Archive for the 'Media' Category

26
Feb
17

CIJ slams conviction of activist for screening documentary

CIJ slams conviction of activist for screening documentary

The Centre for Independent Journalism says conviction of Lena Hendry demonstrates the targeting of civil society for promoting discussions on human rights.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) is the latest to criticise the conviction of activist Lena Hendry for screening a documentary on the carnage that took place in the last months of the Sri Lankan civil war.

CIJ said in a statement that Hendry’s conviction was a serious violation of the fundamental human right to access information and of freedom of expression.

“This demonstrates the targeting of civil society by the Malaysian government for promoting discussions on human rights and expression of political viewpoints.

“Censorship laws – whether impacting journalism or creative content – are drawn up and implemented arbitrarily, and historically abused to silence critical content.”

The statement also criticised “the politically motivated pressure” that led to the crackdown on the screening and eventual persecution of Hendry.

‘Human Rights Watch stated in its statement in 2013 that prior to the screening by Pusat Komas, where Hendry was working as a programme coordinator, an official from the Sri Lankan embassy in Kuala Lumpur met with the venue management and tried to persuade them to stop the screening.

“The Sri Lanka embassy was said to have communicated with the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Censorship Board to urge the film not be shown.”

On Feb 21, the Magistrates’ Court convicted Hendry for screening the documentary, “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka”, without the permission of the official film censors in July 2013.

She was charged under Section 6(1)(b) of the Film Censorship Act 2002, which carries a jail term of up to three years or a fine of up to RM30,000 or both. The court will decide on sentencing on March 22.

CIJ said the award-winning film, produced by Outsider Films in collaboration with Britain’s Channel 4 and ITN productions, had been screened globally and had influenced decisions made at the UN Human Rights Council.

CIJ noted that it had a limited screening for parliamentarians and members of civil society in Malaysia with no incident.

“Freedom of expression is a critical right and freedom in a functioning and healthy democracy, as guaranteed by the Federal Constitution. CIJ calls for the end of intimidation to the work of civil society in advancing and promoting fundamental human rights in this country through the use of disproportionate and punitive legislative apparatus,” the statement added.

Yesterday, Suaram and Human Rights Watch condemned what they said was an attempt to punish Hendry for simply screening a documentary, saying this was a violation of freedom of information and expression.

…more
CIJ slams conviction of activist for screening documentary
February 23, 2017 – FMT

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01
Jan
17

The Conspiracy to Save Najib

The Conspiracy to Save Najib

Fake news at its best in Malaysia

In an extraordinary twist, a new Malaysian website has conflated George Soros, Tony Blair, former US Vice President Al Gore, the “Clinton team,” the aristocratic Rothschild family, Federal Bureau of Investigation deputy chief Andrew McCabe, former golfing buddy and US President Barack Obama, UK critic Clare Rewcastle Brown and her husband, unnamed individuals from the Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan investment banks, and a flock of locals into elements of a conspiracy “to restructure the East Asian economy and political landscape,” but particularly arrayed against Malaysia and its prime minister Najib Razak.

The website, “Malaysia Outlook,” written by the pseudonymous “Third Force,” has printed four exhaustive articles detailing the conspiracy, “a nexus of associations linking key individuals, establishments, institutions and agencies, complicit with global elites to effect regime changes in Malaysia and Indonesia.”

In fact, however, the website appears to be the latest attempt to protect Najib from public scrutiny of overwhelming international evidence of his complicity in the biggest scandal in Malaysian history, the theft of at least US$2.5 billion and perhaps as much as US$4 billion from 1Malaysia Development Bhd., the state-backed investment firm that was so disastrously overseen that it is believed to have lost as much as RM50 billion (US$11.316 billion) through theft and mismanagement. An unknown amount of that money allegedly went to finance Red Granite Pictures, the Hollywood entity that produced the blockbuster movie “Wolf of Wall Street. “

The lead investigation is in the hands of the US Justice Department, which in July issued a 136-page document alleging that “over the course of an approximately four year period, between approximately 2009 and at least 2013, multiple individuals, including public officials and their associates, conspired to fraudulently divert billions of dollars from 1MDB through various means, including by defrauding foreign banks and by sending foreign wire communications in furtherance of the scheme, and thereafter, to launder the proceeds of that criminal conduct, including and through U.S financial institutions.

“The funds diverted from 1MDB were used for the personal benefit of the co-conspirators and their relatives and associates, including to purchase luxury real estate in the United States, pay gambling expenses in Las Vegas casinos, acquire more than US$100 million in artwork, invest in a major New York development project, and fund the production of major Hollywood films. 1MDB maintained no interest in these assets and saw no returns on these investments.”

