Can Najib Razak Survive 1MDB Scandal?

Chris Wright | Contributor
7/05/2015 @ 5:28PM
Forbes

Najib Razak, Malaysia’s Prime Minister since 2009, is facing the greatest challenge of his leadership – and even the risk of criminal charges.

As we reported last week, Najib has been embroiled in the scandal surrounding the state investment fund 1MDB. The fund was already an embarrassment to him – not only has it run up $US11.6 billion in debts and attracted inquiries by four different institutions, from the auditor-general to the police, but Najib himself chairs the fund’s advisory board. But on top of that, last week he was alleged by the Wall Street Journal to have received almost $700 million of transfers from the fund into his personal bank accounts, much of it during an election campaign.
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Ten consequences of Greek referendum’s ‘No’

— Mohamed A. El-Erian
Bloomberg
July 6, 2015

JULY 6 — By heeding their government’s advice and voting “No” in the referendum on Sunday, Greek citizens sent an unambiguous message. Much like the fictional Americans portrayed in the movie “Network” who threw open their windows and shouted out, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore,” the Greeks are demanding that the rest of Europe acknowledge their distress.

At this stage, however, only a handful of European leaders seem willing to listen; and even fewer appear willing to deliver the sort of relief that Greece desperately needs. The implications will be felt primarily in Greece, but also in Europe and beyond.

Here are 10 consequences of the vote that could unfold in the next few days:

1. The victory of the “No” camp—with more than 60 per cent of the vote, according to preliminary returns—will initially lead to a general selloff in global equities, along with price pressures on the bonds issued by Greece, other peripheral euro zone economies and emerging markets. German and US government bonds will benefit from a flight to quality.

2. Having been caught off guard, European politicians will urgently seek to regain the initiative: Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and President Francois Hollande of France will meet in Paris on Monday to work on a response. In a perfect world, these leaders would move quickly and effectively with the Greek government to get past the conflict and acrimony that preceded the referendum. This is likely to be difficult, given the mistrust, bad blood and damaging accusations that have poisoned the relationship. Read the rest of this entry »

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Meeting of progressive MPs in Parliament at noon tomorrow provides ideal platform for Najib to clear himself of WSJ allegation of embezzlement – and the Prime Minister is most welcome

The meeting of progressive Members of Parliament in Parliament at noon tomorrow provides an ideal platform for the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, to clear himself of the Wall Street Journal allegation of embezzlement – and Najib is most welcome to make use of the platform.

Progressive MPs are meeting in Parliament tomorrow on the theme “Quo Vadis Malaysia with a Prime Minister accused of embezzlement” because responsible and patriotic MPs are most disturbed and shocked by the Wall Street Journal report last Friday that Malaysian investigators have found almost US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) of 1MDB’s funds have been deposited into Najib’s personal bank accounts.

The Wall Street Journal allegation has shaken Malaysian body politics to its very core for two reasons:

• No categorical denial by the Prime Minister of the existence of such personal bank accounts or the deposit of some US$700 million (RM2.6 million) funds into the personal bank accounts in the past three days in an information era which operates on 24/7 basis;

• Confirmation by the Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail that he has viewed documents collected by a government special task force quartet comprising Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) and the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) relating to the alleged transfer of 1MDB funds into Najib’s bank accounts.

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Citizen Nades – We don’t assume anything

R. Nadeswaran
Sun
5 July 2015

ON the outset, a qualification has to be made. I have worked with the owner of The Edge, Tong Kooi Ong, when he was briefly the executive vice-chairman of the Sun Media Group. Ho Kay Tat, the publisher of The Edge, and I honed our skills as journalists in Balai Berita in the eighties.

Both these men were involved in the transition of this publication from a subscription-based one to a free newspaper in 2004. Both men had news sense and the business acumen to go with it. They were professional and took a hands-on approach but never micro-managed. They gave journalists the freedom to write with one caveat – get your facts before even attempting to write the story.

Over the years, the many big stories that theSun broke including the PKFZ fiasco, Zakaria’s Palace and Paya Indah Wetlands went through several layers of scrutiny before they were published.

But today’s column is not on them or personalities. It is on an issue close to the hearts of all who identify themselves as media people – reporters, journalists, columnists, editors and above all – owners and publishers.

To one who has been following the 1MDB saga over the past few months and occasionally commenting on it in passing, so many facts and figures have emerged. Read the rest of this entry »

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Has Gani Patail joined Mahathir’s camp in the “political sabotage” of Najib when the AG confirmed that government probe on 1MDB had found documentary evidence on the RM2.6 billion deposit into Najib’s private account?

