Archive for category Corruption

After resignation of Mustapha Kamil as NST group editor over 1MDB global scandal, who is the next journalist of mainstream media who will take a stand for integrity, truth, transparency and good governance?

After the resignation of Mustapha Kamil as New Straits Times group editor over the 1MDB global scandal at the end of last month, who is the next journalist of the mainstream media, whether print or electronic, who will take a stand for integrity, truth, transparency and good governance?

In his Facebook posting on May 31, Mustapha said he had received numerous private messages enquiring why he opted to leave New Straits Times early, and he related “the final moments” before he tendered my resignation “from a place I had until then treated as my second home”.

He wrote:

“On the morning of April 25th I walked into the CEO’s room with my resignation letter in hand. We sat and talked about my wish for a good one hour where naturally, the CEO enquired why I had wanted to do so.

“The CEO is a chartered accountant, a man who took his job very seriously, one who is adept with numbers and besides heading the company, someone whom I also considered a friend…

“There were two things I related to him that morning. First, just as he, a chartered accountant, would not hesitate to qualify a set of flawed accounts, signing each of them not only by his name, but also by the ethics enshrined within the professional body in which he was a member, I too take journalism ethics seriously.

“In my line of work, there is this element called the ‘truth discipline’. It is one that requires a journalist to be correct, right from the spelling of names of persons or places, to all the reports he must file. His responsibility is first to the truth, by which he must then guide society in navigating the path they had chosen.

“Second, I told him that I had weighed the situation for as long as I could but when an American newspaper, headquartered somewhere in Lower Manhattan in New York, wrote a story that got nominated for the coveted Pullitzer Prize, about an issue that happened right under my nose, I began to seriously search my conscience and asked myself why was I in journalism in the first place. Read the rest of this entry »

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Islamic law bill splits Malaysian cabinet

Jeevan Vasagar in Singapore
Financial Times
June 2, 2016

Ethnic Chinese ministers have threatened to quit the Malaysian government if a bill giving Islamic courts powers to impose tougher penalties is passed into law.

Critics of Najib Razak, the prime minister, say the bill is an attempt to distract attention from the 1MDB state investment fund scandal ahead of by-elections this month and a general election that must be held by 2018.

The bill, proposed by the Islamist opposition but fast-tracked last week by a government minister, will be debated in parliament in October. It comes at a time of concern over rising intolerance in Southeast Asia, a region once regarded as a model of religious coexistence. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib’s denial syndrome worst of all six Malaysian Prime Ministers when he could regard Singapore and Swiss crackdowns on multibillion ringgit 1MDB embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption as “a problem of noise”

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s denial syndrome is the worst of all six Malaysian Prime Ministers when he could regard Singapore and Swiss crackdown on multibillion ringgit 1MDB embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption as “a problem of noise”.

Replying to a question on what his government was doing to re-establish the trust of investors at a panel discussion at a World Economic Forum meeting in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, Najib said the overall trajectory for Malaysia and the rest of Southeast Asia was positive, and he pointed to the long-term trend of rising foreign investment in his country as an expression of confidence.

He said: “The problem is a problem of perception, the problem is a problem of noise. The noise level is rather high, I admit it. But it belies the strong fundamentals and commitment [of] the Malaysian government to continued reforms.”

The Prime Minister cannot be more wrong, and he must be told in no uncertain terms that his premiership is now a liability and no more an asset to foreign investors weighing their options about their investments in Malaysia – unless he can come clean on the various financial and mismanagement scandals haunting and hounding the country for over a year. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Colloquium on the RM55 billion 1MDB scandal should be held separately in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar for Malaysians to understand how Malaysia had been catapulted to be among the world’s top nations notorious for global corruption

If Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak is granted the proverbial “three wishes”, one of them will be to wish that the RM55 billion 1MDB global scandal which includes his RM4.2 billion “donation” scandal would be buried long and deep and would not continue to hound and haunt him almost on a daily basis.

There is hardly a day where there is no news on one aspect or other on the 1MDB scandal.

Yesterday for instance, there were at least three news items on the 1MDB scandal, starting early in the morning with the Bloomberg report that “1MDB scandal taking toll on Malaysian stock market as foreigners sell”, followed up by the Finance Ministry announcement of the replacement of the 1MDB Board of Directors to pave the way for the dissolution of the national sovereign fund and thirdly, the opening of the Official Secrets Act trial of the PKR MP for Pandan, Rafizi Ramli.

