Archive for the 'Scandals' Category

24
Jun
17

Here’s why Isa Samad should not be SPAD chief

Here’s why Isa Samad should not be SPAD chief

Can we entrust the welfare of millions of Malaysians who use public transport to a man, who has proven to be incompetent and inexperienced with questionable integrity?

COMMENT

On June 19, when Isa Samad resigned as Felda Global Ventures Holdings Berhad (FGV) chairman, Prime Minister Najib Razak appointed him as the acting chairman of the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) with immediate effect “in appreciation of Isa’s role” in FGV.

This is an absolutely ridiculous appointment. No one will believe that Isa is the best candidate to fill the post left vacant with the retirement of Syed Hamid Albar.

Here are three main reasons why Isa Samad should not be the chief of SPAD.

First, he is undoubtedly incompetent. Under his chairmanship, FGV went from glory to sorry.

In 2012, when FGV went for its US$3.1 billion initial public offering (IPO), it was the world’s second largest IPO of the year, after only Facebook Inc’s US$16 billion IPO.

In five years, FGV’s market capitalisation dropped more than 60% from around RM19 billion to only around RM6 billion, meaning RM13 billion had evaporated from the original value of the company.

The share price went from RM4.641on June 29, 2012 to only RM1.75 as of close of trading on June 23, 2017.

In addition, FGV started with a cash surplus of RM5.09 billion in December 2012 but four years later in December 2016, it is RM1.97 billion in debt. FGV’s current sorry state of affairs didn’t happen overnight, it was a result of a series of missteps, all of which were made under the watch of Isa.

Second, Isa has little, if any, experience in public transport. He made no significant contribution in public transport either during his over 20 years as Negeri Sembilan menteri besar or during his one year stint as Federal Territories minister.

Even as an MP, there is no traceable record of him raising public transport issues.

The chairman of SPAD should be someone with experience in the public transport industry and passionate about public transport in Malaysia.

I am sure there are more suitable candidates from within the public transport sector or relevant industries in Malaysia or within SPAD and other relevant government agencies for the position.

So, why did Najib choose Isa over others?

Third and most importantly, Isa has a highly-questionable integrity track record.

He was found guilty of money politics by Umno over the contest for the Umno vice-presidency in the party polls in 2004, and was suspended by the party for three years from 2005.

The now suspended CEO of FGV, Datuk Zakaria Arshad, was quoted by The Edge that there were instances of direct negotiations and direct contracts in FGV, which he attempted to stop but was overruled by the board of directors, led by Isa as non-executive chairman.

As pointed out by my colleague Liew Chin Tong (Kluang MP), SPAD is directly or indirectly responsible for the RM55 billion East Cost Rail Link, RM60 billion KL-Singapore High-Speed Rail, MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line (RM28 billion) and MRT Circle Line (more than RM20 billion).

Therefore, how can a person with such a questionable track record like Isa be the chief of SPAD?

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Here’s why Isa Samad should not be SPAD chief
By Yeo Bee Yin
June 24, 2017 – FMT

23
Jun
17

DOJ just doing its job, but is AG doing his?

DOJ just doing its job, but is AG doing his?

YOURSAY | ‘A civilised government would not allow money to be laundered on their soil.’

Not an attempt to topple Malaysian gov’t, says US embassy

Peacemaker: The American diplomatic corps must be laughing at the bunch of idiotic ministers Malaysians have appointed.

Ministers who spuriously accuse Washington of trying to bring down the Malaysian government when all that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is doing is its duty.

If Putrajaya feels so offended by the DOJ’s suits, they should apply to intervene in the judicial process there.

Headhunter: A civilised government would not allow money to be laundered on their soil, particularly if it is stolen by foreign heads of states from their own people. That’s good governance.

And why are we still arguing who Malaysian Official 1 (MO1) is? Due to diplomatic niceties, the DOJ is not naming names, but it is obvious who they are pointing their finger at.

And that’s the reason some BN leaders are trying to defend the indefensible, making fools of themselves in the process.

The Fog of Life: It would appear that Umno leaders still do not (or don’t want to) understand that the DOJ is fully satisfied that US$4.5 billion has been allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB.

Furthermore, Umno leaders need to understand that the DOJ is committed to the rule of law and are holding people to account for their alleged criminal acts.

Theft and money laundering are serious offences, and the US won’t sit back and allow their financial system to be used by criminals.

