Archive for January, 2017

30
Jan
17

Najib Razak appears secure, but looks can deceive – Economist

Najib Razak appears secure, but looks can deceive

The opposition has a chance to strike

A ROUND of applause, ladies and gentlemen. Any typical leader of a typical democracy, when found with nearly $700m of ill-explained money from an unnamed foreign donor in his accounts, would experience a swift and fatal fall. Yet, nearly two years after news first broke that Najib Razak’s bank balance had been thus plumped up, his high-wire act continues.

You could even argue that the Malaysian prime minister, who denies any wrongdoing, is at the top of his game. Mr Najib appears to command the unstinting loyalty of the party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), which leads the coalition that has ruled the country since independence in 1957. He has undermined a fractious opposition, not least by peeling an Islamist party away from it. And as investigations proceed in several other countries into the alleged bilking of colossal sums from 1MDB, an indebted state investment-fund whose advisory board Mr Najib once chaired, the prime minister himself remains untouched. Staying in power helps stave off any risk he might face of international prosecution. A general election is due by late August 2018, but perhaps Mr Najib will call a snap poll in the next few months to give himself several more years’ rule.

The question is how, despite the mysteries surrounding 1MDB and his personal accounts, the prime minister appears to be consolidating his power. Patronage is a big part of it. Though his wife has a lusty appetite for Hermès Birkin bags, and the wedding of his daughter to a nephew of the Kazakhstani president was an occasion of such bling that the Malaysian media were discouraged from publishing photographs, Mr Najib may be essentially right when he says the cash in his accounts was not for personal gain. An UMNO leader needs money to buy loyalty from powerful politicians. It is also handy for spreading largesse among ordinary Malays—including helping devout Muslims make the haj.

Threats are as important as money. Anwar Ibrahim, the charismatic leader of the informal opposition coalition which won the popular vote in an election in 2013 (though not, thanks to gerrymandering, a majority of seats), has been in prison since 2015 on trumped-up charges of sodomy. In November the leader of an anti-corruption rally in Kuala Lumpur was arrested and held under tough new security laws. Newspapers and bloggers have been hounded. The number of activists and politicians charged with sedition has shot up. As for 1MDB, the only conviction in Malaysia related to it has been of a whistle-blowing legislator who highlighted alleged wrongdoing by the fund’s managers.

…more
Najib Razak appears secure, but looks can deceive
The opposition has a chance to strike
6 Jan 2017 – Economist

29
Jan
17

Harapan can beat BN in three-cornered fights after May, says Rafizi

Harapan can beat BN in three-cornered fights after May, says Rafizi

Pakatan Harapan should gain enough support to beat BN in three-cornered fights by this coming May, said PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli.

He said BN currently has a slim advantage over the opposition in a three-corner situation.

However Rafizi said based on his observation, support for the ruling coalition is slowly declining, and shifting towards Harapan.

“By May, BN’s advantage will shift to Harapan.

“In a straight fight, even now Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak will be sent packing,” Rafizi said in a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today.

He stressed this support shift could only come if the opposition focused on attacking BN and presenting solutions for existing problems, instead of “splitting hairs” over issues such as who the next prime minister is.

Rafizi was rebutting predictions by the Financial Times Confidential Research that Najib will win in the elections, which it expects to be held in the third quarter of this year.

He expressed skepticism about the survey as the sample size was just 1,000.

Rafizi said based on his NGO Invoke’s observation, the reality on the ground among the grassroots is quite different.

“The realisation that there is a need for a change of government is increasing,” he said.

Rafizi then jested that Financial Times may want to conduct their survey again after May

…more
Harapan can beat BN in three-cornered fights after May, says Rafizi
5 Jan 2017 – malaysiakini

28
Jan
17

Court grants permission to contest EC’s unconstitutional redelineation of electoral boundaries

Court victory is our first step in fighting unconstitutional plans

Yesterday, my Lembah Pantai constituency snagged a victory at the High Court of Malaya in the fight against the Election Commission’s (EC) unconstitutional redelineation of electoral boundaries – and more importantly, it was also a win for all of Kuala Lumpur.

