Archive for April, 2018

30
Apr
18

Has the election already been stolen?

Has the election already been stolen?

COMMENT | Elections in countries all over the world that adhere to democratic norms are generally decided by the three “Ms” of money, media and party machinery.

There is also a fourth “M” factor at work – electoral gerrymandering and voter malapportionment.

However, genuine and aspiring democratic countries do attempt to minimise partisan geographical bias and intentional gerrymandering, such as that based on race, so as to ensure that elections are not only free and fair but also result in a legitimate mandate to govern for the winning party or parties.

For the coming 14th general election in Malaysia, we have seen concerned citizens and the opposition respond with outrage to the massive gerrymandering and malapportionment as well as the huge cash and other financial and material benefits promised by the BN government in its effort to buy the support of key voting groups.

We have also seen a string of respected international media columnists write disapprovingly of the unprecedented efforts made by caretaker prime minister Najib Abdul Razak to win the election by what they mainly regard as foul means.

On March 8 and 10, well before the new avalanche of cash benefits especially targeting rural Malays was unveiled in the BN election manifesto, The Economist – perhaps the most respected financial weekly in the English language and enjoying an international readership among discerning readers for its in-depth analysis of the world economy and current developments – published two articles focusing on the Malaysian election.

The titles of the two articles are self-explanatory: “Tilting the Playing Field” and “Stop Thief!” The articles explain that in Malaysia “the electoral boundaries are not the only way in which the system is stacked against the opposition.”

“The media are supine. The police and the courts seem more interested in allegations of minor offences […] than they are in the blatant bilking of the taxpayer over 1MDB and the open violation of the constitution at the election commission.”

The second article concludes: “Mr Najib may be venal, but he is not stupid. He fears that most voters would not return him to office if given a choice, so he is taking their choice away.”

Defending Najib and BN

In response, Ahmad Rasidi Hazizi, the Malaysian high commissioner to the UK, wrote that the articles “reeked of an arrogant colonial mindset, disparaging our prime minister, government, police, judiciary, election commission, media and even our voters.”

He noted that the articles were “based on falsehoods pushed by the opposition alleging gerrymandering in the electoral boundary redrawing exercises.”

Arguing that the redelineation process was grounded in democratic principles as practised in the West, he alleged that The Economist showed double standards by misreporting the Malaysian exercise.

“In Malaysia, these changes were proposed and implemented by the independent Election Commission and subsequently approved by the judiciary, whose impartiality is evidenced by the fact that it frequently rules against the government and senior ministers.”

Ahmad may be correct that The Economist harbours an arrogant colonial mindset in dealing with Malaysia. However, if he had used the opportunity to research the subject of electoral gerrymandering and the way past elections in the country have been conducted, he would not have written a defence of BN’s record in “scrupulously” adhering to democratic principles in elections.

The fact of the matter is that anyone in the world wanting to understand the extraordinary longevity of BN rule does not have to look hard for evidence of how the Alliance and then the BN parties manipulated the electoral playing field by numerous underhand and unethical practices.

Ahmad himself would be spoilt for choice in selecting from the many researchers who have analysed Malaysian politics and concluded that one of the key factors in the government’s political dominance is its control of the “independent” Electoral Commission and the electoral system and processes.

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Has the election already been stolen?
15 April 2018 – malaysiakini

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30
Apr
18

It’s not me alone who’s against Najib

It’s not me alone who’s against Najib

COMMENT | I have always voted against Umno/BN since 1969. And proudly so. But it’s not me alone who’s against Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak. Come May 9, I will be in very distinguished company voting against Umno/BN, the collective name for Najib.

I can count on Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Anwar Ibrahim, Muhyiddin Yassin, Shafie Apdal and Rafidah Aziz to cast their votes against the gallant Bugis warrior.

Still Najib continues to command undying support from staunch party loyalists. PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang has also promised the moon. Even the army chief was persuaded to swear unprecedented loyalty to the man. Fortunately for the general, he quickly corrected himself, saying that the army is loyal only to king and country.

