Following a police report issued by a Selangor based contractor named Haizal bin Hanif last week, Sarawak Report has been passed an extensive dossier containing what appears to be significant new evidence relating to a scandal that broke in July 2019 over alleged multi-million ringgit kickbacks paid in return for a major ‘direct nego’ development project, supposedly in a joint venture with the state government.
The courts have concluded the so-called Salak Tinggi housing project, involving 100 acres and projected to be worth RM600 million, was a fraudulent scheme that had not in fact been authorised by the state government as believed by the developer.
However, the evidence, if true, indicates that many senior political figures, including the former MB Azmin Ali, were seeking to push through the project from as early as 2016 in return for purported political donations.
In one of the sms texts submitted to the police, which appears to be sent from a known phone number of Azmin Ali, those payments are referred to as “commissions”.
“After completing the business, it is necessary to establish a company pns to keep the commissions and related matters. This work will make all our affairs easier after this. Inform Haizal of my assurance as Menteri Besar, he will certainly believe in me.” [4/5/2018 – translated]
Haizal’s company, Unijaya Teknologi Sdn Bhd, and a later partner in the project KT Lee claim to have invested over RM8 million in the supposed joint venture with the Selangor state entity PNSB ((Permodolan Negeri Selangor Berhad) before it was brought to a close under the present Menteri Besar Amiruddin Shari.
It is claimed much of that cash was indeed diverted into alleged party political donations, and in his police report Haizal bin Hanif, has for the first time publicly claimed that several players from what he describes as the “Azmin cartel” linked to the previous MB, Azmin Ali, were directly involved in soliciting that money.
Extensive text messages and documentation have been passed to Sarawak Report to support that claim, including signed agreements stamped by the MB’s office and registered by the courts.
There is no dispute that a fraud of some nature took place. Yet, so far, the extent of the deceit has been minimalised with just one junior political associate of the former PKR state leader, named Mohammad bin Khushiari, having been found guilty and punished for admitting to ‘impersonating’ Azmin’s successor, Amirudin Shari, as he apparently attempted to push through the completion of the deal after two years of delay in July 2019.
This was in the face of objections by the PNSB Board of Directors, led by the late CEO, Ahmad Omar, who had been resisting the project for some time and had, unbeknown to the developers, filed several reports to the police denouncing the proposed joint venture as illegal.
However, the matter was swiftly adjudicated without coming to trial leaving the extent of the fraud and much of the purported evidence unpublicised at the expense of the developers, who say they were led to believe by communications shown to them from the highest levels that the project had been given the green light, subject to the required backhanders which they committed to pay.
If true, and the weight of evidence in the form of multiple sourced text messages and documents is compelling, the complaint raises challenging questions for Azmin Ali, now re-elected the leader of Selangor’s Bersatu/PN coalition, and two of his fellow candidates in the recent elections.
For example, one key schedule which formed part of the purported joint venture agreement signed in April 2018 (revised in August), committed the developers into transferring a total of over RM45 million in staged payments into an alleged subsidiary of Selangor’s state entity PNSB (Permodolan Negeri Selangor Berhad) with the misleading name PNS Supplies and Services (PNSS).
Simple company checks show however that PNS Supplies & Services, despite the misleading name had nothing to do with PNSB and was in fact a sole trader owned by none other than Mohammad bin Khushairi.
Moreover, the company was not even incorporated till 18th May 2018 over a month after the above joint venture agreement was sent to be signed by Unijaya on April 4th.
This lends significance to the text cited above of 4th May, allegedly from Azmin and then bluetoothed from Mohammad’s phone, telling him to open a company under that name to receive commissions.
Haizal had sent the first scheduled cheque for a RM250,000 ‘deposit’ shortly after the agreement was signed on April 10th. This was not cleared until 8th June, he says, by which time the company had at last been created and a bank account then opened.
The developer has told Sarawak Report that the sequence illustrates how Mohammad was merely a ‘middleman’ on the deal carrying out such requests. The bank account was allegedly not controlled by him.
Haizal, who claims he kept meticulous records, has provided further evidence which he claims shows that Mohammad was passing on requests for money on behalf of more senior political figures who gave instructions as to which accounts non-cash payments should be sent to.
Haizal had accepted that these payments were part of the ‘political arrangement’ necessary to secure the contract which in his police report he says was presented to him by a separate intermediary in 2016.
It was an opportunity for a ‘direct nego’ arrangement, contrary to the open tender contracts he had been used to competing for in Selangor, he says, and that the intermediary had instructed him to work through Mohammad as a trusted member of the close knit circle around Azmin.