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak blamed his predecessor and one-time patron, Tun Dr. Mahathir of being the “mastermind” for the latest allegation of him siphoning money from 1MDB.

Najib said he believe that Mahathir, “working hand in glove with foreign nationals, including the now discredited political attack blog Sarawak Report, is behind the latest lie”.

The Prime Minister made this accusation in reference to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report on Friday which alleged that US$700 million (RM2.6 million) of 1MDB’s fund was deposited into the Prime Minister’s private account.

Najib declared that he had never taken the government’s money for personal gain.

He said the latest allegation is part of a series of “unsubstantiated and many simply outrageous” claims made against him and his family when he refused to implement Mahathir’s personal demands.

Najib said: “I refused, because I do not believe it is right for Malaysia to be ruled by proxy.”

Nobody knows what Najib is actually referring to with regard to Mahathir’s personal agenda, as it is for him to spell out Mahathir’s “personal demands” for the public to judge whether to believe the Prime Minister or the former Prime Minister.

However, I am not the only one in Malaysia who, in the last five years, had been bamboozled and bewildered by one of the longest and elaborate “smoke and mirrors” displays in the nation’s history – the RM42 billion MDB financial scandal. Read the rest of this entry »

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Progresive MPs to meet in Parliament on Tuesday on “Quo Vadis Malaysia with a Prime Minister accused of embezzlement not only by Wall Street Journal but by government probe”

For the past two days, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report yesterday that Malaysian investigators have found almost US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) of 1MDB’s funds have been deposited into Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s personal bank accounts have shaken the Malaysian body politics to its very core.

Overnight, Malaysian politics underwent a sea-change and Malaysian politics will never be the same again, before and after the WSJ Report “Investigators Believe Money Flowed to Malaysian Leaders’ Accounts Amid 1MDB Probe” on Friday.

Everyone is back to the drawing board, to compute anew what are the political possibilities of the country.

Three events of such a sea-change in Malaysian politics in the last 24 hours are: Read the rest of this entry »

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DAP “egosentrik”? Benarkah begitu wahai anak muda?

oleh WAN HAMIDI HAMID
Roketkini
3 Julai 2015

Sekalung tahniah untuk sekumpulan 146 aktivis politik yang menggelar diri sebagai Anak Muda atas keberanian menyuarakan keinginan mereka kepada sebuah kerajaan alternatif.

Pada masa yang sama, mungkin kerana salah faham atau kurang maklumat, ada yang membuat generalisasi bahawa “Anak muda berasa mual melihat parti-parti yang kononnya berpakat, tetapi gagal mengurus egosentrik lantas memberi talian hayat kepada Kerajaan minoriti Barisan Nasional”.

Sebenarnya ayat lazim seperti ini tidak akan membantu kepada penyelesaian masalah. “Mual”, “egosentrik”, “talian hayat” kepada musuh politik adalah antara kata-kata yang penuh dengan pelbagai telahan negatif.

Tuduhan seperti itu sama seperti sikap seorang guru sekolah yang menyangka dirinya adil dengan menghukum kedua-dua pembuli dan mangsa yang dibuli tanpa sebarang siasatan. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia Probe Says It Has Found Documents Tied to Alleged Transfers to Premier

Wall Street Journal
July 4, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—Malaysia’s attorney general said an official investigation into a troubled state investment fund has uncovered documents related to allegations that money was transferred into the personal bank accounts of Prime Minister Najib Razak.

A task force comprising the central bank, the national police and the nation’s anticorruption agency uncovered the documents during a probe of 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB, Abdul Gani Patail, the attorney general, said Saturday.

Mr. Abdul Gani said that on Friday the task force had raided the offices of three Malaysian companies linked to 1MDB that allegedly were involved in the transfer of funds to Mr. Najib’s accounts.

“I confirm that I have received documents from the special task force related to 1MDB, including documents related to the allegations of channeling of funds to accounts owned by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak,” Mr. Abdul Gani said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pak Samad hopes Ambiga will join DAP, too

By Yap Jia Hee and Radzi Razak | 9:15AM Jul 4, 2015
Malaysiakini


DAP latest star recruit, national laureate A Samad Said is of the opinion that his former co-chair in electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 Ambiga Sreenevasan and student leader Adam Adli Abdul Halim could do more in politics after having served for many years in the civil society.

