18
Jun
18

Najib Signed Off Hundreds Of Millions On ‘Scam’ Solar Project For Sarawak Schools

Najib Signed Off Hundreds Of Millions On ‘Scam’ Solar Project For Sarawak Schools

Sarawak Report has viewed copious documents indicating that in January 2017 the former Prime Minister personally pushed through an extraordinary RM1.25 billion project, which was awarded to a car rental company in Bintulu, purporting to install solar energy supplies for 369 Sarawak schools in the interior.

Letters signed by Najib clearly authorised for the Ministry of Education’s strict rules on tendering and price negotiation to be over-ruled during the awarding of the project and later for payments to continue to be made, even though the terms of the contract were not being fulfilled by the company.

Ministry of Education staff who raised concerns about quality control were transferred from their posts, according to our information, and reports to the police and MACC were ignored right up until the last election.

Insiders say several companies qualified to install solar power in Malaysia were by-passed for the contract, in favour of the politically connected Sarawak company, Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd, which lacked a track record in the field.

Now, 18 months into the three year contract not a single solar power unit has yet been installed at any of the designated schools, although the money has continued to flow from the Department of Education.

Angry whistleblowers have now passed their dossier of damning information to senior anti-corruption figures in the new government, who have indicated the matter is now being investigated. As one disgusted insider told Sarawak Report:

“The company was made tycoon overnight by Najib. This company even enjoyed a privilege never given to any companies in the world where even price comparison and negotiations were skipped. Najib’s Minutes for the Company encompasses issuing an Uncompromising Letter of Award, pressing the Ministry to forgo price negotiations and also requesting the Ministry to approve the finalized price set by the company itself.”

Solar Power Plan Or Fancy Excuse To Award A Billion Ringgit?

Particularly galling for Sarawak families is the fact that the consequences of the contract have included serious supply problems for the affected schools, many of which have been regularly cut off from electricity altogether and facing blackouts for several hours a day.

Previous to this project, which was touted to provide cleaner, cheaper solar energy, the affected schools relied on deisel generators, which were supplied and maintained by some 30 local companies, who were required to regularly tender for the service contracts by the Ministry of Education. Jepak Holdings had held one of the contracts.

However, under the new contract Jepak Holdings took over the entire diesel supply and maintenance work for all 369 schools for an agreed lump sum of RM21.8 million a month, whilst simultaneously being tasked to convert the schools to solar hybrid systems at a rate of at least ten schools a month.

It might appear a seemingly enlightened strategy, if placed in the right hands for the right amount of money. However, insiders say that the diesel contract was in fact heavily inflated above the actual cost of supplying the schools.

Worse, despite raking in millions, the company has failed to provide sufficient upkeep and supply of the existing diesel generators, let alone install the new solar power supplies. The schools need 2 to 4 generators, but most are currently running on just 1 genset which can only provide electricity for a maximum of 12 hours a day. According to a source:

“to cover up their incompetency, the company just falsified claims and in at least one case forged a school principle’s signature on forms to verify the work. The principle discovered this fraud when Ministry officials conducted a random check. The school head then wrote to officially complain to Ministry, but no action was taken. Instead, the principle was later forced to withdraw the complaint after receiving threats. He was even told to call certain high ranking officers in Ministry and to inform them that it had just been a misunderstanding.”

..more
Najib Signed Off Hundreds Of Millions On ‘Scam’ Solar Project For Sarawak Schools
10 June 2018 – SR

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17
Jun
18

Rafidah: Najib’s government riddled with ‘political mafia’

Rafidah: Najib’s government riddled with ‘political mafia’

KUALA LUMPUR, June 10 — Former international trade and industries (MITI) minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz claimed that one of the reasons behind former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s downfall was the appointment of those she termed as “political mafia”.

Speaking to Malay Mail recently, Rafidah claimed these individuals appointed by Najib had not only intimidated many civil servants into doing their bidding, but also dictated terms to many privately held or public-listed companies.

“They were ‘political mafia’. These people felt they were so powerful because they reported directly to the prime minister. So, at their level, where they were in charge of agencies or as gatekeepers, they could actually dictate terms to companies.

“So, there was that sense of power at all levels.

“They were appointed by the prime minister, whether it was a political appointment or not I don’t know. There were people who had direct access to the prime minister and could tell him whatever they wanted,” said Rafidah.

She elaborated since these individuals happened to be the heads of agencies or gatekeepers to the Prime Minister’s Office, it created a culture of “aberration” that she had never witnessed before in her political career.

The culture she observed was one of pandering to the ego of the gatekeepers and agency heads, while allowing them to do as they wish, including acts of corruption, without questioning for fear of repercussions.

