Archive for category Financial Scandals

Acknowledgement by IGP Khalid that “no confidence” move against Najib is neither criminal nor police concern will allow a proper and less inhibited discussion of alternatives to the present Najib administration

The country is sick and in crisis.

Today sees the rout of the Malaysian ringgit which fell to a record 17-year low of 4.26 to a US dollar and another record low of 3.08 against the Singapore dollar.

Malaysia’s foreign exchange reserves fell 19% since the start of the year, dipping below the US$100 billion for the first time last month since 2010, fueling speculation that Bank Negara is digging into the reserves to shore up the currency.

It has fallen to US$94.5 billion on August 14 from US$96.7 billion on July 31.

The lower a country’s forex reserves, the less it is able to do to shore up a sinking currency.

Meanwhile, capital outflows from the country are accelerating, to three times the size of capital investments in the country in Q1.

The reserves slid four times as fast as Indonesia, whose rupiah is the second worst-performing currency in the region. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

4 Comments

1MDB a 1-tonne millstone

George Chang
The Malaysian Insider
25 August 2015

Are those joining the Bersih 4 rally in various parts of the globe in bed with the conjured-up conspirators to sabotage the economy and dislodge Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak from office?

Look at the mess the government is in and you won’t fault them for wanting to see the PM go.

There is indeed frustration and anger with the state of affairs, and for those who identify themselves as Malaysians abroad, the rally is an opportunity to show their solidarity with the people back home.

After all public protests are very much part and parcel of life in the west.

No one in authority is going to threaten or stop you from attending a political gathering let alone an “illegal assembly”. A rally is a “proper channel” to voice your grievances. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

No Comments

Is there a reprieve in sight for the ringgit?

G. Sharmila
KiniBiz
August 21, 2015

TigerTalk

The ringgit has taken more than its fair share of beatings this month, weakening past the 4.0 level against the greenback and some analysts are predicting that it will hit the 4.2 level. Tiger thinks that the currency desperately needs a reprieve and believes that it may happen, though not as soon as she would like.

“Desperation is like stealing from the Mafia: you stand a good chance of attracting the wrong attention.” – Douglas Horton

A special trait that all Tigers have is the ability to sniff out desperation kilometres away from the source, which is usually an unfit kijang struggling to get away or a human being desperately climbing a tree to avoid being eaten by yours truly and the rest of her kind.

But the desperation of the worst kind is when it comes from panicking investors – in this case, those heedlessly fleeing from the weak ringgit. Tiger thinks in some ways they are unjustified and believes that there could be a reprieve in sight for the ringgit, if a confluence of factors take place sooner rather than later. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

No Comments

Najib Razak has too much power for Malaysia’s good

David Pilling
Financial Times
August 19, 2015

Once a model of development, the country’s reputation is sinking and so is that of the PM

The story is that in March 2013 one or more unnamed Middle Eastern donors transferred a total of nearly $700m into the personal account of Najib Razak, prime minister of Malaysia. The generous amount was a donation to be lavished on that year’s election campaign of the ruling United Malays National Organisation as Mr Najib saw fit. So sordid are the goings-on in Malaysia these days that, astonishingly, this is not the case being mounted against the prime minister. This is the case for Mr Najib’s defence. Malaysia’s widely lampooned prime minister is in such a deep, dark and money-stuffed hole that this is the version of events being promoted by his allies.

It was also the finding this month of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. It turns out that an anonymous donation from a foreign benefactor is the least damaging explanation of how 2.6bn ringgit found its way into Mr Najib’s account. The prime minister has denied committing any wrongdoing or accepting money for personal gain.

If this is the positive take, the negative version is worse. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

3 Comments

Escaping Najib’s Malaysia, Investors Also Flee Currency and Stock Market

Y-Sing Liau and Lilian Karunungan
Bloomberg
August 19, 2015

While Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s cabinet overhaul may have achieved the “unified team” he was seeking in the face of probes into his bank accounts, global funds have been voting with their feet.

The ringgit has slumped 6 percent, the benchmark stock index lost 8 percent and sovereign bond risk jumped to a four-year high since the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission on Aug. 3 said Najib had received 2.6 billion ringgit ($634 million) from donors and not state investment company 1Malaysia Development Bhd. The conclusion failed to help 1MDB’s bonds, which are trading at 82 cents on the dollar.

