Raja Petra also claims that more are involved in the RM40 million scandal - including the home minister, attorney-general and a Cabinet minister.
PETALING JAYA: Timber scandals in Sabah, particularly the recent one involving a RM40 million “donation”, may cost Barisan Nasional the state, claimed Raja Petra Kamarudin today.
The editor of the Malaysia Today blog, in his latest posting “The timber mafia is larger than you suspect”, also claimed that there were more people involved in the “untold story” of timber commissions scandal and it was not just limited to businessman Michael Chia and Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman.
“The likelihood of half the parliamentary seats in Sabah falling to the opposition is not an impossible scenario. And if that happens then the state can fall as well. That is how serious this matter has become,” he said.
He said that BN could lose at least 10 of the 25 Parliamentary seats in Sabah to the opposition, while three other seats — Kota Belud, Ranau and Papar — would be “close fights and could go either way”.
The10 seats he mentioned were: Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Tawau, Sipanggar, Penampang, Beaufort, Keningau, Pensiangan, Tuaran and Kota Marudu.
“If Pakatan Rakyat is clever and if they know the correct way in playing up this issue, Sabah may fall and they might even win enough parliamentary seats to march into Putrajaya. My concern is that Pakatan will instead fight amongst themselves over seat allocations, which will allow BN to retain Sabah, ” he said.
Will Musa be replaced?
Raja Petra predicted that with the scandal still brewing hot, the current chief minister’s position has become unstable and Umno may have to replace Musa as the Sabah Umno chief to appease voters.
He said that his website had published articles about the timber scandals involving Musa and others since 2004, but many are still unaware of the extent of the alleged corruption.
“Sabah Umno gives out timber concessions to its cronies and warlords at way below market price (or underpriced) and it collects a commission (or kickbacks) on the export of logs, mainly to Japan.
“The money, however, is paid in Hong Kong. And note that there is no open tender for giving out timber concessions. It is all done on a ‘negotiated’ basis and awarded to the lowest bidder that offers the highest under-the-table ‘commission’,” he alleged.
He claimed that after Chia was caught in Hong Kong in 2008 and the story “exploded”, the Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail and Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein went to Hong Kong to try to “settle” the matter with the Chinese authorities.
“Gani and Hishammuddin told the ICAC that the money actually belongs to Umno and that Chia was only the courier or bagman for Umno,” alleged Raja Petra.
He further alleged that the ICAC, in return, told the “official Malaysian delegation” that they were going to freeze the money, but for only three years.
Raja Petra also alleged that Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz was also involved.
“Chia met Nazri in Parliament to hand over RM3 million in cash as the ‘fee’ for the latter to help the former resolve this matter.
“And that flashy car that Nazri’s son drives actually belongs to Chia,” alleged Raja Petra.
FMT could not reach Hishammuddin, Gani, and Nazri for comment.