Sun, Sep 10, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Abdullah denies giving favorable treatment to son

ANSWERING HIS CRITICS The Malaysian leader has responded to former PM Mahathir Mohamed by saying that he has never engaged in nepotism

AFP , KUALA LUMPUR

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said that the government did not give any preferential treatment to a firm owned by his son.

Abduallh made his comments to respond to allegations by former prime minister Mahathir Mohamed, media reports said yesterday.

Abdullah, who is locked in a bitter row with Mohamed, has been accused by the elder politician of using his status to help his son's energy services business, the Scomi Group.

no `concessions'

"No project had been given to Scomi with my knowledge. I have not personally made any kind of decision to give any favors or concessions or for that matter any projects [to Scomi]," Abdullah said, according to the Star newspaper.

Abdullah's son, Kamaluddin Abdullah, whose company was caught up in the Libyan nuclear technology transfer scandal, has made a fortune in the oil industry.

Abdullah had reviewed the Scomi report after receiving it two days ago and after checking it against comments he had made earlier during a special television interview.

"I have seen the report and I would like to say that what I had said was correct," he said.

charges

Abdullah went on national television last month to deflect charges of corruption and nepotism. He insisted that his son Kamaluddin, one of the richest men in Malaysia, had never used their relationship for business purposes.

But Abdullah said he had since received a letter that accused him of lying. The letter listed the government projects won by Scomi, in which Kamaluddin has a major share.

Abdullah said 80 percent of Scomis business came from abroad and that any business procured from the national oil company Petronas was obtained through open tender.

not involved

The newspaper reported that Abdullah said Kamaluddin had never been involved in any government concessions and that his son had never even sought help from it.

Abdullah said his son had to search for projects overseas to avoid his business dealings being linked to Abdullah.

Last week, Abdullah vowed to apologize to the nation if his son was found to have received business favors from the government.

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