Mahathir claims ousting Najib is on the cards

Malaysia’s Mahathir claims ousting Najib is on the cards

KUALA LUMPUR — Mahathir Mohamad insists there is a real possibility of a new government coming to power when Malaysia goes to the polls later this year.

Speaking to The Nikkei at his office on the outskirts of the Malaysian capital on Monday, Mahathir, who now leads a coalition of four opposition parties, said the mutual goal of unseating Prime Minister Najib Razak was of far greater importance than any differences they may have.

“This is what they called the mother of all elections,” said the 92-year-old former prime minister. “It will be very big and the possibility of changing the government is there. For the first time, the opposition is very united.”

The Pakatan Harapan, or “Alliance of Hope,” is an unlikely collection of politicians. Some, such as Parti Keadilan Rakyat leader Anwar Ibrahim and Lim Kit Siang of the Democratic Action Party, were jailed during Mahathir’s 22 years in power.

Anwar, once seen as Mahathir’s chosen successor, is serving a five-year sentence on sodomy charges that many believe were fabricated — his second incarceration for a similar offense.

“This is more or less like the saying, ‘your enemy’s enemy is my friend,'” said Mahathir.

The veteran politician appears to have united a once fragmented opposition, a role once played by Anwar, even managing to gain broad consensus on seat allocation for the election, which must be called by June 24.

The coalition has agreed for Mahathir to be appointed prime minister should the bloc win, but make way for Anwar when his prison term ends in June. Anwar, however, will still need a royal pardon in order to become leader.

“Anwar will be the next prime minister after me,” assured Mahathir, refuting allegations that his return was designed to pave the way for his son Mukriz to take over.

“I wanted to retire but things were not right,” he said. Malaysia’s image, he continued, had been tarnished by Najib’s alleged links the multibillion dollar scandal surrounding state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

Najib has repeatedly denied any involvement in the scandal and said it had been turned into a concentrated campaign to sabotage the economy for political gain. He has admitted there were “failings” at the fund, but these lapses of governance had been rectified after investigations.

Regardless, Mahathir insisted the country would get “worse” if Najib stayed in power, and that he just wanted to put Malaysia back on track.

He also accused the current administration of blurring the lines between the executive, judicial and legislative branches of government.

January 29, 2018
Malaysia’s Mahathir claims ousting Najib is on the cards


Only Dr M can accomplish ‘Mission Impossible’ with rural voters

Kit Siang: Only Dr M can accomplish ‘Mission Impossible’ with rural voters

PETALING JAYA: If Dr Mahathir Mohamad cannot accomplish “Mission Impossible” by creating a wave of change among rural Malay voters, no other political leader will be able to do so, says DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang.

Speaking at an event in Batu Pahat last night, Lim said a political tsunami in both urban and rural areas was needed to effect a change in government.

“An urban political tsunami without a rural political tsunami will end up like GE13, with Datuk Seri Najib Razak continuing as a minority prime minister because of constituency gerrymandering and unfair democratic practices.

“A rural political tsunami without an urban political tsunami because the urban voters have given up hope that there is possibility of democratic change, surrendering to a sense of hopelessness about the future, will also end up redounding to the benefit of Najib, Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN).

“We need both an urban and a rural political tsunami in GE14,” he said, adding that this depended not only on individual leaders but on the efforts of all four Pakatan Harapan (PH) component parties – PKR, DAP, Amanah and PPBM.

Mahathir, who is chairman of PPBM and PH, has been named the coalition’s candidate for prime minister ahead of GE14.

PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail meanwhile is PH’s deputy prime minister candidate.

Saying that BN was “clearly rattled” by the decision, Lim called on all Malaysians to unite and vote for the first change of federal government in 60 years.

“The most important lesson of the 13th general election of May 5, 2013 is that unless we can ensure a political tsunami in both the urban and rural areas, it will be impossible to bring about political change in Malaysia through the democratic process,” he said.