Nonetheless, he and the fellow developer KT Lee (brought in at a later stage to complete the site) became concerned about the obvious situation that PNS Supplies and Services was a brand new vehicle plainly owned by Mohammad and not PNSB.
After paying the second check of RM1 million on August 8th they demanded matters be better regularised and agreed to sign a revised agreement on 20th August that cited another publicly acknowledged subsidiary of PNSB as the recipient of the scheduled payments in place of PNS Supplies and Services Sdn Bhd.
This was the similarly named PNSB Supplies and Services Sdn Bhd which had been publicly declared on Selangor government websites as being a 100% subsidiary for some years.
Nonetheless, research by Sarawak Report has ascertained that, although this 100% ownership was cited on several platforms at this time, ROC records show that the company has always been privately owned by a former YB, Dr Abdul Rani bin Osman (recently deceased) together with two further female shareholders.
In fact, the entity was focused on dialysis services that were apparently being supported by the Government, according to news reports.
It was to this apparently unrelated company with little to do with property development that the remaining millions were now scheduled to be paid, raising further questions.
Other companies also listed as 100% owned by PNSB by contrast have all their shares registered as being owned by the state entity and not private individuals, for example PNSB Trading.
It is noted that a year later in July 2019, shortly after the scandal broke over the allegedly fake contract and the impersonation by Mohammad, PNSB Supplies and Services Sdn Bhd appears to have been abruptly removed from all websites linked to PNSB.
Following the legal action by PNSB against Mohammad and and the developers, denying the contract was legitimate, neither the ‘deposit’ of RM250,000 nor the ‘first phase’ of RM1,000,000 were ever repaid.
Haizal claims in his police report that he was approached for the contract just before the Sarawak state election in 2016 and then immediately asked for donations for the PKR effort in those elections which were managed by Azmin Ali for PKR.
He then claims that several more payments were made to Mohammad in cash and through bank transfers for alleged political purposes on behalf of the ‘Azmin cartel’ for the next three years.
This was against a background of growing delays (apparently owing to the pushback by the PNSB Board) until the project collapsed in July 2019 during the height of the scandal that subsumed the by then federal Economics Minister over alleged videos taken in Sandakan by his former aide Haziq.
It was while Azmin struggled to re-establish himself, claims Haizal, that the faltering project in Selangor was finally chopped.
By then the donations had amounted to over RM2.3 million, says the developer. They included money to support the Sarawak State election campaign in 2016; RM116,000 to fund celebrations for the birthday of the Sultan in 2017; RM50,000 for the Karnival Himpunan Rakyat in Shah Alam in 2018 and RM75,000 for party’s relief efforts after the flooding disaster of 2017.
There were also the ‘scheduled payments’ of RM1.25 million and several million expended on preparing the site and proposed development.
The strange affair of this ‘non-existent’ and yet apparently highly disputed joint venture in Selangor first hit the headlines in July 2019, before being swiftly brought to a close as if no one linked to the state had had the slightest involvement.
On 8th July, 26 year old Mohammad bin Mohd Khushairi, whom Haizal claims was the middleman on the deal was arrested.
Mohammad had previously acted as a political secretary to the Port Klang assemblyman Azmizam Zaman Huri and was recognised by the developer to be part of the so-called ‘Azmin cartel’ of close insiders.
Mohammad was charged for supposedly impersonating the new MB, Amiruddin Shari, whilst trying to push through the Salak Tinggi joint venture after it was rejected by the board of PNSB.
Selangor officials had reported his ‘suspicious calls’, seeking to fix meetings in the name of the MB, to the police who took him into custody and charged him in a blaze of publicity.
The police then arrested two of the developers, including Haizal, before letting them go on the grounds they had been deceived by the young man into parting with their cash for false (if corrupt) promises and on the basis of fraudulent documents – which included the alleged Joint Venture Agreements and a Power of Attorney over the relevant land, apparently signed by the MB and state secretary.
As the news coverage made clear, such a complex criminal act by Mohammad ought to have been expected to produce a severe punishment.
According to Bernama news agency “the suspect was charged at the Sepang Magistrate’s Court here today under Section 419 of the Penal Code for cheating by using an alias. Convicted, he could be jailed for up to seven years, or fined, or both.”
However, despite the enormous sums involved and protracted and sophisticated nature of the alleged fraud, the young man returned to the court within a week to plead guilty merely to the charge of ‘impersonation’ upon which he was fined just RM3,000 and set free.
At the time Azmin was still the powerful Economics Minister under the Mahathir government, although the incident took place at a time of when that power was compromised during the height of the so-called Sandakan scandal that had threatened to unseat him (thanks to an alleged video in which the minister’s male assistant, named Haziq, claimed they were both featured).
