Mahathir has asked Rafidah to remain in Umno as his Trojan Horse — what the Malays would call duri dalam daging or gunting dalam lipatan. Her job is to attack Najib Tun Razak to give an impression that Umno itself is against the Prime Minister. If even Umno wants Najib out then what about the rest of Malaysians? Surely the rest of Malaysians also want to see Najib ousted. And this is why Mahathir, Kit Siang, Guan Eng, Azmin, and so on, no longer attack Rafidah and talk about her corruption involving APs and ‘pink forms’.
When Air Asia was founded in 2001, ‘market talk’ was that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s crony cum proxy cum nominee/trustee, Tatparanandam Ananda Krishnan, was the hidden hand behind that new airline company. Earlier, in 1994, the government had ‘sold’ Malaysia’s national airlines, MAS, to Tun Daim Zainuddin’s crony cum proxy cum nominee/trustee, Tajudin Ramli. Since Daim already owned his own airline, it made sense that Mahathir would want one as well.
But that was what the market perceived. In reality something else was going on behind the scenes. MAS was not sold to Tajudin. They made it appear like Tajudin was buying MAS to give an impression that the government was making a huge amount of money to cover the RM31.5 billion Bank Negara forex losses. So, the ‘profit’ they will make from selling MAS can offset the losses they had made from gambling on the forex market.
And it was also not Ananda who was the hidden hand behind Air Asia as many had believed. It was Rafidah Aziz. But, at that time, she was the Minister of Trade, and would still be for another seven years to come — so no one suspected it was her. In 2007, AirAsia X was founded and in 2008 Rafidah retired from the government. In 2011, she took over as the new Chairman of AirAsia X.
Rafidah is Mahathir’s Trojan Horse in Umno whose job is to attack Najib to give an impression that the party is against him
Rafidah is a very wealthy woman so her ‘meagre’ investment in Air Asia is no big deal. She is said to own not less than 50% of the shares in the airline company, parked under a number of nominees. And that hardly comes to 20% of her total wealth. There were a number of attempts to investigate her transgressions involving APs and ‘pink forms’ but each time Mahathir told the MACC and AGC to back off and close the file. Mahathir himself admitted that he had saved Rafidah from jail not less than three times.
“In 2006, Rafidah was accused of corruption related to the issuance of Approved Permits (AP) for importing foreign vehicles by former Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad in his series of criticisms against the Government of Malaysia. Mahathir had also criticised then Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s handling of the Approved Permits (AP) issue, expressing his surprise that Rafidah was still retained as a Cabinet member although two people on the list of persons issued with highest number of APs were linked to her.” (Transcript of Mahathir’s press conference, The Star, 24th October 2006)
Kit Siang and Guan Eng no longer want Rafidah jailed for corruption and instead now want Mahathir back as Prime Minister
This was what Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said on 19th October 2005:
“This AP issue is also a real issue that affects the official duties and responsibilities of the government because it involves a former Prime Minster and the current Minister of International Trade and Industry. Mahathir claimed that he was cheated by Rafidah, when he was Prime Minister, into announcing Naza as a national and local car. Rafidah has failed to respond or show proof that she was not involved in the AP scandal.
These are very serious allegations that will garner wide international coverage as Mahathir being synonymous with Malaysia, is still an international newsmaker. For the former Prime Minister to accuse his Minister of cheating him and continue to allege misconduct and abuse of power leading to the creation of AP Kings is big news internationally. How can government be conducted with integrity and credibility if its Ministers are cheats, liars and involved with abuse of power and corrupt practices?”
Rafidah’s job is to attack Najib using DAP portals such as The Malaysian Insight
In November 2008, Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali told the reporters in Parliament this:
APs are being monopolised by certain players in the market. On average, all 77 companies should each receive 600 APs but some like Naza Konsortium Sdn Bhd were given 8,431 permits from 2004 to 2006. Surely this is an unusually large number of APs for one company, he said. Estimating each AP to be worth RM50,000, Azmin said Naza would stand to make RM424 million in cash without even having to bring in a single vehicle as the scarcity of APs makes them saleable documents on their own.
Finance Twitter had this to say on 2nd May 2008:
“It was puzzling how the three individuals (S.M. Nasimuddin S.M. Amin, Syed Azman Syed Ibrahim and Mohd Haniff Abdul Aziz) were reaping over RM1.8 billion for the mentioned two years alone. Wow! But the figures were just the tip of an iceberg as the APs were issued since 1988. Rafidah’s own niece, Annie Tajul Arus, was reportedly given APs to import 850 Kleeman cars in 2004 and 199 in 2005. At one time, Nasimuddin was rumoured to be son-in-law of ‘AP Queen’ Rafidah Aziz.”
The APs controversy involving Rafidah Aziz is well-documented and all Malaysians are fully aware of the scandal. And we are not yet talking about the ‘pink forms’, which is another cash cow for Rafidah. Every time companies seek public listing they must allocate a certain portion of their shares to Bumiputra investors. And Rafidah decides who gets those shares, even for Mahathir’s sons, as Rafidah herself has admitted in the case that saw Ezam Mohd Nor going to jail for two years.
Talking about how Rafidah made her money and how much she made in 21 years as the Minister of Trade is old news. In fact, it is not even news any longer. What we need to discuss is where she has parked that money. RM8 billion is not a small sum of money and you need to be very creative to not only hide that money but to make sure it earns more money and grows because idling money depreciates.
Rafidah and Mahathir, too, have kissed and made up and she is now Mahathir’s Trojan Horse in Umno
One place that Rafidah has parked her ill-gotten gains that we know about is Air Asia. A couple of billions is safely parked there, although it’s only a small portion or 20% of her entire wealth. Mahathir also knows about it, of course, but he is not talking. And he is not talking because Rafidah is now ‘his man’.
Mahathir has asked Rafidah to remain in Umno as his Trojan Horse — what the Malays would call duri dalam dagingor gunting dalam lipatan. Her job is to attack Najib Tun Razak to give an impression that Umno itself is against the Prime Minister. If even Umno wants Najib out then what about the rest of Malaysians? Surely the rest of Malaysians also want to see Najib ousted. And this is why Mahathir, Kit Siang, Guan Eng, Azmin, and so on, no longer attack Rafidah and talk about her corruption involving APs and ‘pink forms’.
Raja Petra Kamarudin