Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali said today that he will settle debt owed to a travel agency, if there are outstanding bills. His statement was an admission that he and his families had indeed travelled with “YHA Travel & Tours” but refused to pay, otherwise he would publicly deny – even condemn or threaten to sue – the travel agency for tarnishing his reputation.
On Nov 5, Sarawak Report, the same whistleblower who exposed former Prime Minister Najib Razak’s involvement in the multi-billion-dollar 1MDB scandal, published a court lawsuit stating that Azmin had refused to pay the bills for his family holidays. The unpaid travel bills, amounting to RM328,901, were for trips made between Sept 10, 2018 and Aug 5 this year – included the notorious Sandakan trip.
In the writ of summons, YHA Travel & Tours said – “Despite repeated demand of payments by the plaintiff and/or its representative from the defendant and/or his representative, the aggregate amount has not been forthcoming even though the claimed sum was never disputed.” The outstanding bills were accumulated over a series of business/first class flights across the world.
Mr. Azmin said – “If I’m in debt, I will pay; it’s my responsibility. I have not seen the summons writ. I have asked my officers to look into the matter.” That statement alone raises two red flags. First, the minister appears to be trying to twist and spin his refusal to pay by creating a perception that he wasn’t aware and probably had forgotten about the travelling bills.
However, in normal circumstances, a creditor like YHA Travel & Tours would exhaust all avenues before resorting to lawsuit to recover their debts. So, it’s safe to presume that the travel agency had indeed communicated numerous times with the Economic Affairs Minister using different communication methods but failed, as stated in the writ of summons.
Second, why did Azmin Ali say he has to ask his officers to verify the claims? Those outstanding bills were accrued for his family members’ holidaying in Morocco. Hence, they were personal – “not official” – expenses. To utilise government officers to manage and solve his personal financial matters is obviously tantamount to an abuse of power, resources and even taxpayers’ money.
Coincidentally, Ameer Azmin, eldest son of Azmin, posted a photo of the families of Azmin and Hishammuddin Hussein holidaying in Morocco last year. After the photo – with the caption “reunited after so long” – went viral in the social media, it was taken down. UMNO warlord Hishammuddin was the suspect traitor who would leave the party with 30 MPs to join PM Mahathir’s party (PPBM or Bersatu).
Hishammuddin, who is the cousin of disgraced ex-PM Najib now facing 42 charges of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust (CBT) and money laundering over 1MDB scandal, has since been exposed to be working with Azmin (a faction of PKR party) together with opposition PAS Islamist Party to create a new coalition government to be headed by Mahathir.
Not only was the outstanding bill of RM328,901 was spent on Azmin Ali’s six “adult” children and spouses on holiday, a staggering RM92,280.00 of the total bill was charged for flights enjoyed by the minister’s newlywed son Mohamed Ameer Shazrin Mohamed Azmin and his spouse Mazreen Shanim Shaheen during their travel to Marrakech, London and Geneva.
Interestingly, the unpaid travelling bills included the minister’s scandalous visit to Sandakan in May 2019 which matched the date where Muhammad Haziq Abdul Aziz had admitted to having “gay sex” with Azmin Ali. The explosive sex drama in the Four Points Sheraton Hotel room in Sandakan, Sabah on May 11, 2019 was consensual – according to Mr. Haziq.
Clearly, Azmin Ali had mixed business with pleasure during those trips. But the burning question is why the “responsible” minister didn’t settle his and his family’s travel bills? The amount of RM328,901 might look a lot to millions of ordinary Malaysians. However, any corrupt ministers of the previous Barisan Nasional government will laugh at such pathetic small sum of money.
The travel agency claims that it had a long-standing history of business relationship which spans approximately 20 years with the minister. In the past, Azmin, PKR deputy president, would normally settle his bills within three to four months. Sarawak Report revealed that the minister’s travelling bills have been in the region of one million Ringgit annually.
This time, however, Azmin has failed or refused to pay for his family trips to Marrakech, London, Jakarta, Gold Coast, Dubai, Geneva, Singapore, Bangkok, Barcelona, and Santorini. The YHA Travel & Tours claimed it had sent a first letter of demand to Azmin on Aug 27 and another on Sept 30, but received no response.
If Azmin had paid RM1 million in the past, he certainly can pay RM328,901 but deliberately refused to. On Nov 5, a Facebook belonging to Azmin’s PKR supporters “Pejabat Timbalan Setia” accused the travel company suing Economic Affairs Minister Azmin belonged to the father of one of those arrested over the Sandakan sex video clips which went viral early this year.
The Facebook page also uploaded a photograph of the alleged owner of YHA Travel & Tours with PKR president and prime minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim – suggesting that somehow Azmin has been victimised in the lawsuit. Still, it’s a lame excuse because the fact remains that as a minister, Mr. Azmin must set a role model and pays his outstanding debts promptly.
Hence, there could only be one reason. The bisexual minister Azmin most likely thought as the powerful Economic Affairs Minister, a portfolio specially created by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad for him, he could do what the corrupt ministers of the previous government did – abuse his position to the extent of refusing to pay for his family holidays.
Yes, the despicable Azmin probably believed that YHA Travel & Tours would not dare collect outstanding debts from him. More importantly, if the evil plan to form a new coalition government with PAS, UMNO, Bersatu and PKR (Azmin’s faction) succeeded, he could be promoted as the country’s new deputy prime minister, if not the prime minister.
By then, there would be dozens of crony wannabes queuing for projects and contracts from Azmin. In exchange, his RM300,000 outstanding bills would be settled automatically. Perhaps PM Mahathir should lecture his blue-eyed boy about the real meaning of “Malay dignity“. After all, it was the 94-year-old premier who slammed the Malays’ attitude of being untrustworthy and lazy.
Mahathir has often complained that he always chooses the wrong leader. At a campaigning rally in Kuala Lumpur on May 1, he apologised to the crowd – “The biggest mistake that I have made in my life is choosing Najib.” The words may sound familiar as he had expressed similar regrets about his immediate successor Abdullah Badawi, in the years after he stepped down.
After Badawi and Najib, it would be another huge mistake if Mahathir has plans to groom Azmin as his successor. Not only was Azmin Ali indulged in gay sex, the ambitious minister has started demonstrating untrustworthiness as a senior leader. It’s not an exaggeration to even suggest that he could be a bigger corrupt leader than Najib Razak.
In fact, his refusal to pay outstanding bills is comparable to Najib Razak’s disgraced in-law. Maira Nazarbayeva, the Kazakh woman whose son is married to the daughter of ex-PM Najib Razak, was exposed back in 2015 as the cheapskate thief who ordered a dozen of Hermes bags worth US$401,912.50 (£308,988; RM1.67 million) from Samilor Enterprises – but refused to pay.
In her attempt to recover the money owed, Samilor President Bella Belkin warned Maira Nazarbayev of legal action. Amazingly, not only Maira didn’t bother to pay or intimidated by the lawsuit threat, she reportedly threatened the business owner – “You know who my son is! He is son-in-law of the Prime Minister of Malaysia! I will hurt you and your family if you sue me!”
While Azmin did not throw Mahathir’s name to threaten the travel agency, both Azmin and Maira had refused to pay for their goods and services. It’s only now that Azmin promises to pay, after being sued by YHA Travel & Tours. Without the lawsuit and his shameful acts exposed by Sarawak Report, it would be hard to imagine how the company could recover its money.
Source : Finance Twitter