I am prepared to meet Liow Tiong Tai and find out whether it is true that Najib never told him in advance about Azalina’s Ministerial motion to give priority to Hadi’s private member bill in Parliament last Thursday

I am prepared to meet with MCA President and Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, to find out whether it is true that the Malaysian Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak never told him beforehand about the Ministerial motion by the Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in Parliament after lunch-break on Thursday to give priority to PAS President Datuk Seri Awang Hadi’s hudud private member’s bill motion.

However, if Najib had told him beforehand about Azalina’s Ministerial motion, Liow should explain what he had done to stop Azalina from proceeding with the Ministerial motion, which not only violated the Cabinet decision the previous week but also the consensus of the Barisan Nasional leadership in March last year.

Liow’s professed ignorance of Azalina’s Ministerial motion last Thursday is a great political mystery, as a day earlier on Wednesday, a Minister and head of a Barisan Nasional component party from Sabah had written an urgent letter to Najib expressing the opposition of the MPs of his party to any proposal to prioritise Hadi’s hudud private members’ bill motion. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is Hadi’s bill about hudud punishments?

Wong Chin Huat
Malaysiakini
Published 28 May 2016, 3:11 pm

To save BN’s non-Malay components from the embarrassment of letting Hadi’s Private Member’s Bill on syariah court’s criminal justification to complete its first reading, Prime Minister Najib Razak reportedly denied that bill was about hudud law.

“I would like to clarify that the amendment (bill) is not hudud law, it is just to enhance the punishment from six times (of the rotan) to a few times, depending on the offences,” he said.

He also said, “It also involves the syariah courts and only involves Muslims. It has nothing to do with non-Muslims.”

Najib could be right about the second point as this bill now seems to be governing offences involving only Muslims.

But is this not about hudud?

No hudud law, only hudud punishments and offences

There is no such thing as hudud law. Hudud refers to punishments and offences.
Read the rest of this entry »

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RM55 billion 1MDB scandal is so humongous that if divided among 42,837 voters in Sungai Besar, every voter would get RM1.3 million!

Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has achieved world-class notice for Malaysia which none of the five previous Prime Ministers, including his father Tun Razak, had ever done in five decades – international notoriety as one of world’s top countries infamous for global corruption.

Wherever one goes in the world, Malaysia is now equated with the notorious and infamous RM55 billion 1MDB scandal – which has been described last week by the international financial news agency, Bloomberg, as one of the “world’s biggest financial scandals”.

Everybody knows that the RM55 billion 1MDB scandal is huge, but how huge is it?

I myself cannot fully envisage how astronomical is RM55 billion and I believe that 99% of Malaysians cannot imagine how huge is RM55 billion!

How many zeroes do we have in our bank accounts? RM100 is two zeroes, RM1,000 is three zeroes, RM10,000 is four zeroes and RM100,000 is five zeroes.

The overwhelming majority of Malaysians will not even have five zeroes in their bank accounts, even if they have property or assets worth five zeroes.

Having bank accounts of more than six zeroes (millionaires) will be beyond the reach of ordinary Malaysians, but RM55 billion or RM55,000,000,000 is to have 10 zeroes – a completely unthinkable sum of money.

Hidden in the RM55 billion 1MDB scandal is Najib’s RM4.2 billion “donation” scandal, and I don’t think there is a single leader in the democratic world that believes in democracy, good governance, accountability and transparency who has huge sums of money involving nine zeroes deposited into his private banking accounts and refusing to account for them!

The RM55 billion 1MDB scandal is so humongous that if divided among 42,837 voters in Sungai Besar, every voter would get RM1.3 million! Read the rest of this entry »

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Liow should meet Najib on three-point agenda: Cabinet meeting on 20th May rejecting Hadi’s private member’s bill, whether Hadi’s private member’s bill was about hudud and to restore status quo ante by sacking Azalina and Rosnah

There is a chorus of MCA, Gerakan and MIC Ministers threatening to resign from the Cabinet over Hadi’s hudud private member’s motion which was given priority in Parliament on Thursaday as a result of the Minister’s motion moved by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Azalina Othman Said and seconded by the Deputy Works Minister, Datuk Rosnah Abdul Raashid Shirlin.

This chorus was started by the MCA President and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and followed up by the Gerakan President and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, MIC President and Health Minister Datuk S. Subramaniam, MCA Deputy President and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Wee Ka Siong.

Liow has said that he will meet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to convey MCA members’ concerns over Hadi’s private member’s bill.

