a RM500,000 Hummer WNX 9776 registered to the Sabah businessman.

Chia was recently cleared of graft allegations involving Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman after local and Hong Kong anti-graft authorities reportedly found that the RM40 million he was accused of attempting to smuggle to Malaysia was a “political donation” to Sabah Umno and not for Musa’s personal use.

According to past reports, Chia was arrested in Hong Kong in 2008 for attempting to smuggle the cash back to Malaysia. At the time, he had reportedly told the Hong Kong authorities that the money was meant for Musa, alerting them to kick off investigations against both men.

Rafizi insisted that Nazri, who recently declared himself the “No. 1 law minister”, may be guilty of corruption as he had been the sole minister who told Parliament recently that Musa was cleared of corruption.

By announcing Musa’s innocence, Rafizi explained, Nazri had effectively cleared Chia as well, despite failing to provide details of the probe against both men, either by the MACC or Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

“If what we are saying is untrue, then let’s open everything up... Nazri, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), the MACC, should all come out and release their investigation papers on this case... particularly proof from the ICAC, which had supposedly claimed that Chia had not committed an offence.

“We will not just take Nazri’s words like that... we have experienced this before with the NFC. So we must prove that ICAC did clear the men, and we want direct evidence from Hong Kong itself,” the PKR man said.

Rafizi disagreed with Nazri’s contention yesterday that there was no conflict of interest in his son’s use of Chia’s Hummer as he had not been the one who investigated or cleared the man, pointing out that as minister, Nazri’s words to Parliament carry great influence.

“By virtue of his statement in Parliament, which cleared Chia of the allegations... it carries more weight than any statement, even more than the MACC,” he said.

Prior to Nazri’s first reported reply to Parliament declaring the Musa-Chia case closed, there was no official declaration from either the MACC or the ICAC stating the same.

When responding to Rafizi’s allegation yesterday, Nazri had neither denied nor confirmed that his son has been using Chia’s Hummer, but said that he saw no wrong if this were true.

The senior minister also pointed out that there was no conflict of interest in the matter as he had not been the one who investigated or cleared Chia of corruption.

“Nazri’s explanation makes no sense at all... in fact, I am more of a gentleman than he is because I took this brave road to come out and speak about this, without hiding behind any parliamentary immunity.

“In fact, I am even willing to face a lawsuit,” said Rafizi, who is currently facing two lawsuits on his NFC exposes — one for allegedly defaming Shahrizat and another for violating banking laws.

Earlier during the press conference, Rafizi released seven short surveillance clips as additional evidence to yesterday’s photographs, claiming they were proof that Nedim and his family have been using Chia’s Hummer.

The clips showed the Hummer in its routine journey to and from a posh condominium in Damansara Heights here, where Nedim and his family are believed to be living.

They also briefly show the presence of a green Audi sports car, which Rafizi claimed is driven by Nedim, and a black Toyota Vellfire, which the man’s wife supposedly uses.

The Hummer, according to Rafizi, is mostly used by the family’s drivers and personal bodyguards and is even used as a “storage” vehicle, based on one clip where the vehicle’s opened boot reveals clutter.
However, not a single video showed Nedim or his family members.

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