Palace confirms receipt of memo from NGO about Customs D-G

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
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, instead of Datuk Subromaniam Tholasy (pic). — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 — Istana Negara today acknowledged receiving a memorandum about the appointment of a new Royal Malaysian Customs director-general (D-G) amid a brewing race issue.

However, the palace declined comment on its content.

“Officials from Istana Negara received the memorandum from MHO. We cannot comment on the contents, but we received the memorandum,” a spokesman told Malay Mail Online when contacted, referring to Malaysia International Humanitarian Organisation by its initials.

MHO has sparked controversy earlier after an alleged letter from it surfaced on the internet seeking the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to consider a Malay to be appointed the new Customs D-G instead of an ethnic Indian.

The NGO has since disputed being the author of the memo that is being circulated through social media channels.

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

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

“We do not agree with the content 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 earlier.

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.

“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.