GEORGE TOWN (Sept 10, 2008): Raised in a family of contractors in Penang, Datuk Ahmad Ismail, 53, has been embroiled in controversies in the political, business and sports arenas.
In 1995, a special purpose vehicle called Peninsular Metroworks Sdn Bhd (PMWSB) was set up and Ahmad was made its executive chairman. PMWSB was given the Penang Outer Ring Road (PORR) concession, but the federal government recently put off the project.
Ahmad was also director of Nadi Senandung Sdn Bhd, which held a 55% stake in PMWSB in the early years. The remaining stakes were held by Setegap Bhd and Kumpulan Pinang Holdings Sdn Bhd (KPHSB).
KPHSB was a full subsidiary of Yayasan Bumiputra Pulau Pinang Bhd.
In 2002, Ahmad was appointed a councillor on the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) and assumed the role of “Barisan Nasional whip”.
In February 2003, MPPP appointed him alternate chairman of the Building and Planning Committee, sparking criticism from then DAP chairman Lim Kit Siang who called it “outrageous”.
Lim labelled Ahmad as Penang’s “Super Councillor”, and said the appointment showed the government’s “utter contempt… for the legitimate objections and sensitivities of Penangites who are opposed to the PORR project for violating the principles of good urban governance.”
Ahmad was removed as councillor in May 2006 when he was declared bankrupt by the Insolvency Department. He was reinstated after obtaining a stay of execution of the bankruptcy order.
But his days as councillor ended because he had served the maximum term of four years.
He has also been embroiled in controversy in sports. As president of the Malaysian Sepak Takraw Association (PSM), he sensationally led the national team’s pullout, at the eleventh hour, from the 24th SEA Games in Korat, Thailand, last December. He claimed the new rubber-coated ball to replace the pure rattan one was unsafe for players and that it had inconsistent bounce.
The International Sepak Takraw Federation (Istaf) proceeded to suspend Ahmad as its member and deputy president, and PSM as its affiliate on grounds that he tried to influence some member countries to leave Istaf.
Ahmad’s biggest mistake was made on the evening of Aug 23 this year when he campaigned for the BN candidate for the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat. On Aug 25, Sin Chew Daily reported the speech he made at Kampung Pelet in which he allegedly said Chinese were “squatters” and could not have equal rights.
His problem did not end there. On Sept 3, Penang Development Corporation (PDC) lodged a police report, asking for an investigation into the now-defunct Popular Profile Sdn Bhd (PPSB), of which Ahmad was director, for wrongfully taking and keeping RM500,000 from the state in a botched land transaction in 1998. PPSB wound up in 2005.
Ahmad was awarded two Datukships by the Penang government -- the Darjah Setia Pangkuan Negeri in 1996 and Darjah Mulia Pangkuan Negeri in 2002.
Today, Ahmad’s membership in Umno was suspended for three years by the party’s supreme council for what he had said. He remained defiant to the end, insisting he did no wrong.
click here: Just who is Ahmad Ismail?
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