Archive for category Corruption
October 24, 2015
Sitting on the canals behind the glitzy towers that line Broadbeach, on Queensland’s Gold Coast, the low-rise Icon Corporate Park doesn’t look much like the kind of place you’d find a funds management company looking after billions of dollars caught up in a financial scandal that is rocking Malaysia.
But this modest address, at a modern low-rise located at 2 Miami Key, has emerged as host to Australian key players, some with colourful histories, caught up in the controversy engulfing Malaysia’s debt-ridden sovereign wealth fund, 1MDB.
In Malaysia, the scandal involving hundreds of millions of dollars allegedly paid into the bank account of the country’s Prime Minister, Najib Razak, has left behind a trail of arrests, accusations and alleged murder.
In August, police arrested three senior officials at the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission, which has been investigating 1MDB, over alleged leaks to London-based website Sarawak Report.
The controversy has also touched Australia’s ANZ Bank: it owns a quarter of Malaysia’s AmBank, which loaned 2 billion ringgit ($660 million) to 1MDB and where Mr Najib kept the account in question. Read the rest of this entry »
The Malaysian Insider
24 October 2015
Australian authorities are investigating key players connected to controversial state-owned investment firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), The Australian reported today.
The daily said the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (Asic) had in December launched investigations into Avestra Asset Management, located at 2 Miami Key, Icon Corporate Park, which has become the centre of a full-scale probe.
Avestra, along with another company known as Bridge Global Securities, was linked to a Cayman Islands entity called Bridge Global Absolute Return SPC Fund (BGARF), which according to the report was used to cover up a US$2.23 billion hole in debt-ridden 1MDB. Read the rest of this entry »
Oliver Holmes and David Munk in Kuala Lumpur
23 October 2015
‘Father of modern Malaysia’ brought down two former allies groomed to succeed him. Can he topple prime minister Najib Razak, his most stubborn heir?
He makes a most unlikely blogger. And, for many, an even more unlikely full-throated advocate of freedom of speech.
But that is the role Mahathir Mohamad has carved out for himself in Malaysia, the nation he is credited with transforming into a regional economic powerhouse.
As he enters his 91st year, he has become the country’s most prominent and undoubtedly most effective activist.
He has come out of retirement to throw allegations of arbitrary arrest, throttling of the press and corruption against current prime minister Najib Razak – similar to accusations that were lobbed against him during his own premiership from 1981 to 2003.
Sitting in his cavernous office and surrounded by gifts from world leaders, the man whose two decades in power are described by rights groups as autocratic has slipped seemingly with ease into his new role. Read the rest of this entry »
Oliver Holmes and David Munk in Kuala Lumpur
23 October 2015
Mahathir Mohamad launches fresh attack on scandal-hit former ally in interview with the Guardian
Malaysia’s former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has accused his protégé and current premier Najib Razak of driving a debt-ridden state fund into the ground by using it for bribery.
In an interview with the Guardian at his office in the administrative capital Putrajaya, Mahathir said Najib had confided to him months ago that “cash is king”, during a terse meeting in which Mahathir told the man he once groomed for the country’s top post that he had lost his support.
“What he is telling me is that bribery is OK. If you bribe with a few dollars, I suppose it doesn’t work, but if you give [money] to a person who has never seen a million ringgit he will turn around,” he said, referring to the local currency.
Najib is battling for his political life after media reports said investigators had found that nearly $700m (£456m) linked to the troubled 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) state fund was transferred into the prime minister’s private bank accounts. Read the rest of this entry »
Never before in Malaysia’s parliamentary democracy has so many issues compete and contend for attention in the first week of the forthcoming 2016 Budget Parliament beginning on Monday, 19th October 2015, whether the Malay Rulers’ Statement of Oct. 6; the political, economic, good governance and nation building scandals shaping up to be a “perfect storm” to batter Malaysia; the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) or the approval of toll rate hikes for 15 highways across the country.
Members of Parliament have not received the Parliamentary Order Paper for the first week or the first day of the 25-day Parliamentary meeting which is to be held from Oct. 19 to Dec. 3, but the following should be the proper agenda for the first week of Parliament from Monday.
