Archive for category Financial Scandals

Malaysia Arrests Another Critic of Prime Minister

Wall Street Journal
Oct. 8, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR—A prominent lawyer was arrested Thursday on charges of sabotage, his attorney said, after earlier planning to travel to the U.S. to help urge authorities there to investigate money transfers into Prime Minister Najib Razak’s alleged personal accounts.

The lawyer, Matthias Chang, was arrested after visiting a police lockup facility to see Khairuddin Abu Hassan, who was arrested and detained last month on the same charge. The two men had planned to fly together to the U.S., where Mr. Chang previously said Mr. Khairuddin aimed to try to persuade U.S. authorities to investigate transfers into Mr. Najib’s alleged accounts. Mr. Chang was acting as Mr. Khairuddin’s personal lawyer to make sure he complied with legal processes and laws oversees, Mr. Chang’s attorney Zainur Zakaria said.

Both men are being held under Malaysia’s sweeping Security Offenses (Special Measures) Act, which allows for them to be detained for 28 days, another lawyer acting for Mr. Chang said. Read the rest of this entry »

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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 »

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Three new and important factors for UMNO/BN MPs to consider what stand they should take in any no-confidence motion against Najib as PM

The Ruler’s historic and unprecedented statement on 1MDB, the thunderous silence of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet to the Rulers’ Statement and
the clarification of the UMNO Vice President and Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein are three new and important factors for UMNO/BN Members of Parliament to consider as to what stand they should take in any no-confidence motion against Datuk Seri Najib Razak as Prime Minister.

The Rulers’ statement before the 239th Conference of Rulers on Tuesday, 6th October 2015 is historic because it represented a valiant attempt to save Malaysia from “sleepwalking” towards a rogue state with a breakdown of the rule of law and a failed state because of rampant corruption, abuses of power and collapse of good governance.

What the Rulers said were nothing new, but it had the effect of a thunderclap on the populace because simple truths had been forced underground, patriotic attempts to uphold democracy, justice, accountability, integrity and good governance had been distorted as treasonous efforts to undermine parliamentary democracy and sabotage the nation in cahoots with international conspirators; or simply, white has become black and black turned into white.

The Rulers’ statement is like a pail of cold water splashed on a populace which had been drugged either by power or the threat of the abuse of power and represents a final warning of the urgent need for the country to wake up and return to sanity to deal with three urgent problems plaguing Malaysia today – the 1MBD scandal, the parlous state of the rule of law and the frayed and fragile state of national unity in the country.

The Rulers’ statement is unprecedented both in import and content, which makes the silence of the Prime Minister and Cabinet which met for its weekly Wednesday session yesterday, all the more phenomenal, thunderous and unforgivable. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s Najib Rebuffs Elite Pleas to Step Down

By John Berthelsen
Asia Sentinel
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 »

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Malaysia’s royals make unprecedented call for action on corruption

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 »

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State Rulers in Malaysia Press for Inquiry Into Premier, Najib Razak

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 »

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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 »

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Scandal-hit Malaysia investment fund files accounts late

Michael Peel in Bangkok
Financial Times
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 »

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Malaysia’s 1MDB pushes for quick asset sale to quell concerns

Michael Peel in Bangkok and Simeon Kerr in Dubai
Financial Times
Sept 28, 2015

Malaysia’s scandal-hit 1MDB investment fund is pressing for a quick — and possibly contentious — sale of more than $2bn of energy assets as part of an effort to cut its large debts and revive its battered image.

1Malaysia Development Berhad has set four companies — all but one of them foreign — a deadline of November to lodge bids for power plants in Egypt, Bangladesh and Malaysia, in the hope of securing a provisional deal by year end.

The process will be closely watched as 1MDB seeks to quell concerns over its multibillion-dollar debt pile and allegations of misappropriation of money that are swirling around the fund and Najib Razak, prime minister of the Southeast Asian country.

The power-holdings auction also has the potential to deepen the political battles rocking Malaysia if it is won by an overseas buyer, or yields a price below what 1MDB paid.

