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M’sia ex-finance minister Daim Zainuddin faces allegations in Pandora Papers scandal

Tun Daim faces charges in Malaysia for not declaring 71 assets, including a Rolls-Royce, ownership in 38 companies, luxury hotels, a beach resort, and a pleasure club. The 2021 Pandora Papers link him to offshore entities worth at least US$31 million.

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On Monday (29 January), Tun Dr Daim Zainuddin,  former Malaysian finance minister, faced charges in the Sessions Court, for allegedly failing to disclose his assets to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

After the charge, made under Section 36(2) of the MACC Act, was read to him, the 86-year-old pleaded not guilty.

The offence outlined in Section 36(2) pertains to the willful neglect or failure to comply with a MACC notice, compelling the accused to provide a written statement on oath or affirmation regarding their assets.

Daim is accused of failing to declare a total of 71 assets, including ownership in 38 companies, seven vehicles, 19 plots of land in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, and Kedah, as well as six properties.

Additionally, he allegedly omitted to declare ownership of an Amanah Saham Berhad and Amanah Saham Nasional bank account.

After considering arguments from both the prosecution and defence, Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi set Daim’s bail at RM280,000 (approximately US$59,146) with one surety, without imposing any further conditions.

Unveiling the Enigma of Tun Dr Daim Zainuddin

Speculations abound concerning the mysterious persona of Tun Daim, particularly due to his close association with Tun Dr. Mahathir, the former Malaysian Prime Minister, during his tenure as a business advisor to the then Deputy Prime Minister.

Born in 1938 in Alor Setar, Kedah, Daim’s early life was shaped by his father’s role as a government clerk and his mother’s role as a homemaker.

Commencing his education at Sekolah Melayu Seberang Perak, Daim continued his secondary education at Kolej Sultan Abdul Hamid (KSAH), Kedah, and Institut St Xavier, Pulau Pinang.

Returning to KSAH, this time as an educator, Daim initiated his career as a temporary teacher in 1957. He later pursued a law degree at Lincoln’s Inn, qualifying as a lawyer in 1959.

His legal career included service in Kota Bahru, Kelantan, as well as roles as a Magistrate in Johor and Deputy Public Prosecutor in Perak.

Daim’s involvement in business began with unsuccessful ventures in the salt and plastic production industries.

In 1973, he entered the realm of property development after acquiring valuable land in Maluri, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.

Establishing Maluri Sdn Bhd, where he held a majority ownership of 60%, marked the inception of his diversified investments.

As reported by Asiaweek in 1982, Daim’s close ties with the then Menteri Besar of Selangor, Datuk Harun Idris, played a role in these business endeavours. Daim expanded his holdings by investing in the stock market and serving as a business advisor to Dr Mahathir.

In the realm of politics,  Daim’s political journey included roles such as being a Senator, UMNO Treasurer, and Member of Parliament representing Kuala Muda, Kedah.

He was appointed as the Minister of Finance in 1985 until he voluntarily stepped down from the Cabinet in 1991.

As Finance Minister, he was instrumental in implementing economic policies aimed at fostering Malaysia’s development and growth.

Daim’s tenure saw the initiation of various economic reforms and strategies, contributing significantly to the nation’s economic progress.

He has not held any public office since his resignation more than two decades ago in May 2001.

Daim re-entered the spotlight in 2018 when Tun Mahathir, upon Pakatan Harapan’s victory, appointed him as the chairman of the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) to oversee the country’s economic and financial affairs.

The CEP was disbanded in March 2020 following the loss of power by PH after the Sheraton Move.

The Pandora Papers controversy involving Tun Daim

The allegations against Tun Daim Zainuddin first surfaced in 2021 when Malaysiakini, a Malaysian online media outlet and a partner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), exposed purported offshore assets linked to the former finance minister in the 2021 Pandora Papers investigation.

The Pandora Papers, a global collaboration led by the ICIJ, drew on 11.9 million confidential records leaked from 14 offshore financial service providers.

