Posts Tagged ‘1MDB Scandal


Najib doesn’t have GE14 in the bag

Najib doesn’t have GE14 in the bag

Malaysia’s 14th general election (or GE14) looms large. Some pundits predict that the election will be held sometime between November 2017 and March 2018. This is supposedly the best window for Prime Minister Najib Razak to lead Barisan Nasional (BN) to another victory.

But calling for a general election amid allegations of an epic financial scandal involving the prime minister himself is not an easy task. The 1MDB scandal, the subject of investigations in six countries, has badly affected Najib’s popularity. What the Prime Minister badly needs is a real feel-good factor that will overcome all these misfortunes. But this will be hard to come by.

By now, Najib must have received reports on voter sentiment from intelligence agencies such as the Special Branch, the Defence Staff Intelligence Division and the Research Division in the Prime Minister’s Department. Apart from these, he might have also seen the various situation reports prepared by socio-political agencies such as the Biro Tatanegara, the Department of Special Affairs (JASA) and the Community Development Department (KEMAS) on the state of the country’s social and political affairs. He would have also assigned his own political operators and engaged private pollsters to gauge public sentiment on the ground.

In the past, BN successfully gained electoral victory on the premise of its ability to deliver economic development and maintain political stability. But the current state of the country’s economy doesn’t look good. Although the World Bank forecasts Malaysia’s GDP to grow by 5.2% this year, prices of goods have gone up, subsidies for essential items like cooking oil and fuel have been either cut or abolished, the weak Ringgit is causing inflation, and on top of this there is the unpopular 6% Goods and Services Tax.

The 2018 budget will be tabled in Parliament in late October 2017. It will be an opportunity for the prime minister to create a feel-good factor by giving generous hand-outs to voters in order to win their votes. But the government’s coffers are depleting, contingent liabilities are huge, and the need to keep budget deficits low remains. There is very little room for the BN government to turn the 2018 budget into the feel-good factor and generate broad-based support in the general election.

But there is a silver lining for Najib. The Malay opposition is split due to the breakaway of PAS from the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition in 2015. While PAS has not indicated that it will cooperate with UMNO in the upcoming general election, the split in the Malay opposition will certainly be beneficial for UMNO.

Merdeka Center’s latest poll indicates that PAS gains an average of 21% Malay support. This is enough to reduce the opposition’s chance of winning the election, especially in the Malay majority constituencies should there be “3-cornered” fights between UMNO, PAS, and the new opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH) led by Mahathir Mohamad. The Merdeka Center poll puts PH support at 18% among Malays, with 12% unsure and 9% declining to answer.

PAS is widely seen as the opposition’s spoiler. But the picture is more complicated. The level of Malay support for PAS is not evenly spread across the country. It is mostly concentrated in the Malay heartland of Kelantan, Terengganu, northern Kedah, northern Perak and some parts of Selangor and Pahang. These are mostly large Malay-majority constituencies, in which Malay voters make up more than 70% of the electorate. There are 70 parliamentary seats in this category in Peninsular Malaysia.

However, out of these 70 seats, eight are in Kedah, where Mahathir’s strong influence in the state may swing votes away from UMNO. Apart from these, there are at least five seats in Kelantan, and one in Terengganu, which have traditionally been PAS’s strongholds: Pengkalan Chepa, Kubang Kerian, Kota Baharu, Tumpat, Rantau Panjang and Marang. These 13 Malay-majority seats are most vulnerable for UMNO. Realistically speaking, then, UMNO has a sure chance of winning in only 57 out of 165 parliamentary constituencies in Peninsular Malaysia.

Meanwhile, non-Malay support for BN has been extremely low since the last general election. Recent surveys have not seen any significant improvement in non-Malay support for the government, and the contest for votes in marginal Malay-majority constituencies—that is, where non-Malay voters are more than 30% of the electorate—will be keenly fought by all parties.

There are 47 parliamentary seats in this category, mostly situated in southern Kedah, Penang, the Kinta Valley in Perak, southern Perak, southern and central Selangor, and urban and semi-urban centres in Pahang, Negeri Sembilan, Malacca and Johor. PAS’ influence in these constituencies is relatively minimal, and may not impact much on the Malay vote split.