To suggest the DOJ’s actions are about toppling the Malaysian government is childish at best. Umno is no match for the DOJ’s values and commitment to do the right thing. Rhetoric from Umno will not change anything.

How about Umno sending their brightest boys and girls to the DOJ to clarify the issues? Common sense, right? The fact that Umno has not done so has resulted, justifiably, in its conviction in the court of public opinion.

Anonymous 2439101477311390: Yes, the DOJ and the US government is right to arrest money laundering in their own country. Malaysian Official 1 (MO1), ministers Abdul Rahman Dahlan and Umno information chief Annuar Musa, what do you have to say now?

Perhaps you can ask attorney-general (AG) Mohamed Apandi Ali and lawyer cum prosecutor Muhammad Shafee Abdullah to challenge the DOJ and the US government.

Anonymous #70881335: Malaysia, 1MDB and MO1 are making news all over the world for the wrong reasons. And here, you’ve got half-witted persons trying to deny everything.

We, the rakyat, just want our money back, and justice to be done. Is that so difficult to understand?

Legit: The DOJ is a fiercely independent institution, and they don’t even bow to the whims and fancies of their own president. Malaysians can only envy the independence of such institutions, as our local institutions are completely the opposite.

It is an absolute shame that Malaysian ‘leaders’ hide behind their religion and race to justify their allegedly criminal and uncouth behaviour and blame other countries for trying to topple a Muslim government.

Malaysians and the world community at large know by now that it is not in the genes of these so-called ‘leaders’ to behave like adults and speak like respected statesmen. Shameful!

Mosquitobrain: The coffin has been nailed from day one when the DOJ reported 1MDB’s mega money laundering and MO1.

Since then, Umno’s warlords have been scurrying all over trying hard to defend their master. The writing is all over the wall. How are they to defend the indefensible?

Anonymous_1419577444: “The (US Embassy) spokesperson stressed that the DOJ suits were part of an initiative to protect US markets and financial systems from money launderers.”

Wow! This is an outright insinuation that MOI, his wife, tycoon Jho Low and others are “money launderers” who took advantage of the US markets and financial systems, i.e. the markets and financial systems of another country.

The Malaysian government should lodge the strongest protest ever against the US, including asking the US ambassador to go home. Umno should launch a mass rally outside the US Embassy against this insult of the country’s top official and his wife.

Anonymous 1034721438846003: Najib, whether you like it or not, it looks like you have been framed.

Now is the opportunity to rise up like Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe or Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Go against Western imperialism, condemn their ideology, which is destroying Islamic values.

In the meantime, please go Riyadh to protest Saudi Arabia’s intention to purchase battle-grade military weapons worth US$300 billion from the US. Also, question why your RM2.6 billion Saudi donor is working with them.

Spinnot: According to the website of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), China’s anti-corruption authorities have recently published the foreign addresses of 22 of its “most wanted” graft suspects, who are living around the world in plain sight.

Ten of the suspects live in the US, five in Canada, four in New Zealand, and one each in Australia, the UK, and the small Caribbean nation of St Kitts and Nevis.

How nice it would be if the DOJ and the law enforcement agencies of the countries where the suspects are now residing, seize their assets too.

Anonymous 2362021442199789: US President Donald Trump is too busy putting out fires that threaten to engulf his young presidency. He has no time nor interest to get himself into further trouble to try to save some irrelevant kleptocrat and wife.

In any case, the justice system in the US is still relatively independent as Trump is discovering to his dismay. He tried to get rid of the FBI director James Comey and what did he get? Special counsel Robert Mueller instead.

So, the kleptocrat’s sycophants and apologists should stop wasting time trying to get the US to drop further investigations and actions on 1MDB-related matters. It is futile and embarrassing.

Ian2003: “Pro-government supporters have accused the opposition of having a hand in the DOJ suits, which the opposition has denied.”

But even if the opposition did have a hand in DOJ suits, it is irrelevant.

The relevant question is: are these the facts and the truth? If they are, why would you still support someone who is allegedly stealing from you?

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DOJ just doing its job, but is AG doing his?
23 June 2017 – malaysiakini

22
Jun
17

DOJ suit: Ministers must stop treating M’sians as brainless

DOJ suit: Ministers must stop treating M’sians as brainless

COMMENT | Over the past six days, so much has been said and so much has been written, and reported, on the latest filing by the Department of Justice (DoJ) of the United States. Opinions on the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) – some unsolicited and others prompted – have clouded the space and airtime in both the print and electronic media.