For months, Najib and his cronies in the United Malays National Organization, the country’s biggest political party, have been attempting to wriggle free from domestic and international charges over the theft of the money. According to multiple sources in Kuala Lumpur, he has survived as prime minister primarily by bribing the 190-odd cadres who determine the leadership of UMNO to keep him in power. UMNO leadership confers automatic status as prime minister.

Against devastating articles in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Sarawak Report, Asia Sentinel and other publications, Najib, who is alleged to have diverted at least US$681 million and perhaps as much as US$1 billion into his own accounts, is believed to have mounted a flurry of online fake new outlets, the best-funded of which appears to be Malaysia Outlook.

Malaysia Outlook is said to be the brainchild of Habibur Rahman Kadir Shah, an accountant and a long-time associate of Najib Razak. Habibur was previously an UMNO Youth head in the Kuala Lumpur suburb of Petaling Jaya when Najib was national youth head. The two became close friends.

“Najib has given control of running the media hounds to Habibur, who has been at it since Najib became Prime Minister,” said a well-connected political source in Kuala Lumpur. Habibur, in addition to serving as the informal media dictator to the Star, the New Straits Times Press and TV3 – the three most prominent English-language media outlets – is reportedly the controller and paymaster, with Najib’s money, for the bloggers who write for Malaysia Outlook, including Raja Petra Kamarudin, who formerly was a major opposition blogger but who has since joined Najib’s crew.

The key members of the team are said to be Raja Petra Kamarudin, universally known as RPK, as well as Rahmat Haniff, the son of a former Inspector General of Police Haniff Omar , who calls himself seademon, and Zakir Mohamad,* who writes a blog called bigdogdotcom. They are said to be paid well to produce what appears to be the very definition of fake news.

In recent weeks, the Malaysian government has raised the ante against opposition figures, briefly jailing Maria Chin Abdullah, the head of the electoral reform organization Bersih 2.0 (“clean”) and attacking the editor and publisher of Malaysiakini, the country’s most popular independent news website, on allegations they are in the pay of Soros, who is accused of attempting to destabilize the country.

But a close look at the US Justice Department document paints a picture not of an international conspiracy against Malaysia but of a breathtaking campaign to divert billions of dollars out of 1MDB and into the hands of the prime minister, known in the document as “Malaysian Official 1” and his family, beginning in 2009 with the diversion of funds into a corporate entity called “Good Star” under the pretense of investing in a middle-eastern oil exploration company called Petro Saudi.

As much as US$1 billon was allegedly diverted into Swiss bank account held by Good Star Ltd., whose beneficial owner was Jho Taek Low, better known as Jho Low, the youthful, rotund Penang-born financial whiz who convinced Najib to set up 1MDB in the first place.

As has been widely reported, billions more were diverted through an entity called Aabar-BVI, which “was created and named to give the impression that it was associated with Aabar Investments PJS,” a legitimate subsidiary of the International Petroleum Investment Company, a state-owned Abu Dhabi investment concern.

…more
The Conspiracy to Save Najib
December 8, 2016 – Asia Sentinel

02
Oct
16

BERSIH 5 – Strong stand against this grand corruption and demand for reforms

BERSIH 5: Satukan Tenaga – Malaysia Baru (ENGLISH VERSION)

A prolonged political and corruption crisis

Malaysia continues to face its largest political and corruption crisis. The 1MDB scandal was first highlighted in 2010 in the Parliament, but till now Malaysians are not getting anywhere near the truth, and the silence from Prime Minister Najib Razak and his cabinet is deafening.

The civil suit by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) further revealed the repulsive magnitude of the 1MDB scandal. The admission of Rahman Dahlan that the Malaysian Official 1 (MO1) is Prime Minister Najib Razak further affirms what all Malaysians feared – fraudulent funds have been used by the Prime Minister to win the 13th General Elections in 2013.

Against this background, the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (BERSIH2.0) demands Prime Minister Najib Razak to resign immediately to allow for independent investigations.

BERSIH2.0 believes that not protesting is not an option. Malaysians must stand united and take a strong stand against this grand corruption and the failure of our institutions. Malaysians must demand for reforms.

BERSIH2.0 will launch a nationwide BERSIH Convoy on Saturday, 1 October 2016, which will culminate towards a BERSIH 5 rally on Saturday, 19 November 2016.

BERSIH5 Demands – Institutional reforms for a New Malaysia

BERSIH2.0 recognises that the root cause of the political crisis and 1MDB scandal is the failure of our democratic system and institutions. Therefore, BERSIH’s demands go beyond the 1MDB issue and the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Nazak.