It is in these areas where PH is making significant inroads, posing a serious challenge to BN. Some of the parliamentary seats in these areas are already in the hands of PH parties. Apart from these marginal Malay-majority constituencies, there are 48 non-Malay majority constituencies in Peninsular Malaysia which can be considered as safe seats for the opposition.

Left for the government are 57 parliamentary seats in Sabah and Sarawak, long said to be BN’s “fixed deposit”. However, out of these 57 seats, nine are currently held by the opposition, and are not safe seats for BN. Apart from these nine, there are at least five parliamentary seats in the east coast of Sabah where the newly formed Parti Warisan Sabah, led by former UMNO Vice President Shafie Apdal, is making significant inroads. These seats too are no longer safe seats for BN. So, out of 57 parliamentary seats in Sabah and Sarawak, only 43 can be considered safe for BN.

With 57 safe seats in Peninsular Malaysia and 43 safe seats in Sabah and Sarawak, BN has a total of 100 out of 222 parliamentary seats that can be considered safe. This figure still falls short of the total needed to get a simple majority to form the next federal government. Unless Najib can turn the remaining seats into safe seats for BN, calling for a general election now will be a bit risky for him.

Najib doesn’t have GE14 in the bag
Marzuki Mohamad
18 Oct, 2017 – New Mandala


1MDB scandal: thousands join ‘anti-kleptocracy’ rally in Malaysia to oust PM Najib

1MDB scandal: thousands join ‘anti-kleptocracy’ rally in Malaysia to oust PM Najib

Malaysia’s opposition are counting on the 1MDB scandal to turn as many voters as they can against Najib Razak

Thousands of protesters gathered at an unsanctioned rally on Saturday to demand action against Prime Minister Najib Razak over the mismanagement of billions of dollars by a state fund.

Malaysia’s opposition are counting on the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal to turn as many voters as they can against Najib, who can call for national polls anytime between now and the middle of next year.

The prime minister has so far been able to weather the scandal, consolidating power by clamping down on dissenters and curbing local media and activists even as he faces a fierce challenge from his former mentor, Mahathir Mohamad.

But rising living costs and a broad-based consumption tax are leaving people like Hasmurni Tamby, a 42-year-old single mother of five, fed up with the way things are going under Najib.

“Prices of everything have gone up but not our salaries. We can’t save. So we don’t want this leader any more,” said Hasmurni, who travelled several hours north from her home state of Malacca to attend the evening rally.

Saturday’s rally was touted as the finale of a two month-long anti-kleptocracy roadshow, a platform set up by the opposition Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition to convince the majority Malay-Muslim voters in rural battleground areas that the country has suffered from Najib’s handling of 1MDB.

Najib’s popularity took a hit from persistent bad press linked to 1MDB, especially after the US Department of Justice filed civil suits to recover over US$1.7 billion alleged to have been misappropriated from the 1MDB fund.

A rebounding economy and strengthening ringgit currency, however, are working in Najib’s favour.

The prime minister is expected to announce plenty of people-centric initiatives later this month when he tables his last budget before the polls. Just a few months prior, he announced billions in housing and cash aid for the Malay community.

But Mahathir, who saw through Malaysia’s industrialisation as its longest-serving prime minister, warned that nothing good will come out of allowing his former protégé to continue to rule.

“Never before have we had a prime minister who is a thief. He steals so he can have a comfortable life,” Mahathir told the crowd when delivering the final speech of the night.

“We need to bring down kleptocracy in our country … Najib’s fate is in our hands. We can get rid of him, just by voting PH,” the former prime minister said.

1MDB scandal: thousands join ‘anti-kleptocracy’ rally in Malaysia to oust PM Najib
15 October, 2017 – SCMP


Will anti-kleptocracy roadshow deliver votes to Pakatan?

End Kleptocracy

Will anti-kleptocracy roadshow deliver votes to Pakatan?