So many people have said so many things – some bird-brained theories, some wayward questions and many incomprehensible statements. But above all, Malaysians can take consolation that they were a handful of intelligent analysis and positive examination of the issues.

However, the statements of two ministers leave the intrepid reader, listener, and viewer wondering: “what is going on?” At least two newspapers reported their response without telling readers what they were talking about.

It was akin to telling people “don’t listen to the lies perpetrated by Nadeswaran” without telling them what were the lies I had concocted or spread. But reading all sides of the story, there is this inherent duty as a journalist to explain why certain things are done in certain ways without resorting to lies as avowed by certain parties.

Let’s examine their assertions: Communications and Multimedia minister Salleh Said Keruak argued that the pronouncement by the DoJ is a form of interference, as their claim is not confirmed to the subject matter: which is about an alleged crime committed on US soil.

The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Abdul Rahman Dahlan demanded to know the names of the complainants which led to the DoJ’s investigations.

To put the matter in the right context, let us look at each of these assertions.
“A large part of the DOJ statement talks about what is happening internally in Malaysia, and an even larger part has no relevance to the subject of whether a crime has been committed on US soil as alleged,” Salleh said in a statement.

But what he does not understand is that the filings are part of its civil forfeiture action to seize assets it claims were bought using funds siphoned from 1MDB. No one is accusing the recipients of any wrongdoing although they may or may not have known the source of funds.

The more pertinent point is that foreign banks, in this case, US financial institutions, were used to launder the money stolen from 1MDB. But Salleh must agree that what is good for the goose must also be good for the gander.

When Singapore carried out discreet investigations over two years and acted against individuals and investigations into the laundering of money from 1MDB accounts, there was hardly a whimper. Some of the money was traced to 1MDB and other companies in which Malaysians were in control.

What was at stake was not where the money came from. It could have come from Timbuktu or from personal coffers of Mugabe or 1MDB. Did anyone ask the Monetary Authority of Singapore to identify the complainants?

It acted on its own volition and what mattered most was the island republic’s reputation as an international financial hub. It acted to penalise those who had acted to use its systems and instruments to launder money.

At the end of it all, it slapped S$29.1 (about RM100 million) in penalties on eight wayward banks and convicted five bankers. Three of the five have been banned for life or a minimum of 15 years from Singapore’s securities while another was banned for 10 years. Three more face bans from three to six years.

Singapore authorities, according to the Straits Times, stressed the scale of the probe had been unprecedented, spanning hundreds of thousands of transactions involving many shell firms and people operating in the US, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, and Malaysia.

Every sovereign nation has a right to defend itself and its institutions from being used for illegal activities, especially money laundering. The US and jurisdictions in other countries are just doing that or have done that.

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DOJ suit: Ministers must stop treating M’sians as brainless
R Nadeswaran
19 June 2017

21
Jun
17

The Very Strange Case Of Special Prosecutor

‘Independent Individual’? The Very Strange Case Of Special Prosecutor Shafee Abdullah

Sarawak Report has invited lawyer Shafee Abdullah to explain the very large personal payments made to him by Prime Minister Najib Razak out of money stolen from 1MDB totalling RM9.5 million.

Task Force investigation documents show that the second payment of RM5.3 million was paid just a fortnight before the Appeal Court over-turned an earlier High Court acquittal of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on charges of sodomy. In an unorthodox move, the private barrister had been brought in to lead that prosecution by the Najib administration.

So far Shafee has not provided any explanation or responded to the press. Sarawak Report understands that he cancelled engagements at the end of the week, citing he was unwell. He has not denied the figures, which are contained in documents where other payments have been confirmed (including payments to Najib’s brother).
Labour of Love?

It raises some extraordinary issues, because back in 2014 the public was told to believe that this high-powered barrister, a known favourite of the Najib administration, had conducted the entire Appeal prosecution against Anwar for a paltry sum of just RM1,000 (US$230 at present rates).

This was the sum that Nancy Shukri, a minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, provided to Parliament when questioned on this very matter, owing to the unusual nature of Shafee’s appointment to a job that would normally have been done by members of the Public Prosecution Service.