PineBridge Investments LLC has cut Malaysian sovereign bond holdings, while Schroder Investment Management Ltd. says it’s too early to buy Asia’s worst-performing currency, as political uncertainty clouds the outlook for an economy rocked by plunging oil prices and an emerging-market selloff. Najib denies taking money for personal gain and has counterattacked against what he described as a campaign to oust him, by reshuffling his cabinet, suspending a leading newspaper and seeking the arrest of a newsletter’s founder. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

4 Comments

Amid economic uncertainty, G25 warns against undermining BNM’s Zeti

The Malay Mail Online
August 19, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 — Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) must remain free of political influence and be allowed to execute its duties professionally, a group of Malay ex-civil servants said amid rumours of pressure on the central bank’s governor.

Citing economic uncertainty fuelled by the declining ringgit as well as the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, the so-called G25 urged the federal government not to cast aspersions on BNM officials as well as those among the country’s vital institutions.

The group pointed out that confidence in BNM’s ability to carry out its duties has been the most important factor contributing to investor confidence and economic development for Malaysia, as speculation remains that Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz may be forced to leave over an alleged leak of information from an investigation into 1MDB.

“While there were doubts on the independence of the judiciary and capacity of other institutions, the confidence in the strength and capability of Bank Negara Malaysia in steering the financial sector to support economic growth has always been sustained and has been the single most important factor contributing to investor confidence and favourable economic prospects for Malaysia,” the statement read. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

2 Comments

Call for Commission of Inquiry by Malaysian Elders on whether there was an attempted “coup” to topple Najib as Prime Minister, the sacking of Gani Patail as AG and Muhyiddin as DPM, the arrest and harassment of top government officials and whether they are related to the twin scandals of 1MDB and RM2.6 billion in Najib’s personal accounts

The best response to Barisan Nasional’s (BN) strategic communications director Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan’s denial that he had confirmed in his Star Online interview that there was a draft of a corruption charge sheet against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is Abdul Rahman’s own words: “Excuse me. I was not born yesterday.”

Abdul Rahman has asked me to re-read his Star Online interview, and I have done so, and I reiterate that anyone reading it will come away with the ineluctable conclusion that there was an attempted coup against the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak by criminalising him and toppling him from office; and “given that scenario”, a “flurry of action” was taken by the Prime Minister, including drastic action to “take these people out first, so that things will get back to normalcy and see what happened next”.

Those who were “not born yesterday” would realise that Abdul Rahman was giving a very graphic account of the atmosphere of great distrust, suspicion and division in the corridors of power and the “cloak-and-dagger” power play in Putrajaya in the last days of July 2015, where he was undoubtedly one of the main backroom players.
Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

No Comments

Can Cabinet answer whether 1MDB debts are now RM42 billion or over RM50 billion as stated by Muhyiddin before he was sacked as DPM?

The 1MDB Cabinet reshuffled by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak on July 28 should come clean on the 1MDB scandal, starting by explaining to Malaysians whether 1MDB debts are not just RM42 million, which is an outdated figure, but have mushroomed to be more than RM50 billion as stated by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in his speech at the UMNO Cheras AGM on July 26, two days before he was summarily sacked as Deputy Prime Minister by Najib for “disloyalty” to him.

Is Najib and the Cabinet going to wait for several months before admitting to the truth, as in the case of the RM2.6 billion deposited into Najib’s personal accounts in AmBank in March 2013 before the 13th General Elections, where for some five weeks, Najib refused to give a simple “Yes” or “No” to the question whether RM2.6 billion had been deposited into his personal accounts.

Now UMNO Ministers and leaders are competing with each other as to who could produce the most outrageous justifications to justify the RM2.6 billion deposit into Najib’s personal accounts!

If what Muhyiddin said before he was sacked as DPM that the 1MBD debts have mushroomed to over RM50 billion is untrue, then there should be a simple and prompt correction from the Ministerial team of “spin doctors” to defend Najib’s integrity and reputation! Just come out and say “No”!

If what Muhyiddin said is true, why can’t the 1MDB Cabinet confirm it? Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

1 Comment

Long overdue for Najib to give detailed explanation about 1MDB and RM2.6 billion bank deposits scandals – stop his “lieutenants” concocting imaginary enemies like “Jewish and Christian agenda” and “international conspiracy to topple elected PM”

The new Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Zahid Hamidi said in Tanah Merah on Saturday that UMNO members will be given a detailed explanation on the issues 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and the RM2.6 billion political fund soon.

This is a cop-out and completely unacceptable for two reasons:

Firstly, why only to the three million UMNO members? What about the 27 million non-Umno Malaysians – or does Zahid think they are not entitled to a “detailed explanation” on these two issues, which are making their rounds not only in Malaysia but world-wide as examples of how a show-case to the world of a successful, modern, democratic plural society can almost overnight virtually become an object of international scorn and mockery of a nation with great promise which has taken a wrong turn to become a rogue and failed state.