PAKATAN Harapan might have popularised the word “kleptocracy” among Malaysians through its natiowide roadshow but it still needs to offer policies and solutions to get their vote, analysts said.

Riding on the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal and other national issues would not be enough for PH to win in the next election, they said.

Ilham Centre executive director Hisomuddin Bakar said he had attended several of the roadshow events, and he observed that people were generally fed up with the nation’s problems and the many issues raised by the opposition.

Many he said, questioned what PH had to offer, other than running down the administration of Prime Minister Najib Razak.

“They were waiting for PH leaders to offer solutions, while evaluating the unity among the coalition’s component parties,” Hisomuddin said.

That was why, he said, the large crowds at the PH “Love Malaysia, End Kleptocracy” roadshow would not necessarily translate into votes for the opposition.

He said people who went to the roadshow’s events were interested to see national personalities like Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and listen to issues “from the horse’s mouth”.

“But how far does their attendance translates into votes for PH is still a question. If we look at the voting pattern of those in rural communities, the people are traditionally more inclined to vote for the ‘party’s brand’ than anything else.

“The 14th general election will answer this question for us,” he told The Malaysian Insight.

Awareness may influence voting

However, independent political analyst Dr Samsu Adabi Mamat said the roadshow could influence voting behaviour for people who were already unhappy with the powers that be.

He said political gatherings could give people the awareness to act for change.

“The people’s acceptance of BN now is reduced. There are survey results showing that people are unhappy with the GST (Goods and Services Tax), rising cost of living, prices of goods and the poor value of the ringgit.

“People are going through hardship, but they do not know what to do about it. The roadshow helped, they learnt about what is happening in the country and have become more aware of the need to take action for change to happen,” he said.

The former Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia academician said if people believed that BN was not doing a good job, they might go home after an opposition ceramah feeling excited about the coming polls, waiting in anticipation to make their votes count.

“They will use their votes as a means of protest (against the current administration),” Samsu said.

The Mahathir factor

Hisomuddin has no doubts about PH chairman Dr Mahathir’s contribution to the success of the roadshow.

At 92, the former prime minister covered almost the entire country speaking in urban and rural areas, including Felda settlements.

Hisomuddin said without the influence of the late PAS spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat and jailed PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, Dr Mahathir was the crowd-puller.

“From the time Dr Mahathir started to collect signatures for his ‘Deklarasi Rakyat’ last year, until he was named PH chairman, he has infiltrated the rural Malay heartland – places the opposition never could penetrate in the past.

“That threatens Umno’s dominance in theses areas. Umno can no longer be complacent,” he said.

Dr Mahathir, who had been speaking at two to three anti-kleptocracy ceramah a week, recently said that the ceramah had been a success, having attracted huge crowds, including Umno and PAS supporters “who always stayed in the dark”.

Samsu said Dr Mahathir’s party Bersatu had also been well-received at the roadshow – another sign of the ceramah achieving success.

“Some ceramah-goers ended up being drawn to politics. Many signed up to be party members. Bersatu is said to have been successful in registering new members at the roadshow,” he said.

People waiting for a solution

Samsu also said with the people’s livelihood being the core issue, people were looking for changes like the removal of GST, tackling of rising prices, and political and economic stability.

“People want the country to have a good reputation, a healthy ringgit, improved investor confidence, and a better economy that will provide better opportunities for all,” he said.

Will anti-kleptocracy roadshow deliver votes to Pakatan?
14 Oct 2017 – TMI


Penthouse in Manhattan allegedly linked to 1MDB scandal to be sold at US$45 Million

Walker Tower Penthouse Allegedly Linked to 1MDB Scandal Asks $45 Million
Oct. 5, 2017 – WSJ


Malaysia: 1MDB casts a long shadow

By: Eric Ellis
October 04, 2017 – AsiaMoney


MACC chief, rakyat are watching you too

MACC chief, rakyat are watching you too

YOURSAY | ‘The claim that you are the people’s agency rings hollow.’

The people are watching, MACC boss tells Kit Siang

Aries46: MACC chief commissioner Dzulkifli Ahmad has reminded DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang that the people are watching him and the opposition.

