Archive for May, 2017


The 1MDB scandal is not going away

Book, film on 1MDB scandal in the works

THE 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal is not going away. A book and film on the scandal-hit Malaysian investor, which piled up debts of nearly RM42 billion and money being siphoned off, are in the works by two different groups.

Among those to be named in the book and documentary include Prime Minister Najib Razak, who was 1MDB advisory board chairman, businessman Low Taek Jho better known as Jho Low, former chief executives Shahrol Halmi, Hazem Abdul Rahman and current 1MDB president Arul Kanda Kandasamy.

Others include Saudi Arabia’s PetroSaudi director Tarek Obaid and Abu Dhabi duo Khadem Al Qubaisi and Mohammed Al Husseiny, who are executives of Aabar, which partnered 1MDB in several ventures.

The Wall Street Journal’s (WSJ) Tom Wright, who broke many reports on 1MDB, has been on leave since last year to complete the book which he promises will have “lots of revelations”.

A British production house, Salt Lick Films, began production of a documentary on 1MDB two years ago and has gone into a co-production deal with another company, Roast Beef Productions, with a 2017 premiere deadline.

It is not known if Sarawak Report editor Claire Rewcastle-Brown is involved in the documentary but she reported the production works last March in her portal, which has run exposes on 1MDB since 2015.

Sources said the documentary producers have interviewed a number of opposition leaders and activists about the 1MDB scandal that first broke when the state firm missed its bond payments.

Opposition politicians Tony Pua from DAP and Rafizi Ramli from PKR were among the first to expose 1MDB’s debts before they caught the attention of Sarawak Report and the WSJ.

WSJ won the Scoop Award in the Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA) Awards 2016 with its “Malaysia 1MDB scandal” report, which launched international investigations into the Malaysian state investor as well global media coverage.

Wright, who is WSJ Asian edition economics editor, won SOPA’s Journalist of the Year Award 2016.

The 1MDB expose also made WSJ a finalist in the International Reporting Category of the Pulitzer Prize in the United States, which is one of a few authorities investigating the 1MDB money trail.

Book, film on 1MDB scandal in the works
30 May 2017 – The Malaysian Insight


The new election boundaries: Where GE14 will be won or lost

The new election boundaries: Where GE14 will be won or lost – Zoe Randhawa

MAY 27 – Earlier this month, in historic legal victories, Bersih 2.0 Outreach Officer Chan Tsu Chong along with six others were granted leave and a stay order to challenge the Election Commission’s (EC) delineation proposals in Melaka.

This means the process of re-drawing the election boundaries for Melaka has been suspended until the court case is completed.

This builds upon the work already done in Selangor to challenge the new proposals.

The importance of these legal challenges for the fate of the 14th general election (GE14) can’t be overstated.

The EC’s motivations for the new boundaries are obvious. The new boundaries are there to shift the balance of seats to secure a strong Barisan Nasional (BN) victory in the next election.

The political motivations behind the EC’s boundaries

According to research by Politweet, BN can win an additional 11 seats in the Selangor State Legislative Assembly with the new boundaries proposed in September 2016. These 11 seats would be won with no changes in votes from GE13 but only through the shifting of voters to strategic seats for BN.

Similarly, in the September 2016 proposals for Melaka, the seat of Bukit Baru, won by Pakatan Rakyat by 48 votes in GE13, would be won by BN with a 1,600-vote majority with the new boundaries. The marginal seat of Telok Mas, won by BN by just 700 votes in GE13, would become a safe seat with a 3,000-vote majority.

Worse still, based on the September 2016 proposal, the Bukit Katil federal seat, won by Pakatan Rakyat in GE13 by nearly 7,000 votes, would now be won by BN with a 4,800 vote majority. This move is especially suspicious, given that in August 2016, one month before the proposal became public, the Melaka Chief Minister called for the EC to change Bukit Katil boundaries to make it easier for BN to win.

The same pattern emerges throughout the country. In Perak, the safe Pakatan Rakyat seats in GE13 of Changkat Jering and Sungai Rapat would be won by BN, with no change in votes. In Kuala Lumpur, Nurul Izzah Anwar would lose the seat of Lembah Pantai.

The legal challenges

For the first time in our history, the EC is being dragged to court over and over again to stop their flagrant cheating through delineation. The rakyat have shown their outrage, with more than 1,000 objections submitted to the EC between September 2016 and April 2017 over their proposals.