This decision marks the first step amongst many needed for us to save Malaysia’s democracy, and to ensure that in the very near future the fundamental ‘one vote, one value’ principle will stop being further encroached on by our government.

The court proceedings centred on the judiciary’s role in ensuring a fair, just and constitutional redelineation. Eventually, my team of lawyers managed to pull off an admirable feat when they convinced the High Court to settle on a position that would bring several positive implications against partisan gerrymandering:

On behalf of Lembah Pantai, we are now granted permission to contest the EC’s proposed redelineation.

This decision has a ripple effect that will influence all of Kuala Lumpur – that makes 11 out of 222 constituencies in Malaysia. Until the outcome of Lembah Pantai’s challenge is revealed, the EC will not be allowed to continue holding local inquiries into the redrawing of boundaries at any other constituencies in KL.

But, yesterday’s victory must not render us complacent. We may have delayed the EC from bulldozing into reality their unconstitutional proposal for new electoral boundaries in Malaysia, but our fight against their unconstitutional redelineation is not yet won. Moving forward, we will save Malaysia together by staying committed in upholding the words and spirit embodied in the constitution, the supreme law of the land.

For disrespecting the due process under the Thirteenth Schedule of the Federal Constitution, the Election Commission’s proposal to redraw Malaysia’s electoral boundaries must be quashed.

Firstly, the proposed redelineation will cause each Malaysian’s vote to have drastically unequal worth to others. Under the constitution, Section 2(c) of the Thirteenth Schedule clearly states that “the number of electors within each constituency in a State ought to be approximately equal”.

For Lembah Pantai, the EC plans to shrink our electoral size by 10,000 individuals. Lembah Pantai lost over 16,000 resident voters (23 percent of its original total) from polling areas that are opposition-friendly, while over 6,000 new entrants, including the police district at Bukit Aman may soon be cynically added into the seat. If the EC were to get its way, the result would be a government-biased set of results at Lembah Pantai.

Worse yet, Titiwangsa – a BN-leaning territory – which is originally the smallest constituency, is now shrunk even further by almost 10 percent of its original size. It will soon be 36 percent smaller than its largest and opposition-friendly neighbour, Bandar Tun Razak.

Severing numerous local ties

Secondly, EC also violated Section 2(d) of the Thirteenth Schedule, as its newly-proposed boundaries will damage and sever numerous local ties. Parts of Brickfields that are currently within Lembah Pantai may soon be reassigned to Bukit Bintang.

However, part of Brickfields is KL’s largest transit hub – KL Sentral, whose residents and visitors often frequent the commercial district of Bangsar and vice-versa. Therefore, such strong economic ties connecting Brickfields with Bangsar suggest that both areas must share the same parliamentary constituency, Lembah Pantai.

…more
Court victory is our first step in fighting unconstitutional plans
Nurul Izzah Anwar
5 Jan 2017 – malaysiakini

27
Jan
17

MACC, why focus on civil servants, not politicians

MACC, why focus on civil servants, not politicians

Cuepacs can play a vital role in helping the government and MACC, to reduce corruption by encouraging more civil servants to become whistleblowers.

COMMENT

by Ramon Navaratnam

Grand corruption can cripple our economy. Indeed, it is already causing the decline of public confidence and widening a growing trust deficit.

Unless the deepening corruption and consequent economic inefficiencies are addressed firmly and urgently, the socio-economic and political prospects and our social stability can be seriously endangered.

That is why, it is most welcome that the MACC’s deputy Azam Baki has now announced a new MACC focus on high ranking civil servants and senior officials in sensitive areas of procurement and enforcement in the government-linked companies (GLCs) and the banking sector as well.

But it begs the obvious question as to – why does the MACC want to focus only on officials and leave out the top politicians from this new focus?

Politicians, be they from the government or the opposition, could be even more corrupt.

After all, they have a shorter career path, that could end at every general election, which is held every four to five years. Therefore, being more vulnerable than longer term career officials, politicians could have a higher tendency to make hay while the sun shines.

