Azmin's Counter Suit

Mohamed Azmin Ali has linked the owners of a travel agency suing him over unpaid travel bills to a conspiracy against him involving a gay-sex video controversy earlier this year.

A counter-claim to the suit said the owners of the travel agency are the parents of Muhammad Haziq Hassan Mohd Ayub, who was arrested by police and implicated in the distribution of the sex video.

It said Haziq’s parents are “very close” to PKR president Anwar Ibrahim and suggested that the suit was filed in order to damage Azmin politically…

Azmin’s counter-claim against the travel agency, sighted by FMT, alleged that the sex-video conspiracy was “orchestrated by the leader of a political party”, making note of a police statement regarding the video.

Azmin suggested that the contents of the travel agency’s suit were leaked to the Sarawak Report web site as part of the conspiracy.

The counter-claim alleged that the travel agency’s “intention of filing (the suit over the unpaid bills) and leaking it to the Sarawak Report without giving the true background was to damage the defendant (Azmin) politically to the advantage of the above said political leader”.

Details of the suit were first revealed by Sarawak Report.

Azmin’s counter claim …said there was an ulterior purpose in bringing the matter to court, and Azmin sought general, exemplary and aggravated damages for damage to his character.

Azmin denied owing the travel agency RM328,901 but accepted liability for RM162,272 comprising RM41,752 in bills on his account and more than RM60,000 each for his two underage sons.

He denied liability for the accounts of his adult son and three adult daughters, and also denied liability for the travel account of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. He denied any knowledge of an account in the name of Wan Putera Shahjuan W Salihudin and denied liability for the sum of RM2,570 claimed by the agency.

The counter-claim said the suit brought by YHA Travel & Tours was a “breach of understanding” between Azmin and the agency. It said they had a 20-year-long relationship in which he was given “considerable latitude in settling any outstanding sum” owed to them.

Our comment

One assumes this litigant paid in advance for the lavish family celebrations currently underway at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, KLCC. Otherwise who would take the booking of an admitted defaulter to the tune of over RM300,000?

Yet the details of this ‘counter-suit’, so mysteriously leaked to the press in advance of being placed in court, now indicate there was  rather more to the earlier matter of non-payment to a luxury travel agency than a mere inability to fork out the massive sum of RM300,000.

By alleging that the person he has refused to pay was behind a ‘political plot’ to film him in a fake video and in disclosing that the same person was arrested by the police over this very matter (something not previously public knowledge) this minister has indicated a separate motive entirely for his failure to pay this particular bill.

It is a motive that has nothing to do with not having the resources to meet the bill. Instead, it indicates retribution for perceived disloyalty.

That might go towards allyaing concerns on the part of the Mandarin Hotel over whether this politician can meet his bills for the curent massive family wedding bonanza (just days after a major conference at the Rennaissance Hotel for all his supporters – all expenses paid).

However, it may not satisfy the public, who have seen declared assets only of a ministerial salary and house in KL with respect to this minister’s financial resources.

Of course there are potential explanations. Najib Razak was able to explain his own daughter’s lavish wedding expenses on the basis that the family of her husband was fantastically rich and paid for it (a claim that was later disputed).  So, maybe a kind relative, friend or fan is footing the bill for the Madarin Oriental extravaganza?  It would be nice to know, in the spirit of Refomasi.

Separately, the economics minister’s leaked counter-suit claims Sarawak Report wrote its article about Azmin’s travel debts thanks only to leaked information. We can confirm to the contrary that Sarawak Report based its report on Azmin’s RM300,000 unpaid travel bill on documents obtained from the KL court’s public online access service, following a tip-off.

We do not disclose our sources, as is our right.

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