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PM says ex-AG told him about plan to charge Najib

PM says ex-AG told him about plan to charge Najib

Former attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail disclosed how he was preparing to charge Najib Abdul Razak during a meeting with Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday.

“I wanted to know what happened when he (Gani) was removed and what was the result of his investigation.

“He (Gani) claimed he was preparing to charge Najib and that morning he was deprived of his position,” he told reporters at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya this afternoon.

Gani was heading the special task force investigating the RM2.6 billion in the former prime minister’s bank account and the SRC International case.

He was replaced with Mohamed Apandi Ali midway during the probe on health reasons, igniting speculation of a cover-up.

During this period, a charge sheet against Najib also made the rounds but the previous administration dismissed this as fake.

Others on the task force were former inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar, former Bank Negara governor Zeti Akthar Aziz, former MACC chief commissioner Abu Kassim Mohamed.

Since winning the 14th general election, Mahathir has trained his guns on Gani’s successor, who cleared Najib of any wrongdoing.

He accused Apandi of concealing evidence related to 1MDB.

Apandi, who has since been instructed to go on unrecorded leave, has denied the allegation.

Najib had described the RM2.6 billion as a donation from a Saudi royalty but international investigations suggested that it might have originated from 1MDB.

The former premier also denied abusing public funds for personal gain.

Yesterday, Mahathir said Najib could be charged soon and dismissed the possibility of striking a deal with his former protege.

PM says ex-AG told him about plan to charge Najib
16 May 2018 – malaysiakini


Dr M: Scale of 1MDB wrongdoing greater than what public knows

Dr M: Scale of 1MDB wrongdoing greater than what public knows

The extent of wrongdoing in 1MDB is far greater than what is publicly known, revealed Dr Mahathir Mohamad today.

The prime minister drew the conclusion after being briefed by police and auditor-general Madinah Mohamad over the scandal involving the state investment firm.

“It was clear that the wrongdoing is more than what was known by the public, and by me.

“We will take action to lodge a police report. When there is an opportunity we will make the arrest, we will get the person involved in the wrongdoing,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mahathir said the government will write to US, Singapore and Switzerland to repatriate allegedly misappropriated 1MDB-linked funds.

“We will recover this money from US, Switzerland and Singapore, probably Luxembourg also. We will contact them to recover the money.

“There was no admission from the administration of Najib Abdul Razak that the money belonged to us, therefore no application to claim the funds.

“But, we want to state that the money was from 1MDB and Malaysia, we will apply to recover the funds,” he added.

Mahathir noted he was unclear of the amount of funds linked to the sovereign fund still overseas, but he knew there was US$4.5 billion in US.

He added that it is up to the police whether to summon Najib to record a statement over the scandal.

Dr M: Scale of 1MDB wrongdoing greater than what public knows
16 May 2018 – malaysiakini


A Stunning, Sudden Fall for Najib Razak, Malaysia’s ‘Man of Steal’ – NY Times

A Stunning, Sudden Fall for Najib Razak, Malaysia’s ‘Man of Steal’

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Just a few months ago, the political machine led by Najib Razak, the gilded prime minister of Malaysia, appeared so indestructible that a multibillion-dollar corruption scandal seemed unlikely to derail it. The end came so quickly, so completely, that even his opponents were shocked.

For nearly a decade, Mr. Najib, 64, had unfettered control of his nation’s courts and coffers. His party had thrived by unfailingly delivering huge cash handouts at election time. The media was at his disposal; journalists he didn’t like, he shut down. Political foes were shoved into prison.

The pampered son of a prime minister and nephew of another, Mr. Najib enjoyed the friendship of President Trump, who after playing golf with him in 2014 gave him a photo inscribed, “To my favorite prime minister.” Last year, Mr. Trump hosted Mr. Najib at the White House, even as the United States Department of Justice accused him of taking Malaysian state money.

But his authority suddenly evaporated in the early hours after Malaysia’s national elections on May 9 delivered a commanding majority to the opposition, now led by the political titan who had once lifted Mr. Najib to power: the 92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad.

The opposition was fractious, and remains so, but it was galvanized by a single purpose: to deliver the ouster of Mr. Najib to an electorate furious at his excesses and emboldened by social media even as news outlets were being muzzled.

Now, Mr. Najib is suddenly vulnerable to criminal charges at home, as well as a reinvigorated effort by the Justice Department as it pursues billions of dollars missing from 1Malaysia Development Berhad, the country’s state investment fund supervised by Mr. Najib for years.

The details released from that investigation in the past three years painted a lurid picture of a Malaysian leader and his family members and friends living high on diverted public money.