A text seen by Sarawak Report, allegedly sent from Azmin to Mohammad and dated 16th July 2019, indicates that the powerful politician recognised he had temporarily lost control of events but promised he would find a solution to the Salak Tinggi problem “after all issues are sorted about the stupid Haziq.”
The text continues “I will be promoted to be DPM (Deputy Prime Minister?) ..you guys will enjoy it later. Don’t get angry too soon” [translation].
However, the problem was not solved, Azmin did not become DPM and following the settlement of the criminal impersonation case the developers were swiftly pursued by the Selangor officials attached to PNSB (who had been opposed to the arrangement all along) to drop all claims and surrender all their documents on the grounds it was a bogus project.
The developers refused owing to the amounts they had paid out (KT Lee had invested a further RM 3.8 million in preparation costs) and their belief that the signed documents were genuine. Also they believed that they had clear evidence that Mohammad was indeed acting as a ‘middleman’ for several members of the ‘Azmin cartel’ who had initiated the project before Azmin moved to the federal government post GE14.
The ‘joint venture agreement’ dated 20.8.2018, regarding Lot PN 31844 Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi, Sepang District, matched the specifications of an earlier letter sent allegedly by the then MB, Azmin Ali, to the Selangor state secretary 7th June 2017 which was also copied to the developer.
Was this all a highly elaborate hoax by the young man or a genuine scheme to push through the development by powerful figures, albeit opposed by the then CEO of PNSB?
Not only do the developers believe these documents were genuine and signed but there was a later Power of Attorney (POA) that had also been signed and registered to enable the contractors to manage the development of the land that belonged to the state.
The POA was apparently signed by a director of PNSB, the new MB of Selangor and witnessed by a lawyer who also had party political connections, Mohd Radzlan Jalaludin.
Radzlan was also the lawyer to Mohammad Kushairi, according to texts allegedly sent by Azmin’s political aide Hilman Idam and seen by Sarawak Report.
The developers further understood that Radzlan was acting as the lawyer for PNSB in drawing up their side of the Joint Venture. This likewise was seemingly confirmed by Hilman.
Unijaya’s own lawyers then registered the POA with the court having satisfied themselves that the documents were correct as they had been registered by the Land Registry and because they said Radzlan himself had confirmed the matter in a call to the legal team.
Radzlan Jalaludin is a close political ally of Azmin Ali. He himself stood in the recent state elections as a Bersatu candidate under the PN coalition led by Azmin. Sarawak Report has asked for his comment on whether he drew up and witnessed this POA or whether it was fake.
We have also asked Radzlan if a letter headed as being from the MB’s office and sent inviting the developers to a planned meeting on 11th July 2019 to resolve the outstanding issues and major delays (since permissions were not being given by PNSB board and therefore the next scheduled payment of RM5 million was being withheld by Haizal) was likewise genuine or fraudulent?
The developers were arrested on the day before that meeting on the grounds it was fraudulently set up by Mohammad. However, Sarawak Report has seen a WhatsApp text (right) purported to be from Radzlan in which the letter was attached to Haizal (letter below).
Was this merely an instance of impersonation by Mohammad involving nobody else and did he really created such elaborately forged documents to stand up his story?
Or have the developers made it all up despite having cashed millions in cheques through their bank? Or were others involved?
Sarawak Report has sent questions to Radzlan, Hillman, Mohammad and Azmin and have not immediately received replies. We will publish any responses forthcoming.
Since the developers refused to surrender their claim to the land granted by the ‘joint venture project’, PNSB took them to court claiming all the documents and signatures were fake.
Mohammad’s impersonation plea having been accepted in 2019, a High Court judge eventually agreed with that claim, in 2021.
He found in favour of the state body without the matter even going to trial.
Haizal, as the manager of Unijaya Teknologi felt short-changed and appealed:
“Our lawyers were concerned as there was no opportunity to examine the evidence at trial. We had no chance to bring witnesses or handwriting and forensic experts. They just dismissed our evidence”
Notwithstanding, the Court of Appeal upheld the decision last year agreeing with the relevant PNSB subsidiary, Selangor State Capital Limited, which had stated that “the Joint Venture Agreement and the Power of Attorney are invalid, fake and never signed by the Plaintiff’s representative” and were therefore “invalid, not certified and legally void”.