For a new and reformed Malaysia, we must institute changes to our flawed governance system. Specifically, the five demands of BERSIH5 are:

1. Clean Elections
Our electoral system is still not free and fair. BERSIH will continue to fight for electoral reform. A functioning electoral system is important to allow citizens to decide who will be the government of the day.

Reform Agenda:
a) Protecting the rights and suffrage of voters, including lowering age of voting; high quality indelible ink; a minimum 21-day campaign period; automatic registration; and absentee voting that is inclusive, transparent and accountable.
b) Fair and accountable constituency delineation that abides the letter and spirit of the Federal Constitution.
c) Free and Fair Media Access for political parties and candidates, and media freedom for media organisations and journalists. e.g., allocate airtime proportionately for all political parties that contest and organise a televised prime-ministerial debate.
d) Reforming election laws to strengthen EC, including having a fairer representative system, restoration of local council elections, and establishing caretaker government to oversee abuse of power during elections.
e) Establishing rules on access to political funding, limits on contributions, expenditures, disclosures and reporting and strengthening the monitoring and enforcement capabilities of EC.

2. Clean Government
Public confidence in the government and institutions to curb corruption has plummeted, especially in the mismanagement of the 1MDB scandal. Endemic corruption throughout the years have directly affected Malaysians through rising cost of living, GST, and budget cuts. We need to uphold a clean, transparent, and accountable government administration.

Reform Agenda:
a) A clean government includes:
• restoring the separation of powers of the executive, legislature and judiciary so that they can deliver justice without fear or favour.
• decentralising executive powers at all levels, including barring Prime Minister from simultaneously holding the office of Finance Minister.
• public declaration of Ministers and senior government servants’ assets.
• separating the Attorney General from the role of Public Prosecutor to prevent undue interference.
• strengthening institutions including the MACC, Police, and others and making key Commissions answerable to Parliament.
b) Enacting Freedom of Information laws at Federal and State levels.

3. Strengthen Parliamentary Democracy
Parliament must be functional and inclusive and reforms are needed to restore public confidence. Such reforms must ensure effectiveness, including giving both opposition and government backbench MPs a more meaningful space to not just debate on laws and public policies and scrutinise government agencies, but also to initiate legislations, so that public opinion will be better reflected in the legislative process.
Reform Agenda:
a) Expanding the number and power of Parliamentary Committees to improve quality of both law-making and ministerial scrutiny
b) Multipartisan and inclusive Agenda-Setting to ensure parliamentarians’ participation
c) “Non-governmental business” days for opposition and government backbench MPs.
d) Reintroducing the Parliamentary Services Act.
e) Increasing allocations for Research to enhance the quality of parliamentary debates.

4. Right to Dissent
The right to dissent is being criminalised and suppressed. Increasingly, more activists, politicians and citizens who are critical of the government have been or are being persecuted through repressive laws like the Sedition Act. Reforms must take place to respect and protect freedom of expression and diverse views.

Reform Agenda:
a) Amending laws that violate freedom of speech, assembly and association such as the Penal Code, Police Act 1967, Evidence Act 1950, Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 and others.
b) Establishing the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to curb police misconduct and uphold their accountability towards the public.
c) Repealing repressive laws, including Sedition Act, National Security Council Act, SOSMA, Prevention of Crime Act, Prevention Of Terrorism Act, and the Peaceful Assembly Act.

5. Empowering Sabah and Sarawak
The recent Sarawak state election in May was preceded by unjustified seat increase, excessive malapportionment and gerrymandering last year and finally rigged with rampant vote buying and abuse of government powers and apparatus.

Such unscrupulous practices may repeat again in Sabah, as we have already witnessed seat increase as the first step. Without real democracy, the calls for autonomy in Sabah and Sarawak will be hollow, and internal colonisation and exploitation of natural wealth by ruling elites from both the Federal and State capitals will continue.

Reform Agenda:
a) Fair and accountable constituency delineation for Sabah.
b) Inclusive, transparent and accountable absentee voting rights for all Malaysians including Sabahans and Sarawakians who live, work or study outside their own state.
c) Campaign freedom and free media access to ensure informed choices by Sabahans and Sarawakians for the upcoming Federal and (Sabah) State elections.
d) Eradication of vote-buying as well as abuse of government powers and apparatus in the upcoming Federal and (Sabah) State elections.
e) Decentralisation to enhance Sabahans’ and Sarawakians’ control on how their states should be run.