The opposition parties had suspected that Shafee must have been paid far above the normal rates at public expense to conduct the Appeal and then to further take the case through the Federal Court. However, Shukri stunned them with the opposite information.

In an extraordinary statement she said that the government had made an exception to normal rules of privacy in this case, in order to disclose the miscroscopic fee. In fact, the minster added, Shafee had wanted to do the job for nothing at all, hence the token payment. “We wanted to be transparent” she said:

“Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri said she had obtained the agreement of the Attorney-General’s Chambers and Muhammad Shafee himself to reveal the amount after the matter was raised repeatedly in the house.

The matter was kept confidential to respect the ethics of professionalism and confidentiality of communication between employer and client, she said when replying to a question from Er Teck Hwa (DAP-Bakri), reported Bernama.

Er had wanted to know how much Muhammad Shafee was paid as the lead prosecutor during the hearing of Anwar’s case in the Court of Appeal and Federal Court.

The Federal Court upheld a Court of Appeal decision convicting Anwar and sentencing him to five year’s jail after finding him guilty of having sodomised his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, in 2008.

Nancy also said that Muhammad Shafee had not sought a fee for his service but an agreement was reached on the payment.

“He had not wanted any payment for his service but we wanted to be transparent and after providing him with the terms of reference, we agreed on a fee,” she said.

Nancy also dismissed Er’s assumption that Muhammad Shafee’s appointment as the lead prosecutor indicated the weakness of staff in the Attorney-General’s Chambers to handle the case.

She said the appointment of an independent individual was aimed at averting accusations by certain quarters. [Malaysian Times, March 2015]

However, the central to the opposition case was that Shafee Abdullah was not an “independent individual”. He was a known close confidante of the Prime Minister, who had a direct interest in jailing Anwar, a powerful political opponent who had got more votes at the previous election.

Shafee Abdullah was also a material witness to the case, according to the defence, because the lawyer had been in Najib’s house the very day and time that the alleged victim admitted he had been discussing his plans to denounce Anwar Ibrahim with the Prime Minister (a meeting Najib had at first attempted to deny).

Anwar’s case, therefore, was that there had been a clear conspiracy to frame and jail him and that Shafee Abdullah was at the centre of it. However, the court refused to dismiss the unusual move to appoint this “independent individual” to conduct the prosecution in the place of the prosecution service.

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‘Independent Individual’? The Very Strange Case Of Special Prosecutor Shafee Abdullah
3 June 2017 – SR

20
Jun
17

U.S. Moves to Seize Diamonds, a Picasso and Hollywood Films in Malaysian Case – NY Times

U.S. Moves to Seize Diamonds, a Picasso and Hollywood Films in Malaysian Case

BANGKOK — A Picasso painting given to the actor Leonardo DiCaprio, the rights to two Hollywood comedies and a $27.3 million diamond necklace belonging to the wife of Malaysia’s prime minister are among half a billion dollars in assets sought by the United States in a widening money-laundering inquiry.

A complaint filed on Thursday by the United States Justice Department seeks $540 million in assets, including a luxury yacht and expensive real estate, that it says were bought with money stolen from a government fund in Malaysia overseen by the country’s prime minister, Najib Razak.

Together with a previous complaint, the Justice Department is seeking nearly $1.7 billion in assets it says were stolen from the fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad, and laundered through financial institutions in the United States.

The complaint says that more than $4.5 billion was “misappropriated” by high-level Malaysian officials and their associates. A complaint filed last year said that $731 million from the fund was deposited into bank accounts belonging to Mr. Najib.

“These cases involve billions of dollars that should have been used to help the people of Malaysia, but instead was used by a small number of individuals to fuel their astonishing greed,” the acting United States attorney, Sandra R. Brown, said in a statement.

Mr. Najib, who is identified in the 251-page complaint only as Malaysian Official 1, has denied any wrongdoing. He has boasted of golfing with President Trump, but any hope he had that Mr. Trump’s election might curb the American investigation appears to have been dashed.

Mr. Najib’s attorney general, Mohamed Apandi Ali, issued a statement on Friday noting that investigations by Mr. Najib’s government had found no evidence that money was misappropriated.

Mr. Najib’s press secretary, Tengku Sariffuddin, suggested the United States’ action was politically motivated. Malaysia is “concerned by the unnecessary and gratuitous naming of certain matters and individuals that are only relevant to domestic political manipulation and interference,” he said. “This suggests a motivation that goes beyond the objective of seizing assets.”