According to people familiar with the matter, the four unnamed companies announced as shortlisted by 1MDB earlier this month were Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power, Nebras Power of Qatar, Hong Kong’s CGN Meiya Power Holdings and Malaysian state-owned Tenaga Nasional. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is it out of selfish political interests that Liow Tiong Lai and the MCA’s 7/11 team of elected representatives are so protective of Najib’s twin RM50 billion 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” scandals?

MCA President, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai should explain why the MCA’s 7/11 team of elected representatives (seven MPs and 11 State Assemblymen) successful in the 13th General Election are so protective of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s twin RM50 billion 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” scandals.

Is the MCA’s over-protectiveness of Najib’s financial scandals a shield actually to protect the selfish political interests of the MCA leaders and to fob off any demands to cut down the number Ministerial and deputy ministerial posts given to MCA?

As it is, MCA already has three Ministers and four deputy Ministers (although three of the deputy ministers are senators).

As MCA President, Liow should explain why the MCA team in government had been completely silent and passive as far as the issues and principles of accountability, transparency and good governance are concerned.

Good examples are Najib’s RM50 billion 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” scandals. Read the rest of this entry »

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Timeline: The twists and turns in the tale of 1MDB

Saheli Roy Choudhury | Special to CNBC
Monday, 21 Sep 2015 | 11:03 PM ET

For Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak, the hits keep coming.

Just as the capital Kuala Lumpur settles down following a fraught rally last week, at which riot police turned water cannons on supporters of the PM, top U.S. media outlets, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and the New York Times (NYT), have reported yet more scandalous allegations about the country’s sovereign wealth fund.

The 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) has been in the limelight for months, amid allegations of false auditing, huge debt and, more recently, financial fraud, with alleged links to Najib himself. (The PM has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. His office has yet to respond to a request for comment on the latest developments.)

For outsiders, the twists and turns surrounding 1MDB can be dizzying. So, as the action heats up, here is a handy timeline of the events you should know about:

2008 – 1MDB is launched in the Malaysian state of Terengganu, with the aim of promoting long-term, sustainable economic development.

2009 – Najib expands the fund’s operation nationally, with himself as chairman of the fund’s advisory board.

2010 – Tony Pua, an MP with Malaysia’s biggest opposition party, questions Najib on the fund’s 425 million ringgit ($99.7 million*) profit, the Malaysian Insider reports. Pua asked the Najib to explain whether the paper profits were a result of transferring other government assets to 1MDB.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Alleged scandals surrounding Malaysian PM could have several consequences

The Globe and Mail
Sep. 24, 2015

With a prime ministerial scandal burning away and acrid smoke shrouding huge swaths of Malaysia, one could be mistaken for thinking the government in Kuala Lumpur was quite literally going up in flames.

The smoke, of course, comes from forest fires illegally set to clear land on the nearby island of Sumatra. But it does provide a suitably gloomy backdrop for what’s happening to Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Mr. Najib, who has become increasingly unpopular, leads the United Malays political party and a coalition that has effectively controlled Malaysia since independence from Britain in 1957 – partly through electoral gerrymandering and censorship of the media. Despite other actions that make him unfit to lead a democracy, such as repeatedly jailing his main political opponent (a former deputy prime minister) on trumped up sodomy charges, he now finds himself at the centre of an ever-expanding series of corruption probes that have brought Malaysian politics to a standstill – and also threaten to bring his pseudo-authoritarian rule to an end.

These investigations, which began in Malaysia and have spread to the United States, relate to a sum of $700-million (U.S.) allegedly paid into bank accounts linked to the Prime Minister. Mr. Najib has denied he has done anything wrong and said the money came from a political donor in the Middle East, though he has not provided evidence. Read the rest of this entry »

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From candidate as Tiger Economy to candidate for junk bonds – how far Malaysia has fallen under Najib!