Prosecutors say that hundreds of millions of dollars from the fund appeared in Mr. Najib’s personal account and was spent on luxury items including a 22-carat pink diamond necklace, worth $27.3 million, for his wife. In all some $7.5 billion was stolen from the fund, prosecutors say, and spent on paintings by Monet, Van Gogh and Warhol and others worth more than $200 million; on luxury real estate in the United States; and even on a megayacht for a family friend, Jho Low, who reveled in his Hollywood connections.

Those accusations, and others, became grist for social media outrage in Malaysia, frequently on private WhatsApp groups, but it seemed Mr. Najib still underestimated how much he was losing: a public that still valued some semblance of moderation, his once unbreakable Malay power base, even family members.

Mr. Najib’s stepdaughter, Azrene Ahmad, took to Instagram on Friday with an emotional condemnation of him and her mother, Rosmah Mansor, who had become widely known here for piling up designer labels, garlands of jewelry and a multimillion-dollar handbag collection that more than rivaled the shoe fetish of Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines.

A Stunning, Sudden Fall for Najib Razak, Malaysia’s ‘Man of Steal’
By Hannah Beech, Richard C. Paddock and Alexandra Stevenson
May 15, 2018 – NY Times


Declassified 1MDB report corroborates DOJ findings

Declassified 1MDB report corroborates DOJ findings

The declassified auditor-general’s report on 1MDB lacks several key details due to the wealth fund’s refusal to provide complete documentation, but for parts which it did investigate, the information corroborates with that of the US Department of Justice.

The Audit Department had, among others, examined Brazen Sky Ltd’s accounts, which is a subsidiary of 1MDB.

More specifically, the department looked at Brazen Sky’s redemption of “fund units” from its Cayman Islands investment with Bridge Partners International Investment Ltd.

Interestingly, the department noticed that the redemption into Brazen Sky’s accounts – done in stages from Sept 11, 2014 to Sept 8, 2014 – were immediately sent out to another 1MDB offshore subsidiary, 1MDB Global Investments Ltd (1MDB GIL).

In total, US$1.392 billion was redeemed into Brazen Sky’s accounts, and US$1.417 billion sent out to 1MDB GIL.

“The cash redemption from the segregated portfolio company (Bridge Partners) was found to have not complied with the 1MDB board of directors’ instruction for it to be returned to Malaysia.

“The cash transfers were not presented before the 1MDB board of directors for approval.

“The justification for the 1MDB management to transfer the money to 1MDB GIL could not be established, as 1MDB GIL too had its own fund to manage totalling US$1.56 billion as of March 31, 2014,” it said.

However, a more complete picture could be found based on the DOJ’s filings, which established that the money was sent to 1MDB GIL to be recycled back into Brazen Sky, to make it appear like redemptions.

The DOJ’s figures of the recycled transactions also matched that of the auditor general’s report on 1MDB.

According to the DOJ, the “redemption” of the “fund units” originated from a US$975 million loan 1MDB took out with Deutsche Bank.

The DOJ’s court filing stated that part of that money was “recycled” by sending it to Brazen Sky Ltd through intermediaries, then sent out again through the same intermediaries before returning to the 1MDB subsidiary.

One of these intermediaries was 1MDB GIL.

“The purpose of this unnecessarily complicated funds flow was to create the appearance that fund units in the Brazen Sky Account were being redeemed for cash and being paid forward to 1MDB, thereby fraudulently disguising the fact that the fund units were illiquid and relatively worthless,” the DOJ said in its filing.

Declassified 1MDB report corroborates DOJ findings
15 May 2018 – malaysiakini


Building coalition politics and fulfilling the people’s hopes

Building coalition politics and fulfilling the people’s hopes

Rais Hussin

COMMENT | It was University of California Berkeley political scientist Arend Lijphart who first described Malaysia’s political system as a “consociational democracy,” meaning that each of the respective races in Malaysia would be represented by a key political party of their choice.

Right until May 9, 2018, which will go down in history as a monumental day, Malays had primarily believed that Umno was the main vehicle of representation to channel and articulate their interest, and that MCA and MIC would do the same for the Chinese and Indians in the country respectively.

But as much as May 9 was a huge electoral victory for Pakatan Harapan, with the seismic effects continuing to be felt from Kangar to Kota Kinabalu, there has to be due regard for the previous political system, even as Pakatan Harapan tries to strike out on an independent future to free the minds and habits of Malaysians.

