Archive for December, 2017


Report: Jho Low living it up between Shanghai hotel and super yacht

Report: Jho Low living it up between Shanghai hotel and super yacht

Saying Low is going back-and-forth between Shanghai and his yacht, The Australian details the Low family’s activities in Australia, adding that Australian police have started a probe into 1MDB.

PETALING JAYA: Businessman Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, is spending his time between a gigantic luxury superyacht and a luxurious hotel in Shanghai, according to a report in The Australian.

The report said The Equanimity, which it described as a floating palace, was traversing the sea off the coast of West Papua.

Jho Low has been named as a central figure in an international investigation into what The Australian describes as “the multibillion-dollar looting of Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, 1MDB”.

Low is said to be splitting his time between Equanimity’s gold-plated interior and the equally luxurious Peninsula Hotel in Shanghai, overlooking the Huangpu River, according to the report.

The report added that “despite his closeness to Prime Minister Najib Razak, Low reportedly has been warned off returning to Malaysia”.

In the past six months, it said, the yacht had been seen cruising the seas of Southeast Asia on a tour taking in Cambodia, Thailand, Bali and some of Indonesia’s tiniest islands.

Australian investigators, the report said, missed their chance to lay hands on the A$165 million super yacht when it pulled into Cairns for a pit stop in March last year.

According to US court documents, it is during a frolic on Equanimity in 2014 that Low gave his then girlfriend, Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr, a diamond jewellery set worth US$2 million – money the US Department of Justice (DoJ) said was directly traceable back to 1MDB.

“The excursion was planned at Low’s direction by a high-end concierge service, and meticulous planning went into arranging the manner in which Low would present each piece of the matching diamond jewellery set to Kerr,” the DoJ said in a US Federal Court filing last month. Kerr has since returned the gems.

The DoJ has accused Low and his associates of using complex webs of tax haven companies to siphon money away from 1MDB, which was set up by Najib with the stated purpose of “driving the sustainable long-term economic development and growth of Malaysia”, and spending a chunk of the proceeds on luxuries for themselves.

The “looting of 1MDB” is being investigated in nations such as Singapore, Switzerland, and the US. Singapore has, in fact jailed some participants of 1MDB-related transactions and closed units of certain banks and fined others, while the US has seized properties it says had been bought using stolen 1MDB money.

Malaysian police, meanwhile, say they are still investigating the matter. Najib has consistently denied any wrongdoing, while 1MDB says nothing has been stolen.

Now, however, the Australian police have begun their own investigations into the affair.

The report said Australian police were investigating whether any proceeds of the alleged crime might have ended up in Australia.

It said the line of inquiry might lead to New Year’s Eve 2012-13 and an extraordinary continent-spanning party involving Hollywood stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx and others.

Report: Jho Low living it up between Shanghai hotel and super yacht
December 14, 2017 – FMT


Who authorised you to commit Malaysian troops to Middle-East, Hisham asked

Who authorised you to commit Malaysian troops to Middle-East, Hisham asked

DAP leader P Ramasamy says Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein cannot act on his whims and fancies but must think things through.

KUALA LUMPUR: A DAP leader today asked under whose authority Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein was willing to commit Malaysian troops to the Middle-East.

Describing Hishammuddin’s statement that the armed forces were ready to be deployed to the Middle-East if the situation warranted it as “irresponsible”, Ramasamy said a country’s defence minister should not act on the basis of whims and fancies.

He said no defence minister could or should commit the armed forces for a distant cause without proper understanding of the situation.

“I would like to know who authorised Hishammuddin to prepare the army to be deployed in the Middle-East? Was there a special session of parliament on this matter for the matter to be debated?”

Ramasamy asked if it was a mere political statement or was Hishammuddin trying to please the Arab Muslims by showing “the good intentions and loyalty” of Umno leaders for the Palestinian cause, or was it to get the support of the Malays in the coming general election.

Hishammuddin, who is also Umno vice-president, said the Malaysian Armed Forces were prepared to head to the Middle-East if Malaysia’s services were needed there, following the US government’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, during his winding-up speech at the 71st Umno general assembly.

Ramasamy said in a statement: “Yes, Malaysia and many other countries are incensed by the action of US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel.”

Many Muslim and non-Muslim nations which are keen to resolve the long standing quest for a separate Palestinian state are unhappy with this recognition.

However, Ramasamy, who is also Penang deputy chief minister II, noted there was no imminent danger of an all out war in the region.

The recognition of Jerusalem, he said, might result in large-scale protests and even low key attacks against Israel but not a major conflict that might predispose the United Nations to despatch peace keeping forces.

