Archive for July, 2015

31
Jul
15

Najib, misappropriation is not the main issue

COMMENT A few things related to The Wall Street Journal’s (WSJ) expose of 1MDB funds having been deposited into Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s private AmBank accounts are becoming clearer.

Najib has not denied that he received the US$700 million (RM2.66 billion). And that is very telling. Instead, he is constantly harping that he did not use the money for his personal interest.

He could be telling the truth there because the bulk of the money might have been used to finance Barisan Nasional’s campaign during the 13th general election (GE13) in May 2013.

But even so, it is wrong for him to receive the public funds – if he did receive them. It constitutes a crime. That is the main issue of the case. But he has not addressed it.

That is the issue that the special task force set up to investigate the scandal should focus on. But Najib has announced that the scope of the investigation is only to determine whether he misappropriated the funds for his own use. And this is the same line he is taking with WSJ.

His lawyers have sent a letter to WSJ demanding to know if it stands by its accusation that Najib misappropriated public funds.

The demand is stupid. A reading of the WSJ articles exposing the transfers of monies to Najib’s accounts clearly shows that WSJ makes no such accusations. And of course they would not do so because they were merely reporting, not editorialising.

It is not the job of news reports to editorialise and make accusations. Anyone who knows the basics of newspaper reporting could have told Najib’s lawyers so – and spared them the embarrassment of making such an asinine demand.

I suspect what Najib wants to achieve in sending that letter to WSJ is to get an answer from the latter that it does not accuse him of misappropriating funds. Then he can say to the people of Malaysia, “See! WSJ has admitted I did not steal any money!”

This is the tack he appears to be taking. This is what he wants us to believe. That is why he has dictated the scope of the investigation of the special task force thus.

He probably thinks that if he can convince the rakyat that he did not steal the money, he would be forgiven, that he would regain our trust and confidence.

But that’s wishful thinking. To regain public trust and clear his name of the scandal, he should do the obvious thing. i.e. to sue WSJ outright on the grounds that its reporting was false and that the said monies were never deposited into his private bank accounts – and win the case. Right now, his lawyers’ letter to WSJ is mere pussyfooting.

But would he dare sue? Well, if he is clean, he would. But if he isn’t and the case goes to trial and WSJ does bring out the dirt, and proves beyond doubt that those money transfers were made as reported, he would be in deep shit.

I reiterate, whether he misused the monies allegedly deposited is not the main issue. Proving that he received the funds is enough. Regardless of whether he used the money for his personal interest, the crime is already implicit in the taking of the US$700 million.

…more
Jul 9, 2015 – malaysiakini
Najib, misappropriation is not the main issue

30
Jul
15

US$700 million into PM’s account – How the layman sees it

How the layman sees it — Dharm Navaratnam

JULY 10 — So the news about money supposedly going into the PMs accounts seems to have gotten everyone into a kerfuffle.

The report from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and the subsequent denials and vitriol are indeed disturbing. It has become the topic of conversation at coffee shops, in homes and even on social media with everyone having their own point of view.

It certainly does make for interesting discussion. I think this article echos how the general person in the street sees things.

As a layman, I have a lot of questions. Firstly, the simple fact that the PM did not deny receiving the money into his accounts is not comforting. His response was something to the effect that he did not use the money for his personal interest. Fine. But since there as no denail that the money was received, is he admitting that he received money?

If it was not for his personal use, then why bank it into his account?

Okay, I’ll admit that there are many people that use their personal accounts to accumulate and then channel funds for worthy causes. I have a friend that is helping to rebuild a village in Kelantan. He raises funds and donations and gets people to bank it into his account. The difference here is that he is transparent. He provides regular updates of his plans and what he will do with the money. At the end of his project all contributors will know where their money went.

But this is different. This is the PM that we are talking about. Surely accepting large amounts of money into your personal account is just not right. Even if it is legally acceptable, it just doesnt seem right. One would think that if there was a large transfer of money it would be transferred to a government account and not your private account.

Surely, there is a large government bank account sitting somewhere that is used to transact funds. So if a large amount of money was transferred to your personal account and it wasnt for your personal use, What was the money used for then? There has been no explanation. It would help if someone told us what the money was used for and why is was banked into your account. Because even if it wasnt used for your personal gain, the question remains as to why it was transferred to your account. Silence is not golden in this instance.