Although she admitted that such “aberrations” occurred in the past, it was never perceived to be the norm or the culture by the world at large, unlike in the last 10 to 12 years.

“The Chinese say rotten fish starts at the head. In this case, it was from the head from everywhere. It’s crazy. It was nothing I had ever seen before. We never had so many agencies and structures working outside the government.

“With Najib, everything was centralised to Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). People don’t realise that you don’t report to some of the relevant ministries anymore but straight to PMO. And in PMO, they had these gatekeepers. People who were then given the task to supervise each agency.

“So, when you have these chains of vicarious authority, what can you expect? People begin to know who to favour and who to be subservient to. It is loyalty, not to the government, but individuals who would report you to the Big Boss,” she explained, referring to Najib.

However, she did not put much blame on the civil service, the nation’s security forces nor the judiciary for demurring to the “political mafia” since their livelihoods were on the line.

Rafidah observed that many civil servants did not like the directive given by these “political mafia” but could not afford to risk their livelihoods or have their pensions affected by threats and intimidation.

“So they just toed the line, not that they liked to do it. By virtue of the powers that be, they felt forced to do it because they are part of the system. If they don’t do it, they will be identified,” she said, referring to civil servants.

…more
Rafidah: Najib’s government riddled with ‘political mafia’
By Azril Annuar
10 June 2018 – MMO

16
Jun
18

Malaysia Steps Up $4.5 Billion Corruption Inquiry – NY Times

Malaysia Steps Up $4.5 Billion Corruption Inquiry

SINGAPORE — Malaysia’s new leader is moving aggressively to investigate the apparent theft of billions of dollars from a state investment fund under the previous government, including seeking the arrest of a key figure in the scandal, the financier Jho Low.

The United States Department of Justice estimates that $4.5 billion went missing from the fund, 1 Malaysia Development Berhad, known as 1MDB, which was established and overseen by the former prime minister Najib Razak — including $731 million that it says was deposited into Mr. Najib’s own bank accounts.

Mr. Najib, who denies any wrongdoing, suffered a surprise election defeat last month at the hands of Mahathir Mohamad, 92, who had previously served more than two decades as prime minister before retiring at 78.

Back in office, Mr. Mahathir has made investigating the scandal and recovering the money a top priority.

Mr. Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, have been barred from leaving the country while investigations continue. Authorities raided residences associated with the couple nine days after the election and confiscated more than 350 boxes and pieces of luggage containing luxury handbags, jewelry, watches and $28.6 million in cash.

Mr. Mahathir told reporters on Friday that the authorities were now seeking Mr. Low over activities related to the fund. Mr. Low, a Malaysian, helped set up 1MDB after its founding in 2009 and, though he never held an official position at the fund, has been described by authorities in the United States as a key figure in moving money out of it.

“We are trying to arrest Jho Low,” the prime minister told reporters. “He is not in the country and we don’t have extradition rights in the country where he is staying.”

When asked what country that was, he said, “many countries.”

Mr. Low was a friend of Mr. Najib’s stepson, Riza Aziz, whose production company, Red Granite Pictures, later used money said to be from 1MDB to produce Hollywood movies, including “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

Mr. Low, who spent millions of dollars on gifts to celebrities such as the actor Leonardo DiCaprio and the model Miranda Kerr, has been sighted in various parts of Asia in recent years.

The United States Department of Justice estimates that $4.5 billion went missing from the state investment fund, 1 Malaysia Development Berhad, under the former prime minster Najib Razak, center.CreditSadiq Asyraf/Associated Press

In February, the United States asked Indonesia to seize a 300-foot megayacht, the Equanimity, that it said Mr. Low had bought with $250 million from 1MDB. But an Indonesian judge later ordered the vessel released, saying that the authorities had not followed proper procedures.

Mr. Mahathir’s new attorney general, Tommy Thomas, said on Wednesday on taking office that 1MDB would be the government’s “first and immediate priority.”

“We shall institute criminal and civil proceedings in our courts against the alleged wrongdoers,” he told reporters. “All are equal before the law and no one will be spared. There will be no cover-up.”

He said Malaysia would cooperate with the United States, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Singapore and other countries that had been investigating the use of their financial systems to hide the missing money.

…more
Malaysia Steps Up $4.5 Billion Corruption Inquiry
By Richard C. Paddock
June 9, 2018 – NY Times

15
Jun
18

Najib may face charges of money laundering, misappropriation of property

Exclusive: Malaysia’s Najib may face charges of money laundering, misappropriation of property – source

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysian authorities investigating scandal-hit state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) are considering charging former prime minister Najib Razak with money laundering and misappropriation of property, a source familiar with the matter said.