“There is no possibility that such a situation might arise, but if it does it will doubtful whether Malaysia will be asked to send troops for a peace-keeping mission.

“Given this, I don’t know why Hishammuddin had to jump the gun by saying that Malaysia was ready to send troops to the Middle-East.”

Who authorised you to commit Malaysian troops to Middle-East, Hisham asked
December 12, 2017 – FMT


Malaysia ‘ready’ to send military to Jerusalem if needed – CNBC

Malaysia ‘ready’ to send military to Jerusalem if needed

Malaysia is ready to send military forces to Jerusalem in response to President Donald Trump’s recognition of the city as Israel’s capital, the Southeast Asian country’s defense minister said over the weekend.

“We are ready for any orders from the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces … should our services be needed,” Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said in a speech on Saturday, according to The Malay Mail Online.

Muslim-majority Malaysia has long supported Palestine’s quest for independence from Israel, a decades-old struggle that remains a defining element of Middle East politics.

“We were shocked earlier this week with the worrisome news that would affect global geopolitical stability,” Hussein was quoted as saying.

The defense ministry did not immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comment.

Israelis and Palestinians both claim Jerusalem as their capital and its status remains a contentions issue between the two. In siding with Israel on the matter, the U.S. president has angered several of America’s allies in the Middle East and beyond, triggering violent protests in Palestinian territories, Jerusalem and Beirut. On Sunday, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli security guard at a Jerusalem bus station, Reuters reported.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has said that while he rejected Trump’s decision, bilateral ties would not be affected, local newspaper The Star said on Sunday. Trump’s action could also complicate progress on a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine, Najib warned.

Malaysia ‘ready’ to send military to Jerusalem if needed
11 Dec 2017 – CNBC


Umno and its pursuit of a ‘1,000-year Reich’

Umno and its pursuit of a ‘1,000-year Reich’

CONTRARY to what Abraham Lincoln may have said, that democracy means the “rule of the people, by the people, for the people”, the actual essence of a genuine democracy is the willingness of the ruling party to risk an electoral defeat. Indeed, to hand over power peacefully.

If the elections are constantly rigged, as they are allegedly by Umno through various underhanded moves that includes, but not limited to, gerrymandering, manipulated postal votes and use or abuse of government apparatus and assets, to perpetuate their power, then democracy carries zero meaning, as the reigning government would win any contest time and again.

But Umno appears determined to load the dice. This time around, however, it has even latched on to the logic and language of the Nazi party. Not unlike Adolf Hitler, under the presidency of Najib Razak Umno has declared that it ” will rule for over 1,000 years.”

The parallel with Hitler and the Nazi party is both stark and stunning. This is precisely what Hitler and the Nazi party had wanted, even dragging Europe and Asia into World War 2.

Indeed, Najib’s speech at the Umno general assembly also showed the depths to which he and Umno had descended. Power must be had for power’s sake. Nevertheless, this is where Najib has run afoul of divine law, for only God can rule in eternity. Those that attempt to usurp the role of God will become blind and misguided when they overstays their welcome.

The Quran says in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:17-20) that when God removes guidance from the people, that includes the leaders, those who are lost will only see when strobes of lightning strike. When the lightning dissipates, the vision is gone.

Umno is now in such a state, as is PAS, a party that has misused Islam at will for its narrow political gains.

But back to the comparison to the Nazi party, as the lesson is striking. When Hitler was released from jail after an unsuccessful coup in the German parliament, he decided to seize power constitutionally rather than by force of arms.

Using fiendish and fiery rhetoric – as Najib and his ilk appear to do in Umno through prepared speeches – Hitler, through his natural oratorical skills, sought to demonise anyone and everyone opposed to the Nazi party in Germany.

Najib in his speech at the Umno general assembly, did not spare anyone. The obvious enemies were the leaders of Bersatu and DAP. Broadsides were aimed at Dr Mahathir Mohamed, Muhyiddin Yassin and Mukhriz Mahathir.

Even Anwar Ibrahim, who is still recovering from shoulder surgery at hospital, while still serving his time in prison, was not spared. Why such animosity?

Clearly, Najib knows that the ground has moved decisively against him and Umno. He is haunted by the spectre of defeat in the next general election. And, it is not just him, but Shahrizat ABdul Jalil, the Wanita Umno head and Khairy Jamaluddin, the Umno Youth chief, too.

Just imagine Shahrizat actually equated Najib to the legendary Sultan Salahuddin Al Ayubi, who ruled from Syria to Libya (1174-1193), including Palestine and Egypt, and the conqueror of Jerusalem.