In the event of any conflict or issue, arising from cabinet appointments, for instance, it helps if all sides can resort to using internal party mechanisms to forge a consensus. Speaking openly and directly to the media at the first instance – while emotionally cathartic – is politically damaging to a new government.

There are five reasons why Malaysian politicians, regardless of which party in Harapan, have to be wise and savvy, not just ‘fact-smart’. The latter involves a direct engagement with the media that can prove counterproductive to what Harapan hopes to achieve, especially in the first 100 days leading up to the next five years.

First and foremost, an election can only remove the top layer of the corrupt politicians at work. But an election cannot, at one go, remove the politicians’ hidden cronies, nominees and vested family interests.

Thus, more than anything, courage to stay the course of comprehensive reforms, should be used to root out what can be analogously referred to as the ‘deep state’, rather than to speak to the open media, let alone to tweet it, as President Donald Trump is inclined to do in the United States.

In politics, no news is good news. This period of calm can be used as a strategic platform to terminate the ‘termites’ that had been gnawing of the foundation of the state – which is the expertise of Dr Mahathir Mohamad by virtue of his extensive experience and previous track record.

Secondly, the whole point of an election is not merely to usher in the new only but to understand what has previously worked. And, if the latter has proven to be the case, there is no need to challenge it wholesale, in order to retain some semblance of stability to ensure the next phase of reforms.

For example, it defeats the purpose of reform if every single move by Mahathir is seen through the prism of ‘authoritarianism’. Doing so not only allow one to be entrapped by the past but to allow the past to be the script of the future.

Take the response of PKR Subang MP Wong Chen, for example. While he is a good colleague of mine who worked tirelessly in this monumental journey, Wong’s blanket defence of Rafizi Ramli – that any failure to critique Mahathir now will lead to a return to the iron rule of Najib – is too simplistic and falls into the realm of confirmation bias, i.e., the tendency to interpret new events as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs.

Well, to be fair to Mahathir, his problem is not criticism. In any Harapan presidential council, he gets his fair share of sound bites from everyone across the spectrum. But Mahathir rejoices in parrying these criticisms too, which is why he has earned the respect of PKR, DAP and Amanah together with the rest of Bersatu.

Democraty in Harapan alive and well

Democratic criticism is alive and well in the presidential council and other such meetings, resulting in many extended hours despite Dr Mahathir’s periodic flu bugs. Most presidential council members including me were pleasantly surprise to witness the ‘listening dictator’ who despite hours of deliberations by all and sundry, will get a decision at the end of the meeting.

Likewise in the Bersatu supreme council meetings, where all without fear or favour register their views, however juvenile it may be. Mahathir had the patience and ability to listen to intelligent arguments and sometimes otherwise.

There have been numerous times Mahathir changed his strong views on issues when it was debated intelligently with facts, numbers and context. I have yet to see a more ‘democratic dictator’ than him.

Thirdly, elections are extremely exhausting and difficult to pull through. Without the will and good cheer of the rakyat, indeed the people of Malaysia from all walks of life, it is almost impossible to remove the regime of Najib, granted the propensity of the latter to resort to using open and other more sophisticated forms of bribes, or what Mahathir criticised as the ‘cash is king’ approach.

When a coalition is new, and still exhausted by the recent election campaign, it helps to take a breather. Using internal party mechanisms to resolve issues will cut down on the sensationalism that the media thrives on to get their copies and viewership up.

Take the raids of Najib and Rosmah, for example. No such events immediately took place, as good governance is not the equivalent of a witch hunt, where the mob is set on the culprits. Yet the media spoke of it as if these incidents were real and immediate. The police clarified that they just went to investigate the CCTV recording at the luxurious Pavilion condo.

Elections are not one off events across the country too. There are party elections as well, as required by law in the Registrar of Societies. When things do not immediately go smoothly, surely the members of Bersatu and the likes, would not know how to rein in their respective leaders.

Thus, one cannot accuse Mahathir of operating in a vacuum. As Mohamad Sabu, the newly minted defence minister and Amanah president said, “any cabinet decisions rest in the prerogative of the prime minister.” This is to give the prime minister some room of manoeuvre, without which the government of the day cannot run, but will always be bogged down by intense lobbying of special interest.

Fourthly, in any coalition, consensus can come in a variety of forms. Consensus can mean unanimity, where everyone agrees. But in the expediency of governance, consensus can also mean a policy of minus one. No doubt it is true that PKR has 47 seats in the Parliament. But DAP has 42, Bersatu has 13 and Amanah has 11.