What then of our Inland Revenue Department and Bank Negara? How did a transfer of US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) into an individuals account not set off some alarm bells or at the very least raise some questions?

I bought a bank draft recently for a sum of RM1800. There was a complicated form that I had to fill out, in triplicate if I remember correctly.

So if a small amount of RM1800 required so many details to be filled out, how does US$700 million go unquestioned? Why does it supposedly take a ‘mole’ to leak documents to the WSJ for something as large as this to be higlighted? Shouldnt the IRD and BNM be aware of such large transactions and act immediately?

The AG has come out to say that they will prosecute the mole that leaked the information to the WSJ. Why are we going after the so called mole? Are we not seeing the forest for the trees? Didnt he/she do us all a favour by bringing this out in the open?

Remind me of that the next time I see a crime being committed. I may be better off not reporting it.

Then of course we were told that all of this is a conspiracy to topple the government. There was a Western conspiracy against the PM. It was a conspiracy by our ex Prime Minister. It was a Jewish conspiracy. It was an opposition conspiracy.

Wow.

The last time I heard of so many conspiracy theories was when I used to watch the X-files. What is even more disturbing is that all these different conspiracy theories came from our supposed leaders. Have we lost all capability for critical thought and analysis and simply spout conspiracy theories to defend ourselves?

If I”m not mistaken, the story by the WSJ broke on the 2 July. 8 days later, no one seems any wiser as to why the money was transferred. No one is any wiser on what the money was used for. It is not clear where the money came from.

And just this morning, there are further reports alleging that RM2 million was banked into another prominent persons account. Are these revelations just the tip of the iceberg? How many more accounts are there where money is floating around or being banked or transferred into?

…more
How the layman sees it — Dharm Navaratnam
July 10, 2015 – MMO

29
Jul
15

PM, you are an embarrassment to the nation!

Mr Prime Minister, you are an embarrassment to the nation!

The recent disconcerting disclosures that RM2.6bn had been allegedly channelled into the Prime Minister’s private accounts clearly amount to corruption.

It is a terrible indictment of the lack of integrity in the national leadership. It is an embarrassment that is difficult to endure!

This came to light as a result of a report by The Wall Street Journal, a prominent business news portal, which cited documents from a government probe that had traced the flow of huge sums of money into Najib’s private AmBank account in Kuala Lumpur. This evidence seems to confirm that money had indeed gone into the PM’s personal bank account.

Following this expose, a government spokesperson told WSJ that Prime Minister Najib had not used any funds for his personal use. That is not the point. The question is, why did this colossal sum of money go into the PM’s account when the money did not belong to him? It wasn’t his hard-earned money; it was neither the inherited wealth from the family heirloom. Why then was this mind-boggling sum paid into the PM’s personal account?

We have reached a frightening situation when there appears to be no demarcation between public money and private wealth. There is obviously no accountability as to how public money is dispersed or expended.

This kind of abuse of authority in high places demeans democracy and destroys people’s trust in government. It is very shameful conduct that must be condemned strongly.

While we don’t state that the PM is corrupt, there are traces of corruption allegedly linked to him in the shocking evidence that has been unearthed. As a result, his reputation is badly damaged and irrevocably tarnished. He has a duty to clear his name and there should be no foot-dragging in this matter.

The only way he can salvage his integrity is to set up a Commission of Inquiry that will delve deeply into this allegation of corruption linking him to huge sums of taxpayers’ money in order to expose the truth that will vindicate him. He has no other route to prove his innocence but to submit himself to thorough scrutiny by a Commission of Inquiry, which must establish that whatever wealth he has accumulated was indeed legitimately earned.

…more
Mr Prime Minister, you are an embarrassment to the nation!
by P Ramakrishnan
4 Jul 2015 – Aliran

29
Jul
15

Do the right thing, go on leave, Najib told

Joining the growing calls urging Najib to go on leave, the pro-moderation group said the prime minister should not be afraid of such a move, as it was part of good governance and not an admission of guilt.

“Given the unprecedented magnitude of allegations in The Wall Street Journal about US$700 million being transferred into the prime minister’s personal bank account, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should consider taking leave, pending the completion of the probe into this.