…more
BERSIH 5: Satukan Tenaga – Malaysia Baru (ENGLISH VERSION)
14 September 2016 – Bersih

17
May
16

A very funny minister

Even Martians won’t believe M’sia is democratic: Zunar goes E.T. on Salleh


Below is Zunar’s rebuttal of the minister’s lambast against him:

SALLEH: Malaysia is a democratic country which does not stop anyone from voicing their opinions, but this has to be done in the proper manner.

ZUNAR: Who do you think you want to fool? Even aliens from Mars will not believe your words. If Malaysia was a democratic country, why is it that there are more than 100 individuals who have been investigated, arrested, detained, charged and convicted under the Sedition Act since 2014, just for expressing their views?

Voicing opinions should be done in the proper manner? I have been arrested, harassed, my office raided, and I face various types of harassment from the authorities just because I was expressing my views through creative means! Are drawing cartoons and publishing books not proper?

SALLEH: It is not wrong to have differences in opinion, or to disagree with the government, but why involve other countries?

ZUNAR As one of the recipients of ‘2016 Cartooning for Peace’ award, I was invited by the ‘Cartooning for Peace Foundation’ and the mayor of Geneva to exhibit 10 of my artworks in Switzerland starting from May 3.

The giant-size artworks are now on display at the lake Lac Leman until early June. Among the visitors were ex-UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, famous French cartoonist Jean Plantureux Plantu and the mayor Guillaume Barazzone.

As minister of communications, Salleh (photo) should know that we are now living in a borderless world. Issues have become universal. For your knowledge, I was also invited to speak at the UN about freedom of expression during the trip because for them, it is a global issue.

The world has become smaller now. That is why the media, like The Wall Street Journal can report on what is happening in Malaysia. That is why, the prime minister can sue them from Malaysia too, except that he is still waiting for Tuesday to arrive.

A very funny minister

Have you seen my exhibition in Geneva, Salleh? If you haven’t then let me tell you that the issues presented are about corruption, freedom of expression, conspiracy against (jailed former opposition leader) Anwar (Ibrahim) and the National Security Council.

Which one of the cartoons is not right? If you are still not clear about my cartoons, you can come to my new book launch ‘Wasabi’ (Wa Sapu Billion) this Saturday, May 14 and buy one. No, you cannot buy it at bookstores, because your “democratic” government has banned it.

SALLEH (Zunar’s exhibition) is an insult to a leader whom the people voted for.

ZUNAR When I was in Geneva, people were already aware about corruption in Malaysia because it was widely published in the major international media. The most popular question was: “How come they said RM 2.6 billion is a donation?”

The PM and the whole of the Malaysian cabinet are the ones who keep insulting themselves and are an embarrassment to the country. Not me. I would like to reiterate it is the duty of a cartoonist to expose corruption and I will keep drawing until the last drop of my ink!

SALLEH: Besides giving a negative image of Malaysia to other countries, such actions (Zunar’s exhibition) were seen as sabotaging the national economy and affecting the confidence of investors in Malaysia.

ZUNAR More than RM42 billion of people’s money had been lost in the 1MDB scandal, yet you blame cartoonist for the economic problem? You are a very funny minister, Salleh!

…more
Even Martians won’t believe M’sia is democratic: Zunar goes E.T. on Salleh
13 May 2016 – malaysiakini

29
Apr
16

Documentary on ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ money trail

Oscar nominee making film on ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ money trail

Oscar-nominated producer Mike Lerner is producing a documentary of the alleged corruption leading to the making of Hollywood hit ‘Wolf of Wall Street’, linked to the 1MDB scandal.

This comes after Swiss investigators say they have “elements in hand” to show some of the US$3.5 billion paid by 1MDB to a British Virgin Island firm as part of a power plant deal, went to a company in the “motion picture industry”.

“In ‘The Master and His Wolf’, we have a gripping story with a cast of fantastical characters, movie stars, prime ministers and a system of money laundering, with direct links between Malaysia via Saudi and Abu Dhabi companies which goes right to the heart of Hollywood’s elite,” British produce Mike Lerner told The Hollywood Reporter.

“Because of this historically massive corruption, the Malaysian government is on the brink of disaster while two suspicious murders with alleged links to the fraud remain shrouded in secrecy,” added Lerner.

“And all for what? Greed, celebrity obsession and the ambition to stand on a red carpet. Stories don’t get much bigger.”

Lerner is the producer behind documentaries ‘Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer’, a critically-acclaimed documentary on the anti-government punk activists in Russia.

Red Granite, the Hollywood production company owned by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s stepson Riza Aziz, produced ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’.