In the days to come, there is no telling how many defections will work in the favour of Harapan too, now that Umno and BN have been painfully defeated. Thus, each cabinet decision cannot be subject to intense scrutiny of one party as yet, precisely because tremors continue to be felt across the lay of Malaysia. Granted this reality, three of the most important cabinet portfolios have to be announced first, with the seven remaining portfolios to come.

The culture of accommodation

Fifthly, one must understand the culture of accommodation, not the attitude of winner takes all, which is both zero sum in orientation and execution. In any system, to accommodate the interest of diverse cultural and subethnic groups, the basic threshold is organisational finesse and etiquette, what most would call ‘team work.’

Building coalition politics and fulfilling the people’s hopes
Rais Hussin
14 May 2018 – malaysiakini


Barred From Travel, Najib Faces Malaysia Wrath Over 1MDB Secrets – Bloomberg

Barred From Travel, Najib Faces Malaysia Wrath Over 1MDB Secrets

Mahathir to reopen probe into money missing from state fund
Najib banned from traveling, may eventually face charges

As Malaysia’s most powerful man, Najib Razak worked hard to keep the public from accessing information about a multi-billion dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB. Now they just might find out all the juicy details.

Only three days after 92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad secured a shocking election win, he barred Najib from leaving Malaysia and said he’d reopen a graft probe targeting the fund. He also said he was replacing the attorney-general who cleared Najib and instructed the auditor-general to declassify a 1MDB report that was protected by the Official Secrets Act.

It’s a stunning turn of events for Najib, who has long denied any wrongdoing and aggressively hit back at detractors after 2015 revelations that around $700 million — alleged to be 1MDB funds — appeared in his personal accounts before the prior election in 2013. Najib had fired his top prosecutor, expelled four cabinet ministers who defied him, filed defamation lawsuits and blocked websites of critical news outlets.

A revitalized probe would reverberate around the world, with investigations ongoing in a number of countries. The U.S. has alleged the fund’s officials laundered more than $4.5 billion through a complex web of opaque transactions and fraudulent shell companies located from Switzerland to Singapore to the U.S. — a scheme U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in December called “kleptocracy at its worst.”

Shedding light on 1MDB is only one part of Mahathir’s move to root out corruption after a scandal that even Najib admitted hurt Malaysia’s international reputation. Mahathir is investigating government agencies and barring all civil servants from receiving material gifts and donations.

The Department of Justice has sought to seize about $1.7 billion in assets it says were illegally acquired with 1MDB cash, including art, real estate, a luxury yacht and proceeds from Hollywood movie “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Meanwhile Singapore and Switzerland reprimanded banks such as UBS Group AG and JPMorgan Chase & Co. for anti-money laundering lapses.

“If there are any fresh transactions uncovered, this could trigger off related money laundering criminal and civil investigations worldwide,” said Nizam Ismail, head of regulatory practice at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP in Singapore.

The government will formulate an economic policy that restores investor confidence in Malaysia after the 1MDB scandal, Lim Guan Eng, who was named finance minister, said in a briefing on Sunday in Penang.

The latest drama unfolded on Saturday after reports emerged that Najib planned to fly to Indonesia with his wife in a private jet, prompting an angry crowd to gather at a local airport. Hours later, the immigration department said it blacklisted Najib, and Mahathir confirmed he personally placed travel restrictions on his former protege.

Barred From Travel, Najib Faces Malaysia Wrath Over 1MDB Secrets
By Andrea Tan
and Yudith Ho
May 13, 2018 – Bloomberg


Our nation is reborn

Our nation is reborn

Dennis Ignatius

COMMENT | There are no words to describe what has just happened. Nothing anyone can say or express can capture the emotions that millions of Malaysians feel today. Perhaps the tears that fill our eyes, that fill my eyes… might begin to reveal something of the intensity we all feel at this moment as we lift grateful hearts and hands to Almighty God.

Our nation is reborn! It’s a new day. We have been given a second chance.

Who would have thought such a thing was possible? All the polls, both foreign and local, said Najib Abdul Razak would cling on to power, that he had all the power of the state on his side, that the warlords in his own party were with him, that his cash would keep him king. And yet he fell with an earth-shattering thud.

Najib will now join the ranks of the Marcoses, the Soehartos, the Mubaraks, the Mugabes of the world, despots defeated by the people they spurned and took for granted.

Our people have shown their true colours. They came out in the millions. Standing in long lines in the hot sun, you could feel the potency of their determination, their resolve to defy the chicanery of corrupt and dishonest officials. They’ve rejected the politics of race and division and sent a clear message that they will no longer tolerate corruption and the abuse of power.

The sense of freedom is already palpable. Just watch national television and other media adjust to the new reality. It’s going to get really exciting and interesting as freedom takes hold.