For the first week of Parliament from Monday to Thursday, I have given notice to pose oral Parliamentary questions on the hot topics of the day, viz:
1) To ask the Prime Minister to state when and why the multi-agency Task Force on 1MDB was formed and dissolved, what it had achieved; and the reasons and scope of the new Task Force formed by new Attorney-General.
2) To ask the Prime Minister to state who had donated the RM2.6 billion deposited into his personal accounts in AmBank in March 2013; which Ministers and MPs had benefited from it; what is the balance and where are the monies. Read the rest of this entry »
Cabinet must grapple with many issues tomorrow but the most important issue of all is for Najib to table a motion of confidence in Parliament on Monday to re-establish moral and political authority and legitimacy for him to continue as Prime Minister
The Cabinet must grapple with many issues tomorrow including:
*The Malay Rulers’ Statement of Oct. 6 expressing the Rulers’ concern about the state of the nation, with a multitude of national crises, whether politics, economics, good governance or nation-building as the Cabinet had failed to address Malay Rulers’ Oct. 6 Statement at its meeting last Wednesday;
*The twin mega scandals of the RM50 billion 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion “donation” in Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s personal banking accounts with the almost daily developments and revelations of these two mega scandals conspiring to put Malaysia continuously in the national and international spotlight as the classic example of a nation with great promise to be the showcase to the world of a multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-lingual and multi-cultural nation which is also a great economic and political success but is now stumbling and on the verge of becoming a rogue and failed state.
*How to avert Malaysia from falling victim to a “Perfect Storm” with a conjunction of political, economic, good governance and nation-building crises, as evidenced on the economic front by the quadruple sharp fall in the value of the ringgit , the stock market, the international reserves and the exit of foreign capital; on the political front, the spectacle of the government and UMNO in serious fracture, fragmentation and disarray; on the good governance front with the Prime Minister backing out of officiating the 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) hosted by the government in Putrajaya for fear of “hard questions” by the 1,000 delegates from 130 countries on Najib’s anti-corruption record; and on the nation-building front, the rearing of the ugly heads of the extremist and provocative politics of race and religion like the racist Sept. 16 Red Shirts rally in Kuala Lumpur. Read the rest of this entry »
Was Zahid afraid to ask FBI whether Najib is being investigated by the US Department of Justice under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative 2010 for fear of an affirmative answer?
Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi had an interesting encounter in his current visit to the United States.
In a report from Washington earlier today, Bernama quoted Zahid as saying that the issue of 1MDB was not a major focus of a probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Ahmad Zahid, who is on a working visit to the administrative centre of the United States said 1MDB was not raised at all during his meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry and also in discussions with senior FBI officers.
He told Malaysian journalists in Washington:
“Nothing on 1MDB was raised by the FBI or John Kerry or any party that I met when I was in Washington.
“(1MDB) is not a big issue to them at all.
“”Maybe the issue is big as it is shouted about in the country (Malaysia) because in our country it is used as a political issue.”
Zahid had said nothing new, for he had not rebutted the New York Times report of Sept. 22 that a US federal grand jury is examining allegations of corruption involving Najib and people close to him under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative 2010. Read the rest of this entry »
Call on Information Department to print a million copies of the Rulers’ Statement on Oct. 6 on their concerns about 1MDB, rule of law and national unity for mass distribution to the public throughout the country
This is the fourth day of the Malay Rulers’ Statement of Tuesday, Oct. 4 expressing their concerns about three national issues causing the crisis of confidence battering Malaysia for the past several months – the 1MDB scandal, the rule of law and national unity in the country.
The UMNO/BN Government’s response to the Malay Rulers’ Statement has gone through various combinations and permutations in the past four days, viz:
*from the initial one of shock and attempt to minimise the adverse impact of the Malay Rulers’ Statement by virtually blacking out the statement in the UMNO-controlled media, printed and electronic;
*the daze-and-haze of the Cabinet at its Wednesday meeting where the Malay Rulers’ Statement was not discussed and no reciprocal action plan produced;
*the belated realisation that the Malay Rulers’ Statement was too potent to be ignored giving way to a campaign to defang its most biting and adverse effects;
*the first official response of the government by way of a statement by the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi more than 48 hours after the issue of the Malay Rulers’ Statement, stating on the one hand that the government viewed “positively” the Malay Rulers’ Statement while on the other dismissing the Rulers’ Statement by declaring that the government had already taken pro-active steps to address the issues raised by the Rulers;
*UMNO/BN cybertroopers using the social media to plant various versions to “defang” the adverse effects of the Malay Rulers’ Statement such as the message that Malay Rulelrs’ Statement was not directed solely at the Government but concerned all political parties and NGOs, to a revised strategy to suggest that the Statement was aimed at the Opposition and finally, postings to question the mala fide of the Malay Rulers by alleging that the Statement was solely the work of the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal without consultation with the Malay Rulers and was the handiwork of people associated with former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir.