The Malaysian government created the fund in 2008 ostensibly to promote economic development. But it borrowed heavily, and much of the money was used in questionable investment schemes.

A central player in establishing the fund was Jho Low, a friend of Mr. Najib’s stepson, Riza Aziz.

The latest complaint seeks to recover more than $400 million from Mr. Low, including his $250 million yacht, Equanimity. Mr. Low’s location is unknown.

Mr. Low used some of the funds to finance a lavish style and befriend celebrities, including hiring them to attend parties, the complaint says.

It seeks the recovery of more than $8 million in diamond jewelry that Mr. Low is said to have given to Miranda Kerr, an Australian model, including an 11.72-carat, heart-shaped diamond for Valentine’s Day in 2014. Ms. Kerr could not be reached immediately for comment.

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U.S. Moves to Seize Diamonds, a Picasso and Hollywood Films in Malaysian Case
JUNE 16, 2017 – NY Times

20
Jun
17

Bar joins calls for probe into report of RM9.5 million payment to lawyer

Bar joins calls for probe into report of RM9.5 million payment to lawyer

THE Malaysian Bar has urged police to investigate the “serious” allegations that the lead prosecutor in Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trial was paid RM9.5 million by Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Bar president George Varughese told FMT that while it would be premature for the Bar to refer the lawyer to the Advocates and Solicitors Disciplinary Board due to insufficient evidence of misconduct, police must launch a thorough investigation quickly.

“Police must probe the case thoroughly since the allegation is very serious,” said Varughese.

On May 31, whistleblower site Sarawak Report reported that prominent Umno lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, the lead prosecutor in Anwar’s trial, was paid RM9.5 million, which came directly from Najib’s 1MDB slush fund accounts.

Shafee has declined to respond to The Malaysian Insights requests for comment.

Yesterday, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia Youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman filed a report urging police to investigate the whistleblower’s claims for the sake of the good name of the Malaysian judiciary. – June 3, 2017.

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Bar joins calls for probe into report of RM9.5 million payment to lawyer
3 Jun 2017 – Malaysian Insight

19
Jun
17

New revelations by the US DOJ require answers and action

MEDIA STATEMENT (16 JUNE 2017): New revelations by the US DOJ require answers and action

BERSIH 2.0 is appalled by the new revelations from the United States Department of Justice (US DOJ) suit on the misappropriation of funds from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The US DOJ now alleges, with comprehensive records of emails, bank transfers and phone calls, that $4.5 billion (approximately RM17 billion) was misappropriated by high-level officials to finance their “lavish lifestyles…at the expense and detriment of the Malaysian people”.

The filings also show that the statement made by Attorney General Apandi Ali in January 2016, clearing Prime Minister Najib Razak of all charges, was false. It directly contradicts Apandi Ali by stating 1MDB was the only source of funds for the $681 million transferred to Najib.

This is a damning indictment on Malaysia’s public institutions. The reaction from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Attorney General and the Inspector General of Police have either accused the US DOJ of “insinuations” against Najib, “domestic political manipulation and interference” or refused to cooperate with the suit.

However, no evidence has been provided to contradict the 250-page court filing. There is also no evidence to contradict the allegations and admissions that these funds were used to manipulate the results of the 13th General Election through unparalleled bribery and money politics.

In light of these statements, Malaysians are once again reminded of how Najib fired the then Attorney General, removed those in Cabinet raising questions and gutted the Public Accounts Committee investigation when these revelations first broke in 2015.

Since then, the Malaysian people have been given no clear explanation by our own institutions into the location of the missing funds. It has been seven years since the issues with 1MDB were first raised in Parliament, but the truth is still being kept from the rakyat. As an obvious indication of the lack of transparency and accountability surrounding this scandal, the Auditor General’s report into 1MDB remains under the Official Secrets Act.

BERSIH 2.0 once again demands the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak in order to make way for an independent investigation into 1MDB and the restoration of the independence of our institutions. Malaysians must not stop demanding accountability and transparency from our public officials. With the 14th General Election fast approaching, we must make our voices heard in calling for an end to corruption and fraud in all our public institutions.

Issued by:
The BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee

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MEDIA STATEMENT (16 JUNE 2017): New revelations by the US DOJ require answers and action
16 June 2017 – BERSIH 2.0




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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