The triple items served as yesterday’s daily reminder to Malaysians that despite all Najib’s greatest efforts to sweep the issue under the carpet, the 1MDB scandal, which has catapulted Malaysia to the top of the world as one of the leading nations notorious for global corruption, will not go away – whether inside the country or in the world as illustrated by the recent world-wide crackdowns against IMDB embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption in Singapore and Switzerland. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on Najib to relinquish the portfolio as Finance Minister as one step to deal with the headwinds undermining Malaysia’s economy and competitiveness caused by the 1MDB scandal

The adverse impacts of RM55 billion 1MDB global scandal are beginning to bite on the country’s long-term competitiveness prospects.

The ebullient statement by the Minister for International Trade and Industry, Datuk Mustapha Mohamad that Malaysia maintained its top 20 position among 61 global economies in World Competiveness Year (WCY) 2016 cannot hide the fact that Malaysia’s WCY ranking is the worst in the seven-year premiership of Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Malaysia’s WCY rankings in the past seven years under Najib’s premiership, falling from the 10th ranking in 2010 to the present 19th position, were: 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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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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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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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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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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Did Puad Zakarshi tell a lie to Malay students in Canberra about the RM2.6 billion “donation” in Najib’s personal banking accounts?

Did the Director-General of Department of Special Affairs (Jasa), Datuk Mohd Puad Zarkashi tell a lie to Malay students in Canberra during his “ Veracity Tour” in Australia about the RM2.6 billion “donation” in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s personal banking account?

This question immediately comes to mind after the Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz made a revealing admission today that the UMNO Supreme Council was never informed about the RM2.6 billion “donation” deposited into Najib’s personal banking accounts, which tallied with what the UMNO Deputy President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had been saying since his removal as Deputy Prime Minister in July last year.

This is what Nazri said today:

“He (Najib) never told us (UMNO supreme council). He didn’t have to tell us. He just have to get approval from Bank Negara, that’s all.” (Malaysiakini)

What Puad said in Canberra clearly contradicted what Nazri said today. Read the rest of this entry »

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Has the end-game however protracted of the nation’s first global financial scandal – RM50-55 billion 1MDB scandal – begun with the two-pronged crackdown by the Swiss and Singapore authorities?

Has the end-game, however protracted, of the nation’s first global financial scandal – the RM50-55 billion 1MDB scandal – begun with the two-pronged crackdown by the
Swiss and Singapore authorities yesterday?

The two-pronged crackdown involved the closure of the Singapore branch of BSI, 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, however, all that the government investment arm 1MDB could say in a statement is that “it had not been contacted by any foreign lawful authority on matters relating to the company”.

Nothing could be more surreal than this response from 1MDB – suggesting that while over half a dozen countries are not only investigating, but beginning to commence criminal proceedings, against institutions and individuals for money laundering and embezzlement of 1MDB funds of at least US$4 billion, 1MDB as the company directly involved, is claiming that there had been no such embezzlement at all!

1MDB is creating world history as a company which is the subject of investigation by half a dozen foreign countries involving multi-billion ringgit money-laundering and global corruption but which is strenuously denied by both the company and its government.

Has there been any such a case, where a company is being investigated for multi-billion ringgit money laundering and global corruption by half a dozen foreign countries, but which is strenuously denied by the company affected and its government?

On this score, we must be the first in the world. Read the rest of this entry »

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Singapore kicks out Swiss bank linked to Malaysia’s 1MDB

The Nation
Thailand
May 25, 2016

SINGAPORE – Singapore’s central bank on Tuesday said it was kicking out Switzerland’s BSI Bank, which has been linked to a global money-laundering scandal that has embroiled neighbouring Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak.

In the toughest legal action so far in the crisis rocking Malaysian state fund 1MDB, Switzerland also disclosed it had launched criminal proceedings against the parent firm BSI SA for “deficiencies” in its internal organisation.

“BSI Bank is the worst case of control lapses and gross misconduct that we have seen in the Singapore financial sector,” Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), said in a statement.

MAS said it had asked state prosecutors to investigate six senior executives of BSI Bank for possible criminal offences and fined it Sg$ 13.3 million ($9.6 million) for 41 breaches of Singapore’s laws against money laundering. Read the rest of this entry »

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