What Malaysians are saying

Inquiry Panel Defers Decision On Case Involving Jasin MP

From Bernama of May 25, 2006

PUTRAJAYA, May 25 (Bernama) -- The panel of four ministers conducting an inquiry into the actions of the Member of Parliament (MP) for Jasin, Datuk Mohd Said Yusuf, who is alleged to have interfered in the duties of the Royal Malaysia Customs over imported timber from Indonesia, has deferred making a decision on the case.
The panel, which was headed by Deputy Prime Minister and Barisan Nasional chief Whip in Parliament, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, took the step as it did not want to prejudice investigations by the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) and the police regarding the case.
"We have recorded all testimonies needed and decided that, because certain agencies are investigating the honourable MP from Jasin, it is not appropriate for us to make a decision and announce it now," Najib told a press conference at his office here Thursday.
He said: "Doing so (announcing a finding) could affect the investigations being conducted by the ACA and police. So, it's better for us to wait until their probes are completed and until then we are deferring making any decision on the matter relating to the Jasin MP."
Besides hearing what Mohd Said had to say, the panel also recorded statements from Melaka Customs director Md Hashim Pardi and an enforcement officer from the department in separate sessions. The overall inquiry lasted about 90 minutes.
The other members in the panel were Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy, Works Minister Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Aziz. They are the BN's deputy Whips.
Mohd Said is said to have asked an officer from the agency "to close one eye" on an illegal consignment of logs that had been brought in from Indonesia by a timber importer friend.
The Customs officer involved was reported to have refused to do so.
Asked whether Mohd Said had given a satisfactory explanation about the extent of his involvement in the case, Najib said: "If I say satisfactory, then you might conclude certain things.
"So I don't want to say more than what I've already said. Suffice to say that we have gathered all the relevant facts and information relating to it."
Queried on what would be the worst-case scenario for the MP, Najib shot back that people should not speculate.
When pressed further, he said: "If we were to make a decision, say we suspend him or find that he did not commit any wrong, it will have a bearing on the ACA's investigation later.
"So it is not proper for this panel to pre-empt the investigations that are being done."
Mohd Said was swamped by reporters when he emerged from the inquiry at lunchtime while making his way to his car parked near the security post leading to the Prime Minister's office complex.
Having appeared in a jovial mood before he went into the building earlier, Mohd Said looked sullen and did not want to give any comment about the inquiry to the reporters pursuing him.
Later in KUALA LUMPUR, Mohd Said, when approached by reporters while taking lunch with two friends at a hotel, declined to reveal what transpired at the inquiry in Putrajaya and asked to be left alone.
Upon leaving the hotel, he told waiting reporters: "I was called to attend the inquiry, Alhamdulillah I have attended it," without commenting any further.

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Background stories:
1. PM supports code of ethics for MPs
2. The focus is on the wrong man: Comment by Brendan Pereira
3. Quibbling MPs bypass "close one eye" issue
4. Jasin MP Mohd Said admits owning Binyu Sof