What Liow should do is to meet the Prime Minister on a three-point agenda and inform the Malaysian public the outcome of his meeting with Najib.

The three-point agenda are: Read the rest of this entry »

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Call for Joint Royal Commission co-chaired by a Sabahan and a Sarawakian to inquire into full implementation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) especially with regard to autonomy powers for Sabah and Sarawak

The month of Tadau Ka’amatan or Harvest Festival this year had not been as carefree as in recent past, with a dark shadow casting over both Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia.

This shadow is highlighted by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of national unity, Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, when in a most uncharacteristic warning going against his very portfolio of national unity, he cautioned Putrajaya that Sabahans and Sarawakians may demand to split from peninsular Malaysia if the proposed amendments to Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 are passed in Parliament.

What is most sad is that the Ministerial motion to give priority to PAS President Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill motion in Parliament on Thursday was proposed without the consent of the other non-UMNO parties in the 14-party Barisan Nasional coalition, the seconder of the Ministerial motion is a Sabahan Deputy Minister.

The time has come for a Joint Royal Commission co-chaired by a Sabahan and a Sarawakian to inquire into the full implementation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) especially with regard to autonomy powers for Sabah and Sarawak. Read the rest of this entry »

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Liow and Mah should demand Prime Minister to restore status quo ante, sack Azalina and Rosnah as Minister and Deputy Minister for unilaterally prioritizing Hadi’s bill and Cabinet repudiation of their motion in Parliament on Thursday

MCA president Liow Tiong Lai and Gerakan president Mah Siew Keong have threatened to resign from the Cabinet if PAS President, Hadi Awang’s hudud bill is passed.

Liow is the Transport Minister while Mah is Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

Liow said: “I’m trying to stop it, I’m trying to get all the (BN) component parties to stop it.

“I am urging both sides of the political divide to come together and stop this Bill.”

Instead of making meaningless statements after the horses had bolted, Liow and Mah should restore the status quo ante before the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, stood up in Parliament after Thursday’s lunch break to propose the Ministerial motion to give priority to Hadi’s hudud motion, which was listed as Item 15 in the Order Paper, leapfrogging 14 other items including five items of official business.

Azalina’s motion was seconded by the Deputy Works Minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Raashid Shirlin.

Two actions must be taken to restore the status quo ante – firstly, the sacking of Azalina as Minister and Rosnah as Deputy Minister for unilaterally proposing and seconding the motion in Parliament, which had violated both the spirit and commitment of Barisan Nasional that such a motion would not be supported by BN MPs and secondly, the Cabinet repudiation of the Ministerial motion by the Azalina and Rosnah on Thursday. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why are Ministers so prone to lie when it comes to the RM55 billion 1MDB global financial scandal?

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said has been caught red-handed telling another lie about the RM55 billion 1MDB global financial scandal in Parliament, raising the question why Ministers are so prone to lie when it comes to the RM55 billion 1MDB global financial scandal.

In her written parliamentary reply to the DAP MP for PJ Utara, Tony Pua on Wednesday, Azalina insisted that Good Star Limited, the firm which received US$1.03 billion from 1MDB, belonged to PetroSaudi International, and was owned by PetroSaudi at the time the payment was made.

Azalina’s untruthful reply is doubly inexcusable for two reasons:

Firstly, it flies in the face of the Bank Negara letter to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Datuk Hasan Arifin on April 6 that “Bank Negara Malaysia had been informed voluntarily by the authorities of that country that Good Star Limited is a company owned by an individual that has no links to PetroSaudi Group” – and it was Azalina who cited this when defending the unilateral and arbitrary deletion by Hasan of this line in the PAC Report on 1MDB on the ground that this Bank Negara information was confidential and not meant for publication.

How could Azalina one day tell Parliament that Good Star Limited was not a company owned by PetroSaudi International but this information is confidential, and yet on the following week, blatantly lie that Good Star Limited was owned by PetroSaudi International – contradicting what she had said only a few days earlier?

What Ministerial standard is Azalina observing, telling one thing one day but a totally opposite thing a few days later? Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia letters deepen mystery over fate of 1MDB cash

Michael Peel, Jeevan Vasagar, Anjli Raval and Kara Scannell
Financial Times
May 27, 2016

The fate of more than $1bn paid out by Malaysia’s scandal-hit 1MDB state investment fund has come under a fresh spotlight after leaked central bank letters suggested it went to a mysterious offshore company controlled by a flamboyant young financier.

The company in question is the Seychelles-registered Good Star. It is owned, according to claims in one of the central bank letters, by Jho Low, a 34-year-old Malaysian dealmaker and socialite known for partying lavishly with celebrities such as Paris Hilton.