The EC has been inundated with legal cases on delineation. So far, 11 cases have been filed in courts across the country, challenging the lack of information provided (yes, the EC doesn’t even want to tell voters how they are affected!), the unconstitutional proposals and the EC’s refusal to hold local inquiries when legally required to do so.

So far, there have been some brave High Court judges willing to take a stand.

Judges Azizul Azmi Adnan and Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera for the Selangor and Melaka cases, respectively, have both granted leave to hear the arguments of the case and have put a stay on further action by the EC to re-draw the boundaries in those two states.

The Selangor State Government’s challenge is now being heard in court and we have already heard some startling revelations from the EC, including that the information related to 136,000 addresses on the electoral roll has been destroyed.

I think it is fair to say we can expect more such ludicrous explanations from the EC as the cases progress.

What does this mean for GE14?

Even though the Federal Constitution allows the EC up to two years to complete the delineation exercise, the EC now seems to be desperate to finish the process as soon as possible. We can only wonder why this would be the case.

If the EC cared to follow the Constitution, once the court granted a stay for Selangor, this should have halted the process for the whole of the peninsula. This is because the Constitution says peninsular Malaysia must be treated as a whole unit when drawing constituencies.

However, the EC has decided to continue the delineation process “excluding the state of Selangor”. It is clear the EC is trying to bulldoze their proposal through no matter what the courts say. It shows complete contempt for the rule of law and our Federal Constitution.

On a positive note, it looks like the boundaries to the federal and state seats in Selangor may have been saved from the changes that would have led to a rigged election in a state BN is desperate to win back.

For the rest of the country, we can only speculate what the EC’s plans are.

It is now possible the EC will take the unconstitutional step of presenting their final proposals to the Prime Minister without completing the process for Selangor and Melaka. The prime minister can then table the new boundaries in Parliament by the end of July and announce the dissolution of Parliament by August. The election can then be held as early as September.

The EC up to the same old tricks

We are fully aware of how the process would have been conducted if the EC were not merely a puppet for the ruling party.

The Constitution is clear. Seats in the same state must have “approximately equal” number of voters and the EC must try to follow local ties in drawing the boundaries.

If the EC were fair, we would not have a seat in Selangor with more than 150,000 voters (Petaling Jaya Utara) and another with just 37,000 voters (Sabak Bernam). We would not have boundaries that cut households or communities in half to suit certain voting patterns. Local councils would not be criss-crossed with constituency boundaries, resulting in councillors having to communicate with multiple MPs on local issues.

The new election boundaries: Where GE14 will be won or lost – Zoe Randhawa
May 27, 2017 – MMO


Why should Malaysians wait another 33 years for a clean govt?

Why should M’sians wait 33 years for a clean gov’t?

YOURSAY | ‘Why wait until 2050? Corruption could be greatly clipped within three years…’

We may have clean gov’t by 2050, says Umno man

Notsoshiningarmour: “I believe the government will continue fostering the country, and in the end we will have civil servants and private sector of high integrity, and by 2050 – believe it – we will have a leader who is truly of high integrity,” Federal Territories Umno Youth chief Mohd Razlan Rafii (photo) told a TN50 dialogue session in Titiwangsa on Sunday.

Here is an Umno man admitting that we have a corrupt government and that if you need to clean it up, it will take 33 years. That itself will tell you how corrupt this government is, and that is the reason why Umno needs to be purged and the entire BN be removed from government forever.

Odin Tajué: The lack of integrity in Malaysia’s leader must be so obvious that we see here even an Umno Baru man has found denial of the shortcoming impossible, and he has publicly confirmed it. So, that part is settled. The said leader has no integrity. That is not at all flattering for him.

Now to the next part – grooming of future leaders to be people of integrity. To put it simply, ‘integrity’ in this context really means ‘absence of the desire to steal’. The grooming will be a tough exercise. Corruption is entrenched in Malaysia. It began way back when, for example, the notorious ‘so how’? (apa macam?) question became a joke decades ago.

The auditor-general’s reports have been revealing many ‘stupid-and-so-not-prosecutable’ people also since decades ago. Gossips about the seeming wealth-found-overnight of the politicians in the government also began decades ago.