Kit Siang: Only Dr M can accomplish ‘Mission Impossible’ with rural voters
January 29, 2018 – FMT


The belt of Pahang VIPs – will a domino effect burn BN in GE14?

The belt of Pahang VIPs – will a domino effect burn BN?

SPECIAL REPORT | In the coming 14th general election (GE14), a VIP belt of marginal seats and lies in the western part of Pahang will decide the fate of several top guns from both divides – seats that are widely expected to be the most hotly contested battlefields in the peninsula.

This “Pahang VIP (very important persons) belt” covers five parliamentary seats – Cameron Highlands, Raub, Temerloh, Bentong and Bera – an area that includes the Titiwangsa mountain range and spans over 300 kilometres.

These seats could switch hands with only five percent swing in votes. Indeed, a few of them were won with just hundreds of votes in the last general election in 2013.

From Cameron Highlands to Bera, this VIP belt sees big names from both political divides, be they defenders or challengers.

They include MCA president Liow Tiong Lai, party vice-president Chew Mei Fun, Pahang DAP chief Leong Ngah Ngah, PAS information chief Nasrudin Hassan Tantawi and Umno supreme council member Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Liow and Ismail Sabri hold posts in the cabinet as transport minister and rural and regional development minister respectively.

Geographically, these areas are about one to three hours of driving distance from the nation’s capital, with the East Coast Highway connecting Kuala Lumpur to the state’s capital, Kuantan. Many voters from these regions of Pahang are working in cities in the Klang Valley.

Should the opposition gain momentum in GE14, it could create a domino effect against the BN in this VIP belt in Pahang, a state that has been solidly behind the ruling coalition since the first general election and the birthplace of two prime ministers – Abdul Razak Hussein and his son, Najib.

Pahang, the largest state in the peninsula, has a vast expanse of forest and mountains. When the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) went underground, Pahang was one of its major bases. CPM established the 10th Malay Regiment in Temerloh as a wing of the predominantly-Chinese Malayan National Liberation Army (MNLA), and this in a way planted the seeds of dissent.

Still, it will not be an easy task for the opposition to create the domino effect.

Pahang has 14 parliamentary seats. In GE13, Umno won eight, while MCA and MIC garnered only one each. As for the opposition, PKR bagged two seats, while DAP and PAS have one each.

Vote majorities in GE13 below 500

BN secured both Cameron Highlands and Bentong in 2013 with not more than 500 votes, making them the most marginal seats in Pahang.

For Cameron Highlands, thanks to a five-cornered fight, former MIC president G Palanivel edged out DAP candidate M Manogaran with a sliver of 462 votes.

It is widely expected that this parliamentary constituency will see a multi-cornered fight in GE14 as well, with the ruling coalition and several opposition parties having voiced their intention to contest the seat.

The MIC is likely to field its Youth wing chief Sivarraajh Chandran to defend the seat as Palanivel has been dropped as he no longer holds any post in the party. Another BN member party, the People’s Progressive Party (MyPPP) led by M Kayveas is also eyeing the seat.

As for the opposition, DAP is expected to field Manogaran again, while Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) has stated that its Orang Asli affairs bureau coordinator and local branch chief B Suresh Kumar would contest there.

Cameron Highlands has 12 percent of Indian voters and 20 percent Orang Asli, with the remaining made up equally of Malays and Chinese.

In the event of a multi-cornered fight, it will be a big question mark as to who will emerge the victor.

Who will be Raub’s ‘Musang King’?

South of Cameron Highlands is Raub, once a MCA stronghold. On the eve of GE13, former MCA women’s wing chief Ng Yen Yen, a three-term Raub parliamentarian, was dropped and the seat was defended by senior Pahang state executive councillor Hoh Khai Mun.

Eventually, with the opposition riding on a “Chinese tsunami”, Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz of DAP, nicknamed Sakmongkol AK47, captured Raub with a 2,814-vote majority. This was also the first time that the BN lost this seat to the opposition.