Red Granite’s principal funder is Abu Dhabi businessperson Mohamed Al Husseiny, whom 1MDB said is one of two officials from Abu Dhabi state firm Aabar who convinced 1MDB to make payments to the BVI firm with an almost identical name.

1MDB said Husseiny, who was Aabar CEO, and Khadem al Qubaisi, informed 1MDB that Aabar BVI is a subsidiary of the International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC) – a statement now denied by IPIC.

No due diligence conducted

Lerner told the entertainment news portal that filming for Malaysia for the new project has been completed, and the crew will now travel to Abu Dhabi, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Hong Kong and Singapore.

…more
Oscar nominee making film on ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ money trail
14 April 2016 – malaysiakini

24
Mar
16

STOP Internet censorship

Government should embrace the Internet, not impose more restrictions to stifle news portals and blogs – Lawyers for Liberty

MARCH 23 – Lawyers for Liberty views with extreme concern the Communications and Multimedia Ministry’s proposal for online news portals and political blogs to be registered with the government, thus effectively restricting further the ever-shrinking democratic space in the country.

The fact that Minister Salleh Said Keruak distinguishes between political and non-political blogs for registration is extremely telling that the real purpose for the registration is to quell critical and dissenting news and views against the government.

We also note with extreme concern that such underhanded tactics are not new, as in the recent past, The Edge, The Malaysian Insider, Malaysiakini, Sarawak Report and other independent press and blogs had been targeted with investigations, arrests or blocks on the Internet while pro-government press like Utusan Malaysia and blogs have been allowed to publish freely.

There are no good and valid reasons for registering news websites and blogs other than an attempt to control news and information critical of the government. Such behaviour is undemocratic, a grave abuse of power and in breach of the ‘no-Internet-censorship’ policy which is protected in both the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and MSC Malaysia’s Bill of Guarantees.

The authorities must be reminded that real crimes are not to be found online in news websites and blogs and on social media. It would be more prudent for the government to come to terms with the reality of the vast and borderless Internet and social media age where anybody, in good faith or otherwise can write or comment on any issues.

As increasing number of states are moving towards more transparency and accountability, respecting the demands of freedom of information, speech and the press, Malaysia is taking giant strides backwards, towards harsher and excessive penal laws and regulations that are inconsistent with modern democratic demands.

…more
Government should embrace the Internet, not impose more restrictions to stifle news portals and blogs – Lawyers for Liberty
March 23, 2016 – MMO

13
Mar
16

What if Najib or 1MDB sued WSJ?

What if Najib or 1MDB sued WSJ?

COMMENT We are all waiting for Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s one major decision – to take the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) to court.

Although WSJ’s report has been most damaging to his reputation, as well as the reputation of Malaysia as a country, both Najib and 1MDB could only afford to skirt around the allegations made by WSJ instead of suing WSJ.

For example, 1MDB in a statement accused WSJ’s reporting “has never been called into question, is not only disingenuous but an outright lie”. If it has never been called into question, then why not challenge WSJ in court?

As usual, ministers such as Azalina Othman could only use the same line of argument – that “there are parties from within the country and outside who are trying to use back-handed tactics to topple the democratically-elected prime minister.”

We recall years ago, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad also said the same of George Soros and the Jews, in order to cover up the weaknesses of his own administration. I see this as some people becoming bankrupt of ideas that they have to use the same line.

Meanwhile, I am always amused by responses from two other ministers. One of them, however, has remained silent but Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan has made a sweeping statement that WSJ has “broken every rule of journalism in the book. How do we know these people even exist?”

I just wonder what he means by “every rule of journalism”! In journalism, it is perfectly fine to quote someone who prefers to remain anonymous, but if there is a need to produce the witness in court, then the journalist could be compelled to reveal the sources.

Why so unwilling to sue WSJ?

My question therefore, is why is Najib and 1MDB seemingly so unwilling to drag WSJ to court?

Perhaps, one hint lies with the answer given by WSJ’s finance editor Ken Brown, who told ABC News Australia on Feb 12 that his team has “loads of evidence to back up” their story.

Whereas Najib and his men’s story keeps changing over the identity of the donor, Brown maintains that the money funnelled into Najib’s personal accounts came from a “bunch of companies and bank accounts related to 1MDB.” Although we may give Najib the benefit of the doubt, Brown’s allegations certainly warrant an appropriate reaction since Najib’s international reputation is now at stake.

Yet, why do we see Najib and 1MDB dragging their feet despite being challenged to drag WSJ to court?

…more
What if Najib or 1MDB sued WSJ?
21 Feb 2016
Stephen Ng




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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