Musa Bin Haji Aman (Jawi: موسى بن حاج أمان; born 30 March 1951) is a Malaysian politician who served as the 14th Chief Minister, State Minister of Finance from March 2003 to May 2018, Member of the Sabah State Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Sungai Sibuga from February 1994 to September 2020, State Chairman of Barisan Nasional (BN) and United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) of Sabah. He is the longest-serving Chief Minister of Sabah by holding the position for 15 years and is the older half brother of Anifah Aman, the President of Love Sabah Party (PCS) and former Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Early life and education
Musa's mother is a Dusun from Keningau District, while his ancestors through his father's lineage are of mixed Pakistani and Bruneian Malay descent from Beaufort District. He received his primary education in St. Paul's Anglican primary school, Beaufort and later attended Sabah College and All Saints Secondary School, both in Kota Kinabalu for his secondary education. He pursue his tertiary education in Universiti Teknologi Mara or UiTM (formerly known as Institut Teknologi Mara, ITM) for his bachelor's degree in Business Administration and continued to pursue his study to obtain Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia.
He was interested in the world of business since his primary school days. In 1973, he pursue his business interests in Sandakan. He later put Syarikat Musman Holdings Sdn Bhd under his stewardship. He was the chairman for City Finance Berhad from 1983 until 1995. He later became the chief executive of Innoprise Corporation in 1995 and also the chairman for Sabah Softwood Berhad (under Innoprise Corporation) in the same year.
Early political career
His political career started on 8 March 1992, when he contested and won the Jambongan UMNO division chief's post (now known as Libaran division) and was appointed as Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) treasurer eight days later. On 7 March 1995, a year after BN came to power in Sabah, Musa became the director of Sabah Foundation (Yayasan Sabah), a Sabah statutory body. In March 1999 he resigned as the Sabah Foundation Director to contest in the state elections and defend the Sungai Sibuga State Legislative Assembly seat, defeating Ramli Noordin of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) by 4,034 majority votes, the highest majority among the 24 seats contested by UMNO. He moved up further in his political career when he was appointed Minister in the Chief Minister's Department under Datuk Osu Sukam in 1999. On 27 March 2001, he became the Finance Minister in Chief Minister Chong Kah Kiat's cabinet. On 28 September 2001, Musa replaced Osu Sukam as the Sabah UMNO Liaison Committee chairman, which paved the way for him to be the Chief Minister.
Appointment as chief minister
Musa took over the post of chief minister from Chong Kah Kiat on 27 March 2003. His appointment as Chief Minister marks the end of the rotation system used in Sabah whereby the Chief Minister post is rotated every two years among the three main ethnoreligious groups in Sabah: Christian Bumiputras, Muslim Bumiputras, and the Chinese.
Soon after taking his oath of office as Chief Minister, Musa Aman outlined his agenda for the state. He had set his priorities on agriculture, tourism and manufacturing, putting them in what he calls the state's 'Halatuju' development framework, and supporting them by placing human resource development high on his agenda. To support the first pillar of his 'Halatuju' campaign, tourism, a commitment of RM1.4 billion in federal funds was secured towards the building of a new Kota Kinabalu airport terminal, which was completed in 2008, ahead of schedule. A part of the old Kota Kinabalu port with warehouse facilities dating back to the early 1900s was transformed into Jesselton Point, a modern port with a high-class ferry terminal and other facilities. Under Musa tourism registered significant growth; Tourist arrivals to Sabah grew from 1.25 million arrivals in 2003 to nearly 2.1 million arrivals in 2006. The growth justified a further capital input into the tourism sector, with over RM1 billion made available via Special Tourism Fund of RM400 million for small projects and RM700 million for larger projects. To support the second pillar—agriculture—the state government broke new ground in combining agriculture and manufacturing sectors into one by promoting bio-agriculture. The establishment of Palm Oil Industrial Clusters (POIC) is an example of bio-agriculture that promises to move the state's agricultural products up the value chain in the commodity markets. To support the third pillar, manufacturing, in 2006 a total of 92 manufacturing projects were granted approval in the state with a projected total investment value of RM4.9 billion.
Timber corruption scandal, 2012
In April 2012, Musa was linked to a timber corruption scandal as per the leaked Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) documents published by the website Sarawak Report. Musa was accused of having close relationship with Sabah timber trader Michael Chia, where the latter was detained in Hong Kong in 2008 for trying to smuggle S$16 million (RM40 million) to Musa. Sarawak Report further revealed that Chia was responsible for Musa's sons expenses in Australia. Anifah Aman, brother of Musa, was also accused of being a secret beneficiary of lucrative timber licenses. Abdul Gani Patail, the Malaysian Attorney-General who is close to Musa family, was alleged to have blocked the MACC investigation into this case. However, Musa denied his link with Chia, while accusing Sarawak Report for defaming him. On 11 October 2012, in a written reply to the Parliament, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said Musa has been cleared of the alleged RM40 million kickbacks for timber licences by the Attorney-General's Chambers as "the funds were contributions to the Sabah Umno liaison body and not for the personal use of the chief minister". He also said that the Hong Kong's Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and Malaysian Attorney-General chamber has cleared Musa of corruption after the MACC has provided information in this case. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak refused to disclose the source of the political donation but he insisted that the money was funded through legitimate channels.