The developers have therefore lost their investment and had to pay the costs of the action to the state government. All their documentation was dismissed in advance of any trial (and therefore not scrutinised) on the basis that the entire arrangement was a fake, cunningly put together by the 26 year old Mohammad who had pleaded guilty to impersonation over this masterplan, which netted him millions but resulted in only a minimal fine from the court.
Given the unfavourable court rulings the injured developer, Haizal Hanif has told Sarawak Report he decided to bide his time, not least because until the last general election the company considered that it faced powerful forces with Azmin Ali holding senior ministerial posts in the post-March 2020 PN/BN governments.
It is owing to the return of the PH government, says Haizal, that he has taken the decision to bring his full evidence of alleged wider collusion to the authorities. He claims his dossier will demonstrate Mohammad was not acting on his own but on behalf of the senior party figures who he claimed throughout were messaging and instructing him on how to handle the joint venture, including passing bank account details for where payments should be made.
Sarawak Report has now sighted a large number of these texts allegedly sent between the parties. Haizal claims he kept meticulous records of all communications through his office and that although the police wiped his phone at the time he was arrested he already had copies taken.
There was also subsequent messages which he alleges were sent after his release, which he has passed to Sarawak Report. If genuine (and the mobile numbers are attached) the SMS and WhatsApp texts appear to support the claim that Mohammad was taking instructions from Azmin himself and the lawyer Radzlan Jalaludin, and also Azmin’s close aide Hillman Idham.
These include several messages from Azmin that Mohammad purportedly shared from his phone late at night on 20th July 2019 with Haizal, shortly after his own criminal conviction (on July 16th) and just as the legal dispute was starting between the developers and the state government.
On July 18th the Selangor state government had issued a summons against the developers and it was this that caused Mohammad, to open a text communication with
Azmin Ali on his known mobile number in front of Haizal, the developer alleges.
Mohammad did this in order to reassure Haizal that he had the highest backing and that matters would be dealt with.
“If it explodes I don’t know what to do. Go to court we will all die” reads one of the texts which Haizal says Mohammad sent in his presence to Azmin Ali that night.
Sarawak Report has seen further screenshots from this alleged night time correspondence with Azmin and also of earlier chats from the previous days and months from the same handphone which were blue toothed to him on this occasion.
The messages show Azmin’s name and number, plus the date and time of the text conversations.
The alleged conversation thread translates as follows:
[Mohammad] (Mon 15th July after pleading guilty and being released):
I was arrested. 8 days..why/what did you do, Boss ?
[Azmin Ali] (Tuesday 16th July)
Next week, we (I) will meet you bring Haizal together. Last time I was locked under ISA for years. Tuesday or Wednesday after all issues are sorted about the stupid Haziq. After the Raja Haji Festival, I will be promoted to be TPM (Deputy Prime Minister?) ..you guys will enjoy it later. Don’t get angry too soon.
[Mohammad] (Saturday 20th July – 23.52 in Haizal’s presence) Hello boss. Saifuddin and co sue us? how do we solve this? If it explodes I don’t know what to do. Go to court we will all die. I answered honestly.
[Azmin Ali] (25 minutes ago) Peace be upon you. Done before Hajj. What suit?
[Mohammad] (22 minutes ago) PNSB used Lawyer Saifudin to send a notice of summons to Unijaya’s lawyers regarding the Salak Tinggi Case. What story I am not sure. Hope the boss can see that this is important. Monday We take the suit.
[Azmin Ali] (19 minutes ago) I will call tomorrow to get accurate information. See you next week
As detailed, that same evening Mohammad also allegedly screen-saved and blue-toothed copies of earlier text exchanges with Azmin relating to Haizal, the alleged project and the alleged donations which the two men had viewed on Mohammad’s phone.
According to these ‘saved texts’ viewed by Sarawak Report, for example, Azmin had allegedly texted on Friday 8 December 2017:
See you soon.
Assalamualiakum… please request help from brother Haizal immediately to sort out the cost of RM 116,000. Let him know that I’ll owe him one/be indebted to him if he helps me this time
Then on Sunday 18 February 2018 Azmin had allegedly texted Mohammad extensive details on how to proceed with the project:
[Azmin Ali] See you soon.
1) Land Ownership Exchange must be completed by the end of March
2) Land grant Officials have agreed to combine the two lots
1.They will complete/finalise with PTG Federal this week
3) Permanent ownership status land. The concept of developers buying land and jointly develop the land for redemption of land liability.
4) There is no need for the “SelangorKu” house. Make it a Technological and Islamic development.