“I welcome her (Ambiga). She is very good. She is very knowledgeable, so I hope she joins DAP.

“I hope Adam too will join DAP as will most of the student leaders because I think they can contribute more […] to the young generation,” he told Malaysiakini in an interview last Saturday.
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Why can’t Najib just say “yes” or “no” to the grave WSJ allegation that almost US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) were deposited into Najib’s personal accounts before the 13th General Election

All mainstream media blared that the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has vehemently “denied” the report by Wall Street Journal, entitled “Investigators Believe Money Flowed to Malaysian Leader’s Accounts Amid 1MDB Probe”.

But Najib deny the WSJ report?

What Najib said last night was “I have never taken funds for personal gain as alleged by my political opponents – whether from 1MDB, SRC International or other entities, as these companies have confirmed.”

Why can’t Najib just say “yes” or “no” to the grave WSJ allegation that almost US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) were deposited into Najib’s personal accounts before the 13th General Election.

WSJ had reported that documents show that “By far the largest transactions were two deposits of US$620 million and US$61 million in March 2013, during a heated election campaign in Malaysia”.

Is Najib denying that the two deposits of US$620 million and US$61 million were deposited into his personal bank accounts in March 2013, or he is admitting that there were such deposits but he had never taken the funds for personal gain – whatever Najib’s definition of “personal gain”? Read the rest of this entry »

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More heads in MARA, including that of Annuar Musa, should roll as the MARA INC property corruption scandal probably cost MARA over RM100 million or more than ten times the total sum and magnitude as initially exposed by The Age

For nine days national attention was transfixed by the roiling MARA property corruption scandal which was blown open by the Australian daily, The Age, on June 23, 2015 with its report “Corrupt Malaysia money distorts Melbourne market”, on the outcome of an eight-month Fairfax Media investigation tracing suspicious money flows, court files and corporate records across three continents as part of a global money laundering and bribery scheme turning Australia into an “investment hot spot for the crooked and corrupt”.

The Fairfax Media investigation had zeroed in on MARA Inc’s purchase of the Dudley House property, and found that “greedy local developers and powerful officials overseas” pocketted A$4.75 million (RM13.8 million) in bribes on this single deal.

But this was only the “tip of an iceberg” of the MARA INC property scams in Melbourne, with the Australian Federal Police swinging into action with Operation Carambola after The Age report, raiding houses and seizing computers and files, while the Malaysian authorities continued its Operation Tidak Apa and Business as Usual, with even the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar declaring that there is no element of criminal breach of trust in the MARA property scams in Australia.

Over the next nine days, Malaysians were in turned troubled and shocked by a series of revelations, including:

*Dudley House was only one of four Melbourne properties purchased by MARA Inc where there was gross improprieties involving corruption, money laundering and tax evasion crimes;

*MARA Chairman Annuar Musa, who visited Melbourne in May last year to be briefed about the MARA Inc purchase of the four Melbourne properties, was remiss and negligent in his duties as MARA Chairman in not taking immediate corrective action to stop the hanky-panky in the MARA Inc property purchase corruption scandal; Read the rest of this entry »

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Investigators Believe Money Flowed to Malaysian Leader’s Accounts Amid 1MDB Probe

By Tom Wright And Simon Clark
Wall Street Journal
July 2, 2015

Prime Minister Najib’s bank accounts are scrutinized in probe of investment fund 1MDB

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—Malaysian investigators scrutinizing a controversial government investment fund have traced nearly $700 million of deposits into what investigators believe are the personal bank accounts of Malaysia’s prime minister, Najib Razak, according to documents from a government probe.

The investigation documents mark the first time Mr. Najib has been directly connected to the probes into state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB.

Mr. Najib, who founded 1MDB and heads its board of advisors, has been under growing political pressure over the fund, which amassed $11 billion in debt it is struggling to repay.

The government probe documents what investigators believe to be the movement of cash among government agencies, banks and companies linked to 1MDB before it ended up in Mr. Najib’s personal accounts. Documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal include bank transfer forms and flow charts put together by government investigators that reflect their understanding of the path of the cash.

The original source of the money is unclear and the government investigation doesn’t detail what happened to the money that went into Mr. Najib’s personal accounts. Read the rest of this entry »

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Could this be the Smoking Gun for Malaysia’s PM?

