Archive for the 'Elections' Category

05
Jun
17

Umno’s state assemblyman in Kelantan disqualified due to bankruptcy

EC receives notice of vacant Nenggiri seat

The decision on whether there should be a by-election in the state constituency now depends on the Kelantan speaker.

PETALING JAYA: The Election Commission has confirmed that it has received a notice on the vacancy of the Nenggiri state seat from the Kelantan state assembly speaker’s office.

This follows the incumbent, Mat Yusoff Abdul Ghani, being disqualified due to bankruptcy.

A spokesman for the EC’s Kelantan branch told Bernama they would be notifying the EC headquarters in Putrajaya on the development.

The Kelantan EC is expected to hold a meeting soon to discuss the matter.

By-elections can only be held within three years of the last general election, which was held on May 5, 2013.

“If it is after the three-year period, the decision to hold a by-election depends on the speaker,” the EC spokesman added.

Speaker Abdullah Ya’kub said the letter was hand-delivered to the EC’s Kota Bharu office at 12.40pm today.

“It was my duty to inform the Kelantan EC on the vacancy,” he told Bernama.

The Selangor branch of the Insolvency Department had notified the Kelantan state assembly speaker’s office on the BN assemblyman’s bankrupt status via a letter on May 28.

Yusoff, from Umno, won the Nenggiri seat in the last general election after defeating PKR’s Mohamad Azihan Che Seman and independent candidate Abdul Aziz Mohamed with a majority of 3,849 votes.

…more
EC receives notice of vacant Nenggiri seat
June 4, 2017 – FMT

01
Jun
17

Extensive probe into 1MDB fund flows in Singapore

MAS caps 2-year extensive probe into 1MDB fund flows

THE Monetary Authority of Singapore ended its “most extensive” ever two-year check on banks involved in the illicit fund flows of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) with two more banks getting the rap, bringing the total number of banks here to eight that have been stung in various degrees by the Malaysian scandal.

The last two banks, Credit Suisse and United Overseas Bank (UOB), were fined S$700,000 and S$900,000 for seven and nine breaches of anti-money laundering (AML) rules, respectively, with MAS noting however that none had “pervasive” control weaknesses.

Their fines are also the lowest among the banks that were earlier hit with financial penalties that ranged between S$1 million (DBS Bank) and S$13.3 million (BSI Bank) as a result of MAS’ scrutiny into 1MDB-related money flows within the financial system here that has led to unprecedented actions against errant institutions and individuals.

A total fine of S$29.1 million have been slapped on the banks with the worst blow suffered by Swiss private banks BSI and Falcon which were ordered to ship out of here for their “egregious failures of anti-money laundering controls and improper conduct by senior management”.

“The price for keeping our financial centre clean as it grows in size and inter-connectedness is unstinting vigilance,” said MAS managing director Ravi Menon.

“The two-year long 1MDB-related review holds key lessons for both MAS and financial institutions in Singapore,” he said, adding that surveillance has cranked up while banks have tightened their controls.

Fast & Furous

In the latest move, MAS also slapped Prohibition Orders (POs), including two lifetime bans, on three former private bankers, all of whom have already been charged and convicted in Singapore’s court and were connected to Low Taek Jho or Jho Low, the man at the centre of Malaysia’s state-owned 1MDB controversy.

The bans were issued against two former BSI private bankers Yak Yew Chee and Yvonne Seah and former Falcon Bank’s branch manager, Jens Sturzenegger, all of whom have been convicted in Singapore court in relation to the 1MDB probe.

Three others including Kevin Scully, a well known veteran market strategist here and chief executive of NRA Capital were served notice of MAS’ intention to issue POs against them. In May, the watchdog imposed a ten-year PO on Goldman Sachs ex-banker Tim Leissner who had landed the bank with multi-billion dollar deals with 1MDB.

The POs bar these individuals from taking part in Singapore’s securities and financial services sectors here.

Both Credit Suisse and UOB said on Tuesday that they would continue to strengthen their AML processes and controls and pledged to donate the profits associated with the transactions to a worthy cause.

“. . . (We) regret that we have fallen short of the MAS’ and our own high standards,” said a Credit Suisse spokesperson in a statement.