“This is the only right and honourable thing to do so that investigators will be seen truly free and independent to get to the bottom of this damning allegation,” Cenbet said in a statement.

The group is headed by co-chairmen and lawyers Gan Ping Sieu and Lim Chee Wee.

Cenbet said that by vacating his post temporarily, Najib would be able to focus on tackling the controversy, and would not be held back by government duties.

But the group added that Najib should also clear his name first, as the “court of public opinion can be vicious”.

Cenbet said Najib should instruct AmBank to set the record straight on the alleged transactions involving his account, order Bank Negara Malaysia to state whether it was aware of the alleged transaction, and have 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and AmBank sue WSJ for defamation.

The group said once Najib was cleared of all wrongdoing, he could return to office “with his head held much higher than when he took leave”.

“He would have set a good example in holding public office and kept a higher moral standing in the public’s eye. That will certainly be in the best interest of the nation,” it said.

The group added it was concerned that the attorney-general and inspector-general of police (IGP) seemed more interested in going after those who leaked the confidential documents, rather than verifying their authenticity.

“This ‘killing the messenger’ attitude does not help restore confidence in public institutions and could make the current investigation appear compromised,” said Cenbet.

…more
Do the right thing, go on leave, Najib told
9 July 2015 – TMI

28
Jul
15

Hold independent probe into 1MDB disclosures

COMMENT The Malaysian Bar is extremely concerned over recent disclosures made by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and Sarawak Report (SR) of information contained in government investigation documents allegedly revealing that funds of about US$700 million (approximately RM2.7 billion) were transferred between government agencies, banks and companies linked to 1MDB, and then deposited into the personal accounts of the prime minister in AmIslamic Bank Berhad in March 2013.

It has also been reported that the original source of the funds is unclear and the subsequent use of the funds is unknown.

The prime minister said yesterday, “… saya ingin menegaskan sekali lagi bahawa saya tidak pernah mengambil dana 1MDB untuk kepentingan diri sendiri” (“I would like to stress again that I had never taken 1MDB’s funds for my personal interest”). However, it appears that the prime minister has not expressly denied that funds were deposited into his personal bank accounts.

The disclosures made by WSJ and SR are exceptionally grave, and must be probed exhaustively, and without delay. The basic questions that arise, and remain unanswered, are whether the funds were transferred to the prime minister’s bank accounts, and whether these bank accounts were his personal bank accounts.

If so, further questions arise, including the source of the funds; the prime minister’s relationship with the depositors of the funds; the reason they chose to deposit the funds into his personal bank accounts; and the purpose for which the funds were utilised, or the identity of the ultimate beneficiaries of the funds. There must be clear, convincing and irrefutable answers to all these critical questions in order to determine the nature and extent of any criminal culpability.

Further, if the transmission of the funds occurred as reported by WSJ and SR, questions would need to be asked as to the application of exchange control regulations and anti-money laundering legislation. In this regard, it would be pertinent and vital to know whether Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) had been notified of the remittance of these funds by the paying and receiving banks, and what actions, if any, were taken by BNM in response.

…more
Jul 9, 2015 – malaysiakini
By Steven Thiru
Hold independent probe into 1MDB disclosures

27
Jul
15

Government must explain purchase and use of spyware

Government must explain purchase and use of spyware — Lawyers for Liberty

JULY 8 — Lawyers for Liberty views with extreme concern reports that Malaysian enforcement authorities and the Prime Minister’s Office have acquired intrusion or malicious spyware from Hacking Team, a notorious Italian company known for dealings with repressive regimes or states with dubious human rights records.

It is highly questionable whether the use of spyware to tap into phones and computers are constitutional or even legal as it amounts to a most serious breach of privacy, a right recognised as being part of “personal liberty” in Article 5 of the Federal Constitution.

Spyware enables access to the hacked computer’s or phone’s emails, text messages, files from applications like Facebook, Viber, Skype, or WhatsApp, contacts, and call history. It also allows authorities controlling the spyware to turn on the device’s camera or microphone to take pictures or record conversations without the owner’s knowledge.

Such arbitrary and unwarranted intrusion into the private lives of individuals can also be criminal in nature as confidential data including passwords, banking and credit card details and even intimate pictures can be collected or even filmed remotely.

