KUALA LUMPUR (March 30): Former auditor-general Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamad said that despite her late husband's "closeness" to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, she wanted to secure the position based on her own merits.
She said this on Wednesday (March 30) when she was cross examined in the ongoing 1MDB audit tampering trial involving Najib and former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy.
Madinah was asked by Najib's lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah if she was aware that her late husband had lobbied for her to secure the position.
Madinah maintained that she had a conversation with her late husband asking him not to interfere, but she was not responsible for or aware of the latter's actions following the conversation.
"When this conversation was brought up, [I] told him under no circumstance to interfere... I wanted to be sure when I [was] appointed [it was] based on my own merits.
"What he did is beyond me," she said.
Madinah's late husband was UMNO deputy permanent chairman and the party's Kepong chief Datuk Seri Rizuan Abd Hamid. Shafee had suggested that Rizuan as a "prominent member of Umno" would have had access to Najib.
To this, Madinah merely said she could only confirm her husband was a staunch supporter of the former premier.
"I [only] have knowledge that he would never turn down a request to attend a majlis berbuka puasa... [or] a doa selamat at Najib's house or anywhere. He would go, that I know," she said.
Madinah, who is the 12th prosecution witness in the case, on Wednesday reiterated that despite her lack of formal education in accounting, auditing or business management like her predecessors Tan Sri Ambrin Buang and Tan Sri Dr Hadenan A Jalil, she had exposure to matters regarding finance and auditing.
She said she had served as secretary-general in the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) and the Education Ministry. She was also appointed to several boards such as the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC), Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) so she had exposure as a board member.
She also holds a Bachelors in Political Science, as well as a Masters and PhD in Human Resource Development.
Earlier, Madinah had also said that upon her retirement from the Education Ministry in September 2016, she was informed by her predecessor Ambrin as well as former chief secretary Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa that her name was the only name proposed for the position.
"[I was] secretary-general [of the] largest, most complex ministry and I did very well, that's why my name was recommended... In that sense the qualifications you mention of professional nature [of] accounting finance [maybe] was thought unnecessary at that time," she said.