Secondly, why the government had failed to give proper and satisfactory explanation about the 1MDB scandal in the past five years since questions were asked by the DAP MP for PJ Utara Tony Pua and the PKR MP for Pandan Rafizi Ramli; or for the past five weeks since the Wall Street Journal shocked Malaysians and the world that government investigators had found US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) deposited into Najib’s personal accounts in AmBank in March 2013, just before the 13th General Elections.

Those who had advised Najib to avoid giving a full and detailed explanation about the 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion deposits into Najib’s private bank accounts had not only committed major strategic errors but done a grave disservice to Najib, but most unfortunately, those have ascended to new influence to deal with these two issues are people of such inclination – most notably the newly-minted Barisan Nasional Strategic Communications Director!

What Najib should do, instead of going on a national road show to elicit sympathy and support at UMNO divisional meetings, is to start giving detailed explanations about the 1MDB and RM2.6 billion deposit scandals. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

4 Comments

How a missing plane and graft scandal are testing Malaysia’s PM Najib Razak

South China Morning Post
09 August, 2015

Would a government manipulate news of a devastating plane crash in an attempt to save its political skin?

No one is directly accusing Malaysia of doing that. But Prime Minister Najib Razak’s crisis-plagued government’s controversial statements about the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 crash investigation make some wonder.

Three days after Razak’s middle-of-the-night announcement that a wing flap that washed ashore in the southern Indian Ocean was definitely part of the missing plane, investigators from France, the U.S., Australia and other countries have not backed up his assertion.

Things got stranger after Razak’s transport minister said Malaysian searchers found a window, seat cushions and other plane debris on the French island of Reunion and gave them to French investigators. But French officials told news agencies Friday they had not received the parts.

During the worst financial scandal in Malaysian history, the confusion surrounding the multinational flight investigation seemed, for some, to thicken the gloom enveloping this country, long a bulwark of stability and wealth in Southeast Asia. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

1 Comment

Call on Najib to halt the “witch-hunt” in the past week in high government places to ferret out so-called traitors involved in an international conspiracy to topple him as the elected Prime Minister of Malaysia

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should halt the “witch-hunt” in the past week in high government places to ferret out so-called traitors involved in an international conspiracy to topple him as the elected Prime Minister of Malaysia.

The sacking of Tan Sri Gani Patail as the Attorney-General of Malaysia after serving as the first legal officer of the land for three Prime Ministers for nearly 13 years seems part of such a “witch-hunt”, so too the wave of police arrests or questioning since Friday night starting with the former MACC adviser Rashpal Singh, Attorney-General Chambers’ (AGC) officer Jessica Gurmeet Kaur, followed by six senior Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers including MACC deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Sazalee Abdul Khairi, MACC special operations director Bahri Mohamad Zin forensics director IG Chandran and MACC’s Special Operations Department officer Roslan Che Amat.

With the MACC Chief Commissioner Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed and his deputy, Datuk Mohd Shukri Abdull on unexplained leave, the question is whether the heads of the two MACC chiefs are on the chopping block, especially with the latter being named as among the top government officers involved in an international plot to topple Najib as the elected Prime Minister of Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

2 Comments

Economic research body says ringgit to decline further if confidence crisis remains

The Malaysian Insider
4 August 2015

The ringgit can be expected to deteriorate further if Malaysia does not solve its confidence crisis stemming from political instability in the country.

Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) executive director Dr Zakariah Abdul Rashid said lack of public confidence is the key factor resulting in the weakening ringgit, should crude oil prices remain stable.

“The political situation is complex – from the lack of confidence on how 1MDB is handled to the Cabinet reshuffle – these have put pressure on investors’ confidence and the ringgit,” he said during MIER’s 13th national economic briefing. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

1 Comment

Malaysia’s overdue housecleaning clamor

by Gary Kleiman
Asia Times
August 3, 2015

Malaysia’s stock market was down over 10 percent at end-July after Prime Minister Najib Razak, fighting to extend his six-year tenure in the wake of the 1MDB debt and campaign funding scandal, sacked his deputy and other cabinet members openly challenging him.

His public approval rating at 45 percent has suffered since the United Malay party won re-election last year, despite the opposition getting a larger vote total.

His predecessor Mahathir Mohamed did not think he deserved another term for lack of economic and political vision, as the household debt burden, which soared to 85 percent of GDP through government programs to boost consumption, is no longer sustainable to offset falling oil exports.

