Thursday, February 23, 2017

Madinah's presence at Umno do raises eyebrows

Shakira Buang     Published     Updated
PKR has questioned if newly appointed auditor-general Madinah Mohamad's presence at several Umno functions have compromised her independence.

Party communications director Fahmi Fadzil today produced photographs depicting Madinah at several Umno-linked events and posed this question.

Madinah's husband Rizuan Abdul Hamid is the Kepong Umno division head.

"I feel it is necessary to ask this question, especially after looking at media reports mentioning Madinah.

"In the reports, she and other guests were photographed in front of several mock cheques with the Umno logo in Permatang Pauh," Fahmi said at a press conference at the PKR headquarters today.
He said the matter raised the question of whether a senior government official should attend political programmes, what more to pose for photographs with party logos.
Madinah (photo) was secretary-general of the Education Ministry at the material time.

Opposition and civil society figures have been constantly questioning Madinah's qualifications and independence after she took over as auditor-general from Ambrin Buang.

Her husband had once told the Umno annual assembly that he was willing to "die" for Najib and that the prime minister had once tried to help him avoid bankruptcy.

In a report in April last year, The Star said Madinah, as Education Ministry secretary-general, attended the launch of a Permatang Pauh Umno funded programme on "Steering youths from drug abuse".

And on Jan 3, Umno-owned daily Utusan Malaysia reproted that Madinah launched a programme for the distribution of aid to students by Yayasan Kepong, along with her husband.

"Yayasan Kepong is an proxy of Kepong Umno, as can be seen in the Facebook pages of Taman Kepong Umno branch and the blog Sangkakalajari.

'Auditor-general must be neutral'

"For me, while she already retired as Education Ministry secretary-general, her being there to open her husband's programme raises questions.

"An auditor-general must be independent, neutral and cannot be seen to be partisan," Fahmi said.

As such, Fahmi said that for the sake of the integrity of Malaysia’s parliamentary democracy, Madinah must disclose whether she is or was an Umno member.

If she is still an Umno member, Fahmi said, Madinah should let go of all her posts and membership in the party.

"Yes, I think this must be done," he said.
Being an Umno member, Fahmi added, would only add on to other concerns about Madinah, including her lack of background in auditing and experience in financial matters.
Also weighing in on the matter, lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla alleged that Madinah's appointment was a desperate act by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Haniff went on to accuse Najib of continuing to appoint individuals seen to be partial to him to crucial official posts as a means to shore up his own position.

This, he argued, would only further scar Najib’s credibility as the prime minister.

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