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Which GLC had offered to buy over Khairy’s ECM Libra Avenue shares creating double if not triple conflict-of-interest situations affecting the Prime Minister’s son-in-law?
Khairy said he has become unemployed, with no shares but only debts. Many would like to know how an unemployed can afford, with considerable nonchalance, to incur RM200,000 losses, which he said he suffered when he sold his shares at 65 sen a share when he had bought them at 71 sen a share in December.
As Berita Harian today highlighted in a special column: “Sekarang saya menganggur, tiada saham, ada hutang. Saya kena lihat kerja alternative. Naib Ketua Pemuda tiada gaji.” – Khairy Jamalauddin, Naib Ketua Pemuda Umno.
Khairy must be the most fortunate and privileged “unemployed” in the country - the envy of many of who are gainfully employed!
Claiming that he received no less than three offers to buy over his shares, one from a government-owned company, another from an international company while a Chinese businessman offered a very profitable sum, Khairy said:
“I rejected the first offer as people will claimed that it was a government bailout to rescue me while the subsequent offers will see the shares falling into the hands of outsiders and non-bumiputras.
“I will not let that happen and will rather suffer losses as long as the shares remain in the hands of our people.”
Two questions demand answers:
Firstly, which is the government-owned company which offered to buy over Khairy’s shares at a profit to him, which would create a double if not triple conflict-of-interest situation involving Khairy, especially as the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman Datuk Shahrir Samad conceded after the PAC meeting on Thursday that the merger between ECM Libra and Avenue raised troubling questions.
As Shahrir said: “In principle, there is a conflict of interest if the minister’s family member is involved. But here, maybe there was no minister’s consent because the matter was not brought to the cabinet - it was decided between the ministry’s officials and the party which made the offer.”
However, as former Cabinet Minister, Shahrir must be aware that under the principle of Ministerial responsibility, there is no way for any Minister to shake off personal responsibility for any such conflict-of-interest by claiming ignorance and blaming it on the civil servants. Otherwise, the principle of Ministerial responsibility will become just a farce if it can be so easily evaded.
Be that as it may, the Public Accounts Committee which is meeting on August 25 to probe further into the conflict-of-interest aspects of the merger between ECM Libra and Avenue should also demand accountability from the Finance Ministry and Khazanah as to which GLC had offered to buy over Khairy’s stake when it could give rise to another layer of conflict-of-interest situation.
The relevance of PAC investigation into the conflicts-of-interest issues in the Khairy, ECM Libra and Avenue triangle remain unaffected by the sale of Khairy’s stake in ECM Libra Avenue, as the divestment of shares cannot wipe out any conflict-of-interest situation in the earlier transaction. The PAC will have to submit to Parliament its report on whether there were conflicts-of-interest up to the sale of Khairy’s stake in ECM Libra Avenue.
Secondly, why did Khairy play the “race card” by claiming that although there were better offers for the shares, he sold the block to a Malay buyer, to protect the Bumiptuera equity ownership - when he had in the first instance acquired the three per cent stake in ECM Libra Bhd. last year with a RM9.2 million loan from the company in three separate transactions of one per cent each from Libra Chairman M.H. Kalimullah, CEO Lim Kian Onn and COO Chua Ming Huat?
Is Khairy seriously suggesting that bumiputras who dispose of equity purchased from non-bumiputras are to be regarded as acting against Malay interests and the New Economic Policy, and that shares acquired by bumiputras from non-Malays must never be sold to non-Malays?
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman