Archive for the 'Judiciary' Category

19
May
20

Malaysia: the price of treachery

Malaysia: the price of treachery

Seeing the way state governments are falling to Perikatan Nasional (PN) and the way some former Pakatan Harapan (PH) politicians are behaving these days must surely cause Malaysians no end of angst and disgust. We knew, of course, that our politicians were far from perfect but who would have thought they could sink this low.

Not so long ago, many of these same politicians descended upon our towns, our neighbourhoods and our community halls promising that they would be different from the corrupt and abusive regime they were seeking to replace. They said they shared our revulsion of UMNO-BN and their horrendous record of corruption and mismanagement. They said they understood our anger at the abuse of power, our distaste for anti-democratic legislation. They acknowledged that racism and extremism were killing our nation and had to stop. They said they wanted something better for our nation.

True, PH had its difficulties; it could have done a better job. And yes, mistakes were made. None of that, however, can justify the decision to abandon PH and join forces with UMNO-PAS or participate in something as perverse as PN. Certainly, nothing can justify handing power back to the corrupt regime that the voters themselves so clearly rejected at the polls.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin and his treacherous cohort can pretend all they want that they acted with the best of intentions, hide behind the cloak of patriotism or pose as defenders of race and religion but there’s no escaping the fact that they’ve broken faith with the voters. By their actions, they have shown themselves to be entirely unprincipled, dishonest and unworthy of the office they were elected to.

What is worse, having come to power on the promise of reform, they are now leading Malaysia down a dark road that might leave us even worse off than before. It is unforgivable.

The decision to convene parliament only long enough to hear the speech from the throne, for example, makes a mockery of our democracy. Fearing the verdict of parliament, Muhyiddin has moved to silence it. It’s an abuse of executive privilege, a scam to avoid parliamentary accountability and oversight, a rejection of the will of the people in parliament assembled.

It’s a sure sign that this backdoor government does not intend to play by the rules, that it holds nothing sacred, that it cares little for its moral legitimacy or what the people think. All Malaysians ought to be deeply offended and alarmed by his actions.

It is no less stunning too that the same people who once waxed lyrical about corruption and good governance are now sanctioning an iniquitous system of cronyism and patronage by giving away GLC and other appointments to their own members on a scale not even seen under UMNO-BN.

It legitimizes the plunder of government positions; it endorses the use of public office for personal gain; it condones the mass manipulation of the machinery of government for political advantage. In a single stroke, all the progress we’ve made as a nation in advancing the cause of good governance has been negated. It can only go downhill from here.

And let’s not forget as well that Muhyiddin’s own claim to integrity in politics derived from his apparent willingness to stand up to Najib and UMNO on the 1MDB scandal; what does it say of the man that he should now think nothing about finding common cause with those same leaders?

Devoid of political legitimacy and with uncertain support in parliament, Muhyiddin is now totally dependent upon a clutch of unprincipled men intent only on furthering their own ambitions. To survive, he will have to give more and more of the shop away.

He will have to buy the loyalty of politicians with all manner of appointments and sweetheart deals. He will have to buy the allegiance of powerful business elites with contracts and monopolies. He will have to endear himself to the bureaucracy with extra bonuses.

The more he compromises, however, the weaker he will become, a puppet held hostage by the very parties that he, as part of PH, defeated in the last election.

Only time will tell just how much Muhyiddin will have to give away for the privilege of sitting in Putrajaya. With many UMNO leaders facing serious jail time on corruption-related charges, it would be one area to watch closely. The outcome of a recent high-profile 1MDB- related case is certainly not encouraging. Already Malaysians are fearing the worst.

In the meantime, the nation will pay a high price for the treachery that has been perpetrated upon the electorate. Our national psyche has been deeply wounded. Public confidence has been shaken. Disenchantment and cynicism are at an all-time high. People have lost faith in our national institutions and in our elected officials.

…more
Malaysia: the price of treachery
18 May 2020 – dennisignatius.com

17
May
20

Malaysia’s Next Parliamentary Session: Show-time or Stalling for Time?

Malaysia’s Next Parliamentary Session: Show-time or Stalling for Time?

Malaysia’s next parliamentary sitting was supposed to have seen the tabling of a historic no-confidence motion against the government led by Muhyiddin Yassin. It appears that the premier has dodged the bullet – at least for now.

Come Monday, Malaysia’s parliament will convene for the first time since Muhyiddin Yassin’s Perikatan Nasional (National Consensus) coalition came to power. Initially scheduled for 9 March, the session was postponed in the aftermath of the new prime minister’s unexpected swearing in on 1 March. Despite the delay, the Monday sitting will only last for one day – a departure from the standard duration of four weeks. This is purportedly due to the unfolding Covid-19 situation in Malaysia.