However, Mohd Ariff is not likely to re-contest in Raub after suffering a stroke last year. Since then, Pahang DAP chief Leong Ngah Ngah has been active in Raub.

Leong is Tanah Rata assemblyperson, a seat under Cameron Highlands. He is expected to defend Raub for DAP and is likely to battle against MCA’s Chew Mei Fun, a former deputy women, family and community development minister.

In 2010, Chew made the pledge to resign from her posts in the party and government if Chua Soi Lek became MCA president. She therefore did not contest in GE13. Chew returned to politics after Liow took over from Chua. She has been working in Raub in recent years and vowed to recapture the seat for MCA.

Bentong: A ‘do or die’ battle for MCA

Next to Raub is Bentong, where the GE14 election battle could well be a ‘do or die’ battle for MCA.

MCA president Liow has been Bentong MP for almost 20 years – since 1999 – but at the last general election, the party boss held on to the seat with a razor-thin majority of 379 votes against environmental group Himpunan Hijau president Wong Tack.

Wong Tack, following his narrow defeat in the intense battle, is expected to return for a rematch, contesting under the DAP, of which he is a member.

Bentong has 45 percent Malay voters, 44 percent Chinese and nine percent Indians. The key for Liow to remain Bentong parliamentarian for his fifth consecutive term will not only depend on a shift in preference among Chinese voters but also whether Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob will contest in the upcoming election.

Of the four state seats under Bentong, BN only won Pelangi in GE13, which was held by Adnan.

It has been speculated that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak intends to remove him, and Adnan himself has not ruled out the possibility of quitting politics ahead of GE14.

Should Adnan step down, Liow may lose some crucial Malay votes as he no longer has a menteri besar candidate to campaign for him.

The belt of Pahang VIPs – will a domino effect burn BN?
27 Jan 2018 – malaysiakini


EU delegation meets Mahathir, PH leaders

EU delegation meets Mahathir, PH leaders

The two-hour meeting discussed a range of issues, including GE14, says PPBM supreme council member A Kadir Jasin.

PETALING JAYA: A delegation from the European Union (EU) recently held a two-hour meeting with Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Pakatan Harapan’s prime ministerial candidate for the 14th general election.

The visiting diplomats discussed a range of issues during the gathering at the residence of Maria Castillo Fernández, the EU’s ambassador and head of delegation to Malaysia, said PPBM supreme council member A Kadir Jasin in a Facebook posting yesterday.

He said Mahathir, 92, who is PPBM chairman and former prime minister, was accompanied by PH deputy president and Amanah president Mohamad Sabu and PH chief secretary Saifuddin Abdullah.

Present were DAP chairman Tan Kok Wai, PKR vice-president Xavier Jayakumar and PPBM vice-president Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman, who is a former Election Commission chairman.

Kadir said among the issues discussed were the EU’s initiative to observe GE14 following an invitation by the federal government.

“It was like in earlier times when meeting Dr Mahathir was an important event for foreign diplomats in Malaysia,” Kadir said, referring to Mahathir’s time as PM from 1981 to 2003.

“Although he is not a prime minister any more, but only a prime ministerial candidate, the atmosphere (at the meeting) was still the same,” he added.

EU delegation meets Mahathir, PH leaders
January 27, 2018 – FMT


Why is Felda still in business with company in shady land deal, ask settlers

Why is Felda still in business with company in shady land deal, ask settlers

WHY is Felda still doing business with a company that was involved in suspicious dealings that nearly resulted in the land reform authority losing ownership of prime land in Jalan Semarak, Kuala Lumpur?

This was the question posed by Felda settlers’ group, Anak, as
allegations surfaced that the agency will lose ownership of the land despite a settlement last week.

Anak, a group of second generation Felda settlers, said the agency must explain why it was going ahead with a mega project with the same company that allegedly gained ownership of the land via a shady deal.