The 14th general election (GE14) is about Najib and the dignity of our nation, which hangs on the integrity of one man who has sat at the apex of His Majesty’s government since 2009.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has accused Malaysian Official 1 (MO1) of being linked to billions of dollars “stolen” from the country’s sovereign wealth fund 1MDB. However, the DOJ did not name Najib in the alleged theft. All they did was to say that MO1 was linked to the stolen funds.

The DOJ accused the Malaysian government of kleptocracy. Well, that’s a highly sophisticated word but in plain English it could very well mean the same thing. Mahathir has no difficulty understanding the act of looting as “pencurian”.

This is allegedly big-time robbery on the high seas as ginormous as Jho Low’s superyacht, the Equanimity. Yet DAP veteran Dr Tan Seng Giaw who co-chaired the inter-party parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to investigate the 1MDB scandal seemingly let Najib off the hook.

“That was merely my view based on the PAC report into 1MDB. I opined that you need to have proof to implicate someone. Failing which, it would be fake (allegation),” he told Malaysiakini just days ago.

It looks like the eight-term opposition parliamentarian may have been cowed by Najib’s new Anti-Fake News law which carries a penalty of fines up to RM500,000 or a six-year imprisonment or both. The legislation defines fake news as “news, information, data and reports which is or are wholly or partly false.”

Well, that’s good enough for Tan not to implicate Najib since he can’t decide whether the allegations are wholly or partly false. But how can he verify if they are fake? As soon as the Auditor-General’s Report on 1MDB was completed, Najib locked it up under the Official Secrets Act. So there’s no way to verify whether it’s fake news.

‘Money were stolen’

Former US attorney-general Loretta E Lynch, appointed by the Obama administration, filed a civil action in 2016 seeking the forfeiture and recovery of more than US$1 billion in assets associated with an international conspiracy to launder funds allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB. This is the largest single action ever brought under the US Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.

Lynch said according to the complaints, from 2009 through 2015, more than US$3.5 billion in funds belonging to 1MDB was allegedly misappropriated by high-level officials of 1MDB and their associates. The US seeks to recover more than US$1 billion laundered through the US and traceable to the conspiracy.

The hunt for missing money continues under the Trump administration and according to its current attorney-general, Jeff Sessions, the multi-billion dollar corruption scandal involving the Malaysian state fund is the worst form of kleptocracy, and the DOJ is working to provide justice to the victims, i.e. the taxpayers of Malaysia who will now have the opportunity to vote Najib out of power.

It’s not only the US which is pursuing the alleged culprits. Half a dozen more countries like Singapore, Luxembourg and Switzerland are also casting their nets wide to recover the stolen funds. Assuredly, they have no reason to be anti-Najib. It’s all about the integrity of their financial systems.

As previous US attorney-general Lynch has said, “The Department of Justice will not allow the American financial system to be used as a conduit for corruption. With this action, we are seeking to forfeit and recover funds that were intended to grow the Malaysian economy and support the Malaysian people.

“Instead, they were stolen, laundered through American financial institutions and used to enrich a few officials and their associates. Corrupt officials around the world should make no mistake that we will be relentless in our efforts to deny them the proceeds of their crimes.”

Like I said, it’s not me alone who’s against Najib. Mahathir, Anwar, Muhyiddin, Shafie Apdal and Rafidah are all lining up to vote against him.

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It’s not me alone who’s against Najib
14 April 2018 – malaysiakini

29
Apr
18

A prediction that Harapan to win 118 seats

My calculation: Harapan to win 118 seats

LETTER | Based on data from the recent delineation exercise by the Election Commission, the recent voter demographics, the addition of new voters, various analytics by both mainstream and non-mainstream sources including both Merdeka Centre and Invoke, I have calculated the outcome of Malaysia’s 14th general elections (GE14).

The first focus is on Peninsular Malaysia. The racial demographics of Peninsular Malaysia is categorised into four categories:

  • Malay-majority seats in Kelantan and Terengganu, which consist of 22 seats. To simplify the analysis, Chinese and Indians populations are deemed negligible, hence their population is keyed in as zero.
  • Malay-majority seats with an average of 90% Malay population for all states in Peninsular Malaysia (except Kelantan and Terengganu), which consist of 28 seats.
  • Malay-medium majority seats (with an average of 70 to 80% Malay population), which consist of 65 seats.
  • Mixed and Chinese seats which consists of 50 seats, where Malay population is 65% (as per national average) or lower. The reason mixed and Chinese seats are lumped together is because based on the simulation, Pakatan Harapan is expected to win 99% of those seats regardless of whether the ratio has 65% Malays or less. This point may seem controversial but it’ll be explained later.