The Ministers who have commented on the Malay Rulers’ Statement have also done themselves no favour. Read the rest of this entry »
Michael Peel, Bangkok regional correspondent
October 9, 2015
Najib Razak, Malaysia’s embattled prime minister, is fighting for his political life after open warfare broke out within the country’s state institutions over a corruption scandal that has engulfed him.
The central bank on Friday said it had urged the country’s attorney-general to begin criminal proceedings against the debt laden 1Malaysia Development Berhad investment fund, intensifying pressure on Mr Najib who chairs its advisory board.
The central bank’s intervention comes hard on the heels of an attack by a group of the country’s traditional rulers on the handling of the 1MDB case. The twin assaults will torpedo government efforts to crack down on the prime minister’s accusers, in a scandal that had already spawned investigations from the US to Hong Kong.
Mr Najib has been under intense pressure since it emerged in July that almost $700m allegedly linked to 1MDB was paid from overseas into a bank account in his name.
Both Mr Najib and 1MDB deny wrongdoing in an affair that is damaging confidence in an economy already weighed down by high consumer debt and the falling oil price. Mr Najib says the money paid to him came from an unnamed Middle Eastern donor. Read the rest of this entry »
Great misfortune if instead of being a national wake-up call to Malaysians to rise above personal and party interests and unite to resolve the national confidence crisis, the historic Rulers’ Statement on Oct. 6 becomes a new source of national discord and division
It will be a great misfortune for Malaysia if instead of being a national wake-up call to all Malaysians to rise above personal and party interersts and to unite as Malaysians to resolve the national crisis of confidence, the historic Rulers’ Statement of Oct. 6 becomes a new source of national discord and division.
The government has taken more than 48 hours to craft an official response in the form of the statement by the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi, who said that the probe on 1MDB must follow due process, and should not be hastened or delayed.
He said that any decree by the Conference of Rulers was viewed positively and the government had taken proactive steps to address it.
Such a statement actually says nothing, as it is the classic strategy of adopting a form of language which seems to agree with the concerns expressed by the Rulers while continuing with the directions and approaches which had given rise to the Rulers’ concerns in the first place.
The danger of the Rulers’ statement becoming a subject of national discord and division could be seen from the response of the UMNO Vice President and Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein who said it was presumptuous to say the Malay Rulers have lost trust in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s leadership when they called for transparency in investigations into 1MDB and for wrongdoers to be punished. Read the rest of this entry »
Liong Sik has my grudging respect for standing his ground calling on Najib to resign and his readiness to face Najib in court
Former MCA President Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik has my grudging respect for standing his ground calling on Datuk Seri Najib Razak to resign as Prime Minister and his readiness to face Najib in court.
It is a pity however that he has been abandoned by the MCA leadership.
As the MCA annual general meeting is being held this weekend, the MCA delegates have an opportunity to decide whether to hew to the line laid down by the MCA leaders or to strike out with their heads high to give their former President their fullest support.
The important reason why MCA’s eminent position in the Barisan Nasional coalition government suffered when it was slashed from 31 MPs and 76 State Assembly representatives in 2004 GE to 7 MPs and 11 State Assembly representatives in the 2013 GE was because of the party’s failure to take a courageous and principled stand on the “Major Rights and Major Wrongs” in the country.
MCA would be repeating such a fatal mistake if it is not prepared to give full backing to its former President to stand up on the current “Major Rights and Major Wrongs” in the country – in particular over the twin mega scandals of the RM50 billion 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion “donation” in Najib’s personal banking accounts just before the 13th General Election. Read the rest of this entry »
By John Berthelsen
October 7, 2015
A long list of Malaysia’s most prominent and influential figures have reportedly gone to Prime Minister Najib Razak in recent weeks to appeal to him to step aside as his scandal-plagued administration brings serious harm to the economy and image of the country.