In response to the reply by Najib, Sarawak Report released another set of documents on 14 October which pointed the donors to Sabah and Sarawak timber tycoons. On 22 October, Nazri said that Chia was never arrested and the S$16 million was actually frozen in an investment account in Hong Kong. This money was later cleared to be transferred to Swiss bank. As on 25 October, Hong Kong's ICAC refused to disclose any details regarding the probe which reportedly cleared Musa Aman from corruption charges. On 1 November, People's Justice Party (PKR) leaders and Sarawak Report revealed that Nazri's son was given American Hummer H2 by Chia back in March 2011. This revelation raises the possible questions of conflict of interest between Nazri and Chia. However, Nazri sees no problem with the ownership of the Hummer by his son. Nazri also said that he just merely read out the statement from MACC that has cleared Musa from corruption and he insisted that he has not influenced MACC in handling the Musa Aman case.
In April 2013, Reuters validated that the documents released by Sarawak Report are indeed genuine. Two of the timber firms confirmed with Reuters that the money was transferred to secure the logging contracts. MACC officials also told Reuters that the documents are authentic and Musa Aman was the focus of the investigation. On 27 February 2014, Michael Chia was convicted to 1-year jail sentence for misleading Datuk Agus Hassan into logging business by claiming that it was meant for UMNO's political donation in 2004.
Allegation of corruption during 2018 general election
In the lead-up to the 2018 Malaysian general election, Musa was one of seven MPs from the ruling BN coalition accused by electoral watchdog Bersih of using "bribery" in an attempt to "unduly influence voters" in his constituency. He was criticised for handing out 155 motorcycles to various entrepreneurs in Sandakan, in what was widely seen as an attempt to wrest the marginal seat from the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP). The DAP candidate had won the seat by a margin of 4% in the 2013 general election.
2018 Sabah state constitutional crisis, refusal to step down as Chief Minister and disappearance
Also during the 2018 Sabah state election, Musa coalition party of BN are tied up with 29-29 seats with Sabah Heritage Party (WARISAN) led by Shafie Apdal together with the coalition of Pakatan Harapan (PH). Jeffrey Kitingan with his party of Homeland Solidarity Party (STAR) under the United Sabah Alliance (USA) which are not aligned from either the two sides, has won two seats in the election and subsequently emerged as the decision maker for the formation of a state government from the two sides. Jeffrey then decide to team up with the BN to form coalition state government with him appointed as a Deputy Chief Minister while Musa to become the Chief Minister for another 5 years under the new coalition government. However, situation change when six seats assemblymen from the BN allied parties of United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (UPKO) and United Sabah People's Party (PBRS) switched their allegiance to WARISAN, giving Shafie an advantage with 35 seats which is sufficient to establish a valid state government. Earlier, Musa had already sworn in as Chief Minister following the help of two seats from STAR. This situation left Sabah with two ruling Chief Ministers, the second in its history since the dispute between PBS and USNO in the 1980s. The results of this events sparks a constitutional crisis in Sabah, and the need to review and change the current constitution so as to curb the "allegiance switching" of assemblymen, after the swearing-in ceremony of the chief minister. Another four seats assemblymen from BN allied parties of UMNO and UPKO switching their allegiance to WARISAN on 13 May 2018. The Yang di-Pertua Negeri (TYT) Juhar Mahiruddin also had requested for Musa to step down, despite Musa still stressing that he still the rightful Chief Minister of Sabah. Nevertheless, Musa was issued a letter from the TYT that he is no longer the Chief Minister effective from 12 May 2018 that was delivered into his residence on 14 May 2018.
Musa then filed a suit through his lawyer to both Juhar and Shafie, seeking a declaration that he is and remains the lawful Chief Minister and that the swearing in of Shafie within 24 hours lapse is unconstitutional. Over an alleged threat against Juhar, the TYT subsequently make a police report. Police began to search him in both of his residence in Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan but only found the house has been abandoned with several unnamed sources stating that he had left overseas (before he was blacklisted) through land road towards Brunei before taking a flight to Singapore en route to London in the United Kingdom. His brother Anifah Aman and his son Yamani Hafez Musa was then approached by media to know the whereabouts of Musa but both has explained they were unaware of his recent presence. Through a statement made by his legal counsel Zahir Shah, Musa denies making a "criminal intimidation" towards the TYT. On 7 November 2018, the high court in Kota Kinabalu decided that Shafie remained the legitimate Chief Minister of Sabah and dismissed the suit made by Musa who earlier claimed his dismissal as chief minister was illegal and against the state constitution.
