KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic) says he is not afraid if anti-corruption officers investigate him over allegations that his family members profited from the trafficking of Nepali migrant workers.
“I am not afraid and ready to be investigated,” said the former deputy prime minister.
“I am ready to be shown evidence that I was said to have been involved or had abused my power or that any of my family members were involved,” he told reporters at Parliament lobby yesterday.
Dr Ahmad Zahid was responding to a news report by Nepali Times which claimed that “high-level politicians in Nepal and former Malaysian officials and their family members were involved in looting more than RM185mil (Rs5bil) over the past five years from vulnerable Nepali migrant workers desperate to seek work in Malaysia”.
The report stated that Dr Ahmad Zahid, who was the former home minister, had allegedly outsourced this to a private company,
That company made it such that Nepali migrant workers were required to apply for work visas through a Katmandu-based affiliate firm.
The report said the agency charged RM118 (Rs3,200) from every Malaysia-bound Nepali worker, and collected RM72mil (Rs 1.95bil) from more than 600,000 workers between September 2013 and April 2018.
This included making it mandatory for all Nepali migrants to undergo a biometric health screening test via Bestinet Sdn Bhd, allegedly linked to Dr Ahmad Zahid’s brother-in-law.
The Nepali newspaper report also claimed that Dr Ahmad Zahid’s brother Abdul Hakim Hamidi and former environment minister Tan Sri Azmi Khalid also reportedly owned shares in Bestinet.
Asked on his family’s links to the company, Dr Ahmad Zahid said that none of his sisters or family members were involved.
“I am not involved and it’s not mine. It belongs to a Bangladeshi,” he said.
He also denied having a brother-in-law by the name of Amin Abdul Nor or having any shares in the third company, adding that it was in business before he assumed the post of home minister.
Deputy Human Resource Minister Datuk Mahfuz Omar said the issue was linked to the Home Ministry and not his.
“It involved the use of biometrics for foreign workers, which is under the Home Ministry,” he said at Parliament House yesterday.
Meanwhile, Kuala Langat MP Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid, who raised the matter in the Dewan Rakyat three years ago, said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) should probe the matter.
“If the foreign news report is true, then this is tantamount to a modern form of slavery,” said the former MTUC acting president.
Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto said the Home Ministry should investigate the issue, saying that foreign workers should not be exploited.