Foreign investors, with respective one-third and one-quarter ownership in the local bond and equity markets, were once enthusiastic about early promises to change the state-dominated business and financial sector model. But the results were meager and with the currency now at a 15-year low as the region’s worst performer, aversion is spiking as in the Asian financial crisis aftermath. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

No Comments

Malaysia cabinet reshuffle saps confidence

Nyshka Chandran
CNBC
30th July 2015

The hasty top-level reshuffle by Malaysia’s embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak in the wake of a corruption scandal will do little to encourage foreign investment amid an already tense political backdrop and a sustained currency crisis, analysts warn.
Announced on Tuesday, the Cabinet reshuffle involved the sacking of Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin after he called on Najib to explain the controversy surrounding a Wall Street Journal (WSJ)report earlier this month that revealed nearly $700 million from quasi-sovereign wealth fund One Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) was deposited into the Prime Minister’s personal bank accounts. The accusation is particularly explosive given that 1MDB is in debt to the tune of $11 billion.

The Prime Minister has denied accepting money for personal gain and is reportedly considering a defamation lawsuit against the WSJ.

Tuesday’s reshuffle also saw cabinet posts given to four senior members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) – the group overseeing the 1MDB parliamentary investigation. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

6 Comments

Is Apandi as the new Attorney-General going to be Najib’s hatchet man to usher a new dark age subjecting national institutions to a second wave of attacks or will he be sentinel to ensure an “enlightened and democratic” Malaysia

The first statement of the new Attorney-General, Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali is to justify the removal of his predecessor Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail as constitutional and according to law.

Apandi said his predecessor’s rank is not reduced in any way. Are we having two Attorney-Generals in Malaysia – Apandi with all the powers and perks of the office, and Gani, enjoying all the perks but not the powers of Attorney-General?

Apandi said Article 145(6) of the Federal Constitution requiring the setting up of a tribunal for the dismissal of the Attorney-General in the like manner for the removal of a Federal Court judge does not apply, relying fully on Article 145(5) that states that the Attorney-General holds office at the pleasure of the Yang di Pertuan Agong.

I will leave it to the lawyers to address nettlesome question whether Gani’s sudden and summary sacking as Attorney-General on Monday is constitutional or not.

However, in an era when the Government knows best is over, which Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had fully acknowledged when he became Prime Minister more than six years ago, Malaysians are entitled to a full explanation why Gani had been treated so shabbily and humiliatingly that he had been sacked suddenly and summarily after serving for nearly 13 years as AG and will retire in two months’ time on Oct. 6 when he celebrates his 60th birthday.

Gani would not have been taken by surprise by his termination as Attorney-General on Monday if he had applied for early retirement.

Wasn’t he entitled to the basic courtesy of being informed that his tenure as Attorney-General was being terminated, if “health problems” were the real reasons for the termination? Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

5 Comments

The elephant in the room

Khairie Hisyam Aliman
Malay Mail Online
July 27, 2015

JULY 27 — On Sunday, Barisan Nasional strategic communications director Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan published a 26-point comment on his Facebook page on the suspension of The Edge and the scandal around 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

In that posting Datuk Abdul Rahman, also the federal housing minister, makes a long argument for the suspension and other things. You can read it here.

But the heart of the current scandal remains simple.

As BN’s strategic communications director Datuk Abdul Rahman would surely be strategically well aware of the best and most strategic question to strategically answer in order to strategically kill most of the speculation going around on the current scandal, which has evolved beyond just 1MDB.

Did RM2.6 billion in money, not units, make its way to personal bank accounts belonging to the prime minister as alleged by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ)?

Yes?

No?

That’s all we need to know first and foremost. We don’t need yet to hear about what the money was or was not used for, if the transfer happened. Nor do we need yet to hear about whether there was personal gain involved, if the transfer happened. Just yes or no for starters. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

No Comments

Why are the lawyers in Cabinet silent about Gani’s sacking as Attorney-General when it is patently unconstitutional and an affront’s to Malaysia’s commitment to uphold the rule of law

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin accepts that it is the Prime Minister’s prerogative to sack the Deputy Prime Minister and to remove any Minister from the Cabinet.

It is for the court of public opinion and history to judge whether the Prime Minister had made a colossal political blunder or had made a brilliant political move.

But has the Prime Minister the prerogative to sack the Attorney-General, the highest legal officer of the land, on his whims and fancies without regard to due process?