For all peninsular states except Kelantan and Terengganu, BN’s Malay support is predicted to drop from GE13’s 65% to 45%, in line with forecasts from several non-mainstream findings. Chinese and Indian support to remain the same as GE13.

The latest report from Merdeka Centre states that BN’s drop in Malay support in the peninsula is only 8% as of mid-April 2018. However, Merdeka Centre did state that the drop in Johor is 20.9%. In reality, this author argues that the fall is more drastic. Bear in mind that survey respondents are usually cautious (especially in a BN-governed state) when answering surveys in fear of reprisal from the ruling government, hence resulting in a response bias towards BN.

Furthermore, the survey by Merdeka Centre is flawed because it has zero fence-sitters and undecided voters, where it is highly probable that the majority of them will ultimately swing to Harapan. Hence, the survey result is BN biased.

In spite of the result bias, Johor is estimated to fall 20.9%, Selangor 17.2% and Perak 8.9%. So we can safely add more percentage points to these figures. This writer predicts an additional 5 to 10 percentage points in line with Invoke’s data. In fact, Invoke’s latest data has BN’s Malay support languishing in the high 30s to low 40s.

Merdeka Centre’s data on Kedah’s shows a 1.1% drop in Malay support for BN. This has to be the most controversial and outrageous take on GE14 as data from other findings is pointing to a similar if not larger drop as that suffered in Johor.

In fact, the writer posits that if anything, Kedah has the biggest fall in Malay support for BN, possibly even in the 30s. Harapan is widely expected to smash BN in this state due to the Mahathir and Mukhriz one-two punch.

Pakatan Rakyat’s Malay support in GE13 was 35% and it is assumed 15% of that belongs to PAS in all states except for Kelantan and Terengganu, which is in line with Invoke’s survey result which states PAS’ support level has dropped from 18% to 13% in the past month.

Hence, Harapan will lose 15% of Malay support to PAS, but gain 20% of Malay support from BN, for a total of 40% Malay support. Merdeka Centre’s result however differs widely, stating that PAS has 27% Malay support as opposed to Harapan’s 20%.

This writer posits that Merdeka Centre’s result is flawed as it lumps PAS’ support together for the whole of the peninsula when in reality the result skews heavily to PAS in Kelantan and Terengganu but is almost negligible in the west coast states. Hence, the opinion here is that BN’s loss will be Harapan’s gain in all states par Kelantan and Terengganu.

For Kelantan and Terengganu, BN and PAS are predicted to be evenly matched, with Harapan not making much of a dent. To simplify this analysis, Chinese and Indian votes are considered as negligible in this category.

The mixed and Chinese seats are lumped together instead of separately because they yield the same result regardless of whether the ratio has 65% Malays or 50% Malays or lesser. To simplify this analysis, the race composition for this category is considered the same as our national ratio of 65% Malays, 25% Chinese and 10% Indians, even though in reality it differs according to areas.

But it won’t influence the result as Harapan is expected to win 99% of these seats due to the aforesaid 20% Malay swing and the overwhelming Chinese support.

There’s no doubt that BN’s 65% Malay support in GE13 will be reduced, mainly due to resentment towards caretaker prime minister Najib Abdul Razak and the BN government he leads, and the addition of onr million new Malay voters. The question is by how many percentage points the Malay swing will be.

There were about 8.7 million eligible Malay voters in GE13. The addition of 1 million new Malay voters translates into an 11.4% increase. If 70% of new Malay voters support Harapan (based on non-mainstream findings), that’s already a swing of about 5%.

So a total swing of 20 percentage points is not that far-fetched. In fact, it’s quite conservative as Merdeka Centre already puts the swing as 8% in spite of the survey weakness highlighter earlier while Invoke’s one is in the high 20s.