Mahathir, man of the moment

Dr Mahathir Mohamad is the man of the moment. They poked fun at him, said he was too old. They cut his picture out of election posters. They tried to make him out to be a lackey of others. Not content with that, they threw money at us; they threw threats at us, but there was no stopping Mahathir or the people who stood with him.

Millions of ordinary citizens sensed in him the leader they had longed for and he rose to the occasion with grace, sagacity and leadership. Whatever wrong that was attributed to him before has been erased; he is now our prime minister and he carries with him all our hopes for a better nation. As I wrote earlier, he was not just a former prime minister trying to make a comeback but an idea whose time has come.

He did not stand alone, of course. This victory would not have been possible without the DAP and PKR in particular, and men like Lim Kit Siang and Anwar Ibrahim who kept the flame of freedom and hope alive during dark times. Anwar, in particular, paid a huge price and will forever be remembered as the man who launched ‘Reformasi.’ His plaintive cry for change decades ago finally brought down the walls of tyranny. We will very shortly join his family in celebrating his release.

Many others like the indomitable Rafizi Ramli, the late Irene Fernandez and the late Karpal Singh also sacrificed much to make this victory possible. We owe an immense debt of gratitude to such men and women who refused to give up, who were willing to pay any price for freedom.

And then there are the men and women of Bersih and the millions who marched with them… the list goes on. It’s a story of many pulling together as one, of Bersekutu Bertambah Mutu (Unity is Strength).

A second chance

Now the hard work of rebuilding our nation begins. There is so much to do, so many things to set right. It won’t be easy setting right years of destructive policies, repressive laws, division and disunity. But we have in Mahathir and his team of experienced and committed leaders, men and women who have been tested by adversity and proven by trial. And they have the support of the people.

Pakatan Harapan has already set forth its agenda for change – clean and trustworthy governance, the repeal of repressive laws, an end to corruption and economic policies that truly serve the people. This is what the people want. It’s not an impossible task, especially given the massive mandate that the people have given them.

I asked Mahathir recently whether he had given up on his dream of Bangsa Malaysia and he told me that he still carries it in his heart. Now, at last, the nation is ready for it; I am confident it will be one of his legacies to the nation.

This is also a time for healing the land and binding up the wounds of division and distrust. Let justice be served without vengeance or malice.

I hope Umno/BN will now use its time in the wilderness to cleanse and reform itself and come back to life again as a strong, credible and honourable opposition. It owes that much, at least to the nation. For our democracy to thrive, we need a strong opposition.

Stand on guard

More than anything else, let us remember that it’s not just Mahathir’s victory; it’s our victory. We, the citizens of this great land, have spoken. We’ve sent a message that we will not be bullied, bribed, intimidated, cheated or disrespected. A sacred trust, a solemn compact has been forged between the government and citizens – that the government exists to serve the people, to seek out their good and to strive to make our country the best nation in the world.

We must now stand on guard for our nation. In the final analysis, for a democracy to flourish, the people themselves must be the custodians of their democracy, defenders of their freedom. Power invariably corrupts even the best of us; we must never again give power to anyone without watching them closely and holding them accountable. We made that mistake before; we cannot afford to make the same mistake again.

Hold your head up high, Malaysia

History is often punctuated by momentous and dramatic events. This is Malaysia’s moment. At last, we can again hold our heads high among the nations of the world. There is every reason to believe that, in time, we will emerge as one of the truly great nations of the world. Nothing less will suffice.

And let the word go forth that freedom and democracy have found a new home, a new people to champion its cause. Let struggling and oppressed people everywhere take hope that nothing is impossible, that freedom will triumph in the end. And it can be done without foreign troops, foreign interference or violence.

Rejoice, my beloved country, rejoice!

Our nation is reborn
Dennis Ignatius
10 May 2018 – malaysiakini

The dawn of A Better Malaysia!
Rafidah Aziz, Hannah Yeoh, Ambiga at TTDI ceramah


Mahathir in Putrajaya ceramah


What happened to 1MDB’s money? – CNBC Video
Nuclear lessons for Malaysia (Part 1) (Part 2)
BN govt is directing attention to distant past and distant future, in order to distract people from present misdeeds and poor governance
Felda - A picture is worth a thousand words
How the 1MDB Scandal Spread Across the World (WSJ)
We cannot afford ridiculously expensive RM55 Billion ECRL!
All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men
to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke
When the people
fears their government,
there is TYRANNY;
when the government
fears the people,
there is LIBERTY.

- Thomas Jefferson
Do you hear the people sing?