Mr Low has since emerged as a figure of increasing interest as international investigations on several continents gradually reveal more about a case that Swiss authorities say may involve the misappropriation of $4bn from Malaysian state companies.

US authorities are focusing on the Good Star cash flows, according to a person familiar with the matter. Read the rest of this entry »

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Barisan Nasional’s overwhelming victory in May 7 Sarawak GE was reason why Najib could give green light to Hadi to prioritise his hudud private member’s bill motion in Parliament on Thursday

Barisan Nasional’s overwhelming victory in the May 7 Sarawak state general election was the reason why the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, could give the green light to the PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang to prioritise his hudud private member’s bill motion in Parliament on Thursday.

Najib could act in disregard of the views of the other Barisan Nasional component parties and leaders apart from UMNO because Najib believes that there is a a swing-back of support of the Chinese voters to Barisan Nasional in the Sarawak state general election.

The hue-and-cry by leaders of other Barisan Nasional parties apart from UMNO, whether MCA, MIC, Gerakan or the Sabah and Sarawak parties, protesting their opposition to Hadi’s motion pales into insignificance against the backdrop of three factors: Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib has lost the moral compass to be Prime Minister when he is not concerned whether Good Star Limited was the genesis of the RM55 billion 1MDB global financial scandal and fraud but only whether WSJ had committed an OSA offence in revealing Good Star Limited was owned by Jho Low

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself announced after the UMNO Supreme Council meeting yesterday that the new Bank Negara Governor Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim had lodged a police report against The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) for revealing a letter purportedly from Bank Negara to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairperson Hasan Ariffin.

Najib did not explain whether the Bank Negara Governor had lodged the police report against WSJ on his instruction, but it would be very sad day in the history of Bank Negara Malaysia indeed if the greatest concern of the new BNM Governor is not the global investigation and crackdown on 1MDB money-laundering and corruption allegations but whether WSJ had committed an offence under the OSA.

Najib has lost the moral compass to be Prime Minister when he is not concerned whether Good Star Limited was the genesis of the RM55 billion 1MDB global financial scandal and fraud against Malaysia and 30 million Malaysians but only whether WSJ had committed an OSA offence in revealing Good Star Limited was in fact owned by Penang billionaire Jho Low.

I was shocked a few days ago when Malaysia gained new international notoriety and the 1MDB financial scandal was described by a leading world news agency, Bloomberg, as one of the “world’s biggest financial scandals”. Read the rest of this entry »

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1MDB Probe Widens as Investigators Target Swiss Private Bank

Hugo Miller, Giles Broom, Andrea Tan
Bloomberg
May 24, 2016

Two of the world’s biggest financial scandals deepened Tuesday as investigations stemming from a troubled Malaysian state fund widened to include a private bank being sold by a wounded Brazilian firm.

Swiss prosecutors began criminal proceedings against BSI SA, while in Singapore authorities ordered the closure of the bank’s local unit. At the same time, EFG International AG won approval to buy BSI from Brazil’s Grupo BTG Pactual SA, which is embroiled in the Petroleo Brasileiro SA scandal involving bribes and kickbacks.

The developments mark the latest twist in the saga of criminal probes into 1Malaysia Development Bhd, with allegations of embezzlement. The Monetary Authority of Singapore said it will withdraw BSI Bank Ltd.’s license for breaches of money-laundering rules as the Swiss Attorney General said legal action is being taken against the firm based on information from investigations into 1MDB. Read the rest of this entry »

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Singapore court revokes bail decision for ex-BSI wealth manager

A. Ananthalakshmi
Reuters
May 27, 2016

A former wealth manager of troubled Swiss private bank BSI was denied bail by the Singapore High Court on Friday and will await his trial in prison for two of the nine charges that are part of the city-state’s investigations into money laundering.

The case is related to illicit money transfers linked to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which is being investigated by at least six jurisdictions.

Judge Chan Seng Onn said prosecution and defense should try to expedite the trial for the two offences of perverting the course of justice. Read the rest of this entry »

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BSI Singapore shutdown a wake-up call for private banks in Asia

BY LISA JUCCA AND SAEED AZHAR
Reuters
May 25, 2016

HONG KONG/SINGAPORE – Singapore’s drastic move to shut Swiss bank BSI’s operations in the city-state over its dealings with scandal-hit Malaysian fund 1MDB is a wake-up call for wealth managers in Asia, which had been spared the large fines and sanctions seen in the West.