Lim made a perfectly legitimate call on the vetting process for action on those implicated in the 1MDB heist since you publicly announced that only Umno had furnished its name list for vetting.

What is the purpose of submitting a name list to MACC unless it has the gumption to flag those complicit in high-level corruption and the 1MDB global scandal sticks out like a sore thumb?

Going further, where do you draw the line on alleged concealed high-level corruption by the ruling elites? Where is the credibility for MACC’s often trumpeted claim of independent status?

And how can MACC claim the moral high ground and play the national watchdog on corruption when it stands exposed and powerless to take on the elephant in the room?

Sans Prejudice: Indeed, it is the other way around, Dzulkifli. You, not the opposition, are actually under the rakyat’s microscope.

The claim that you are the “people’s agency” rings hollow because we didn’t put you there in the first place, did we?

The rakyat are clamouring for answers to what the Department of Justice (DOJ) described as the biggest kleptocracy case in the US.

With the humongous 1MDB elephant prancing in the room with the incriminating evidence of massive kleptocracy already registered and action taken by the foreign courts of law, there has not been even a squeaky response from MACC.

So how can you claim to be our agency even though we pay your wages? The day MACC becomes truly independent and transparent, only then can it claim to be the “people’s agency”. Right now, we have doubts about your loyalty.

Fair Play: Dzulkifli, how true. The rakyat is also watching closely how you fight and prevent crimes. Until the RM2.6 billion case is solved and all the alleged thieves are jailed, MACC will be found wanting.

On the other hand, Kit Siang is just an opposition MP and the alleged thieves are not members of DAP.

Kit Siang has already said this – show the public the names of those who are connected to 1MDB and who will be candidates for the 14th general election (GE14) and DAP would accede to your request.

Such a simple request and yet you could not consider it.

Fellow Malaysian: If MACC is impartial and truly independent from the government’s influence, scores of GE14 candidates from BN-Umno would have been rejected from standing for the reason of being linked to the 1MDB heist alone.

Of course, top on the list is Malaysian Official 1 (MO1).

Dzulkifli ought to issue another challenge to charge Kit Siang for saying that 90 percent of the rakyat would consider MACC to be the tool of the Prime Minister’s Department if an opinion poll were held.

Abasir: “The rakyat are watching”? Big deal. The rakyat have been watching Najib and all those named in the 1MDB heist. Nothing’s happened. Why?

Because the MACC has not been watching but instead looked the other way.

MACC chief, rakyat are watching you too
2 Oct 2017 – Malaysiakini


BANK Negara imposed fine of RM115.8 million on 1MDB, how about individuals responsible?

How about fining those responsible for 1MDB scandal, Pakatan asks Bank Negara

BANK Negara Malaysia should also pursue individuals involved in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal instead of just imposing an RM115.8 million fine against the state investor, said Pakatan Harapan.

PH president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail was referring to the central bank’s disclosure yesterday of the “record” fine imposed on 1MDB under Article 234 (3b) of the Financial Services Act 2013.

She said the act also empowers BNM to impose a penalty against the director, senior management and any individual responsible for the management of 1MDB.

“For now, BNM only applied Article 234(3)(b) to impose a fine of RM115.8 million on 1MDB and those involved.

“If BNM fined 1MDB as a corporate body, it should also invoke Article 234(5) against individuals responsible for breaches of the law.

“I urge BNM to protect the integrity of the central bank as an institution that would prevent the same scandal from resurfacing in the future,” she said a press conference at the party’s headquarters in Petaling Jaya.

PH will lodge a police report next week to enable BNM to investigate Prime Minister Najib Razak as the advisory chairman of 1MDB, its board of directors and also the senior management under Clause 234(5).

Dr Wan Azizah said BNM’s decision to fine 1MDB RM115.8 million also penalises Malaysians as they are the ones who have to bear the state investor’s debts.

How about fining those responsible for 1MDB scandal, Pakatan asks Bank Negara
27 Sep 2017 – TMI

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?