NGO denies lobbying for Malay Customs D-G instead of Indian

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal

KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 ― A non-govermental organisation (NGO) has denied trying to lobby Yang di-Pertuan Agong for a Malay to be appointed the new Royal Malaysian Customs director-general (D-G) instead of an ethnic Indian.

After a copy of the letter was circulated online, Malaysia International Humanitarian Organisation (MHO) said it has never sent the memorandum to influence the appointment.

“We deny this, and are not responsible in issuing such a memorandum.

“We do not agree with the contents stated in the memorandum. We will also take action against any parties who use MHO's name without our express permission,” MHO secretary Hishamuddin Hashim told Malay Mail Online when contacted.

In the copy of the alleged letter, MHO was shown saying it was representing other NGOs requesting the King to appoint current Customs deputy D-G Datuk Zulkifli Yahya, who is in charge of Customs and Goods and Services Tax, instead of Datuk Subromaniam Tholasy, his fellow deputy D-G in charge of enforcement.

The outgoing D-G, Datuk Seri Khazali Ahmad, ended his tenure on Monday.

The alleged memorandum sighted by Malay Mail Online dated March 20, 2017 stated that MHO wanted Zulkifli as Customs D-G as he is Malay and a Kelantanese, therefore would be the best candidate when it came to protecting the interests of Malays and Muslims here.

The current Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V is from Kelantan.

A screenshot of the alleged memorandum sent by the Malaysia International Humanitarian Organisation (MHO) to the Istana Negara.

The memorandum added that Zulkifli's appointment would also “indirectly” ensure that the Islamic agenda within the agency would be preserved.

“Furthermore, issues involving religion and public affairs can be discussed in a harmonious environment and situation, and better to get the best decision for Malaysians.

“Islamic agenda will also indirectly be protected and guaranteed for the next years, subsequently leading to the advancement of Malaysian themselves,” the letter said.

Malay Mail Online is currently seeking comments from Datuk Wan Ahmad Dahlan Ab Aziz, the palace official holding the post of Datuk Pengelola Bijaya Diraja, to whom the letter was addressed.