Anak president Mazlan Aliman said Felda itself had claimed that there were elements of fraud in the 2015 land transfer deal involving former Felda officials and Synergy Promenade Sdn Bhd (SPSB).

“The company has been accused by Felda of being involved in fraud,” Mazlan told The Malaysian Insight.

“But the company is allowed to continue with the KLVC (Kuala Lumpur Vertical City) project. A project which (Felda chairman) Shahrir Samad himself opposed.

“So when Felda said that the issue had been settled and it had regained ownership of the land, it caused confusion and was the butt of jokes,” Mazlan said.

Felda lodged police reports last December alleging that the ownership of 16 plots of land in Jalan Semarak, Kuala Lumpur, worth RM270 million, had been transferred in a suspicious transaction in 2015.

The transfer, for which Felda did not receive a single sen, was made to SPSB, the appointed developer of KLVC.

Why is Felda still in business with company in shady land deal, ask settlers
24 Jan 2018 – TMI


The unanswered questions behind Felda’s Jalan Semarak deal

The unanswered questions behind Felda’s Jalan Semarak deal

IN a surprise move last week, the company at the centre of Felda’s latest scandal volunteered to hand over plots of land it received in a suspicious deal two years ago.

But instead of bringing the issue to a close, this sparked more burning questions from Felda’s critics, such as Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli and Anak, a group representing Felda settlers.

Ownership of the 16 plots of land, worth RM270 million, was transferred to Synergy Promenade Sdn Bhd (SPSB). The firm was appointed by Felda to build the Kuala Lumpur Vertical City (KLVC) project on the lots in Jalan Semarak.

The transaction was considered dubious by legal experts as normally, a developer is only hired to build the project while ownership remains with the original owner.

Felda did not receive a single sen in the land transfer.

Following a flurry of police reports and assurances of an investigation from the government, SPSB said last week it would return ownership of the land to Felda at no cost.

Arguably, the biggest question still is:

* Are heads going to roll over the transfer?

This is because, as Felda chairman Shahrir Samad said, the transfer was known and approved by members of Felda’s board and officers in subsidiary Felda Investment Corporation (FIC).

But critics have also said senior government officials would have known about the transfer given that Felda is such an important agency and the land concerned was government-owned.

From the offset, Shahrir said there were elements of fraud in the deal and lodged a police report over it.

To date, police have questioned several individuals, including Mohd Isa Samad, the Felda chairman at the time of the deal.

* Who are Abd Rahman Soltan and Noraini Soltan?

Rafizi said these two are the registered as owners of SPSB, according to the firm’s 2015 financial statements filed with the Companies Commission in October 2017.

Each had shares amounting to RM7.5 million respectively in the company as of December 2015.

According to its financial statements, the little-known company’s assets included a luxury car worth about RM615,000, computers (RM9,000) and office equipment (RM13,000), Rafizi said.

The statements also revealed that both directors had about RM100 million in the Pilgrim Fund’s Board (Tabung Haji) and a bank.

* How did SPSB, a little known developer, manage to get ownership of the land in the first place? How did it land the plum KLVC project?

Rafizi alleged that SPSB’s records show that the company did not register any land as its assets. But what it does have is RM100 million in cash in Tabung Haji and the bank.

He asked whether the directors transferred ownership of the Jalan Semarak land to themselves and used it as collateral to get a RM100 million bank loan.

* Why is Felda still in business with SPSB?

Shahrir said the KLVC project will continue even with the police probe hanging over the entire issue. He said the terms of the project would be renegotiated.

Under the current agreement, Felda would get a minimum guaranteed return of RM500 million or 10% of the project’s gross development value, whichever is higher.

But Anak president Mazlan Aliman asked why Felda is still in business with SPSB.

The firm allegedly misused the power of attorney given to it – when it was appointed as KLVC’s developer – to transfer ownership of the land to itself.

According to Mazlan, even if SPSB decided to return ownership of the land, why would Felda want to continue dealing with such a company.

