GE15: Dr Adham to make way for fresh face in Tenggara?

JOHOR BARU: A second minister from Johor will not be fielded by Barisan Nasional in the 15th General Election (GE15).

It is learnt that the minister in question is incumbent Tenggara MP Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba, who is the caretaker Science, Technology and Innovation Minister and Tenggara Umno division chief.

According to a source, he is likely to be dropped to make way for a fresh candidate.

The source said Umno is likely to field its Tenggara division youth chief Manndzri Nasib in the seat.

ALSO READ: GE15: Johor BN to unveil all 26 candidates on Nov 3, says Dr Adham

“It is very surprising for Dr Adham to be dropped from the list as he is quite well known among voters in the constituency.

“The news that his name is not on the Johor Barisan candidates list came rather late considering he is also Johor Umno information chief," the source added.

Speculation about Dr Adham being dropped intensified recently after he did not attend two programmes in the constituency on Monday (Oct 31) morning.

Besides Dr Adham, the other minister from Johor who will not be contesting in GE15 is caretaker National Unity Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique, the incumbent Kota Tinggi MP.

It was reported on Oct 22 that Halimah, from the same division as Dr Adham, will make way for Umno vice president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

ALSO READ: A game of musical chairs for many MPs

Meanwhile, former state executive councillor Datuk Abd Latif Bandi is tipped to make a political comeback in Mersing.

“Abd Latif is liked and respected in Mersing. He also cleared his name of graft charges twice in court so he does not have any baggage for Umno and Barisan,” said the source.

On Aug 7, the Johor Baru Sessions Court cleared and freed the former Johor housing and local government committee chief, his son and a property consultant of corruption and money-laundering charges.

The Sessions Court here ruled in favour of Abd Latif, 56; his son Ahmad Fauzan Hatim, 30; and Amir Shariffuddin Abd Raub, 49; who were all acquitted.

Abd Latif and Amir Shariffuddin were each charged with 33 counts of corruption on June 14, 2017, following a land scandal that broke out in Johor about three months before that.

Abd Latif was also charged with 13 counts of money laundering, while Amir Shariffuddin and Ahmad Fauzan Hatim were each charged with four counts of money laundering. The alleged amount involved in the cases totalled RM35.7mil.

ALSO READ: Ex-Johor exco man Latif Bandi, two others freed of graft charges

Among the charges, Abd Latif was accused of having abetted Amir Shariffuddin in converting bumiputra lots into non-bumiputra lots.

The former assemblyman was also accused of helping to reduce the quantum of payment that developers had to contribute towards the Johor Housing Fund for converting these lots.

On April 21, 2019, the Sessions Court acquitted the three men after it ruled the prosecution failed to prove a prima facie case.

However, on Nov 7 last year, the Johor Baru High Court ordered the three accused to enter their defence on the 37 counts of corruption and money laundering after finding the Sessions Court had erred in its decision to free and acquit them.

The accused were then freed in the Aug 7 decision.

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