Najib, who founded 1MDB in 2009, is the subject of a money laundering and corruption probe, after reports that millions of dollars made their way into his personal bank accounts from the fund and its former subsidiary, SRC International. The former premier has consistently denied any wrongdoing in relation to 1MDB.

Najib, 64, suffered a shock loss in the May 9 general election, the first change of government since Malaysia gained independence from Britain in 1957. Mahathir Mohamad, who was elected prime minister, has vowed to bring back funds allegedly siphoned from 1MDB and punish those responsible.

Malaysia’s new Attorney General Tommy Thomas said on Tuesday his office was studying possible criminal and civil action, after receiving investigation papers on 1MDB from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

A source close to the investigations told Reuters Najib may be charged with dishonest misappropriation of property under the Malaysian Penal Code. The source declined to be identified as they were not authorized to speak on the matter.

The offense carries a maximum jail sentence of five years, a fine and whipping. The law, however, forbids men over the age of 50 years from being whipped.

Any fine would be decided by the court depending on the offense and amount misappropriated.

According to the source, Najib may also face money laundering charges, which would carry a maximum sentence of 15 years’ jail and a fine of no less than five times the value of the laundered proceeds.

It is now up to the attorney-general to decide whether or not to accept the recommendations, file different charges or call for further investigations. The previous attorney general cleared Najib of wrongdoing in relation to 1MDB.

…more
Exclusive: Malaysia’s Najib may face charges of money laundering, misappropriation of property – source
Rozanna Latiff
June 15, 2018 – Reuters

14
Jun
18

The most expensive RM110 billion HSR project

The HSR saga

THE current discourse in the media regarding the high-speed rail (HSR) project provides a spectacle of hard stand, threat, fear, anxiety and anticipation among the stakeholders and spectators alike.

On May 28, after days of discourse through the media, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced the scrapping of the HSR project. Depending on whom, the various contradictory responses are understandable.

The Pakatan Harapan government now estimates the total cost for the HSR at RM110 billion with interest added, while the previous government’s figure is RM72 billion.

At 350km, it works out to RM314.29 million per kilometre, or US$79 million. Comparative cost of HSR projects elsewhere (China, US$17 million to US$21 million; Europe, US$25 million to US$39 million; and California, US$56 million), according to the World Bank report in 2014, puts ours the most expensive project in the world.

The European Commission postulated that for a viable HSR project, the necessary minimum passenger load per year is nine million. The KL-Singapore flight route has four million passengers per year. The HSR ticket will have to compete with the current low-cost air ticket of around RM150 per trip.

A major factor when planning a HSR project is to decongest existing cities along the route.

Between KL and Singapore, the cities and townships are rather sparsely developed. Its proponents would argue that the project is likely to help develop more areas and raise the value of properties.

However, there cannot be too many stops as to cause delay and discourage travellers. New township and development areas resulting from the HSR route also mean new ghost towns and disused old rail lines and stations.

Arguments for job creation, economic multiplier effect and increased gross national income are subjective and speculative at this early stage. Often, economic and national income projections are way off the mark.

It is not clear if the projected cost of the HSR has taken into consideration the cost of acquiring land. As the project is a favourite “baby” of the previous prime minister, it is interesting to ask how much of the land to be acquired belongs to the military allegedly privatised and if so, who owns those parcels of land now. Also, if the planned seven stops along the route sit on those military land parcels.

If Malaysia already has existing heavy industries in the form of train construction and engineering know-how to complement the HSR project, then that is a positive factor to consider.

Total dependence on Chinese contractor, workforce, and even every nail, bolt and nut from China, is a no deal. A transfer of technology is also not a certainty. Bonds have to be issued, therefore, adding to the national debt burden, which is a humongous sum more than RM1 trillion.

All factors considered, the cost per kilometre, hidden costs, operating cost, low passenger load, ghost towns, land acquisition, possible secret deals, and the current debt to GDP ratio of 80% – all these add to the enormous financial risk to our nation if the project is to be carried out. These are the perspectives from the side of Malaysia.

From the Singapore perspective, the HSR track covers only 15km and some initial and survey works have been done. The claim of RM500 million for compensation for rescinding the contract is probably not even worthy of it as a good neighbour existing in eternity. For now, suspense has to fill the waiting period for the official notice.