While the authorities may justify the use of spyware to investigate serious criminal offences including terrorism, there is a severe lack of trust that they will limit the spyware use to specific and genuine criminal cases but will also use them to spy on opposition and dissidents for politically motivated matters. How else can one explain the PM’s Office’s reported acquisition of spyware?

The use of spyware is highly intrusive and rightly regarded as a serious breach of privacy and further interferes with freedom of expression as individuals would be fearful to express themselves even privately, not knowing if and when the state is watching and listening.

Such spying undermines the very nature of our democratic society, one that is governed by the Constitution guaranteeing personal liberties, rule of law and legal processes, not a ‘Big Brother’ authoritarian state where every citizen is under constant surveillance by the authorities.

…more
Government must explain purchase and use of spyware — Lawyers for Liberty
July 8, 2015 – MMO

26
Jul
15

Dr M slams Najib at meeting with Felda NGO

ANAK president reveals former PM as saying that Najib’s actions has harmed the well-being of Felda settlers

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday took his grouses against Prime Minister Najib Razak to a meeting with Persatuan Anak Peneroka Felda (Felda), in his on-going crusade to oust Najib from the prime minister’s seat.

This time he took Najib to task for his handling of various matters affecting the Federal Land Authority (Felda), a Facebook posting by Felda-linked NGO Persatuan Anak Peneroka Felda Kebangsaan (Anak) president Mazlan Aliman recorded yesterday.

The meeting, described as “historic” by Mazlan, saw Mahathir slam Najib for several actions which he said were harmful to Felda settlers’ well-being.

Chief among Mahathir’s grouses was that the listing of FGV had not been carried out with the best intentions of the settlers at heart.

Mahathir was also said to have questioned how Felda Global Ventures Berhad (FGV) could “throw money away” via the purchase of a hotel, factories and investments overseas despite the fact that there were still many opportunities to invest in the country.

“Even purchases of assets were made at exorbitant prices for personal advantage,” Mazlan quoted Mahathir as saying.

Mahathir also expressed his concern that the assets of settlers would be mortgaged if foreigners were allowed to own shares in FGV.

“Najib had carried out many acts which have been harmful to the country,” Mahathir was quoted as saying. “Pak Lah (Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) was bad, but Najib’s administration has been even worse.”

During the meeting, Mahathir also questioned the appointment of Isa Samad as FELDA chairman.

“Tun, who dismissed Isa for misconduct and money politics, wondered how Najib could appoint Isa Samad as chairman of Felda,” Mazlan’s post read.

…more
Dr M slams Najib at meeting with Felda NGO
July 7, 2015 – FMT

25
Jul
15

WSJ claim calls for ‘yes’ or ‘no’ from Najib

The PM is yet to tell whether 1MDB funds did flow into his personal accounts.

COMMENT

Prime Minister Najib Razak probably thought he was in the clear, finally, after postponing the Umno party elections till 2018. It was time to breathe deep and deal with the already formidable mountain of scandals demanding his attention and to work on making his administration look competent after years and years of being lambasted from all quarters. Sadly, fate is a capricious thing, and Najib now has to deal with what may be the biggest scandal ever to hit a sitting Malaysian prime minister.

By now, most of us must have read the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report which claims that some RM2.6 billion was transferred into Najib’s personal bank accounts just before GE13. It has been all that anyone is talking about in the past week, and the general feeling that Najib is on his way out has never been stronger. After all, presidents and prime ministers all over the world have resigned or been made to resign for much less.

Perhaps the most preposterous aspect of the controversy is the way Najib tries to defend himself. The sounds coming out of his camp are incredibly coarse, to say the least. In an information war, it is important to discredit your opponent by making it seem that your side of the story is more plausible. But Najib and his cohorts’ tendency to belittle WSJ – whether by questioning its credibility, or implying that it is unprofessional in depending solely on Mahathir Mohamad’s word for its report, or claiming that the expose was part of a Jewish master plan to bring down Islamic countries – is laughable at best. The allegation of a Jewish conspiracy comes to us courtesy of FT Umno Youth chief Mohd Razlan Muhammad Rafii. No wonder we have a leadership crisis in this country.