Adding to the sense of abnormality, the Parliamentary Speaker, Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof, tabled a motion of no-confidence against Muhyiddin Yassin last week. A no-confidence vote is unprecedented – it has never been passed or held in Malaysia’s federal parliament. Even more poignantly, the proposer of the bill is none other than Mahathir Mohamad, the Prime Minister’s erstwhile ally and co-founder of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PBBM).

Rumours of a no-confidence bill have been circulating ever since Muhyiddin Yassin was sworn in as the head of an unwieldy agglomeration of parties. The constellation of parties is largely but not exclusively comprised of the Malay-based PPBM, the former political heavyweight United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and the Islamic Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS). The nature of this grouping’s ascent to power has come under heavy flak. After all, it goes against the spirit of the 2018 elections, which saw the rise to power of the rival Pakatan Harapan coalition led by Dr Mahathir.

Given the lengthy deliberations between the Malaysian King and the different factions in parliament, it was also unclear whether Muhyiddin actually commanded a majority when he was sworn in on 1 March (according to the Constitution, the King must appoint the person he thinks is “likely” to command a majority in the House). Notwithstanding uncertainty about the actual size of the opposing Pakatan Harapan bloc, it is clear that its steadfast “core” is sizeable and could – if the conditions are right – muster the narrowest of majorities to topple the new Prime Minister.

While shifting loyalties and factional disputes make definitive conclusions difficult, our estimates indicate that Perikatan Nasional has 110 MPs – two shy of the threshold needed for a simple majority in the 222-member parliament. Pakatan Harapan meanwhile has 107 seats. The remaining five MPs in play are non-aligned – that is, they are either independent MPs or MPs who belong to non-aligned Sabah parties. The three independent MPs are Syed Abu Hussin (Bukit Gantang), Masir Kujat (Sri Aman), Baru Bian (Selangau), while the United Alliance (Sabah) party has two MPs. While it appears that 31 PPBM MPs are likely to stay with Perikatan Nasional, this is not cast in stone. Dr Mahathir remains the party chairman and commands grudging respect from many in the party’s upper echelons. The independent MPs (with the exception of Baru Bian) and United Alliance (Sabah) were previously elected on the Barisan Nasional ticket in 2018 and are likely – but not certain – to throw their weight behind Muhyiddin Yassin. The bottom line: if Perikatan Nasional can corral support from all the 31 PPBM MPs from Muhyiddin’s faction and the five non-aligned MPs, it would only have a narrow and unstable majority.

…more
Malaysia’s Next Parliamentary Session: Show-time or Stalling for Time?
Francis E. Hutchinson, Kevin Zhang
14 May 2020 – ISEAS

16
May
20

Is Muhyiddin coming or going?


(Illustration: Huy Truong, Source: SCMP)

As Mahathir plots, Muhyiddin faces a twist in Malaysia’s Shakespearean drama

It is hard to predict what will leap out to historians as particularly egregious in years to come when they review the internecine political battles that have gripped Malaysia for the past few months.

If the squabbles had ended in March, the shock ousting that month of the 94-year-old Mahathir Mohamad as prime minister by his own party would clearly stand out in any historical timeline.

The tussle saw Muhyiddin Yassin – among the dozens of politicians groomed by Mahathir in his seven-decade career – succeed him as the country’s leader under the aegis of a new Perikatan Nasional alliance led by Malay nationalists the duo had defeated in 2018’s watershed polls.

The move booted out the Pakatan Harapan bloc that won that election, and extinguished with it hopes of a more progressive and multiracial approach to governance.

Muhyiddin – an ardent Malay nationalist – triggered the political earthquake after he pulled the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) he co-founded with Mahathir out of Pakatan Harapan over supposedly intractable differences with the Chinese-dominated Democratic Action Party (DAP).

Even with such head-spinning events already having taken place in the first five months of the year, political insiders who spoke to This Week in Asia last week said the turmoil was likely to intensify in the medium term – with few signs of an entente among warring camps.

Some of the insiders suggested the Shakespearean political drama would continue for as long as senior politicians warring for years while constantly switching alliances remained in the picture.

Mahathir, for one, has signalled that he is not done even after the unceremonious manner in which he lost power in March, with the king appointing Muhyiddin after determining that Mahathir had lost the confidence of parliament.

Also on his side of the ring is his son Mukhriz Mahathir – the chief minister of Kedah state – as well as the former youth and sports minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, who may soon be sacked by the PPBM.

Having initially distanced himself from his on-off ally Anwar Ibrahim – the de facto leader of Pakatan Harapan – after being ousted, Mahathir has now realigned himself with the younger politician with the aim of bringing a quick end to the tenure of Muhyiddin’s Malay-centric Perikatan Nasional alliance.

