Why Sultan of Terengganu does not like Idris Jusoh
An excerpt from Malaysia Today…
Why Sultan of Terengganu does not like Idris Jusoh
One thing that Malaysia Today would like to raise is the matter of Terengganu’s oil royalty which we hope Mahathir will address on 28 July. Since the mid-1970s, Terengganu had been enjoying a 5% royalty on all the oil and gas extracted in the state. That is what is provided for under the Petroleum Development Act. In fact, not only Terengganu, but any state in Malaysia where oil and gas is extracted they would enjoy the same. However, in 2000, this royalty was withdrawn and converted to Wang Ehsan (goodwill money). Suddenly, the RM800 million or so a year that Terengganu was supposed to get as its 5% share of the oil and gas revenue was transferred out of the state and into the hands of one man, Idris Jusoh.
Malaysia was then already suffering from an outbreak of JE. But in Terengganu it was JE of another kind, Jusoh Enterprise, Idris Jusoh’s family business. Jusoh Enterprise or JE was suddenly flush with funds, RM800 million a year to be exact. Then, in 2004, Umno, under the
stewardship of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, won back the state from the opposition. But the state did not win back its 5% oil royalty. The Wang Ehsan continued and Idris Jusoh, who now became the Chief Minister, continued to single-handedly manage the fund. Even the State Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) and the Terengganu State Economic Planning Unit (UPENT) were left totally in the dark. One man, Idris Jusoh, decided how the money was spent, and it is a lot of money.
But the new Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, would not tolerate one man managing the state’s coffers. He wanted Idris Jusoh’s hands out of the RM800 million a year cash box. However, to revert to the 5% royalty only meant that the money would come directly under state control. That would not serve their purpose. They wanted direct control of the RM800 million. Now it was under the control of the Prime Minister’s Department but passed down to Idris Jusoh’s hands. What they needed to do was to get Idris Jusoh’s hands out of the equation.
Then Khairy Jamaluddin, Abdullah’s son-in-law cum adviser, came out with a fantastic new ‘umbrella concept’, better than even Mahathir’s. They wanted control of the RM800 million a year. But they did not want to get it out of Idris Jusoh’s hands by putting it into the hands of the state. That would merely be a case of out of the frying pan, into the fire. They wanted direct control of the money without Idris Jusoh deciding on how the money is spent.
And this is how they did it.
First they appointed Wan Farid, Khairy’s ‘running dog’, as Abdullah’s Political Secretary. Then they appointed Wan Hisham, Wan Farid’s brother, as the State Exco Member in-charge of tourism. Then they gave Patrick Lim, Khairy’s business partner, the sole monopoly of all state tourism projects. Now the network is intact and Idris Jusoh has been
Patrick Lim’s job is to create all sorts of state tourism projects at hugely inflated prices. He would then propose these projects to Wan Hisham, the man in-charge of tourism. Wan Hisham would then pass them on to his brother, Wan Farid. Wan Farid would then pass them on to Khairy. Idris Jusoh would of course be left out of the loop and he would only know about them when it was a fait accompli — as the Malays would say, “Nasi sudah jadi bubur.”
They built 30 houses at RM1 million each on an island in the Terengganu River. They launched a RM300 million a year yacht race called the Monsoon Cup. Hundreds of millions a year is being spent to ‘attract tourists to Terengganu’. It seems this year the amount of Wang Ehsan has shot up from RM800 million to RM1 billion — so there is even more money to play around with.
To ensure that Idris Jusoh keeps his hands out of the cash box, Abdullah himself chairs the state meetings though he is the Prime Minister and not the Terengganu Chief Minister. Of course, Idris Jusoh, being the Chief Minister, is allowed to sit in on these meetings though he has no say on what they propose. Patrick Lim, though he is not in the government, is also allowed to attend these meetings.
Abdullah would then propose all sorts of tourism projects conjured by Wan Hisham, Wan Farid and Khairy. Details are of course not discussed; only the gist of things and the amounts involved. Whenever Idris Jusoh raises any questions, he would be told to ‘leave it all to Patrick Lim who knows what to do’. Idris Jusoh is not to involve himself in the details.
After awhile Idris Jusoh got quite pissed and tried to resist. One project that he knew nothing about was placed before him and he was told by Patrick Lim to sign the papers. But how could he sign the papers when he knew nothing about it and would eventually have to bear responsibility for it?
Patrick Lim walked out of Idris Jusoh’s office and phoned Wan Farid who complained to Khairy. Within an hour Idris Jusoh received a phone call from Abdullah who ordered him to sign the papers, which he of course did straight away.
Patrick Lim’s hold on Abdullah was apparent to all but somehow not to Idris Jusoh. One day Abdullah visited Terengganu to chair the regular meetings on how to spend Terengganu’s RM800 million (which is now RM1 billion because of the increase in oil prices). Idris Jusoh fetched Abdullah from the airport but before his car could move Patrick Lim’s car cut in front of Idris Jusoh’s car and Abdullah got out of Idris Jusoh’s car and got into Patrick Lim’s car. Idris Jusoh should have realised then who really runs Terengganu.
Yes, RM1 billion a year is a lot of money. This money, which should belong to Terengganu, is not going to the state. It is going to Wan Hisham, Wan Farid, Patrick Lim and Khairy. And Abdullah chairs the state meetings to decide how the money is spent. And Wan Hisham, Wan Farid, Patrick Lim and Khairy help spend the money. And they spend it all. And Idris Jusoh has no say in how it is spent. And if he refuses to sign the papers he will get a phone call from Abdullah.
Now do you know who runs this country? Abdullah says he and not his son-in-law runs this country. Idris Jusoh however will tell you that Khairy runs this country. And Khairy also runs Terengganu and manages its RM1 billion a year through Wan Hisham, Wan Farid and Patrick Lim. And Abdullah chairs the Terengganu State meetings on behalf of Khairy
and according to the plan on how Patrick Lim wishes to spend the RM1 billion a year.
And now do you know why Mahathir is so pissed? And he has every reason to be pissed. In fact, I too am pissed. And that is why I agree that Mahathir stays pissed with Abdullah and his son-in-law. The Terengganu issue alone is enough for me to get pissed. And rest assured that Terengganu is but the tip of the iceberg.
Yes, it is nice being able to walk in the corridors of power. And much can you do when you walk in the corridors of power. And RM1 billion a year is nice to manage if you have that power to do so. And when you walk in the corridors of power you would of course have that power.
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