Umno Sabah, being a political party, speaks like a politician - it talks a lot but says nothing. And this is what it has done to 'explain' the scandal behind its new building being built in Karamunsing in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
Umno Sabah's so-called explanation is as clear as the skies above Kuala Lumpur during an outbreak of haze as a result of an Indonesian forest fire.
According to a report in The Star : 'Sabah Umno is of the view that everything is in the clear for its new RM35mil, 11-storey headquarters now under construction in the city'.
Well, so it is now confirmed, the building costs RM35 million. That is what we wanted to know. We had estimated it could be anything between RM30 million to RM50 million. What is most interesting is that key people within Umno Sabah themselves do not know the actual figure. Now, of course, they do.
'As far as Sabah Umno is concerned, I can assure you that everything is above board,' Rahim Ismail, Umno Sabah's information chief, said.
'Above board'? What exactly does Rahim mean by 'above board'? Was the figure of RM35 million confirmed at any Umno Sabah meeting prior to Umno Sabah embarking on construction of the building? Was a building committee set up? Was a finance committee set up? Was a Board of Trustees appointed?
The answer is no to all the questions. In that case, how can the whole thing be 'above board'? How can one man decide everything on his own, on behalf of Umno Sabah? Is Umno Sabah a private family enterprise just like the provision shop on the corner or is it a legally registered association - a political party - owned by many members?
And there is still no answer as to why Umno Sabah decided to build its new building on a 0.48 hectare site in Karamunsing which belongs to someone else, instead of Umno Sabah's own two hectare land in Sembulan.
And what Rahim Ismail conveniently did not explain is who is paying for this RM35 million building? Is Umno paying for it or is it too (just like the land it is being built on) being paid for by donations from 'friendly parties' and rich benefactors who share Umno's 'perjuangan' (struggle)?
No one in Umno Sabah seems to know and if Umno Sabah is paying for the building's cost, then this is news to the senior Umno Sabah officials.
And what about all the donations collected so far? How much has been collected? It is estimated that between RM100 million to RM200 million has been collected to date. And why is the donation drive still going on? Who were the ones who donated the money? Are all these donors companies and businessmen that have benefited from state jobs and contracts? And who is keeping the money collected? Why have no accounts been tabled at the Umno Sabah meetings?
Umno Sabah has confirmed that the land was 'donated by a private company, with the full knowledge of the party leadership'.
Okay, since we are talking about being 'above board' here, can Umno Sabah then please confirm which company donated the land?
Is the donor Accordon Sdn Bhd? No? Then what about the following companies?
Pembinaan Kekal Mewah Holdings Sdn Bhd
Pembinaan Kekal Mewah Herbal Sdn Bhd
Pembinaan Kekal Mewah Trading Sdn Bhd
Pembinaan Kekal Mewah Engineering Sdn Bhd
Pembinaan Kekal Mewah Aquaculture Sdn Bhd
Pembinaan Kekal Mewah (Kota Kinabalu) Sdn Bhd
Pembinaan Kekal Mewah (Kota Marudu) Sdn Bhd
Pembinaan Kekal Mewah (Beaufort) Sdn Bhd
Pembinaan Kekal Mewah (Keningau) Sdn Bhd
Pembinaan Kekal Mewah (Tawau) Sdn Bhd
Pembinaan Kekal Mewah (Sandakan) Sdn Bhd
Pembinaan Kekal Mewah Sdn Bhd
Pembinaan Kekal Mewah Realty Sdn Bhd
Pembinaan Kekal Mewah Resorts Sdn Bhd
Did any of these companies donate the land to Umno Sabah? And, if so, what did they get in return? What about Rentak Hasil Sdn Bhd? Is this company the one that donated the land?
Another scandalous act that is yet to become public knowledge is the aborted paper and pulp project that has already swallowed hundreds of millions of ringgit. The Chinese partner that was supposed to have a joint venture with Yayasan Sabah decided to pull out after they smelt a rat.
What is puzzling is that although the project has been put to sleep, logging at the 300,000 hectare site is still going on. Why are they logging the site if there is not going to be a pulp-and-paper mill after all? Someone is definitely getting rich selling logs that were supposed to be turned into paper.
And why is Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi still prepared to risk his career and make a mockery of his Islam Hadhari by reappointing Musa Aman as Sabah's chief minister with all this mismanagement going on in broad daylight?
Is Abdullah just nave or is he turning a blind eye knowing full well what is going on?