The private bank is the first casualty of money-laundering probes in at least six jurisdictions into state investor 1Malaysia Development Bhd, whose advisory board was chaired by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) did not name 1MDB in a statement on Tuesday announcing it was shutting down of BSI’s business for “serious breaches of anti-money laundering requirements” and “gross misconduct” by some staff.

But details from a Swiss probe into 1MDB accuse BSI of routinely failing to carry out required background checks on large sums deposited. Read the rest of this entry »

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The greater winner for the unprecedented hudud motion in Parliament yesterday was Najib and not Hadi

It is generally thought that the winner for the unprecedented hudud motion in Parliament yesterday was the PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang when in fact the greater winner was the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who never appeared in Parliament House for the past two weeks.
When the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Azalina Othman Said stood up in Parliament after lunch to move a Minister’s motion to give priority to Hadi’s private member bill motion on hudud, she was not doing Hadi’s bidding but carrying out Najib’s directive.

Although PAS leaders are gloating at their political “coup” to get Hadi’s hudud motion presented to the House, it came to nought, for Hadi backed off from a debate and a vote, and the result is that Parliament had not given leave to Hadi to present a private member’s bill to amend Act 355 to amend the syariah court’s jurisdiction.

This means that Hadi’s private member’s bill motion lapses unless two things happen in the October meeting of Parliament: firstly, Hadi resubmits his private member’s bill motion; and secondly, Parliament again vote to give priority to Hadi’s private member’s bill as against official government business.

Let us see whether the Barisan Nasional MPs will in October again vote in support of a Minister’s motion to allow Hadi’s private member’s bill motion to get leave from Parliament to amend Act 355 to be debated and voted upon.

Why is Najib the greater winner in the unprecedented hudud motion in Parliament yesterday? Read the rest of this entry »

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Bank Negara Governor Muhammad Ibrahim should convene emergency meeting of Bank Negara Board of Directors on whether BNM should remain above the fray of world crackdown on 1MDB money-laundering or should take proactive steps to contact its counterparts in other countries to secure information/intelligence about 1MDB money laundering

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) Governor Muhammad Ibrahim should convene an emergency meeting of Bank Negara Board of Directors under Clause 4 of the Central Bank of Malaysia Act 2009 on whether BNM should remain above the fray of world crackdown on 1MDB money-laundering or should take proactive steps to contact its counterparts in other countries to secure information/intelligence about 1MDB money-laundering.

As 1MDB is the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, BNM will be exposed to the height of international ridicule and even odium if monetary authorities like the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) are taking actions to close down banks and initiate criminal prosecutions against bank officers for money-laundering and other financial offences connected with 1MDB but Bank Negara Malaysia is blissfully are unaware and unconcerned about these developments swirling around the financial world.

Even worse, when there are also investigations into the multibillion ringgit 1MDB financial scandal by regulators in other countries including the United States, Hong Kong and Luxembourg!

It would appear that although Malaysia has an Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2013 (“AMLA”), even top Bank Negara Malaysia officials do not understand the meaning of money-laundering, which is defined in Section 4 of the Act as any person deemed to have committed an offence if he or she: Read the rest of this entry »

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Has Bank Negara given a new deadline for 1MDB to repatriate RM7.76 billion of its funds remitted abroad or can 1MDB now illegally keep them overseas?

The announcement by the Bank Negara governor Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim that Bank Negara has closed its case against 1MDB, at a time when global monetary watch-dogs as in Singapore and Switzerland have just started to take action against money-laundering and other corruption offences related to 1MDB, is the first black mark for the new Bank Negara chief.

Where is Bank Negara’s much touted transparency and accountability when it refuses to reveal what was the compound fine which had been paid in full by 1MDB for failing to comply with Bank Negara directives issued under the Financial Services Act 2013 which, among others, include a requirement for 1MDB to repatriate US$1.8 billion (about RM7.76 billion) of its funds remitted abroad following the revocation of the three permissions granted by Bank Negara to 1MDB in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Why is Bank Negara keeping its compound fines on 1MDB secret, when everybody knows that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) had imposed a fine of S$13.3 million on the Singapore branch of BSI for 41 breaches of its requirements while the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) had ordered the “disgorgement” of “illegally generated profits” of US$95.6 million from BSI, apart from the separate orders of the Singapore and Swiss financial authorities for the closure of the Singapore branch of BSI and the 143-year-old mother bank in Switzerland?