The results are shown below.

So based on a “conservative” 20% Malay swing, and assuming that the Chinese turn out in droves to vote like in GE13, this simulation shows that Harapan can win about 100 seats in Peninsular alone.

With that in hand, Harapan only need another 12 seats from East Malaysia to form the federal government, but in all likelihood, they’ll need about 18-20 to form a stable government. In the last election, Pakatan Rakyat won nine seats in east Malaysia.

Assuming the status quo is maintained in Sarawak with Harapan winning six seats, the remaining bulk of seats is expected to come from Sabah, especially now that is has a united opposition front and with Warisan having taken the mantle of state autonomy call.

If the current groundswell momentum in east Sabah is anything to go by, Warisan is expected to clinch it for Harapan. The writer predicts a total of 12 seats to be won by Warisan and PKR in Sabah, hence Harapan to form the next federal government with a total of 118 seats. Pakatan Harapan to win GE14.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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My calculation: Harapan to win 118 seats
AW
27 April 2018 – malaysiakini

29
Apr
18

Najib is getting desperate about the UMNO/BN prospects for the 14GE

Najib is getting desperate about the UMNO/BN prospects for the 14GE in less than three weeks’ time

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak must be getting desperate about the UMNO/BN prospects for the 14th General Elections or he would not be doing something which he knew was wrong and illegal.

The announcement of RM53.6 million worth of aid for 67,000 taxi drivers nation-wide yesterday is most improper and wrong – not something which a Prime Minister strict about good governance principles or a caretaker government should do.

If the Najib government is genuine about giving over RM50 million of assistance to the taxi drivers, why was it not done before the dissolution of Parliament last Saturday, but only now when the caretaker government should not be making any new grant or allocations until a new government is formed after the 14th General Election on May 9?

Has Najib suddenly been struck with a bout of panic after the dissolution of Parliament on April 7, fearing that UMNO/BN could be evicted from Putrajaya, forcing him to scamper about to find new ways to raid the national coffers to hand out to goodies to more Malaysians?

The whole episode, ending with some 30 taxi drivers getting hurt after they were caught in a rush to grab cards for RM800 worth of fuel aid after Najib’s announcement, was most unseemly and most disgraceful.

It was only infinitesimally more dignified than the disgraceful “lelong” outing, known as the Putrajaya Jualan Sentuhan Rakyat programme, the day before.

At the Putrajaya Jualan Sentuhan Rakyat programme, the Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Minister, Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin, accompanied by the Federal Territories Minister, Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and the Chief Secretary to the government, Tan Sri Ali Hamsa, went helter-skelter to dish out groceries with big discounts.

Armed with a microphone, Hamzah disrupted the already cheap sales going on and went helter-skelter to lower the price of chicken, beef, rice, potatoes, onions, eggs, frozen fish, Milo and condensed milk while the Federal Territories Minister Tengku Adnan and the Chief Secretary to the Government assisted in the “circus” by packing the goods for the buyers, with Tengku Adnan yelling: “Lelong, lelong”!

What is mortifying is that the bill for both the circus events of the Putrajaya Jualan Sentuhan Rakyat and the fuel aid for the cabbies are finally to be paid by the Malaysian taxpayers themselves!

I am reminded of the two factors highlighted by Malaysian tycoon Robert Kuok in his Memoirs on the cause of the rise or fall of nations: Malaysia has lost the moral compass and there is no rule of law.

Both “circus” binges have one thing in common: the perpetual government of Malaysia for 61 years have lost the moral compass and cease to know what is right from wrong.

Even worse, they have become very cynical practitioners of the art of power, for they dare to do what they did because they enjoy immunity and impunity from the rule of law – they know what they have done is wrong and illegal and but they know they can get away with such acts.

Will the Election Commission, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Police swing into action against those who had perpetrated these two circus events as violation of election laws?

Of course, not. Those who were responsible for these two circus events were confident that there is no rule of law here, that they are enjoy immunity and impunity for their open flouting of the most basic norms of a clean, free and fair elections.

May we, we should thank the Najib, Hamzah and Adnan for highlighting what the 14GE is all about – for the country to restore its moral compass and the rule of law.

