Former Education Ministry sec-gen insists couldn’t inform Najib on solar hybrid project irregularities, since bound by public service ‘hierarchy’

Former auditor-general Tan Sri Madinah Mohamad is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court February 19, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Former auditor-general Tan Sri Madinah Mohamad is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court February 19, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 19 — Former Ministry of Education secretary-general Tan Sri Madinah Mohamad insisted today that she was not unable to inform then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak of irregularities on the Solar Hybrid project as she was bound by the public service “hierarchy”, the High Court heard today. 

Testifying in Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor contract-for-bribe trial, Madinah said she could not supersede Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid’s authority at the time when he was the education minister by scheduling a meet or written a letter to the Najib on her objection against the proposed solar hybrid project by Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd. 

During cross-examination by Rosmah’s lawyer Datuk Akberdin Abdul Kader, Madinah was quizzed again on why she had not stated her concerns to Najib and was again suggested by the defence counsel that she had failed her duties as the secretary-general of the education ministry by doing so. 

Madinah then asserted that she had informed Mahdzir on the unsuitability and irregularities surrounding the need and the viability of the project and respect the minister’s role to dully informed the prime minister on the education ministry’s concerns. 

Akberdin: This is a huge amount, RM1.25 billion. Did you explain to the prime minister that this project should not be entertained? 

Madinah: I cannot do so at the time. 

Akberdin: You agree with me that as a government officer, you are able to do so? 

Madinah: I don’t agree. As a civil servant, as a KSU (secretary-general), we have a hierarchy that we need to abide too. It is not my place to supersede the minister

Akberdin: Do you think it is fair that you followed his instructions, but you did not inform him of all these obstacles in the project. 

Madinah: I have tried 

Akberdin: My question to you is that you did not write to inform the prime minister? 

Madinah: Yes, I did not write to him. 

Akberdin: I put it to you that you did not inform him, you suppressed information because you have a specific agenda in the project? 

Madinah: I disagree 

Later during the reexamination by lead deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, he had asked whether she had any interest or received any funds from Jepak Managing Director Saidi Abang Samsudin, his business partner Rayyan Radzwill Abdullah and Rosmah’s former aide Datuk Rizal Mansor, to which she answered no. 

Madinah also explained to the court, under reexamination by Sri Ram, that throughout her career as a civil servant, the “chain of command” among civil servants is unbroken and strictly respected.

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