By John Berthelsen
Asia Sentinel
July 3, 2015

Najib said by Wall Street Journal and Sarawak Report to divert US$700 million in 1MDB funds into his own accounts

The publication today, Friday July 3, of devastating articles in the Wall Street Journal and the Sarawak Report tying Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to the diversion of nearly US$700 million from the state-backed 1Malaysia Development Bhd into his own accounts could be the final blow to bring down a leader who has been bullet proof from years of charges against his integrity.

The danger is that there have been so many smoking guns in the past, including detailed evidence by French investigators of bribes to buy French submarines when Najib was defense minister, that yet another won’t matter. Nonetheless, according to the two publications, government investigators in Malaysia have traced the money in deposits from 1MDB into Najib’s personal bank accounts. The investigators’ findings apparently were leaked, possibly through former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who has been on a two-year crusade to drive Najib from office and put him in jail.

Given the considerable details of the information now in print, he may well succeed. Indeed sources in Kuala Lumpur have told Asia Sentinel that Mahathir has considerably more information. Attempts to reach the former premier in the past have been uniformly unsuccessful.

“If this is true, it’s a TKO for Najib,” said a Kuala Lumpur-based lawyer. “Go to jail, do not pass go. It looks like the Tun [Mahathir] has dropped the nuke.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib: Dr M behind WSJ report

The Malay Mail Online
Friday July 3, 2015 11:49 PM GMT+8

KUALA LUMPUR, July 3 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak accused Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad of working with foreigners to produce the Wall Street Journal report accusing the former of receiving funds from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

In arguably the most direct attack against his most vocal critic, Najib said the latest allegation against him was just another in the series of claims made by Dr Mahathir in his campaign to oust the prime minister.

“The latest allegation is that I have taken state-linked funds for personal gain. I believe Tun, working hand in glove with foreign nationals, including the now discredited political attack blog Sarawak Report, is behind this latest lie,” Najib wrote on Facebook today.

“These attacks began when I refused to implement Tun Mahathir’s personal demands. I refused, because I do not believe it is right for Malaysia to be ruled by proxy.”

Pointing out that all the attacks against him and 1MDB were not been backed by evidence, Najib said it was clear that they were part of a concerted campaign to sabotage and remove him as the democratically-elected prime minister of Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »

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Muhyiddin should ask Najib to go on leave and to let a three-man committee of national elders comprising Tuns Mahathir, Abdullah and Musa to decide whether, and the conditions, for Najib to resume duties as PM before resolution of WSJ allegations

Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin should ask for a meeting with Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak not only behalf of the Cabinet, but also of Parliament and the country to ask him to go on leave as Prime Minister following the sensational allegations of the Wall Street Journal against Najib.

The WSJ allegations that Malaysian investigators have traced nearly US$700 million of deposits into what they believe are personal bank accounts of Najib, marking the first time Najib has been directly connected to investigation into the troubled state investment fund, 1MDB.

“The government probe documents what investigators believe to be the movement of cash among government agencies, banks and companies linked to 1MDB before it ended up in Mr Najib’s personal accounts,” WSJ reports.

“Documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal include bank transfer forms and flow charts put together by government investigators that reflect their understanding of the path of the cash.”

These allegations are most far-reaching in scope and implication, in particular on good governance and public integrity and accountability, plunging the country into an unprecedented crisis which had never been experienced in Malaysia, as no Prime Minister in Malaysia had ever been singled out in the fashion like Najib for Prime Ministerial misconduct. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pak Samad pens bold new chapter in politics

By Yap Jia Hee & Radzi Razak | 9:38AM Jul 3, 2015
Malaysiakini

Pak Samad pens bold new chapter in politics

The sight of A Samad Said – a slight figure with snow white long hair and beard, clad in his signature white – addressing thousands of protesters at rallies is nothing short of inspiring,

It would not be an exaggeration to say that many – especially young people from all ethnic backgrounds – think of him as a living legend. He also has another nickname – Gandalf – a nod to the wise wizard in white from author JRR Tolkien’s masterpiece Lord of the Rings.
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Najib should show leadership and just scrap the silly and and unpatriotic idea of auctioning “Patriot” number plates and not allow the national shame and dishonour to prolong any further

Defence Minister and former Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has disclaimed responsibility for the idea of granting auction rights over the “Patriot” number plates to Yayasan Patriot Negara Malaysia (YPNM).

He said he had no knowledge about the award of the “Patriot” plates auction rights to YPNM, stressing categorically that he did not approve anything related to the Patriot licence plates when he was acting Transport Minister.