…more
The HSR saga
Wong Ang Peng
7 Jun 2018 – Malaysian Insight

13
Jun
18

Cash, jewellery, other luxury items worth over RM500 million seized in ongoing 1MDB probe

Over half a billion ringgit in value seized in ongoing 1MDB probe

PETALING JAYA: The estimated value of the seized cash, jewellery and other luxury items from the residence of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak and other locations in the police probe on the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal might exceed half a billion ringgit.

Sources revealed that while the count of the seized wads of cash in local and various foreign denominations stood at RM114 million, the value of the confiscated jewellery and other luxury items such as branded watches and handbags, including those seized in a raid at two houses in Putrajaya on Monday, could exceed over RM400 million.

The tedious process of evaluating hundreds of the seized designer goods by third party luxury merchandise experts engaged by police is ongoing and is expected to be completed in the coming weeks.

On Monday, more documents and 40 handbags were seized by the federal police anti-money-laundering division when they raided two houses in Putrajaya at Precinct 10 — a short distance from Seri Perdana, the official residence of the Prime Minister — and Precinct 11.

Federal police head of the anti-money-laundering division SAC Datuk Khalil Azlan Chik confirmed that the raid was conducted in relation to the probe into the 1MDB scandal.

The probe into the multi-billion ringgit scandal intensified days after the new Pakatan Harapan government took over the administration of the country after winning the general elections on May 9.

Najib’s residence in Taman Duta, three luxury units at the Pavilion Residence KL condominiums belonging to his daughter and son and an unnamed businessman with the honorific title of Tan Sri were raided over several days by the police federal commercial crimes investigations department (CCID).

The raiding party seized hundreds of bags containing cash, watches, designer brands such as Hermes, Birkin and Louis Vuitton handbags.

It took a dozen police lorries and vehicles to ferry the seized goods out of the raided places.

Police also raided the former prime minister’s office in Putrajaya where stacks of documents relevant to the investigations were confiscated.

…more
Over half a billion ringgit in value seized in ongoing 1MDB probe
13 June 2018 – Sun Daily

11
Jun
18

NFC still owes govt RM248 million

NFC still owes govt RM248 million, says Finance Ministry

NATIONAL Feedlot Corporation (NFC) still owes the government more than RM248 million from the RM250 million soft loan it received, the Finance Ministry said.

In a written parliamentary reply to Sim Tze Tzin (PKR-Bayan Baru), the ministry said the feedlot has yet to pay a total of RM248,193,737.81 as of January 31 this year.

“NFC paid a sum of RM34.98 million in 2012 and 2013. The total amount seized from NFC and related companies under the Accountant-General’s Department of Malaysia is RM46,934,703.17,” it said in a reply dated March 7.

The ministry added that on February 22, 2017, the Tampin magistrates’ court had issued a writ of possession to order NFC to vacate its premises starting March 1 last year.

Sim had asked the ministry how much NFC had paid the government as of December 2017 and whether the government had seized NFC’s assets like condominiums and luxury cars.

Last month, Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli and former Public Bank clerk Johari Mohamad were found guilty and sentenced to 30 months’ jail by the Shah Alam Sessions Court for revealing bank documents related to the NFC accounts leak.

No one has been found guilty for the failures of the project.

The feedlot promised to breed 8,000 head of cattle by 2010, but the RM74 million centre in Gemas had only bred 3,289, or 41% of the target, the auditor-general’s report said.

The project was supposed to enhance the country’s food security and reduce the need for beef imports.

The feedlot was run by NFC, which was headed by Mohamed Salleh Ismail, the husband of Wanita Umno chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.

The company received an RM250 million soft loan from the government during the Abdullah Ahmad Badawi administration.

In November 2016, Rafizi lost a defamation suit and was ordered to pay Salleh and NFC RM200,000 in damages for claiming that a bank loan taken by the company was used to purchase a condominium. – March 8, 2018.

…more
NFC still owes govt RM248 million, says Finance Ministry
8 Mar 2018 – TMI




The dawn of A Better Malaysia!
Rafidah Aziz, Hannah Yeoh, Ambiga at TTDI ceramah

 

Mahathir in Putrajaya ceramah

 

What happened to 1MDB’s money? – CNBC Video
Nuclear lessons for Malaysia (Part 1) (Part 2)
BN govt is directing attention to distant past and distant future, in order to distract people from present misdeeds and poor governance
Felda - A picture is worth a thousand words
How the 1MDB Scandal Spread Across the World (WSJ)
We cannot afford ridiculously expensive RM55 Billion ECRL!
All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men
to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke
When the people
fears their government,
there is TYRANNY;
when the government
fears the people,
there is LIBERTY.

- Thomas Jefferson
Do you hear the people sing?

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