From candidate as a Tiger Economy in the early nineties to a candidate for junk bonds – this is an indication of how far Malaysia has fallen under the premiership of Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

In two decades, Malaysia has transformed from a “darling” to a “villain” of the international media in our “transformation” from a model nation into a rogue state.

What has happened?

We seem to have the most useless and incompetent Cabinet in the nation’s history, unable to deal with the grave issues of the state at its meeting yesterday, especially the Sept. 16 Red Shirts Rally organized by UMNO which in fell swoop desecrated the concept and vision of Malaysia on the 52nd Malaysia Day anniversary and Najib’s own signature policy of 1Malaysia on the importance of racial peace, social harmony and national unity.

Nor was the Cabinet brave enough (with Najib absent, as the Prime Minister had left secretly for his UN, US and UK trip) to deal with two current issues which occurred after the last Cabinet meeting on 9th Sept, viz: (i) the Al Jazeera 101 East current affairs programme on “Murder in Malaysia” on new evidence on the brutal murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu; and (ii) the New York Times report that a US federal grand jury is examining allegations of corruption and money laundering involving Najib and people close to him under the Department of Justice’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pakatan Harapan’s Challenge – Turn the crisis-ridden Malaysia into an opportunity to initiate fundamental political and socio-economic changes to transform Malaysia into a vibrant, progressive and forward-looking nation instead of heading in the direction of a failed state

Something has gone very wrong with Malaysia.

How did a country which was hailed as a model of Asian development and set to be one of the “Tiger” economies in the early nineties had so lost its way that it is today battling with a surfeit of negative developments and running the serious risk of becoming the “sick man of ASEAN” en route to become a failed state?

Three events illustrate that this Malaysian disease is reaching a terminal stage.

Firstly, there was yesterday’s charge of artist Bilqis Hijjas for dropping yellow balloons with the words “Justice”, “Democracy” and “Free Media” onto an event attended by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife.

This is a reflection of a government which is petty-minded and insular instead of being visionary and inclusive.

Why can’t Najib be charitable and big-hearted enough to laugh off the incident and forgive Bilqis, instead of being vengeful and vindictive, demanding his pound of flesh for Bilqis’ creative and patriotic infraction?

Better still, if Najib could have met up with Bilqis and assure her that he is as concerned as her and others with the goals of justice, democracy and free media! Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s Leader, Najib Razak, Faces U.S. Corruption Inquiry

by Louise Story
New York Times
SEPT. 21, 2015

The embattled prime minister of Malaysia, facing mounting political turmoil and a parade of inquiries at home and abroad into a sovereign wealth fund that he oversees, is now coming under the scrutiny of American investigators as well.

A federal grand jury is examining allegations of corruption involving the prime minister, Najib Razak, and people close to him, according to two people with knowledge of the investigation.

The inquiry, being run by a unit of the Justice Department that investigates international corruption, is focused on properties in the United States that were purchased in recent years by shell companies that belong to the prime minister’s stepson as well as other real estate connected to a close family friend, said the people knowledgeable about the case, who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it. Investigators are also looking at a $681 million payment made to what is believed to be Mr. Najib’s personal bank account. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia is pounded every day by a surfeit of lack of integrity issues and problems, which is hurtling Malaysia down slippery slope to failed state

Malaysia is pounded every day by a surfeit of lack of integrity issues and problems, which is hurtling Malaysia down the slippery slope to a failed state.

Something is very wrong with the national institutions and system of values, which have reached a very advanced stage of rottenness, when the Police confirmed today that the body found in a drum filled with concrete last Wednesday was that of deputy head of the Attorney-General’s Chambers Appellate and Trial Division, Anthony Kevin Morais.

Morais’ abduction and gruesome murder were believed to be related to a corruption case he was handling.