To see why this comparison is devoid of any truth, we just have to read what the authoritative scholar of Islam, Abul Hassan Al Nadvi wrote about Salahuddin Al Ayubi : “a devout Muslim he was, the dominant point of his character were an acute sense of justice, charitableness, tenderheartedness, patience and courage while he kept himself immersed in the recollection of God”.

A little bit more reading on Salahuddin Al Ayubi, will reveal that he was a true man of God, who ensured himself, his aides and soldiers behaved in compliance to the divine dictates of shariah in all spheres of life – spiritual, moral and material. When Salahuddin Al Ayubi died, despite reigning over Syria to Libya, including Palestine and Egypt, he left behind nothing except a dinar and 47 dirhams. Nothing else. Zilch. No palatial palaces, no pink diamonds, no secret chambers of gold, no nothing. In fact he had not left enough to even defray his burial expenses.

Knowing these undisputable historical facts, can Najib be equated to Salahuddin Al Ayubi ? Was Shahrizat fair in her comparison? Apple polishing leaders to score points is quite the norm in Umno, but this was certainly a new low ever in the history of its general assembly.

Even Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the de facto deputy president of Umno, had to finesse his speech at the general assembly. Zahid affirmed that gaining both the popular vote and a two-thirds parliamentary majority is now an impractical probability.

Coming from Zahid, the Home Minister who has regular access to intelligence from the field, this is the closest admission that Umno and Barisan National are in a deep creek.

Umno and its pursuit of a ‘1,000-year Reich’
9 Dec 2017 – TMI


Property freeze: Why does govt not listen to Bank Negara, asks Pua

Property freeze: Why does govt not listen to Bank Negara, asks Pua

DAP MP says halting new approvals for high-rise residential properties over RM1 million does nothing to address the glut.

PETALING JAYA: Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua wants to know why the government implemented the luxury property freeze instead of heeding advice from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) on tackling the supply-demand imbalance.

Calling the freeze another example of the government’s tendency to ignore expert policy advice in favour of knee-jerk reactions, he said BNM’s report on the matter had outline six different recommendations for dealing with specific issues in the property market.

“Why doesn’t the government just adopt the advice already given to it by BNM?

“It is difficult to understand why the government has chosen to ignore BNM’s relatively sound advice to address these problems,” he said in a statement today.

The government’s decision to freeze luxury property developments valued at over RM1 million followed a BNM report warning that unsold residential properties were at a decade-high level.

BNM added that the glut could worsen if the current supply-demand conditions persisted.

The directive, which came into effect on Nov 1, covers high-rise condominiums, shopping malls and commercial units.

Pua said the central bank had suggested increasing encouragement for the rental market to address the high level of unsold residential properties.

It also recommended that the government increase its efficiency in providing and allocating affordable homes.

To address the large incoming supply of commercial properties, he said, BNM had suggested better management, including ensuring a thorough assessment of the projects’ viability and making certain that developers are cognisant of demand conditions.

The report also recommended the repurposing of vacant commercial buildings to alleviate the problem of high office vacancy rates and low rental rates in existing buildings, and increasing demand for existing space through rental rebates or greater efforts to attract foreign business.

“The government’s halting of new approvals for high-rise residential developments over RM1 million does nothing to address these issues,” Pua said.

“Unlike these policies, the government’s knee-jerk ban will only halt the approvals for future high-end developments without managing the already-severe level of oversupply.”

The DAP national publicity secretary urged the government to immediately take heed of BNM’s recommendations, and conduct a thorough study on the matter with all stakeholders and think tanks.

He also repeated his criticism of the government’s seemingly inconsistent stand on the property freeze, saying it had now made a “near complete U-turn” on the issue.

Based on the latest announcements by Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Noh Omar and Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani, he said, property developers could now appeal to ministers for project approval on a case-by-case basis.

“Basically, the ministers have now granted themselves full discretionary powers to approve projects for developers who can sweet-talk their way to winning the hearts of the ministers.

“The arbitrary nature of this new policy will have serious consequences for short and longer term investments by both foreign and domestic investors in Malaysia,” he said.

Property freeze: Why does govt not listen to Bank Negara, asks Pua
December 8, 2017 – FMT


1MDB will receive its just deserts from the US court of law

US Department of Justice’s rebuke to 1MDB

THE US Department of Justice is one of the most fiercely independent institutions in the US. It even launched an investigation into the sitting presidency of Donald Trump, this by way of the appointment of the FBI special councillor Robert Mueller, to check for Trump’s possible collusion with Russia in meddling with the US presidential election last year.