On the other side of the ring, Perikatan Nasional is battling to prove its legitimacy amid charges from critics of being a “back door” administration.

Muhyiddin was sworn in by the king on March 1 on the premise that his new bloc commanded a simple majority in parliament, though experts last week said their independent counts showed he did not have such support. Among these observers were Francis Hutchinson and Kevin Zhang of Singapore’s ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute.

In a commentary published on Thursday, the researchers wrote that the Perikatan Nasional alliance – which includes the United Malays National Organisation (Umno) ousted in 2018’s elections – now holds 110 seats, two shy of the 112 it needs for a simple majority in the 222-seat legislature. Perikatan Nasional might be able to command a “narrow and unstable majority” if it could gain support from at least two of five non-aligned MPs.

The governing alliance has a separate internal headache, with PPBM’s Muhyiddin seen as beholden to Umno – the coalition’s biggest component even though he is the prime minister.

Pakatan Harapan and its allied party Warisan – which together won 121 seats in the 2018 elections – currently have 107 seats, according to the two researchers.

Mahathir had sought to test Muhyiddin’s support with a no-confidence vote on Monday, but the administration blocked the move, saying it would only hold an extended legislative session in July when the Covid-19 situation improves.

For now, Monday’s session will only have one order of business: the king’s customary opening address. Mahathir’s immediate response was that the whole affair of a single-day sitting with no debates allowed showed that Muhyiddin and his government were “illegitimate”.

…more
As Mahathir plots, Muhyiddin faces a twist in Malaysia’s Shakespearean drama
Tashny Sukumaran and Bhavan Jaipragas
16 May, 2020 – SCMP

16
May
20

Backdoor govt ‘illegitimate’ until approved by Parliament

Backdoor gov’t ‘illegitimate’ until approved by Parliament

COMMENT | While the king has to use his judgement to choose the prime minister when there is a dispute over who commands the majority in Parliament, common sense and prudence dictate that this decision is ratified by Parliament which should sit normally after that.

Using procedures to deliberately delay Parliament and constrict its powers through nonsense restrictions to frustrate and postpone the inevitable no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is against all principles of a democratic government and may well be open to challenge in the courts.

Thus, the move by Muhyiddin to restrict Parliament to only the king’s address and not to conduct any other business via an amendment to the agenda sent to the speaker – he appears to have the legal power to do this, although some dispute that – is an utter mockery of parliamentary process and an abuse of his powers.

It prevents either the legitimisation of his government or the demonstration of his lack of majority. That must lead one to suspect that Muhyiddin may not have the majority especially given how whimsical some MPs become during such times when they can be swayed by promises of power, patronage and money.

In other words, the blunt truth may be that this is an illegitimate government which is prolonging its existence by delaying a proper parliamentary sitting which will decide once and for all whether Muhyiddin commands the majority in Parliament.

…more
Backdoor gov’t ‘illegitimate’ until approved by Parliament
P Gunasegaram
15 May 2020 – Malaysiakini

14
May
20

Malaysian government illegitimate, says Mahathir

Malaysian government illegitimate, says Mahathir, after no-confidence vote blocked

The former prime minister of Malaysia Mahathir Mohamad on Wednesday described the ruling government that ousted him in March as “illegitimate” after it blocked his effort to call a no-confidence vote.

The parliamentary speaker Ariff Md Yusof earlier in the day announced that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s government had elected to permit only one order of business in next Monday’s parliamentary sitting – the ceremonial opening address by the king.

Ariff said the Perikatan Nasional government took the decision “as the Covid-19 pandemic has not been fully cleared”.

“How can this be called a government when MPs are not allowed to speak even when there is a parliamentary sitting?” Mahathir asked in a pre-recorded video released by his aides late on Wednesday.

“[As a result] this government is in fact illegitimate,” Mahathir said. “I think Muhyiddin is illegitimate.”

With the legislature sitting only for one day, the move effectively means Mahathir will not be able to go ahead with a plan to table a motion of no-confidence against Muhyiddin, who took power in March and is a former ally of the 94-year-old.

The government’s move had been expected with observers saying it had planned to push back debates to July to delay the turmoil that would set in once parliament sits.

The law minister Takiyiddin Hassan last week said parliament would sit for at least 15 days in July.

The king made Muhyiddin prime minister after the politician triggered a power vacuum by pulling the party he and Mahathir co-founded out of the Pakatan Harapan alliance that won the May 2018 election.

The new Perikatan Nasional, which has teamed up with Pakatan Harapan arch-rivals, the United Malays National Organisation, has thus not proven it has the support of a simple majority of the country’s 222-seat legislature, as the house has been in recess since December.

