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Mastermind with expensive tastes


Unassuming: The premises sandwiched between a workshop and an IT firm’s office in Ampang Jaya.

KUALA LUMPUR: He has become the infamous Datuk who runs a cartel that monopolised government contracts worth RM3.8bil.

Not surprisingly, he has been keeping a low profile.

He has Facebook and LinkedIn accounts but even the profile picture is not clear. It is hard to make out his features.

Despite making more money than some public-listed companies, his office is an unassuming three-storey building in Ampang Jaya, Selangor.

A check on his flagship company shows it supposedly specialises in maintenance, construction and even film production and distribution.The premises appears locked up with no sign of any staff or visitors.

It is sandwiched between a car workshop and an IT company. No one would ever imagine it was raking in billions of ringgit from unlawful cartel business in government tender procurement.

The Datuk’s name is listed among the five directors, which includes a family member.

Of late, some of his pictures have started to appear on social media with even purported details of his many government projects in Putrajaya.

Investigations on him have been focused on the Works Department (JKR), where the tender awards were believed to have been given to the cartel headed by the Datuk in the construction of buildings in Putrajaya.

There has also been a claim that he was a runner-up in an award for best contractors in 2017 by JKR.

His listed residential address is at the posh area of Bukit Melawati, a neighbourhood favoured by the rich and famous, especially businessmen and artistes.

Those familiar with the investigations said the Datuk kept himself out of the limelight.

According to them, he had a weakness for fast cars.

“He bought so many cars, presumably under different companies, to reduce taxes as they would probably be claimed as operation costs. After all, he has over 150 companies.

“But it would also raise a lot of red flags as these are luxury cars. Why would a contractor need luxury cars to go to construction sites?

“More puzzling, there were two helicopters and a yacht, which the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) would surely know of, ” an official said.

His helicopter is a Robinson 44, a four-seater light helicopter which is regarded as one of the world’s best-selling general aviation helicopters every year since 1999.

“It would have cost him RM2mil each for a helicopter, ” said an aviation enthusiast.

The Datuk has also bought himself a Versilcraft yacht, an Italian made model, which is suitable for cruises.

Checks with those familiar with the business said they believed it was refurbished as “the Datuk wanted the boat even though it needed much repairs”.

“Certainly, he has developed good taste over the years as he became richer, looking at his hobby in acquisitions, ” said one yacht owner.

The Kuala Lumpur-born Datuk, who will celebrate his 47th birthday next month, is also a keen golfer, with pictures of him at a particular golf club in Selangor.

Investigators have said the cartel was involved in monopolising 345 government tenders worth RM3.8bil since 2014, which is certainly strong for the company incorporated in 1983.

It has over RM29mil worth of properties including bungalows, shophouses and offices.

The Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has frozen 644 bank accounts, involving an estimated RM100mil in the course of its investigations.

Luxury cars including several Mercedes-Benz models, a Range Rover and a Mustang GT have also been seized. MACC officials also found RM3.5mil in cash at his home.

A search at the Companies Commission of Malaysia showed that the Datuk’s company, in one audit report in 2019, claimed a revenue of RM63mil but made an after-tax profit of only RM1.4mil.

The status, as well as the names of the directors, of his estimated 100 over companies, involving more than 100 individuals, could not be ascertained.

The companies included one registered in Johor under a family member’s name, which was incorporated in 2020, with a home address in Kota Damansara, Selangor.

Its 2019 audited financial results claimed it made revenue of RM20mil but had a loss of RM384,000.The Datuk’s six-day remand ends tomorrow and if he is formally charged, his identity will be made known officially and certainly his mode of operations will be better known in detail.

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Corruption , MACC , Bribery

   

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