Hence, the public would rightly expect the MACC to also include politicians in the MACC`s new focus on those who live beyond their means. Otherwise, MACC’s credibility could suffer, as senior public servants and bankers could feel the application of double standards in fighting corruption.

Such officials may even sense unfairness in that corrupt politicians are let off the hook and are even condoned with, in their nefarious activities. So the officials will ask – why should they be honest, when their political leaders can get away with corruption?

So, we hope MACC clarifies soon why politicians are not beyond serious and focused investigation too.

…more
MACC, why focus on civil servants, not politicians
January 4, 2017 – FMT

26
Jan
17

1MDB, SRC alleged scams will never be properly dealt with if Umno still in power

1MDB, SRC and the bitter truth

The first exposé of the – hmm! – ‘alleged’ 1MDB colossal scam exploded 23 months ago.

The first time Malaysia’s prime minister himself, Najib Abdul Razak, was specifically named as a recipient of allegedly vast sums of money from 1MDB and SRC occurred 19 months ago.

The first time an actual method of covering up the allegedly dubious activities at SRC was revealed four months ago.

The largest kleptocracy case ever handled by the US Department of Justice has to do with the alleged thefts from 1MDB.

No fewer than six jurisdictions have investigated into the alleged theft of money from 1MDB and SRC and the laundering of the loot.

Three of the jurisdictions have taken legal action against some of the alleged culprits – humans and non-humans.

Some five dozen notable media channels around the world have published and telecast tens of thousands of words and images detailing the alleged theft of money from 1MDB.

In the Land of Endless Possibilities, the investigations into the alleged scams have been frustrated and then ordered to be terminated, only claimed to be in progress, and completed but no action has been taken to remedy the injury due to supposedly insufficient evidence.

In the Land of Endless Possibilities, requests for Mutual Legal Assistance into the matter have been allegedly ignored or rejected.

In the Land of Endless Possibilities, the alleged suspects seem to enjoy protection. In fact, it seems that two of those that have fled are, wonder of wonders, still being paid their salaries.

In the Land of Endless Possibilities, the authorities have offered only bare denials and badly woven fairy tales, whereas the foreign jurisdictions and whistleblowers have provided facts and figures to prove their contention.

In the Land of Endless Possibilities, the auditor-general’s report on his investigation into the 1MDB alleged scam has been locked out of the public’s curious eyes.

In the Land of Endless Possibilities, no questions on the alleged scam are allowed in Parliament.

In the Land of Endless Possibilities, a body of text containing some 5,200 words has been published by one party attempting to defend Najib. (There seems another installment coming.)

The claims contained in that body of text are so fantastical that although the truth can sometimes be stranger than fiction, the sheer ludicrousness exhibited has rendered the whole nothing more than the product of an addled brain.

In the Land of Endless Possibilities, it is plainer than daylight that three of the authorities that have the power to effect justice will not fulfill their obligations. These are the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the police and the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

Exercise in total futility

Therefore, it is an exercise in total futility to ask any of the authorities in the Land of Endless Possibilities to explain this and that and that other one about the two alleged scams.

Therefore, it is sheer madness to ask the prime minister to explain this and that and that other one about the two alleged scams.

They will simply show you their middle fingers. Which they have been doing, actually. In case you haven’t noticed it. That, of course, is said with my tongue in my cheek.

The bitter reality is that the alleged scams will never be properly dealt with for as long as Umno is still in power. Never. That is spelled N–E–V–E–R.

…more
1MDB, SRC and the bitter truth
Odin Tajué
4 Jan 2017 – malaysiakini

25
Jan
17

‘AG, MACC chief must explain why SRC case not prosecuted’

‘AG, MACC chief must explain why SRC case not prosecuted’

Attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief Dzulkifli Ahmad must explain why the SRC International case was never brought to court, lawyer Haniff Khatri said.

This was after Special Operations Division director Bahri Mohd Zin, 58, opted for early retirement last Friday reportedly dejected over failure to bring the case to light.