The Wall Street Journal is nothing like a mosquito newspaper. It is published by a global behemoth, with offices throughout the world, a highly reputable media organisation that prides itself on excellence in reporting. Of course, it has occasionally made mistakes in its long history. Which media organisation hasn’t?

In the current case, however, it has firmly stood its ground against the accusations of Najib’s supporters, claiming that the evidence it has shows beyond the shadow of a doubt that funds from 1MDB were indeed transferred into the Prime Minister’s personal accounts. To accuse the leader of a country of corruption, and to the magnitude of RM2.6 billion at that, is no small matter. It is a huge risk that no reputable media organisation would take unless it had a high level of confidence that it could defend itself.

The accusation is extremely serious, and Najib must be able to give a clear yes-or-no answer when questioned whether funds were indeed transferred to his accounts. Anything else just weakens his position both as a leader and as a person. His argument that he has “never taken funds for personal gain” sounds deceptive under the circumstances. He was never accused of taking the funds for personal use. Most observers have deduced that the funds were channelled into BN’s war chest.

This is not something Najib can just shrug off his shoulders like so much dust, as he has with most of the accusations thrown at him so far. In many other countries, the people would have started a revolt. But Najib must not take the peaceful reaction to the expose to mean that Malaysians are not paying close attention.

…more
WSJ claim calls for ‘yes’ or ‘no’ from Najib
Scott Ng
July 7, 2015 – FMT

24
Jul
15

Looking for scapegoats?

Looking for scapegoats?
The secondary players in a plot
The game we have seen
It is just to shield the main player

It doesn’t take so long
To see the bank accounts and statements
Why delay the probe on it?
The public wants to know

Going around in circle
The main meal is still on the plate
It is to pick the fork and knife to cut it
Does it take so long to taste?

Two wrongs never make a right
It is better to get it done and move on
Be transparent and truthful with it

No need to beat around the bush

…source
Looking for scapegoats?
July 23, 2015 – caravanserai

24
Jul
15

Malaysia’s PM Najib Hangs On

But it’s unsure for how long as intraparty forces coalesce against him

Malaysia appears almost in a state of suspended animation – on the surface – over allegations on July 3 by the Wall Street Journal and Sarawak Report that the state-backed investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd had directed nearly US$700 million into Prime Minister Najib’s personal accounts prior to the 2013 election.

“We have never had a disclosure like this before,” said Ambiga Sreenavasan, the former head of the Malaysia Bar Council, who is an increasingly influential figure in the opposition. “We would expect some response, that there would be a complete statement. Everybody is waiting to see what is going to happen.”

One well-placed Kuala Lumpur lawyer said bringing down the prime minister is a long shot. He has survived a decade of scandals as defense minister and prime minister and “Malaysia has a huge carpet and there are a lot of bumps under it. This is going to be a bigger bump than before. But it’s still a bump under the carpet.”

Others disagree. The slow drip of support away from Najib within his United Malays National Organization, while not public, is increasing as party leaders grow deeply worried that the massive corruption revolving around the revelations will destroy the party’s 60-year hold on power. But despite growing and widespread anger throughout the country, the opposition has been torn apart by dissent and there appears no unified opposition that could bring it down.

Muhyiddin Yassin, the 68-year-old UMNO Deputy President and Deputy Prime Minister who has been waging a behind-the-scenes campaign allied with former Premier Mahathir Mohamad, is said by friends to be increasingly confident that “the Teflon prime minister,” as one source said, is facing growing certainty that he will be forced to stand down.

If Najib does go, and Muhyiddin displaces him with Mahathir at his back, the outlook is probably ominous for those closest to the prime minister, particularly Khairy Jamaluddin, the son-in-law of former Premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who Mahathir also disposed, at least partly because he was so angered by what he felt was Khairy’s use of his influence as the man closest to Badawi’s. When Badawi fell, Khairy, out of favor for a time, managed to maneuver close to Najib and in effect became one of the prime minister’s closest advisors. Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, is also likely to become a target.

“This time it’s different [from previous scandals],” a source with close ties to the party said. “This time there is evidence that the money went into [Najib’s] account. That is against the law. The party leaders know that.”

…more
Malaysia’s PM Najib Hangs On
July 6, 2015 – Asia Sentinel
By John Berthelsen





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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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