KUALA LUMPUR: Former Education Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamad told the High Court here yesterday she was surprised and wondered why Datin Rosmah Mansor showed interest in the hybrid solar project and of her link in the project.
Madinah said she had that feeling because Rosmah had asked her to have a look and expedite the project application.
She said it was at a Permata event which was held before June 2016 at the Prime Minister’s official residence at Kompleks Seri Perdana, Putrajaya that Rosmah had requested her to have a look and expedite the project application.
“After the Permata event ended, as usual, as a sign of respect, Datin Seri Rosmah, as the VVIP, walked towards her car, escorted by me and other VIPs.
“When Datin Seri Rosmah got into the car, she wound down the windscreen and called me by waving at me. When I went near here, she told me to have a look at the Jepak (Holdings Sdn Bhd) solar project and to expedite it. I responded by saying ‘Insya Allah Datin Seri’ and she left,” said Madinah, adding that she attended the event as a board member of Yayasan Permata.
Reading out her witness statement, Madinah, who is the sixth prosecution witness and a former Auditor-General, said prior to that, Rosmah had never requested for her assistance over a government project.
“Datin Seri Rosmah did at one time asked for my assistance, when I was Education Ministry secretary-general, to provide teachers and resolve matters pertaining to the salary of teachers for the Permata programme.
“Such a request was normally channeled through her Special Officer for the Permata programme or by Datin Seri Rosmah herself at the Permata meetings when the matter was part of the meeting agenda.
“What I understood from Datin Seri Rosmah’s request was that she needed my assistance as the Education Ministry secretary-general to expedite the acquisition of the hybrid solar project so that the project could be awarded to Jepak.
“The request by Datin Seri Rosmah had created a sense of urgency in me that the applications for the hybrid solar projects required my attention and that I needed to follow up quickly to ensure success of Jepak’s application for the solar hybrid project,” she said, adding that she felt that was because of Rosmah’s position as the wife of the (then) prime minister.
Furthermore, she said, it was Rosmah’s husband who issued the instruction to implement the solar hybrid project to replace the diesel genset project,
As a civil servant, Madinah said, any comments from the prime minister is regarded very serious, except under certain circumstances.
“Not long after that, I was pushed from all corners to expedite acquisition of the Jepak solar hybrid project and the pressure came from Datuk Rizal Mansor (Rosmah’s former aide), and Rayyan (Rayyan Radzwill Abdullah, who was Jepak Holdings managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin’s business partner) and I tracked them back to Datin Seri Rosmah,”she added.
She said Rizal would call her from time to time until she retired on Sept 2,2016 and he sometimes mentioned ‘Rosmah’ or ‘Ma’am’ during their conversation on the project.
“The messages Datuk Rizal Mansor consistently sent to me were always about issues on the application for the hybrid solar project, such as on the status of the Education Ministry’s action, action to be taken by the Education Ministry ensure the success of Jepak’s application.
“Datuk Rizal Mansor once told me that ‘PM’ (short for prime minister) and ‘ma’am’ asked why there was delay in bringing the application for direct negotiation to the Finance Ministr, despite having told him (Rizal) that it would be done ‘once we have everything ready’.
“I also did tell Datuk Rizal Mansor on the absence of development project to implement the solar hybrid project but he told me to just forward the application and said that the boss would know what to do.
“I knew the boss he (Rizal) was referring to Datuk Seri Najib Razak – who was the prime minister and finance minister at that time,” she added.
Rosmah, 68, has claimed trial to a charge of soliciting RM187.5 million and two counts of receiving a bribe of RM6.5 million from Saidi through her former aide, Datuk Rizal Mansor in exchange for helping Jepak Holdings obtain a RM1.25 billion project to provide solar energy to 369 rural schools in Sarawak.
It was as an inducement to help Jepak Holdings secure the Hybrid Photovoltaic Solar System Integrated Project and Maintenance and Operation of Genset/Diesel for the 369 rural schools in Sarawak, worth RM1.25 billion, through direct negotiation from the Education Ministry.
She allegedly committed the offences at three places, namely Lygon Cafe at Sunway Putra Mall in Jalan Putra here; her house at Jalan Langgak Duta, Taman Duta here, and at the Seri Perdana Residence, Persiaran Seri Perdana, Precinct 10, Putrajaya between January 2016 and Sept 7, 2017.
The hearing before judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan continues on Monday. — Bernama