Zahid denies links to Bestinet, urges immediate probe

The firm is alleged to be involved in the trafficking of Nepali workers into Malaysia

By RAHIMI YUNUS /Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has denied any links to Bestinet Sdn Bhd, a company that is alleged to be involved in the trafficking of Nepali workers into Malaysia.

“I have no direct or indirect interest in the company. Please probe immediately,” Ahmad Zahid said on his Twitter yesterday.

The former deputy prime minister also offers himself to be investigated on allegations against him, as reported on the Nepali Times.

“I do not have a brother-in-law called (Mohd) Amin,” he added.

A recent article entitled “Kleptocrats of Kathmandu and Kuala Lumpur” in the Nepali Times had alleged that high-ranking Nepali polit cians and former Malaysian officials and their family members were involved in looting more than Rs5 billion (RM185.6 million) over 600,000 Nepali workers between September 2013 and April 2018.

The report said the alleged scam started when Ahmad Zahid outsourced a private company called Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd, which required Nepali migrant workers to apply for work visas through a Kathmandu-based affiliate, Malaysia VLN Nepal Pte Ltd.

The agency charged Rs3,200 from every Malaysia-bound Nepali worker and collected Rs1.95 billion from more than 600,000 workers over the last five years.

The report published on June 20 stated that Bestinet founder and chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Amin Abdul Nor was the brother-in-law of Ahmad Zahid.

It also claimed Ahmad Zahid’s brother, Datuk Abdul Hakim Hamidi, was a shareholder of the company, along with former Natural Resources and Environment Minister Tan Sri Azmi Khalid.

Bestinet has since decried all the claims made in the article as “entirely false”.

“In response to the Article ‘Kleptocrats of Kathmandu and Kuala Lumpur’ published by the Nepali Times on June 20, 2018, Bestinet would like to state that the allegations made against Bestinet by both authors of the article are entirely false,” the company said.

“Bestinet is committed to conducting its business in a responsible manner and does not engage in unethical business practices,” it added.

“Bestinet refutes and emphatically denies the allegations contained in the article.”

The company also clarified that Mohd Amin is not the brother-in-law of Ahmad Zahid — and neither Abdul Hakim, nor Azmi were shareholders of the company.

It said Azmi has also resigned as director in January 2017.

“In fact, no one in Bestinet is related to Ahmad Zahid,” it stressed.

Bestinet stated that the company does not provide ISC (Immigration Security Clearance), VLN (Visa Luar Negara) and OSC (One Stop Centre) services.

It also emphasised that the firm is not related to the providers of these services and any Kathmandu-based agents.

Bestinet said it is seeking an immediate apology and retraction from the Nepali Times, noting that the contents of article have since been reported extensively by local media.

“Bestinet takes these allegations very seriously and reserves the right to take all necessary steps against the Nepali Times and both authors,” the Malaysian firm said.