These include all three of Najib’s brothers, especially Nazir Razak, the chairman of the CIMB banking group. Others who have both publicly and privately appealed for him to at least step aside until investigations into the unexplained US$681 million in his AmBank personal account and the long-running 1MDB scandal are completed include Musa Hitam, the onetime deputy premier under Mahathir Mohamad; political veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah; and Mahathir himself, who has almost daily called Najib a thief and criminal.
Insiders say Najib has agreed to hear their appeals, which have included offers of immunity from prosecution, but that his influential wife, Rosmah Mansor, has insisted he remain in office. Those trying to fix the problem are hampered by their own rivalries and past jealousies, betrayals and maneuverings. Read the rest of this entry »
Wednesday 7 October 2015
Malaysia’s royal rulers have called for a quick, transparent investigation into troubled state-fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), in rare comments from the monarchy that presents a new challenge to the prime minister, Najib Razak, as he fends off corruption allegations.
The fund, whose advisory board is chaired by the prime minister, has amassed debt of more than $11bn and is at the centre of a political storm after allegations of graft and mismanagement.
1MDB has denied wrongdoing. Investigations being conducted by Malaysia’s anti-graft agency and other organisations have dragged on with no conclusion in sight. Read the rest of this entry »
by Thomas Fuller
New York Times
OCT. 7, 2015
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — In a rare and explicit intervention in politics, the sultans of nine of Malaysia’s states have called for a swift and transparent investigation into a political scandal involving Prime Minister Najib Razak, saying his failure to resolve allegations of corruption had created a “crisis of confidence” in the country.
Malaysia’s central bank and anticorruption officials are investigating whether millions of dollars transferred into Mr. Najib’s accounts came from companies linked to a government fund that Mr. Najib oversees.
The statement by the sultans, who have a largely ceremonial role, was their most direct intervention in politics in recent history. Analysts said it was likely to provide support for the embattled officials who are investigating the scandal and buttress the position of the growing ranks of Mr. Najib’s political opponents. Read the rest of this entry »
Parliament should set aside the first two days on Oct. 19 and 20 to debate the historic statement by the Conference of Rulers on 1MDB, rule of law and national unity
Parliament should set aside the first two days of its Budget session on Oct. 19 and 20 to debate the historic statement of the pre-council meeting of the 239th Conference of Rulers as it encapsulated the three major concerns of all thinking and patriotic Malaysians – the RM50 billion 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal, the parlous state of the rule of law and the frayed and fragile state of national unity in the country.
The Cabinet at its meeting today should agree to set aside the first two days when Parliament reconvenes on Oct. 19 for such a national debate on a motion which could be moved by the Prime Minister himself, another Minister or by the Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
The whole nation applauds the Conference of Malay Rulers’ statement asking the government to complete the 1MDB investigations as soon as possible and to take “the appropriate stern action” against all found to be implicated. Read the rest of this entry »
Bad week for rule of law and credibility and professionalism of key national institutions like police and judiciary contributing to the “Perfect Storm” confronting Malaysia
This is a bad week for the rule of law and the credibility and professionalism of key national institutions like the police and the judiciary with multiple developments.
I will just cite three instances.
The first is mystery of the sudden and shocking sacking of the Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail some two months before his compulsory retirement age and his disappearance from the public domain in the wake of speculation that Gani was on the verge of filing charges against the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak for corruption in connection with the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal and that Najib had pre-empted Gani from prosecuting him by summarily sacking him as Attorney-General.
Gani’s sacking was followed by inter-departmental internecine warfare with police arrests of key officials in the Attorney-General’s Chambers, Bank Negara and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission which degenerated into an intra-departmental police tussle, involving the No. 2 man in the Police Special Branch, Abdul Hamid Bador.
What is truth and what is fiction? Read the rest of this entry »
Michael Peel in Bangkok
October 1, 2015
The Malaysian state investment fund at the centre of an international corruption scandal has failed to file its accounts on time.
1 Malaysia Development Berhad blamed the delay on a lack of access to documents held by investigators.
The fund said it was given permission by the companies regulator to miss the September 30 deadline, adding that two of its subsidiaries also wanted to submit their accounts late.