Today, we have three bad news all related to one mega corruption scandal in Malaysia – the long-running M50 billion 1MDB scandal, viz:

• FBI starts probe on 1MDB, says WSJ (Malaysiakini)

• Ambiga says ‘appalled’ by 1MDB critic’s six-day demand (MMO)

• Najib risks arrest if he travels abroad, says Dr Mahathir – by V. Anbalagan (TMI)

Questions teem everyone’s mind. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia Fund 1MDB’s Missing Money Problem Grows

The Wall Street Journal
Sept. 17, 2015

Questions around a troubled Malaysian state investment fund and missing money in the Middle East have widened to include as much as $1 billion more.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that officials in Abu Dhabi were trying to understand why a $1.4 billion transfer that the fund, 1Malaysia Development Bhd., said it made to a counterparty in the Middle Eastern emirate wasn’t received. Now, those officials are questioning a further $993 million that 1MDB reported it paid to the Abu Dhabi fund, the International Petroleum Investment Co., but which also appears to be largely missing, people familiar with the matter said.

Officials from 1MDB and IPIC didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The questions deepen the mystery around 1MDB, which was set up by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2009 to invest in Malaysia’s economy. The fund is now struggling to repay more than $11 billion in debt and is at the center of a corruption scandal that is destabilizing Mr. Najib’s government. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia Acts to Save its Markets from Crisis

By John Berthelsen
Asia Sentinel
September 14, 2015

Najib says this should do It

Rising economic and political problems could render Najib’s moves ineffective

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s announcement that a revived government equity investment firm intends to pour RM20 billion (US$4.6 billion) into shoring up the country’s stock market may face serious headwinds in a flagging economy.

“Malaysia’s market is much thinner than China’s so RM20 billion could make quite a bit of difference. On a fundamental basis the ringgit is grossly oversold and probably Malaysian equities are too,” said a Hong Kong-based financial analyst who covers Malaysia. “The problem is that fundamentals fly out of the window when there is growing concern about the probity of the political elite and the direction of policy. Malaysia has to resolve the 1MDB debacle before the market and the currency can stabilize and recover. That was supposed to happen in January and we are still waiting, which reflects entirely the poor economic and political management of the country.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Congrats to UMNO for being “more united than ever” although the UMNO President had for the first time in history to sneak in and out of UMNO headquarters from the backdoor to avoid the unfriendly UMNO crowd in front

After yesterday’s UMNO Supreme Council meeting, UMNO leaders including the Barisan Nasional Strategic Communications Director, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan who is also Minister for Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government, were at pains to convince all and sundry that UMNO is now “more united than ever”. (NST)

Congratulations is in order to UMNO for being “more united than ever” although the UMNO President and Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak had, for the first time in history of any UMNO President, to sneak in and out of UMNO headquarters from the backdoor to avoid the unfriendly UMNO crowd in front.

But the UMNO Supreme Council meeting failed miserably in assuring the public and the world that the governing coalition has the blueprint and the political will to end the prolonged crisis of confidence plaguing the country.

The UMNO/BN leadership were not only unable to bring a closure to the two mega financial scandals which had undermined national and international confidence in the Malaysian government – the RM50 billion 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion “donation” in the Prime Minister’s personal accounts twin scandals – but have allowed new issues to escalate and deepen the crisis of confidence in the country like the Red Shirt “Kebangkitan Maruah Melayu” rally in Kuala Lumpur on Sept. 16. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bar Council seeks lawyers’ nod to sue anyone blocking probe into 1MDB, RM2.6 billion donation

The Malaysian Insider
9 September 2015

The Bar Council wants its members to give their mandate to take legal action against any person responsible for obstructing investigations into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fiasco and the case of the RM2.6 billion “donation” channelled into the prime minister’s private accounts.

This is among the suggestions forwarded by president of the Malaysian Bar Steven Thiru, who will move the motion at its emergency general meeting in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.

Copies of the motion were sent to 16,000 lawyers in the peninsula yesterday.

A copy of the motion, sighted by The Malaysian Insider, also stated that the Bar mandates the council to take steps to affirm and preserve the rule of law, to uphold the Federal Constitution and to protect the administration of justice. Read the rest of this entry »

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