The cross-border investigation exposed how more than 300 politicians, business people and criminals worldwide used shell companies and trusts in some tax havens to hide their wealth or evade taxes.

Revelations from the Pandora Papers implicated Daim and members of his inner circle in offshore entities amounting to at least US$31 million.

Malaysiakini disclosed that, based on leaked data, Daim’s two children allegedly assumed ownership of two British Virgin Islands (BVI) companies at ages 9 and 12, eventually becoming owners of multiple offshore entities used for acquiring luxury properties in London by the age of 20.

When confronted by Malaysiakini in 2021, Daim asserted that the companies had been disclosed to the authorities, and taxes had been duly paid. However, he refrained from commenting on the family trusts, as reported by Malaysiakini.

In 2021, Anwar Ibrahim, then the opposition leader in Malaysia’s Dewan Rakyat, submitted an emergency motion urging the House to debate the Pandora Papers revelations. The documents included details on offshore financial assets and business associates of Daim.

By early 2023, Malaysia’s anti-corruption agency initiated an investigation into Daim’s offshore assets, suspecting a possible link to the alleged misappropriation of US$480 million in state funds dating back to the 1990s.

Daim and the son of a former prime minister, whose shell companies were identified in the leaked documents, were summoned by anti-graft authorities.

In December 2023, the MACC seized Menara Ilham, a 60-storey building owned by Daim’s family, citing a violation of the MACC Act 2009. The seizure followed the agency’s discovery of an offence linked to the act.

Rolls Royce, luxury hotels among Daim’s 71 assets seen in charge sheet

The charges against Tun Daim include the alleged failure to declare a diverse range of 71 assets, ranging from a Rolls-Royce and ownership in 38 companies to luxury hotels, a beach resort and a pleasure club:

Vehicles:

  1. Mercedes-Benz 600 SEL
  2. Jaguar XJS HE
  3. Mercedes-Benz 450SEL
  4. Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC
  5. Rolls-Royce Royce 2 Axle Rigid Body
  6. Austin Morris Austin
  7. Ford Prefect

Companies:

  1. Ibu Kota Developments Sdn Bhd
  2. Maya Seni Holdings Sdn Bhd
  3. Menara Ampang Sdn Bhd
  4. Dream Cruiser Sdn Bhd
  5. Landbelt Corporation Sdn Bhd
  6. Kenari Teliti Sdn Bhd
  7. Fnq Advanced Materials Sdn Bhd
  8. Kota Tandop Development Sendirian Berhad
  9. Alun-Alun Resort (M) Sdn Bhd
  10. Dasar Seroja Sdn Bhd
  11. Gigantic Promotions Sdn Bhd
  12. Jupiter Alliance Sdn Bhd
  13. Inayat Realty Sdn Bhd
  14. Suasa Urus Sdn Bhd
  15. Avillion Berhad
  16. Meridian Haven Sdn Bhd
  17. Avillion Vista Hotel Sdn Bhd
  18. Vast Access Sdn Bhd
  19. Fortune Valley Sdn Bhd
  20. Reliance E-Com Sdn Bhd
  21. Admiral Marina Berhad
  22. Golden Envoy (M) Sdn Bhd
  23. Mela Lifestyle Sdn Bhd
  24. AVI SPA Sdn Bhd
  25. Avillion Hotel Group Sdn Bhd
  26. RPB Capital Holdings Sdn Bhd
  27. Genius Field Sdn Bhd
  28. Festive Place Sdn Bhd
  29. Avillion Suite Hotel (PD) Sdn Bhd
  30. Taman Unik Sdn Bhd
  31. Admiral Cove Development Sdn Bhd
  32. Nesline Sdn Bhd
  33. RPB Development Sdn Bhd
  34. OS Resources Sdn Bhd
  35. Avillion Hotel (Kl) Sdn Bhd
  36. Avillion Hotels International Sdn Bhd
  37. Admiral Hill Hotel Sdn Bhd
  38. Reliance Shipping & Travel Agencies (Perak) Sdn Berhad