The answer must be a firm “No”, for Article 145(6) of the Malaysian Constitution makes it very clear that the Attorney-General “shall not be removed from office, except on the like grounds and in the like manner as a judge of the Federal Court” and Article 125(3) lays down the procedure for the removal of a Federal Court judge, which requires the equivalent of a judicial tribunal to adjudicate his removal whether on the ground of breach of the code of ethics or of inability, from infirmity of body or mind or any other cause, properly to discharge the functions of his office.

The immediate and instant sacking of Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail as Attorney-General, in the manner of the announcement yesterday morning by the Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Dr. Ali Hamsa without Gani even knowing about it beforehand is clearly unconstitutional and an affront to a country which upholds constitutionalism and the rule of law. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

2 Comments

If PAC probe into 1MDB grinds to a halt, it will be best proof that the overriding objective of the Cabinet reshuffle yesterday was to block, frustrate, sabotage or drag out investigations into biggest financial scandal in nation’s history

Any attempt to halt the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) investigations into the 1MDB scandal will be the best proof that the overriding objective of the Cabinet reshuffle, which saw the sacking of the Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Education Minister and the Minister for Rural and Regional Development (one UMNO Deputy President and the other UMNO Vice President) for asking questions about 1MDB which all thinking Malaysians are asking, is to block, frustrate, sabotage or drag out investigations into the biggest financial scandal in the nation’s history.

I am surprised at Datuk Nur Jazlan’s acceptance of the appointment as Deputy Home Minister, for it was only ten days ago that he said publicly that he would rather finish his task as PAC Chairman in the PAC investigations on 1MDB first before accepting any Cabinet appointment.

He even said that this was the first time the chair of the PAC is held by a chartered professional accountant and he wanted to use his experience in politics, accountancy and corporations to steer the PAC especially in the 1MDB issue.

I do not know what made Nur Jazlan change his mind and renege on his public undertaking, especially as he was only offered a Deputy Ministership and not a full Ministerial appointment, but he is guilty of conflict-of-interest when he said yesterday that the PAC probe into the 1MDB is now on hold until the next Parliamentary meeting which is not scheduled to meet until Oct. 19. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

6 Comments

Facing corruption scandal, Malaysian PM fires officials investigating him

Aljazeera
July 28, 2015

Critics say Najib Razak is trying to avoid prosecution amid allegations that he received $700 million in state funds

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, stung by allegations that he received some $700 million in government money, fired the attorney general who had been investigating him and a deputy who has been among his most prominent critics on Tuesday.

Najib is under increasing pressure over leaked confidential documents that allegedly show the money, from state investment fund 1MDB, went into his personal accounts.

Najib announced over national television Tuesday that his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin will be replaced by Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, a Cabinet member who will also retain his home minister portfolio. Earlier Tuesday, the government announced it had terminated the services of Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail.

Najib said he also dropped four other ministers to strengthen his administration and ensure they can “work as a team.” Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

2 Comments

Call for emergency meeting of Parliament before August 31 for a confidence vote on Prime Minister Najib and his new Cabinet and to ensure comprehensive and unfettered investigations into 1MDB scandal and WSJ reports

The sudden Cabinet reshuffle today, sacking Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and four other Ministers, following the morning shocking sacking of Tan Sri Gani Patail as the Attorney-General more than two months before his retirement on 6th October are the latest panic efforts to salvage the rapidly sinking UMNO/BN coalition which had governed this country for 58 years.

The Cabinet reshuffle today has been described as “rearranging the furniture on the sinking Titanic” and future history will vindicate this description.

The Cabinet reshuffle is not designed to produce a more competent, efficient and professional Cabinet which can save Malaysia from becoming a failed state because of rampant corruption, socio-economic inefficiencies and injustices, and the failure of good governance, but to give Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak a new lease of political life by removing from the Cabinet Ministers who threaten his political future by demanding that the Prime Minister should give proper public explanation and accountability for the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal and the Wall Street Journal allegation that RM2.6 billion had been deposited into his personal accounts before the 13th General Election.

The important Education Ministry has again been split into two Ministries, one for Education and the other Higher Education, but looking at the Ministers and Deputy Ministers assigned to these two critical Ministries, I fully understand the feeling of the Selangor State Assemby Speaker Hannah Yeoh when she tweeted: “I look at the Education Ministry and I want to cry for our children sake.”

My disappointments at the lack of Ministerial leaderships in both the Education and Higher Education Ministries after the reshuffle are summed up in my tweet: “Not inspiring developments that Malaysian education can restore glorious past.”

But the sine qua non dictating the sudden Cabinet reshuffle is not any higher notions of taking Malaysia to greater political, economic, educational and social heights of achievement, but purely to consolidate Najib’s power position by removing all possible threats to his political survival. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

2 Comments