On 30 May 2018, a video published by a Malaysian living in the United Kingdom circulating in social media of Facebook, featuring a man with a cap resembling Musa seen at St Pancras railway station in London. Malaysian police said they already aware of the video and are currently investigating the matter. The Malaysian Immigration Department has said they have no record of Musa leaving Malaysia, adding that "Musa has been blacklisted by the department and if he left the country through illegal routes, he have violated the country’s laws". Malaysian Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohamad Fuzi Harun also revealed that Musa was believed to have made Brunei as transit before slipping out of the country. Responding to the claim, Musa legal counsel Zahir explained that "he is currently seeking long overdue medical treatment" and defending that "his travels have always been via proper immigration channels". Around the same time, his official Twitter account are also being suddenly re-activated. On 6 June, Musa withdrawn his previous suit while making a new summons that would not require his presence in court with his another lawyer Tengku Fuad Tengku Ahmad claimed "the new suit could be decided entirely using documents and submissions, without needing an open hearing". On 26 June, Musa through his own statement confirmed that he was in the United Kingdom for medical and several other personal reasons while stressing that it is done "lawfully".
Returning to Malaysia and arrest
With the pressure that any assemblyman will lost their seat based on the Article 18(2) of the state constitution that a seat can be declared vacant if an assemblyman fails to turn up for three consecutive sessions, Musa returns to Malaysia on 21 August at the Subang Airport, after transiting from the Seletar Airport in Singapore. He was taken to the Subang Jaya Medical Centre for receiving further treatment. Musa has decided to return to Malaysia to settle all outstanding issues, although this is against the doctor's advise. The former Sabah chief minister's presence at the hospital is accompanied by heavy security and secrecy. Staff nurses at Musa's suite in the VVIP section were on high alert against the press and any unauthorised visitors. Police are seeking to get a statement from Musa after he recovered from his health issue. Musa had previously claimed that he was receiving medical treatment in England and therefore was not fit to return to Malaysia. Despite this, Musa could still face investigations by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the Immigration Department due to the fact that there were no records of him leaving the country. On 23 August, Musa was officially arrested despite his remand application was later rejected by the magistrate that making him out on bail. On 6 September, he returned into Kota Kinabalu through a private jet and arrived at about 12.30 PM before directly went straight to the State Assembly Building to sworn as an assemblyman. Musa then return to Kuala Lumpur and depart to Putrajaya to answer questions from MACC on several graft cases during the election that was alleged to be involving him. Since the BN coalition fall in the recent election, his son Yamani has been went missing.
On 5 November 2018, Musa was charged with 35-corruption related charges include those of receiving a total of US$63 million (RM243 million) between December 2004 and November 2008 related to timber concessions when he was still chief minister to which he pled not guilty and granted RM2 million bail to enable him return to Kota Kinabalu to attend the chief minister legitimacy case.
On 5 March 2019, Musa was charged with 16 money laundering charges amounting to over US$30 million related to timber concessions in Sabah. In the first charge, he was accused of ordering an individual, Richard Christopher Barnes, to open a bank account with UBS AG in Singapore on 21 June 2016. In second to fifteenth charges, Musa was said to have received over US$37 million from various individuals and companies between June 2006 and March 2008.
Honours of Malaysia
Sabah State Legislative Assembly
||N17 Sungai Sibuga, P152 Penampang
||Musa Aman (UMNO)
||Thim Fun Yun (PBS)
||Hamid Jan (BERSEKUTU)
||Satiman Taman (D1J000)
||N34 Sungai Sibuga, P160 Libaran
||Musa Aman (UMNO)
||Ramli Noordin (PBS)
||Musa Jala (BERSEKUTU)
||Isnain Amat (SETIA)
||N42 Sungai Sibuga, P184 Libaran
||Musa Aman (UMNO)
||Lue Sue Seng (IND)
||Abdul Gani Kosui (PAS)
||Musa Aman (UMNO)
||Ahmad Thamrin Mohd Jaini (PKR)
||Gusniah Diong (IND)
||Osman Enting (BERSEKUTU)
||Musa Aman (UMNO)
||Irawanshah Mustapa (PKR)
||A.M. Jaffar Juana (SAPP)
||Mohd Roslan Yussof (STAR)
||Mohd Arshad Abdul (IND)
||Musa Aman (UMNO)
||Asmara Abdul Rahman (WARISAN)
||Osman Enting (PKS)
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From 2005 until 2018, a Muslim Bumiputera, Musa Aman, a Dusun-Pakistani leader, has held the position of Sabah chief minister.
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