“Apandi and Dzulkifli must give an immediate, true and transparent explanation to all Malaysians on Bahri’s statement.

“Otherwise, both must resign immediately for their part in the conspiracy to cover up a crime related to SRC,” Haniff, who is former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s lawyer said.

Bahri told Malaysiakini he opted to retire because he could not serve “spider web laws” where small fries get caught but bigger players escape.

The special division Bahri headed was formed in 2010 to investigate high-profile cases, especially those involving corruption of more than RM1 million.

SRC, which was previously a subsidiary of 1MDB and now under the Finance Ministry, came under the spotlight after RM42 million of its money was found in Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s personal bank account. Najib also helms the Finance Ministry.

While MACC’s 1MDB investigations were complex and involved many overseas jurisdictions – with the attorney-general refusing to issue a mutual legal assistance to the commission to work with foreign investigators – the SRC case was clear-cut as it involved mostly local entities.

The SRC money was deposited into Najib’s accounts in two transactions – on Dec 26, 2014 and Feb 10, 2015 – after being routed through two companies, Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd and Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd.

Najib has reportedly claimed to be unaware about the money from SRC.

Apandi cleared the prime minister on both the RM2.6 billion found in Najib’s account, which was described as a donation, and the SRC cases.

Malaysiakini reported last week that the Special Operations Division had been allegedly downsized and that six of its officers who were involved in the SRC probe were transferred out of the division.

Among those transferred was Bahri’s deputy, Tan Kang Sai, thus leaving the special investigation unit without two of its top officials.

…more
‘AG, MACC chief must explain why SRC case not prosecuted’
3 Jan 2016 – malaysiakini

24
Jan
17

Form RCI on Felda and FGV, Putrajaya told

Form RCI on Felda and FGV, Putrajaya told

The DAP has proposed the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to investigate issues surrounding the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) and its subsidiary Felda Global Ventures Holdings (FGVH)

DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang said RCI’s main aim would be to listen to grievances of Felda settlers, particularly on its acquisition of Indonesia’s Eagle High Plantations.

“A fit and proper chairperson of the Royal Commission of Inquiry to Save Felda would be Nazir Razak, the CIMB chairperson, the son of Tun Razak who set up Felda and the brother of the Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak,” said Lim in his speech in Raub yesterday.

Aside from volunteering himself as a member of the RCI, Lim also proposed former law minister Zaid Ibrahim to be a part of the team.

“PKR MP for Pandan Rafizi Ramli would be most suitable to be engaged to head an investigation team by the RCI to save Felda,” he added.

Lim pointed out that there has been a long list of complaints and grievances against Felda, the latest being its decision to acquire a 37 per cent stake in EHP at US$505.4 million (RM2.26 billion) – without any control over access to its 425,000 hectares of land.

Settlers wrongly advised on FGV?

Decisions surrounding access to Eagle High’s land and other issues would still be determined by Indonesian billionaire Peter Sondakh, who would remain in control of EHP, despite having a reduced stake of 31.6 percent via his Rajawali Group.

“Another issue which Rafizi had brought up was Felda’s replanting scheme, which had the highest spending at RM2.5 billion a year and exposed the scheme to various risks of abuse and corruption,” he said.

Felda had defended its decision as a synergistic relationship between the two companies and an opportunity to maximise returns.

On FGV, Lim said the company’s troubles have been greatly aggravated with EPF’s disposal of all its stakes – recording a new low of RM1.55 per share at the end of the year, compared to its IPO price of RM4.45 in 2012.

“In 2012, Putrajaya had promised the listing of the country’s largest oil palm plantation would herald a new era and urged settlers to acquire FGV shares through loans.

“With EPF having offloaded its substantial share in FGV, had the settlers been taken for a ride and wrongly advised to take loans to buy the FGV shares?” he questioned.

FGV remains the third largest palm oil producer in the world. However, the company has been in the red in recent years.

…more
Form RCI on Felda and FGV, Putrajaya told
2 Jan 2017 – malaysiakini




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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