Was the compound fine imposed by Bank Negara on 1MDB RM10,000, RM100,000, RM1 million, RM10 million, RM100 million or more? Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysian PM Najib Razak strengthens hold on power

Greg Lopez
The Interpreter
26 May 2016

Najib Razak’s term as prime minister of Malaysia is now in its seventh year and there is every reason to believe he will continue to lead Malaysia for a long while yet.

Given his scandal-ridden tenure, this is a remarkable outlook, one enabled by the sidelining of opponents, an illiberal electoral system, a divided opposition, and civil leadership that took a wrong turn.

As unlikely as it seemed when the The Wall Street Journal reported investigations of corruption and malfeasance on a massive scale related to investment fund 1MDB, Najib, through the power of incumbency, has gone from strength to strength while his detractors have lost momentum.

Even if Najib wanted to resign he could not. Unlike former prime ministers, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Mahathir Mohamed, who were forced to quit by their party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the corruption allegations and supporting evidence against Najib are too serious, substantive and too public (everyone knows about them). A face-saving exit strategy could not be designed without compromising its designers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Singapore shows spine in bank shutdown

Andy Mukherjee
Blooomberg
Singapore Today
May 26, 2016

The adjectives marshalled most often by bankers to describe Singapore’s regulator used to be “pragmatic” and “business-friendly”. To those, a third probably just got added: “No-nonsense”.

By asking BSI Bank to shut its operations in the city-state, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has scored at least two goals and created one group of winners.

Take the achievements. First, the MAS has given itself a leg up over regulators in the United States, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Luxembourg and Malaysia, which are also investigating a multibillion-dollar financial scandal surrounding 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the troubled Malaysian state fund whose advisory board has been headed by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. (Mr Najib has rejected allegations that he profited from state funds, and 1MDB has denied any wrongdoing.)

While the Swiss Attorney General’s office is just getting around to starting criminal proceedings against BSI, Singapore has sent the bank packing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia Whispers Sow Doubts on Najib’s Ability to Win Votes

Shamim Adam
Bloomberg
May 26, 2016

At the 70th anniversary gala for Malaysia’s ruling party this month, Prime Minister Najib Razak raised the party flag on stage as senior leaders cheered him and sang the group’s anthem of unity and loyalty. In the halls outside the venue, the chatter was less upbeat.

Even as party leaders publicly pledge support, some have privately expressed frustration over the scandal-hit premier — and concern that if they say too much they could be ostracized. In the past year, Najib has removed his most vocal opponents from the party and government machinery. While that means he is unlikely to face a challenge soon, the risk may grow as the next election, due by end-2018, draws near.

At stake is the unbroken rule since independence in 1957 of the United Malays National Organisation, the biggest actor in one of the longest-ruling coalitions in the world. Ethnic Malays are the bulwark of that coalition, and Najib needs to keep them onside. UMNO leaders are also keeping a close eye on rank and file supporters for signs of disquiet, even as opposition parties remain weak and in some cases fractured. Read the rest of this entry »

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Special Task Force on 1MDB should be resurrected and representatives from Bank Negara, MACC, Police, AG’s Chambers as well as PAC should be sent to Singapore and Switzerland to learn how they could detect 1MDB money-laundering and corrupt practices running into billions of ringgit but which had escaped Malaysian authorities

The end game of Malaysia’s first global financial scandal, the RM50-55 billion 1MDB scandal (which incorporates the RM4.2 billion “donation” scandal) has started with the two-pronged crackdown in Singapore and Switzerland – the closure of the Singapore branch of BSI and the reference of the “top six” of BSI Singapore to the Singapore prosecutor for possible criminal offences and in Switzerland, the commencement of criminal proceedings against the bank by the Swiss authorities over “money laundering and corruption” offences relating to suspected embezzlement of US$4 billion from 1MDB and the liquidation of the 143-year-old Swiss bank.

In Malaysia, the Special Task Force into 1MDB, which had comprised the Bank Negara, the MACC, the Police and the Attorney-General’s Chambers should be resurrected and send representatives, together with representatives from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), to Singapore and Switzerland to learn how the investigative and enforcement authorities in these two countries could detect 1MDB money-laundering and corruption running into billions of ringgit but which had escaped multiple and intensive investigations by Malaysian authorities?

It is a supreme insult and blow to the credibility, capability, professionalism, integrity and authority of the Malaysian investigative and enforcement authorities that the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) could order the closure of the private Swiss Bank BSI for failing to adequately monitor 1MDB funds to prevent money laundering and corrupt practices but its Malaysian counterparts are blissfully ignorant of such serious money-laundering malpractices. Read the rest of this entry »

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