5) Make corrections to the summary proposal and send it before 27/2
6) Submit the copy of the agreement on 28/2
7) Pay the deposit then, change the name. Continue KM efforts at the beginning of month 4
Yet more texts passed to Sarawak Report include a message on Wed 14 March 2018 – 11.51, again allegedly from Azmin, that says “Please inform brother Haizal that my Umrah dates are from April 14 to April 21. Secondly, we decided he’ll donate to the Himpunan Rakyat Carnival this Saturday. Ask him to donate RM50,000 and I want tomorrow before 2.00pm“
On Monday 19th March 2018 – 21.28 another text says “Please enter cash 500k account number XXXXXXXXXXXXX YYY Bank using International Monday transfer.”
To which Mohammad replied on Weds 21 March 2018 “The money has come in, boss”.
Then on Friday 4th May 2018 just before GE 14 Mohammad allegedly texted “Assalamualaikum Boss. I have received many complaints and insistencefrom Mr. Haizal about the status of this work. What’s the status ?
To which Azmin is seen to reply in the manner shown earlier that directly explained a scheme for setting up a fake subsidiary of PNSB to skim backhanders out of the project: “After completing the business, it is necessary to establish a company pns to keep the commissions and related matters. This work will make all our affairs easier after this. Inform Haizal of my assurance as Menteri Besar, he will certainly believe in me.”
Later, on Thursday 10 May 2018, Azmin allegedly followed up on this matter with another text:
“Let Haizal know (he) need not worry about anything, I can help. Provide money for the elections, I want to be the TPM (Deputy PM).”
Mohammad’s motive in later passing these and other texts was apparently to reassure Haizal that the matter was in hand and that 26 year old Mohammad was supported by the powerful figures he had always claimed were behind the project.
Police will have to determine now if that was a fiendish deception, or if Haizal is the fiendish deceiver or whether there is truth in these claims.
If the material is genuine the implication is that Azmin was either complicit in the extortion of these donations or failed to control very junior people in his party who were using his reputation to extort developers for money.
Likewise, the former PKR party lawyer and later Bersatu candidate Radzlan Jalaludin, was also cited as representing both PNSB and Mohammad in another text
exchange which allegedly took place between Haizal and Hilman Idham, a close Azmin ally, after Mohammad’s incarceration on July 10th 2019.
Haizal apparently reached out to Hillman seeking help and an explanation as to what was going on. In response, Hillman expressed shock that Mohammad had ‘used his name’ to promote the contract but suggested Haizal contact the lawyer Radzlan to find out more:
“it’s better to go see Hidayat [official aide]. He can help. If not, see Radzlan, the PNSB lawyer. He is more efficient….
What I know is he [Mohammad] belongs to the Kota Raja youth gang. I was shocked when I was told that Mohammad used my name. But Radzlan is more familiar with Mohd, because Radzlan was once his lawyer. I suggest you meet Radzlan and tell him the problem about Mohd. Radzlan may know how to solve it. Radzlan is also my lawyer. So don’t worry. I will also let him know.” [translation]
In the event, as we know, matters were not solved for the developers and the project failed to be resurrected despite the apparent reassurances given in July 2019.
The scandal involving “silly Haziq” was swiftly closed down by the then IGP on July 19th, on the grounds the video was unverified. However, Azmin was not made Deputy PM and Haizal claims that projects such as this, which dated back to when Azmin was MB in Selangor had already started to unwind after he left that position.
Matters had come to a head as it became clear that Mohammad was failing to deliver on the promises of the past three years to set the project in motion with the management of PNSB, who were resisting the project under Ahmad Omar.
Mohammad started to pressure Azmin to help deal with the frustrated Haizal, according to the alleged text conversations.
On (Saturday 23 March 2019 – he allegedly texted “Boss Haizal asked about the status of everything because he has given us several millions to us. [he asks] why is it that our department has not helped him?”
Then again, later that night: “boss call me emergency. KT Lee threatened to sue because the project is not progressing. The boss has been asking for this help for two years.”
To which Azmin allegedly replied on Sunday afternoon: “Until Ahmad Omar [ex-MB and former CEO of PNSB] retreats, you hold Haizal. Make proper arrangements. If you go in, it will be hard for everyone to work. We are not lying, just give us time. We will take care of everything. Let it be slow as long as it’s safe.”
I would appear that later happened a desperate Mohammad had tried to fix the project behind the back of PNSB and got caught, leading to the showdown in July.
As detailed Sarawak Report has approached Azmin Ali, Radzlan, Hillman and Mohammad on the contacts we have available for their comments on these alleged interchanges which we are now informed have been passed to the authorities as part of the police report submitted by Haizal bin Hanif.
They have not immediately responded and may not for whatever reasons have received our notice. We will publish any responses we do receive.