(Media Statement in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, 14th April 2018)

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Najib is getting desperate about the UMNO/BN prospects for the 14GE in less than three weeks’ time
14th April 2018 – LKS Blog

28
Apr
18

To overcome the odds in GE14 we must vote, and vote overwhelmingly

Stealing GE14

COMMENT | A couple of weeks away from GE14, Malaysians are finally coming to terms with the lengths the BN government will go to ensure that they come out on top once again.

Sensing a renewed Pakatan Harapan (Harapan) coalition challenge under the leadership of Dr Mahathir Mohamad, caretaker prime minister Najib Abdul Razak and the Election Commission (EC) are attempting to seal BN’s victory even before voters reach the ballot boxes.

In case you missed the dirty tricks that the incumbent government has utilised, here are the most important points, and why they matter:

1) Gerrymandering and malapportionment by the EC

The 13th general election saw a record turnout of 12 million voters, or nearly 85 percent of all registered voters in Malaysia. However, despite winning the popular vote (50.87 percent), gerrymandering and malapportionment meant that (the now defunct) Pakatan Rakyat only won 89 parliamentary seats to BN’s 133 parliamentary seats.

Five years on from 2013, the EC, prime minister, and BN MPs have railroaded a monster of a redelineation proposal through Parliament which undermines the opposition and benefits BN. Bluntly put, this latest proposal is gerrymandering and malapportionment on steroids.

Despite the EC’s obligation under the Thirteenth Schedule of the Federal Constitution to ensure that the number of voters in constituencies are “approximately equal”, they have done the opposite blatantly.

Research published has indicated that the latest electorate size for the 133 parliamentary constituencies won by BN in GE13, have an average of 48,228 voters. In stark contrast, those won by Pakatan Rakyat have over 30,000 more voters: the average is 79,436. Opposition voters are being packed into already-large constituencies which make a mockery of the ‘one person, one vote’
principle.

Meanwhile, BN reaps the benefits of multiple markedly smaller constituencies with far fewer voters.

Why does this matter? In short, by removing opposition voters from marginal constituencies (such as P137 Bukit Katil) and putting them in opposition strongholds (P138 Kota Melaka), BN can wrest back
control of some seats by weakening the opposition vote there – and all this without even lifting a finger to campaign or sway voters.

In fact, in the most extreme example available, it is possible for BN to return to power with a simple majority in Parliament by winning the smallest 112 constituencies (which contain 33 percent of the
electorate) with only 16.5 percent of the popular vote.

This is merely one of the more insidious ways in which the EC has conspired to turn the election heavily in favour of BN. Multiple objections submitted by members of the public to the EC regarding
the redelineation report were ignored completely. Most importantly, all ongoing cases in the courts challenging the redelineation process have been bulldozed through and defeated as well.

2) Unreliable election observers

As if gerrymandering and malapportionment were not enough, the EC has decided to bask in its glory for a job well done by inviting representatives from several other countries to observe GE14.

Ordinarily, this would be cause for celebration – credible election observers serve only to verify that the election has been carried out in accordance with international standards and to accord legitimacy to the results. The guest list for GE14, however, is nothing short of laughable.

Of the seven countries that have confirmed their attendance – Indonesia, Thailand, the Maldives, Timor Leste, Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan, and Azerbaijan, only Indonesia is remotely a democratic country while Timor Leste is a young country, achieving independence only in 2002.

Thailand has been under military rule since 2014; Cambodia is an openly authoritarian one-party state; the Maldives was in a state of emergency in February 2018 and security forces stormed the Supreme Court in order to force it to change a verdict that favoured the opposition; Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan have been slammed as “consolidated authoritarian regimes” by Freedom House – what sort of credibility can these states possibly offer for the Malaysian election?

Unsurprisingly, reputable election observers such as the European Union, the Carter Center, or the Asian Network for Free and Fair Elections (Anfrel) were not invited while questionable NGOs and
representatives from local universities with no track record of election observing were instead.

As a bonus, a shadowy organisation known as the Malaysian Commonwealth Studies Centre (MCSC), supposedly located in Cambridge in the United Kingdom, was nominated to provide “research and support”. A cursory Google search of MCSC leaves one with more questions than answers – there is no trace of their work online, and publicly-available information about the organisation is virtually non-existent.