Critics said the delay was the latest example of a lack of transparency in the face of a large debt burden and allegations of misappropriation of funds that have also engulfed Najib Razak, Malaysia’s prime minister. Both 1MDB and Mr Najib have denied wrongdoing.
“Such complete disregard for timely regulatory compliance demonstrates 1MDB’s contempt for good corporate governance and financial accountability,” said Tony Pua, an opposition MP who was barred from travelling outside Malaysia after he raised questions about the fund. Read the rest of this entry »
With the approach of a “perfect storm” of combined political, economic and nation-building crises, Malaysia needs statesmen and stateswomen from both sides of the political divide to save Malaysia and not racists, opportunists and charlatans
The signs of the coming of a “perfect storm” of combined political, economic and nation-building crises hitting Malaysia are to be seen everywhere except to the blind and bigots.
The latest sign of the coming of the “perfect storm” in Malaysia is the Reuters report yesterday quoting the Indonesian Finance Minister, Bambang Brodjonegoro saying that Indonesia will seek to shield itself from the spread of any financial contagion from Malaysia by improving market sentiment and using government borrowing to boost dollar inflows.
He expressed worries of Indonesian investors as the twin declines in the rupiah and reserves had revived memories of the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, as well as concerns about contagion from Malaysia “which is in the grips of an escalating political and financial crisis linked to a struggling state investment fund”.
This is evidence that the Malaysian governance has become not only a threat to our own national well-being but also a threat to the economic well-being of neighbouring ASEAN nations.
We should stop the pretence that everything is fine with Malaysia, what with Malaysia climbing two spots in the Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016, (which is nothing much to boast about in a closer study of the latest World Economic Forum ranking) or that there is nothing for Malaysians to be shy or ashamed in having their Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak as the first serving head of government in the world to be investigated as a kleptocrat under the US Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative 2010 with the twin scandals of the RM50 billion 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” in Najib’s personal banking accounts. Read the rest of this entry »
Congratulations in order for Malaysia moving up two spots in global competitiveness ranking but commiserations also for “perfect storm” of crisis of confidence with no light at end of tunnel
Congratulations are in order for Malaysia moving up two spots in terms of global competitiveness, ranking 18th from last year’s 20th position in the Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016 released by World Economic Forum (WEF).
Malaysia is now ranked ahead of Belgium (ranked No. 19 ) and Luxembourg (No. 20). Malaysia was ranked No. 20 last year with a score of 5.16, behind Belgium (ranked No. l8 with score of 5.18) and Luxembourg (ranked No. 19 with score of 5.17).
There is a confusion however as according to the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016, although Malaysia is placed No. 18, it shares the same score of 5.2 with Belgium and Luxembourg both of whom also scored 5.2.
Be that as it may, congratulations should not be begrudged Malaysia’s ranking, although commiserations are also in order for Malaysia’s “perfect storm” of a crisis of confidence in the government with no light at the end of the tunnel. Read the rest of this entry »
Will the next two months be as disastrous for Malaysia as the past two months?
Before the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak launched an offensive against his enemies inside and outside of UMNO two months ago, Malaysians were already quite punch-drunk with a myriad of scandals of high-level political corruption which included the two mega-scandals of 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion “donation” in Najib’s personal banking accounts, the blocking of the whistleblower website Sarawak Report, a notice to Interpol for the arrest of editor of Sarawak Report, Claire Rewcastle Brown, the three-month suspension of the Edge publications, and a slew of police actions under Section 124 of Penal Code against purported international plotters to “topple” Najib as Prime Minister.
On 28th July, Najib launched a multi-pronged offensives which included:
• abrupt sacking of his Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Minister for Regional Development, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal for continuing to raise questions about the 1MDB scandal which Muhyiddin in his last speech as DPM to the Cheras UMNO Division said had ballooned from a RM42 billion to “over RM50 billion” scandal;
• the sacking of Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail, with a charge sheet appearing subsequently giving support to the speculation that Gani was preparing to prosecute Najib for corruption over the 1MDB scandal when his action was pre-empted by Najib’s summary dismissal in the nick-of-time; and
• sabotage of Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) investigations into the 1MDB scandal by the elevation of the Chairman and three committee members as Minister and deputy ministers, causing PAC investigations into 1MDB scandal to grind to a halt for more than three months until the four vacancies are filled in the October meeting of Parliament.