On UOB’s part, it said: “We expect staff to uphold the highest ethical and professional standards and will not condone behaviour that falls short of this”.

…more
MAS caps 2-year extensive probe into 1MDB fund flows
May 31, 2017 – Business Times

31
May
17

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.

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

29
May
17

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.

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

28
May
17

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.

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

24
May
17

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.

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

21
May
17

How safe is BN’s 1.6 million civil servant vote bank?

How safe is BN’s 1.6 million civil servant vote bank?

AKHMA opted for the top bunk in the smallest room in a three-bedroom flat in Precinct 9, Putrajaya. It wasn’t cheap at RM280 a month, but still cheaper than a room or a whole unit to herself. The lower bunk costs RM20 extra.

Though a civil servant, she had to share the flat with five housemates.

“My flat is in the most undesirable location in Putrajaya, where most of the foreign workers live. I have been living here for 1½ years now and it’s not cheap either,” she told The Malaysian Insight at one of the government complexes in the administrative capital.

The 27-year-old from Gombak said she had to relocate to Putrajaya because of work demands, the same reason she bought a Proton Saga.

“I could’ve chosen to live in a bigger place or buy a Myvi, but I want to save at least RM300 a month,” she said, adding that she spent most of her salary on patrol and food.

She said the cost of living would be one of the major factors when it comes to voting in the next general election.

“I don’t really follow politics but I will look at their election manifestos and see which one will benefit people like me,” the undecided voter said.

Political analyst Mohamad Hisomuddin Bakar of the Ilham Centre said unlike those with perks at the top, civil servants aged 35 and under were the ones struggling to make ends meet and more willing to vote in change.

The 1.6 million civil servants, who make up 12% of registered voters, are considered Barisan Nasional’s vote bank.

“We can even see the trend in the previous election and if situation does not change, we expect a bigger swing from the civil servants,” he told The Malaysian Insight.

Factors like low salaries, rising cost of living, high housing prices and weak ringgit have changed the voting pattern even for those from hard-core Umno families, he said.

Last December, The Sun reported Congress of Union of Employees in the Public and Civil Services Malaysia (Cuepacs) president Azih Muda as saying about 700,000 to 800,000 civil servants could be categorised in the bottom 40% (B40) group.

GDP effects not trickling down

Socio-Economic Research Centre Sdn Bhd executive director Lee Heng Guie said despite forecast of stronger gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the first quarter of 2017, people were still worried about the current economic situation.

“There is a disconnection between what the data shows and what consumers are feeling. People still feel that conditions have not improved as they look at the overall economy and see that growth has slowed down for the last two years,” he said.

Lee added that the scenario could be reflected in Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER)’s consumer sentiment index (CSI), which is still below the 100-point optimism threshold. Malaysia’s consumer price inflation also hit an eight-year high in March, at 5.1%.

“Despite petrol prices dropping in the last three weeks, the cost of living is still high and that will continue to pinch on the low income and the middle income. This is due to price stickiness as traders will not lower prices even though petrol prices have come down.”

RAM Ratings expects the economy to grow 4.8% in the first quarter, a higher figure than the 4.5% in the Q4, 2016. The ratings agency cited stronger exports as the major factor for the Q1 growth rate. Bank Negara will release the Q1 growth rate today.

Hisomuddin said only senior civil servants, such as those who in premier grades or JUSA (public service premier post) are worried about a change in government.

“The dogma of civil servants must vote (ruling party) has changed but for senior officers or JUSA, it’s still about Malay Muslims who must lead the government, not a party like DAP,” he said.

Crackdown on civil servants

Despite the recent Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) crackdown on immigration, customs and police personnel in recent weeks, political scientist Dr Wong Chin Huat does not think it will figure during elections.

The Penang Institute fellow said the majority of government employees were not decision-makers, law enforcers or gate-keepers in any licensing or application process.

“Hence they have no power to extract bribery or embezzle public funds. I doubt they will identify with the corrupt officials who live way beyond their legal incomes.

“Najib’s civil servant votes are shaken, not so much by crackdown on graft, but because he has no buy money to give subsidies and pay rise to buy their support,” Wong said.

…more
How safe is BN’s 1.6 million civil servant vote bank?
19 May 2017 – Malaysian Insight




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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