A March sitting was delayed on account of the pandemic and the sitting next week is compulsory as the constitution stipulates that the legislature stands to be dissolved if it does not convene at least once in six months.

While Muhyiddin was handed power by the constitutional monarch Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah on the premise that the politician had a majority, Mahathir in his video questioned whether Muhyiddin actually had such backing when he was sworn in on March 1.

He has previously suggested Muhyiddin was only now gaining the required support from backbencher MPs after offering them jobs in government-linked agencies and other state-backed institutions.

The country’s partial lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which has been in place since March 18, was slated to end this week but has now been extended to June 9.

…more
Malaysian government illegitimate, says Mahathir, after no-confidence vote blocked
Bhavan Jaipragas
13 May, 2020 – SCMP

11
Mar
20

Sri Ram to continue prosecuting high-profile cases

New AG Idrus gives Sri Ram mandate to continue prosecuting high-profile cases

KUALA LUMPUR (March 9): Newly appointed Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun has given the mandate to former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, who is also senior deputy public prosecutor (DPP), to continue prosecuting four high-profile cases.

The four include former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) trial, Najib and former 1MDB president Arul Kanda Kandasamy’s joint 1MDB audit tampering case, and Najib’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s graft trial.

The fourth case, which has yet to start, is Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah’s money laundering case.

Sri Ram when contacted confirmed with theedgemarkets.com that he has received the mandate from the new AG.

He, however, declined to reveal further details.

There have been ongoing questions regarding the present prosecution in these cases following Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s appointment as the eighth Prime Minister.

In those cases, Sri Ram has been appointed senior DPP.

Idrus was appointed last Friday as the new AG, replacing Tan Sri Tommy Thomas, who resigned late last month before his two-year contract starting July 2018 expired.

Thomas resigned following the fall of the Pakatan Harapan government led by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He tendered his resignation to Dr Mahathir, who had appointed him, replacing his predecessor Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali.

…more
New AG Idrus gives Sri Ram mandate to continue prosecuting high-profile cases
March 09, 2020 – theedgemarkets.com

12
Nov
19

High Court orders Najib to enter defence in SRC case

High Court orders Najib to enter defence in SRC case

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 11): Once Malaysia’s highest ranking politician, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has today been ordered by the High Court to enter his defence for the three criminal breach of trust, an abuse of power and three money laundering charges involving RM42 million of SRC International Sdn Bhd funds.

Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali in his decision found the prosecution has proven a prima facie case against the former premier.

The prosecution is led by Attorney General (AG) Tan Sri Tommy Thomas, appointed deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Datuk V Sithambaram, deputy head of the criminal division AG’s Chambers Datuk Ishak Mohd Yusof, Datuk Suhaimi Ibrahim and other DPPs.

Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah along with lawyers Harvinderjit Singh, Farhan Read and others appeared for Najib.

Najib is charged with abuse of power under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission of using his position as the prime minister and Finance Minister to commit bribery involving RM42 million when he participated in or was involved in a decision on behalf of the Malaysian government to provide government guarantees for loans from the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) to SRC International amounting to RM4 billion.

He is alleged to have committed the offence at the Prime Minister’s Office, Precinct 1, Putrajaya, Federal Territory of Putrajaya between Aug 17, 2011 and Feb 8, 2012. If convicted he can face a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount or value received or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

The Pekan MP and former Umno president also faces three criminal breach of trust charges as the PM and finance minister and adviser emeritus to SRC, and in those capacities entrusted with the control of funds belonging to SRC totalling RM4 billion, having committed CBT to the sum of RM27 million, RM5 million and RM10 million.

All three offences under Section 409 of the Penal Code are allegedly carried out between Dec 24, 2014 and Feb 10, 2015 at AmBank Jalan Raja Chulan.

For CBT, the 66-year-old former is liable to a maximum of 20 years in jail, whipping and a fine if convicted. However, due to his age, the whipping would not be imposed.

With regard to money laundering, Najib is alleged to have received RM27 million, RM5 million and RM10 million respectively, which were proceeds from unlawful activities via Real Time Electronic Transfer of Funds and Securities (Rentas) into two AmIslamic Bank Bhd accounts of his, bearing the numbers 2112022011880 and 2112022011906 at AmIslamic Bank Bhd, AmBank Group Building, 55 Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur between Dec 26, 2014 and Feb 10, 2015.

If convicted, he stands to face a maximum of 15 years in jail, and a fine of up to RM5 million or five times the amount, whichever is higher, for each charge under Section 4 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds from Unlawful Activity 2001.

…more
High Court orders Najib to enter defence in SRC case
November 11, 2019 – theedgemarkets.com




The dawn of A Better Malaysia!
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Mahathir in Putrajaya ceramah

 

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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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