If so, the current Transport Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai must bear full responsibility for awarding the auction rights over the “Patriot” plates to YPNM, and he must explain the rationale for this silly and unpatriotic idea in putting up “patriotism” on the auction block!

In fact, the Deputy Transport Minister, Abdul Aziz Kaprawi had admitted that it was Liow who had approved the “Patriot” number plates to be auctioned by an obscure NGO, hoping to raise from RM10 million to RM15 million.

There should be no need to drag out this “Patriot” plates farce and fiasco, which display not only a shocking absence of good and proper judgment by our Ministers but even a perverted understanding of the meaning of “patriotism” where everything has a price!

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, should show leadership and just scrap the silly and unpatriotic idea of putting “patriotism” on the auction block with the whole exercise of auctioning “Patriot” number plate. Read the rest of this entry »

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Can Najib start by being fair to Malaysians and answer all the questions about the RM42billion 1MDB scandal?

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak is depressed, complaining that the media had not been fair to him, giving as an example the news reports about Tabung Haji’s purchase of Tun Razak Exchange land from 1MDB on the last day of campaigning for the Permatang Pauh by-election which affected votes.

Either Najib has a short memory or he has again allowed his highly-paid “P.R. consultants” to mislead him, for the news story of Tabung Haji’s purchase of Tun Razak Exchange land broke too late on the social media on the last day of the Permatang Pauh by-election to have significant impact.

This is why all the post-Permatang Pauh by-election result analysis unanimously omitted reference to the impact of the story of the Tabung Haji purchase of TRX land, or Umno/Barisan Nasional would have lost by a shattering margin, with the PKR candidate Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Ismail winning with a majority ranging from 10,000 to 15,000 votes and not just 8,841 votes in the by-election.

I agree that Najib is entitled to fair treatment by the media but what is he doing to ensure that the Barisan Nasional-owned and controlled media, both print and online, are fair to Opposition leaders? Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Egypt’s crackdown on Islamists will lead to bloodshed

Mohamad Bazzi
Reuters
Hindustani Times
Jul 02, 2015

On June 29, Egypt’s top prosecutor was killed in a car bomb attack as he left his home in Cairo. He was the most senior official to be assassinated since Islamic militants launched an insurgency two years ago after the Egyptian military ousted Mohamed Morsi, the country’s first democratically elected president.

The assassination of the prosecutor, Hisham Barakat, is a tragedy but it’s not surprising. Egypt spiraled into a cycle of state-sanctioned violence, repression and vengeance as soon as the military removed Morsi from power in July 2013. The new military-backed government launched an aggressive campaign to suppress all political opponents, hunt down leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood who fled after the coup and undo many of the gains made during the 2011 uprising that toppled then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

That is the danger many in the Arab world and in the West failed to grasp when they remained silent after Egypt’s coup: while authoritarian rule appears to provide stability over the short term, it breeds discontent and affirms the idea that the only way to achieve political power is through violence. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on progressive UMNO leaders to support the patriotic call for the scrapping of auction rights of “Patriot” number plates to Yayasan Patriot Negara Malaysia (YPNM)

I am pleasantly surprised that an UMNO State Assemblyman, Tengku Putra Haron Aminurrashid (Kempas – Johor) has spoken up against the ludicrous, disgraceful and most unpatriotic decision granting auction rights of “Patriot” number plates to Yayasan Patriot Negara Malaysia (YPNM) purportedly to promote “patriotism”.

Although the language used by the Kempas UMNO Assemblyman is rather down-to-earth, he undoubtedly expressed the feelings of the majority of Malaysians when he said that the Ministers who allowed an NGO to auction the “Patriot” vanity plates have effectively put “patriotism” on their “backside”.

Have decency, civility and good sense in Malaysia at the Cabinet level gone to the dogs that Ministers can approve such a mercenary and cheap-skate idea of auctioning “Patriot” number plates, as if those who used money to use the “Patriot” number plates are the greatest patriots in the country – even more “patriotic” than the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers and ordinary Cabinet Ministers?

Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (who approved the hare-brained scheme when he was Acting Transport Minister) and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for the “Patriot” number plates auction decision and I fully agree with Tengku Putra Haron that “the application should have been shot down upon presentation”.

His question whether the Cabinet had approved the “Patriot” number plate auction scheme deserves an answer from the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself. Read the rest of this entry »

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