Bad habits are difficult to break. But if that is so, the fact that the rotan, figuratively speaking, has hardly ever been used has contributed to the perpetuating of the habit of stealing. To stop stealing, you cane the head of the thieving gang – and cane him so hard that his members will squirm and shiver in fear – and then you cane them. Also very hard.

But only the junior members of the gang have been caned. Even then, only a few of them. To kill a thieving snake, you cut off its head, not its tail. But all that has been done is not even cutting off its tail but only nicking at it.

You are aiming for 2050 to have a leader with integrity? At the rate things are going in Malaysia, it will make no difference whether you have a thief or a saint helming the government. Because even if he is a thief, there will be nothing left for him to steal.

Anonymous #44199885: Malaysians are being told that they must live with corruption, abuse of power, kleptocracy, theft of public funds, money laundering, dissipation of our assets and illicit fund flows and the sale of our land, our sovereign rights and all critical industries to foreigners in an attempt to plug the hole until 2050.

This is the vision of Umno Youth. I wonder which consultant assessed the amount money to be made and stolen from the country that Umno Youth can confidently say that there will be no corruption by 2050.

It is an amazing plan that we need 33 years to end corruption and find a leader with high integrity. Umno’s promise for GE14 is clear, it will not change and all will be BAU (business as usual) for 30 more years.

While Indonesia is making great strides in combatting and ending corruption, Umno has a 30-year plan.

XED: Why should ordinary people be denied a life in a fair and just society now? Corruption results in the unfair allocation of resources. An example: the prices of houses go up when housing developers pay bribes to get approvals, licences and permits. The cost of the bribes get worked into the final prices of the houses.

As this country goes down the slope, one of the laws of physics will apply, the one regarding acceleration. No bouncing up at the bottom of the slope, only a sinking into a sea of muck.

There was a time when families in the Philippines took in maids from Hong Kong. Today, Hong Kong is full of Filipino maids. At the present rate, by 2050, many Malaysians will go to Indonesia as labourers and domestic maids. And many more non-Malays will have taken their assets and skills to other countries, leaving behind a narrower tax (and exploitation) base.

The lazy rich will find there is less to take from the other races and will likely exploit even more from the poor amongst their kind. With the brain drain and the flight of non-Malay capital, there would be even more dumbing down of Malaysians.

It is a big mistake to think that the flight of non-Malay skills and capital will bring prosperity for the growing Malay population. Look at the long-crippled economies of countries like Zimbabwe and Uganda.

Why are huge numbers of Muslims fleeing the abodes of Islam for the heathen countries of the West, risking their lives and sacrificing their belongings?

Vijay47: This statement seemingly of a new hope carries with it several possibilities of interpretation. Was Mohd Razlan talking seriously about what the future could bring, was he being sarcastic, or was he being realistic about the present state of affairs in the country?

Under other more credible circumstances, Malaysians would share his confidence in the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), but as long as that large elephant in the room remains free to smugly fly the skies, we would never have full trust in MACC and efforts to eliminate corruption.

There would always be that lingering suspicion that everything is just an act to distract us. Why wait another 33 years? Corruption could be greatly clipped within three years if enforcement agencies were given a free hand to clean the premises, from attic to cellar.

Until then, people may believe that Mohd Razlan also comes from Indiana University.

RM2.6 Billion Turkey Haram: Wait for another 30 years to clean up the government? We do not have luxury of time. By then, the country would be bankrupt. Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew just took a few years to transform the Singapore government to a clean one.

Catch the Malaysian Official 1 (MO1) now, and the rest follow. Surely the government will be clean instantly.

Clever Voter: There is a recognition that the nation is infected with corruption disease, but a denial that BN is incapable of curing the addiction.

If the nation is to be corruption-free, or at least achieve a significant reduction, BN has to do two things. One option is step aside and allow others to govern. Or put back the governance structure filled with committed individuals who act on behalf of the nation rather than political parties or individuals.

Both are doable but deeply embedded patronage system that churns out rent-seekers and apple-polishers will prevent this from happening. Changing these bad habits will upset many as the food chain nourishing the patronage system runs deep. We have only option one left.

Headhunter: Malaysians have a choice, wait for another 33 years for the plundering to stop (there’s no guarantee that it will) by voting for BN or decide at the 14th general election that enough is enough.

Why should M’sians wait 33 years for a clean gov’t?
27 May 2017 – malaysiakini


What is TRX and Bandar Malaysia?