As this is being written, the dragnet has tightened to capture the likes of Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, briefly the national security advisor of President Trump. Flynn has actually admitted to lying to FBI investigators. Trump himself is having trouble with his most recent trigger happy tweet in which he tried to distance himself from Flynn, which could possibly lead to an “obstruction of justice” probe.

Among the people that will come under the increased legal scrutiny of Mueller would be Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and the president himself.

The wheels of justice may grind slowly but as the Trump-Russian collusion campaign file indicates, they do not stop for anyone.

Consequently, it is why 1MDB will receive its just deserts from the US court of law.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has confirmed that the case of 1MDB is “kleptocracy at its worst”, while the previous US attorney general Loretta Lynch had said that “a number of corrupt 1MDB officials treated this public trust as a personal bank account to satisfy their astonishing greed”.

She said the “co-conspirators of 1MDB laundered their stolen funds through a complex web of opaque transactions and fraudulent shell companies with bank accounts in countries around the world, including but not limited to Switzerland, Singapore and the US”.

That is two US attorneys general in succession. So it doesn’t matter whether it is golf buddy Obama or dealmaker golf buddy Trump in charge.

At least US$4.5 billion (RM18.9 billion) was laundered through a web of international transactions and US$3.5 billion more has been seized by the US Department of Justice.

If Malaysian law enforcement agencies do not work with the US Department of Justice, some US$7 billion will not see the light of day in Malaysia.

And, even if the US$7 billion were recovered, about a third would be lost to the time and work spent uncovering this grand larceny. At whose expense? The people of Malaysia’s, again.

This brings two issues into sharp relief: why don’t the Malaysian institutions want to work with the US Department of Justice to recover what is rightfully the money of Malaysians?

Furthermore, why the great reluctance to pin the blame on Jho Low, who is one of the main masterminds of 1MDB, to the degree that his yacht “The Equanimity”, which cost more than US$260 million, was allowed to cruise back and forth in the waters surrounding Penang island ? To date, the Malaysian authorities has made no serious effort to bring him in.

When the sitting Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi gave an answer in Parliament to the question posed by Azmin Ali on steps taken to bring in Jho Low, he said that Interpol had been enlisted to bring in Jho Low. However, the same evening Zahid Hamidi had to back track his answer in the Parliament showing clearly even the DPM is not spared when comes to the mere mention of Jho Low. This guy must be very powerful or some powerful personality is protecting him so he or she will not be powerless, should the truth eventually show its fangs.

US Department of Justice’s rebuke to 1MDB
7 Dec 2017 – TMI


‘Mahathir the best man to take on Najib in GE14’

‘Mahathir the best man to take on Najib in GE14’

Former PM is expected to do well if he contests in Langkawi, despite criticism from those who highlight his age.

PETALING JAYA: Political observers have placed their money on former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the best person to topple Najib Razak in the 14th general election (GE14).

The 92-year-old statesman was recently named Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) interim prime minister should the opposition sweep to victory in the next polls.

Although Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan yesterday scoffed at the proposal, saying the opposition lacked “fresh blood” in its leadership, observers told Channel NewsAsia (CNA) they believed the PH chairman is the best man for the job.

PPBM supreme council member Kadir Jasin said over the past year, Mahathir had become “the rallying point for the opposition”.

Kadir, who is a close associate of Mahathir, added that the public believed the former prime minister was the only one who could challenge Najib.

Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) chief executive Wan Saiful Wan Jan meanwhile told CNA that Mahathir had a good chance of winning if he contests in Langkawi.

“Voters there still remember him as the person who helped the island grow. And he is generally popular in Kedah too,” Wan Saiful was quoted as saying.

“I can understand if the opposition wants to use Mahathir as a strategy to win the Malay votes. Because Mahathir might just be able to do that for PH.”

Pacific Research Center principal adviser Oh Ei Sun warned however that Mahathir would fare badly if he contested in Putrajaya as civil servants are dependant on the ruling government.

Mahathir, who led the country for 22 years, was Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minister.

In June, he said it was possible that he would become prime minister again if PH wins in GE14, but that this would only be for a short period of time.

“If there is no candidate… I might try, only on condition that everybody agrees,” the Nikkei Asian Review quoted him as saying.

During the PH retreat last weekend, the coalition also named PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as its candidate for deputy prime minister.

‘Mahathir the best man to take on Najib in GE14’
December 6, 2017 – FMT

THE Al Jazeera interview

Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!

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?