3) The Registrar of Societies temporarily dissolving Bersatu

Two days before the dissolution of Parliament, the Registrar of Societies (ROS) temporarily dissolved Bersatu, declaring that it had failed to submit the relevant documents and information required under the Societies Act 1966.

In this regard, the BN government has resorted to tried-and-true methods of hobbling the opposition in every way possible. The ROS, under the ambit of the Home Ministry, has long acted selectively for the ruling government as it conveniently ignored Umno’s own non-compliance to its constitution by failing to hold party elections in the last five years.

It is also no coincidence that with the temporary dissolution of Bersatu, Harapan’s application to register as a coalition has been thrown into disarray.

However, this setback has only served to strengthen Harapan, as they have resolved to contest under one symbol – that of PKR – which will be a huge boost for the opposition.

4) Hosting GE14 on a Wednesday

Perhaps the most obvious clue yet that BN is fighting tooth and nail to suppress the opposition vote has been the bombshell announcement that GE14 will take place on a Wednesday, in the middle of the working week. This marks the first time in nearly 20 years that the vote has fallen on a weekday, and it is the first time since 1959 that Malaysians have voted on a Wednesday.

There is a consensus that a lower voter turnout will benefit BN. Indeed, previous elections in 1995 and 1999 that took place on Monday or Tuesday saw voter turnout at 68.3 percent in the former, and 69.3 percent in the latter. In stark contrast, elections held on weekends saw turnouts of at least 72 percent or higher.

This tactic is designed to inconvenience Harapan voters as much as possible as most opposition supporters are living in the cities and those who have not changed their voting station will require time to travel back to their hometowns to cast their votes.

A vote in the middle of the week (even Monday or Friday would have been far less disruptive than Wednesday) is a massive inconvenience for those working in the city, or who have children to send to school and cannot afford to be gone for any longer than a day.

Some are returning to as far as Sabah and Sarawak to vote or travelling home from Singapore. It is extremely unfortunate that as a result of BN’s desperation to win the election by any means
necessary, voters and employers will have to bear the consequences of work and travel plans upended.

What now?

The four points outlined above are a small window into what we can continue to expect for at the very least the next five years should BN win GE14. They will continue to chip away at what little is left of our democracy, passing ridiculous laws such as the Anti-Fake News Act 2018, gerrymandering constituencies to ensure their continued reign, and persecuting opposition figures and activists on the flimsiest of pretexts.

The stakes in this election are real. The odds have clearly been stacked against the opposition from the get-go, and what was already an uphill battle has now become that much harder. Hope,
however, is not lost. Despite all that has transpired, not even the deftest of gerrymandering procedures can subvert the will of the overwhelming majority of the electorate.

The BN government’s desperation is clear to see.Their hold on power has been slipping ever since 2008, and they have everything to lose going into GE14. Rife with corruption and cronyism after 60
years in power, BN is rightfully terrified of the reckoning they will receive if they were to lose power.

To overcome the odds, there is only one avenue left to us: we must vote, and vote in droves and overwhelmingly. Volunteer, donate, share information with your friends and family – but most importantly, vote. Change is still possible, but only if we decide that it matters enough for us to show up and demand it.

That BN conspired to steal this election from under our noses should go down in infamy, and it is all the more reason that all of us should be angry enough to oust them come May 9. We cannot let
this den of crooks run this country into the ground for a minute longer. The future of our country depends on your vote.

ERIC PAULSEN is executive director of Lawyers for Liberty.

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Stealing GE14
Eric Paulsen
27 April 2018 – malaysiakini

28
Apr
18

Rafidah asks Inland Revenue if it taxed Najib’s RM2.6b

Rafidah asks Inland Revenue if it taxed Najib’s RM2.6b

Former minister Rafidah Aziz has asked the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) to clarify if it had known about caretaker prime minister Najib Razak’s infamous RM2.6 billion donation, and how the department had dealt with it at the time.