Deconstructing TRX and Bandar Malaysia

Bandar Malaysia and TRX are sister projects about five kilometres apart and managed by TRX City Sdn Bhd – formerly known as 1MDB Real Estate Sdn Bhd.

Situated at the intersection of Jalan Tun Razak and Jalan Sultan Ismail, TRX is meant to be an international financial district.

According to its website, the master plan for the 28-hectare development will feature at least four “investment grade A” office towers, two five-star hotels, six “up-scale” residential towers, a lifestyle retail mall and a large urban park.

Essentially, TRX appears to be geared to become Malaysia’s version of Midtown Manhattan, New York – the home of most of the US’ big financial giants.

Among the companies that have bought into TRX are Mulia Property Development Sdn Bhd, Affin Bank, Lembaga Tabung Haji, WCT Precious Development Sdn Bhd and Lendlease Group.

Lendlease is developing a 17-acre Lifestyle Quarter in TRX on a 60-40 joint-venture with TRX City. The quarter will house Signature Tower, which is set to be the second tallest building in Kuala Lumpur.

Meanwhile, Bandar Malaysia is set to be developed where the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) base in Sungai Besi is located.

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has a grand vision for the 194ha mixed development, which he said must have “great content, great cultural value” and be a “tremendous entertainment attraction”.

Among others, Najib wants it to be the new KL Internet City – the key hub of the world’s first Digital Free Trade Zone.

He also wants Bandar Malaysia to be a transport hub, hosting the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail station, the MRT and connections to KTM Komuter, the Airport Express Rail link and twelve highways.

As of writing, a master developer for the project has yet to be appointed, although China’s development giant Dalian Wanda group appears to be a front-runner for the job.

The RMAF base which Bandar Malaysia will replace, has also yet to be relocated.

What criticism have both projects faced?

TRX and Bandar Malaysia both came under intense scrutiny because the government had sold the land it occupies for below market price. 1MDB then re-sold the land at a far higher price.

This can be best observed in TRX, which 1MDB said it had paid RM230 million or RM76 per square feet (psf) for the 28 ha land – although its 2011 financial statement indicate the land was bought for just RM194 million (RM64 psf).

However when pilgrimage fund Tabung Haji bought into TRX in 2015, the price had skyrocketed to about RM2,773 psf with the firm paying RM188.5 million for 0.63ha.

1MDB has defended the price at which it purchased the land, saying it was fully owned by the government and that any rise in land value would also benefit the government.

But in Tabung Haji’s case, there was an uproar as the firm is a public fund. Its decision to buy land in TRX had sparked concerns that public monies were being used to bail out 1MDB, which at the time had RM42 billion debts.

Deconstructing TRX and Bandar Malaysia
24 May 2017 – malaysiakini


Report: Nuclear power plant in Malaysia by 2030?

Report: Nuclear power plant in Malaysia by 2030?

KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 — Malaysia could have its own nuclear power plant by 2030 to address the high power consumption in the peninsula, the Malaysia Nuclear Power Corporation (MNPC) said.

MNPC chief executive Mohd Zamzam Jaafar reportedly said that the peninsula currently generates power from coal (52 per cent), gas (45 per cent) and hydro (three per cent).

“We will only use nuclear power in Peninsular Malaysia because the demand is much higher at around 18,000 megawatt. Sarawak only uses 2,000 megawatt,” he was quoted as saying in The Borneo Post.

He said nuclear power was necessary in the country, explaining that it was clean and safe and countries like China and Japan have also adopted a similar approach.

Mohd Zamzam, who was speaking at a National Transformation 2050 (TN50) conference in Sarawak, reportedly said that MNPC will work with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to evaluate setting up a plant here.

“This evaluation is in three phases. We are still in the first, which is where we make a decision. The second phase is to build and the third is to operate. But for now, we have not made a decision,” he was quoted as saying.

Report: Nuclear power plant in Malaysia by 2030?
May 24, 2017 – MMO


Minister should be serving the people, not personal interest

Crown prince: Better for KJ to be a wataniah soldier than minister

Johor crown prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim is not pleased that Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin was absent from the Malaysia FA Cup match last Saturday.

Tunku Ismail, who is also Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president, said many had enquired about the minister’s whereabouts during the match between Kedah and Pahang at the Shah Alam stadium.

Pointing out that royalties from Kedah, Johor and Pahang had attended, the crown prince said Khairy should have been present as well.