Properties and Land:

  1. Lot 265, Seksyen 89, No. 325 Ritchie Condo, Kuala Lumpur
  2. Lot 12, Seksyen 89, No. 327 Persiaran Ritchie, Kuala Lumpur
  3. Unit 1D, NO 16, Jalan Taman U-Thant, Kuala Lumpur
  4. 10, Jalan Wirawati, Taman Maluri, Kuala Lumpur
  5. Rompin House, Bukit Fraser, Fraser’s Hill, Pahang
  6. House near Jalan Kampung Pandan, Kampung Pandan, Kuala Lumpur
  7. 333, Jalan Kolam Air, Taman Melawati, Kuala Lumpur
  8. 204, Desa Kuda Lari, TK 1-A150 3, Kuala Lumpur
  9. 333, Persiaran Ritchie, Desa Pahlawan, Kuala Lumpur
  10. Socfin House-White Palace Kuala Lumpur
  11. Lands near Taman Maluri, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur
  12. Houses near Cinta Condominium, Jalan Madge Off Jalan U-Thant, Kuala Lumpur
  13. Lot 12 & 13 Puncak Dani & Dani Lodge Gohtong Jaya Genting Highlands, Pahang
  14. Unit No. W4DC-075 & 061, Phase 4D, Wangsa Melawati, Kuala Lumpur
  15. Houses at Wisma Dani, 1, Jalan Jejaka 4, Maluri, Kuala Lumpur
  16. Lands near Taman Dagang Ampang, Selangor
  17. Lot 129 Seksyen 58, Menara Ampang, No. 149, Jalan Ampang, Selangor
  18. Lands Lot No 1680 and 1681, Mukim Bujang Daerah Kuala Muda, Kedah
  19. Double Storey Semi D, Phase 5B, Bukit Saujana, Ijok, Selangor
  20. Suite # 8-13-6, Menara Mutiara Bangsar 8, Jalan Liku Off Jalan Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur
  21. Avillion Port Dickson, 3rd Mile, Jalan Pantai, Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan
  22. Avillion Admiral Cove, 5½ Mile, Jalan Pantai, Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan
  23. Avillion Cameron Highlands, C-3-1 Jalan Camelia, Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands, Pahang
  24. Admiral Marina & Leisure Club, 5 1/2 Miles Jalan Pantai, 71050, Si Rusa, Negeri Sembilan
  25. AVI Pangkor Beach Resort, PT1130, Jalan Pasir Bogak, Pangkor, Perak
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The pattern in Malaysia is very clear. When facing criminal charges, get hospitalised and act as if you are at death’s door. Daim isn’t the first. Tabung Haji’s Chairman, Abdul Azeez faced several charges when he was hospitalised for some gastric thing during trial. Note: he was subsequently given a DNAA (Discharge not amounting to an acquital) Next, take an oath in a mosque of your innocence. Remember Najib and his “sumpah laknat”. He made the oath to deny involvement of the misappropriation of the RM42 million SRC fund. Of course we know he was found guilty and sentenced to… Read more »

Heng Swee Keat was finance minister and designated successor to Ah Loong when he said his ministry will “investigate” the leaks revealed in (Pandora, Panama, Paradise – take your pick). THEN he suffered a stroke ….

And everything was FORGOTTEN. He then subsequently said runway too short after coming up short on a West coast “plan” during an election campaign ….

Maybe if he HAD investigated the leaks, Ah Loong would also be “hospitalized” just like Daim 🙂

So is our Top leaders going to declare assets and so on?!? I tot it is mandatory for all Civil Servants… Ops they are Not Servants … I forgot.

Our PAP officials don’t declare theirs’ and family members’ assets yearly. It will be interesting to find out the actual value of LHL, Ho Ching and Tharman. Sooner or later, it will be revealed. Isn’t it better to do it yourself? Don’t let it become a Diam scenario. He looks truly pathetic.

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