In an open letter to IRB today on her Facebook, the veteran Umno member said she had once been asked about the alleged donation from the Arabs, and if the prime minister had ever been taxed on the amount that had been deposited into his private bank accounts.

“I have no idea… My friends and I became very curious.

“We would like to ask, and can IRB please clarify and explain to the people at large, is the donation given to the prime minister, and transferred into his personal account, taxable?” she asked.

In her posting, Rafidah also questioned if Najib is a registered tax exempt charitable entity, and if he operated the account himself.

“Are donations not regarded as income and therefore taxable on the recipient?

“If the donation received by the prime minister was ‘tax exempt’, how was this allowed by IRB?”

On July 3, 2015, The Wall Street Journal broke the news that Malaysian investigators had traced nearly US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) of deposits into Najib’s account.

Najib responded denying he had ever used public funds for personal gain, and threatened to sue WSJ. His lawyers have not done so till today, citing various reasons.

The government subsequently came up with an explanation that the sum was a donation from wealthy Arabs.

The following year, the US Department of Justice filed suits to seize assets it claims had been acquired in the US using funds allegedly siphoned from 1MDB, and made detailed claims about the money trail in its court documents.

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Rafidah asks Inland Revenue if it taxed Najib’s RM2.6b
14 April 2018 – malaysiakini

28
Apr
18

Malaysia’s government calls an election – The Economist

Malaysia’s government calls an election

The long-expected campaign promises to be nasty, brutish and short

NAJIB RAZAK has finally picked his moment. On April 7th he dissolved parliament, paving the way for a general election to be held on May 9th.

The dissolution came just days after a government agency ordered Bersatu, a political party founded in 2016 by Mahathir Mohamad, a former prime minister who is now leader of the main opposition coalition, to suspend activities. The order was more of an irritation than an extirpation. Dr Mahathir will continue to blast Mr Najib, while contesting the claim of the Registrar of Societies that there were omissions in Bersatu’s paperwork. But it is an indication of how stacked the poll is against the opposition.

The election is for both the 222-seat national parliament and assemblies in 12 of Malaysia’s 13 states. The ruling party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), has held onto power for more than six decades. But its grip is weakening. At the previous election, in 2013, the ruling coalition failed to win the popular vote, retaining power because of a wildly unfair electoral system. The leader of the opposition at the time, Anwar Ibrahim, was subsequently jailed on flimsy evidence for sodomy, which is a crime in Malaysia.

Racial politics will dominate the poll. About 69% of the population are either Malay or members of other indigenous groups, collectively referred to as bumiputra. About 24% are ethnic Chinese and 7% Indian. The bumiputra have long been the beneficiaries of a system of racial preferences, including easier access to university, jobs in the civil service and government contracts, originally intended as temporary measures to combat their relative poverty. UMNO casts itself as the defender of this system, which has earned it the loyalty of many Malays.

Whether this quid pro quo will endure is uncertain. Politicians and pundits whisper of a hung parliament. Since the last election, news of the disappearance of $4.5bn from a state development fund, 1MDB, has embarrassed the government and touched Mr Najib himself: almost $700m entered his personal bank account. He denies any wrongdoing, saying the money was a gift, later returned, from an unnamed Saudi royal.

The fact that Mr Najib managed to keep his job in spite of the scandal at 1MDB amazes many. The fact that he may win it back at the election flabbergasts them. But as 85% of the workforce pay no income tax, many felt little outrage at the disappearance of state money, reckons Wong Chen, a politician aligned with Pakatan Harapan (PH), the opposition coalition. Besides, corruption allegations also dog some of the opposition’s most prominent figures, including Lim Guan Eng, the head of the government of the state of Penang.

Instead, voters seem most exercised by the rising cost of living. Higher fuel prices bother the poorest and expensive housing irks the middle class. Graduate unemployment is high, and credit is hard to come by for small businesses. All detest a goods-and-services tax of 6% introduced in 2015; the opposition has offered to scrap it in favour of a less efficient sales-and-services tax. Mr Najib argues that doing so would expand the budget deficit alarmingly, since the tax brought in 45bn ringgit ($10.5bn) last year.

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Malaysia’s government calls an election
Apr 12th 2018 – The Economist




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?

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