“According to rumours, he (Khairy) was involved with the askar wataniah (territorial army) on the night of the FA Cup match.

“To me, if the territorial army programme is more of a priority (to Khairy), then it would have been better for him to be a territorial soldier than a youth and sports minister,” added the crown prince on the Johor Southern Tigers football team’s Facebook page.

Meanwhile, Tunku Ismail also said the minister should not only attend events where he would be the centre of attention.

“When it is otherwise, you don’t attend because you already know you won’t be the main focus.

“When you are a minister or a politician, you should be serving the people and national institutions, not your personal interest.

“If all is about becoming popular, then you should be a celebrity, not a minister or a politician,” he added in the hard-hitting post.

Crown prince: Better for KJ to be a wataniah soldier than minister
23 May 2017 – malaysiakini


What is behind the termination of Bandar Malaysia deal?

Growing tension at Bandar Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR (May 20): Tension appears to be brewing among high ranking government officials over the axing of Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH) and its partner, China’s state-owned China Railway Engineering Corp Sdn Bhd (CREC) from the RM12.35 billion Bandar Malaysia development project.

The Edge Malaysia, citing a well-placed source, reported in its cover story for the week of May 22-May 28 that a key adviser of the prime minister on the entire IWC CREC debacle is Tan Sri Irwan Serigar Abdullah.

Irwan, who did not reply to calls or messages left by The Edge, has come under fire from certain bloggers while 1Malaysia Development Bhd president Arul Kanda Kandasamy was removed from the board of Bandar Malaysia around the same time as the deal with IWC CREC fell through — sparking talks that Irwan was in a feud with Arul.

Some news portals cited “potential conflicts of interest”, though no elaborations were provided. Sources told The Edge that Arul was with Tan Sri Lim Kang Hoo in China earlier this month at the One Belt One Road Forum, and that Arul had helped to pacify the Chinese government, who were apparently not happy with the failed deal.

For perspective, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, it seemed, was adamant to remove Lim and his vehicle IWH from the development at the weekly Cabinet meeting last Wednesday, despite repeated attempts by government officials to salvage Lim and CREC’s positions in Bandar Malaysia, according to The Edge. “I wonder what Lim did to aggravate the PM to this extent,” an official close to the prime minister told the weekly.

IWC CREC’s Dec 31, 2015 share sale agreement to buy 60% of Bandar Malaysia for RM7.41 billion lapsed after the joint venture failed to meet conditions set, involving 12 payments, despite having been given 12 extensions. But even government officials acknowledged that in such large-scale deals, extensions — even 12 of them — are common, the weekly wrote.

The manner in which the deal was ended was also a topic of conversation. No notice of termination was apparently given to IWH CREC.

Instead, the government issued a public statement on May 3 to say: ““This [termination] is because, despite repeated extensions being granted, IWH CREC failed to meet the payment obligations outlined in the conditions precedent under the share sale agreement (SSA). As a result, the SSA between the parties stands null and void with immediate effect.”

The Chinese, several sources told the weekly, have not taken well to the allegations, and “were especially irrirated with the statement that the consortium was not able to make the payments, as CREC is a state-owned company”.

The weekly wrote, citing sources, that Chinese government officials were even reluctant to accept the refund of the deposit of RM741 million and interim payment of RM44.88 million for the relocation of the air force base, Pangkalan Udara Kuala Lumpur.

They were even upset with Lim for cashing the cheque for the deposit refund. But Lim had other issues to handle, with publicly traded Iskandar Waterfront City Bhd’s (IWC) shares hitting limit down on May 8, after a 92 sen or almost 30% plunge to RM2.16 in early trading, the weekly noted.

On top of that, another Chinese company, Dalian Wanda Group, owned by China’s second richest man, Wang Jianlin (he was overtaken by Alibaba Group’s Jack Ma on May 14), was tipped to come into Bandar Malaysia, replacing IWH CREC.

However, talk of Wanda coming in has died down. The Edge heard that the Chinese authorities were not too pleased with Wang for what seemed like a sabotage of state-owned CREC’s deal, and IWH CREC were said to be back in the picture.

A local daily, linked to the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, also reported that “Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang told Najib that China hopes the deal on Bandar Malaysia stays unchanged. Najib may have to take the Chinese wishes into consideration,” quoting a government source in Beijing.

Growing tension at Bandar Malaysia
May 20, 2017 –

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?