The unanswered questions behind Felda’s Jalan Semarak deal
25 Jan 2018 – TMI


1MDB scandal in BBC’s House of Saud episode on graft crackdown

Najib ‘guest stars’ in BBC’s House of Saud episode on graft crackdown

PRIME Minister Najib Razak has made an appearance in the latest episode of BBC’s “House of Saud: A Family at War”, a documentary series on the conflicted Saudi royal family.

“The Malaysian people are angry. They believe they have been robbed,” began the hour-long episode, which aired on Tuesday and which may be viewed online in the UK on the BBC website.

The second episode of the series traces the beginnings of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd scandal, to a deal the seventh son of the Saudi King, Prince Turki Abdullah sealed in late 2009 to receive US$1 billion (RM4 billion) in investments via PetroSaudi International.

Najib, his wife Rosmah Mansor and their children are shown in a picture with Prince Turki and Penang businessman Low Teck Jho, better known as Jho Low,on board the luxury yacht Tatoosh, where a plot was allegedly hatched to siphon money from the sovereign wealth fund.

Sarawak Report’s editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown is depicted in an interview telling the BBC that some US$700 million had disappeared from the fund.

Leaked documents showed that US$681 million was transferred to Najib’s personal bank account in March 2013, just before the 13th general election, Rewcastle said.

Prince Turki allegedly received US$77 million in commissions for his part in the scheme, according the leaked e-mails, the documentary said. These are the leaked emails that PetroSaudi has said were tampered with.

Also interviewed was DAP lawmaker Tony Pua, who said he had been tracking the scandal for eight years.

“We’re not talking about a million or two million. We’re talking about billions of dollars and yet the Malaysian government acted as if nothing happened. Absolutely nothing happened,” said the Petaling Jaya Utara MP in an interview in a coffee-shop.

“We were promised a tasty bowl of noodles full of meat vegetables and dumplings and the people would get to enjoy the feast,” Pua said, using a plate of wan-tan noodles to make his point.

“I was suspicious. We knew they’re going to siphon off the meat and and give it to themselves.

“But what actually took place, what really took place, was that not only did they take the meat, they took the dumplings, the whole bowl of noodles and the only thing they left for us to taste was the spicy chilli.”

Pua recounted the events after July 2015, when the Wall Street Journal broke the news alleging US$681 million of 1MDB’s money had been transferred into Najib’s account.

“Nobody believed it when it happened. Why would the prime minister be so stupid as to transfer that big an amount of money into his personal bank account? When I met people on the street, they said, ‘Nah that’s false news’. But later on, we discovered it was true,” Pua said.

The documentary said stolen funds were used to buy, among others, a hotel in Beverly Hills, a Monet painting and a US$33 million private jet.

“The cash had even been invested in a Hollywood movie. A film that just happened to be about rampant corruption and fraud,” the documentary narrator said, referring to the Wolf of Wall Street starring Leonardo DiCaprio

Prince Turki was recently detained during a crackdown on corruption initiated by the new Saudi crown prince, 32-year old Mohammed Salman. Hundreds have been arrested, including members of the royal family.

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has also launched a criminal investigation into funds allegedly siphoned from 1MDB after filing to seize over US$1 billion in real estate and other assets allegedly paid for with stolen money.

The DoJ said between 2009 and 2015, more than US$4.5 billion belonging to 1MDB was diverted by high-level officials of the state investor and their associates.

The DoJ said the main beneficiary of the assets it was seeking to recover was “Malaysian Official 1 (MO1)” whose identity has since been confirmed as Najib by Minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan Najib.

The prime minister has denied any wrongdoing. Najib said that the money in his bank account was gift from a Saudi Prince and which had mostly been returned. He was cleared of wrongdoing by the Attorney-General Mohd Apandi Ali in January 2016. – January 19, 2018.

Najib ‘guest stars’ in BBC’s House of Saud episode on graft crackdown
19 Jan 2018 – TMI

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?