The Selangor Mentri Besar, Tan Sri Muhammad Taib, has still to clarify, reconcile or refute the Brisbane Courier Mail report of December 31, 1996 that the RM2.4 million cash for which he was arrested at the Brisbane International Airport on December 22 was "to purchase furniture and fittings for Muhammad’s new Gold Coast home" and that "A near-completed house at Sovereign Islands is built on land registered to Muhammad’s wife, Asbi Rohani binti Asnan" which was purchased in June last year for A$459,000.
Muhammad Taib’s silence is not good for the Selangor Mentri Besar, as the Brisbane Courier Mail report had give names, figures and places and even a photograph of the 740 sq.m "near-completed house at Sovereign Islands, Gold Coast" - although the Brisbane newspaper made the mistake of using the photograph of the Sarawak Chief Minister instead of that of the Selangor Mentri Besar.
If there is no basis whatsoever in the Brisbane Mail Courier report, Muhammad Taib could issue a denial and could even made money from suing the Australian newspaper for besmirching his good name, character and reputation.
A statement from Muhammad Taib is called for as the Brisbane Courier Mail contradicts the version he had given when he returned to Malaysia, claiming that the RM2.4 million belonged to his brothers and were for the purchase of property in Gold Coast, Brisbane meant for their children so that they have a place to stay when they go to Australia to further their studies.
The question is whether Muhammad Taib had not only misled the nation, but also the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and the UMNO Supreme Council
In this connection, the Anti-Corruption Agency should explain whether it would interrogate Muhammad Taib and send a team to Brisbane to check on the Brisbane Courier Mail report on the discrepancy of the Selangor Mentri Besar’s explanation on his RM2.4 million cash caper in Brisbane?
If the ACA does not have a copy of the Brisbane Courier Mail report, I am prepared to send it a copy.
The Cabinet should also explain whether it would discuss the Brisbane Courier Mail report on the discrepancy of Muhammad Taib’s explanation about the RM2.4 million cash caper in Brisbane.
This is because the Cabinet had previously set a precedent of discussing an Australian press report.
On January 16, 1994, the Australian Sunday Sydney Telegraph carried a report "Aussie Spies Bribe Asian MPs" with the preposterous allegation that Australian spies bribed "senior opposition politicians" with tens of thousands of dollars.
This Australian mass media report was made public in Malaysia after a Cabinet decision on 26th January 1994, which was followed by a witch-hunt against Opposition leaders involving not only Barisan Nasional leaders but also the police led by the then new Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Rahim Noor.
However, when on 3rd February 1994, the Canberra Times cleared the Malaysian opposition politicians and MPs of having received bribes from Australian spies, and pinpointed that it was the government politicians and UMNO leaders who had been recruited and bribed by the Australian spies, the whole issue was dropped like a hot ton of bricks.
If the Cabinet could discuss a baseless report like the Sunday Sydney Telegraph article of January 16, 1994, there is even more reason why it should discuss the Brisbane Courier Mail report of December 31, 1996 as it affects the national and international credibility of the Prime Minister and the government to declare war against money politics and corruption in high political places.