Archive for category Mahathir

Malaysia Premier Najib Under Fire: What You Need to Know

by Niluksi Koswanage Shamim Adam
July 9, 2015

As Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak fights claims aired in a Wall Street Journal report that about $700 million in funds connected to a state investment company allegedly ended up in his personal bank accounts, here’s a guide on the key players in the furor and what to watch for.

Q: What is 1Malaysia Development Bhd. or 1MDB?

Najib chairs the advisory board of the debt-ridden state investment company. The Wall Street Journal reported July 3 that money may have moved through government agencies and companies linked to 1MDB before apparently appearing in Najib’s personal accounts. A task force investigating the claims visited 1MDB’s Kuala Lumpur headquarters on Wednesday and left with documents.

1MDB had its origins in the Terengganu Investment Authority, which was created in 2009 to invest oil royalties from the state of Terengganu. When Najib became prime minister that year it was renamed 1MDB, became a national entity and its funding source was changed to government-backed debt.

The company has courted controversy, accumulating $11 billion of debt in less than five years, paying a premium in the acquisition of energy assets, and criticized for overpaying Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to manage its bond sales.

1MDB flirted with default when it missed a loan repayment late last year and eventually settled it in February. It announced plans the same month to wind down, with asset sales or an initial public offering of its energy unit, and the spinning off of its property businesses. Its purpose was to serve as a catalyst for projects of strategic importance, it said Feb. 18, and it’s “achieved this.”

The auditor-general has been probing 1MDB’s finances since March. It is set to hand its interim report on Thursday to a parliamentary committee. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib should heed Musa Hitam’s advice and immediately go on leave as Prime Minister pending investigation by an independent commission of inquiry

Datuk Seri Najib Razak should heed the advice of his former mentor, former Deputy Prime Minister, Tun Musa Hitam that he should go on leave as Prime Minister pending investigation into the Wall Street Journal report and allegation of US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) deposited into his personal accounts in AmBank within to weeks of the dissolution of Parliament on 3rd April 2013 and his role and involvement in the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal.

Najib had accused former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir of “working hand in glove with foreign nationals” in “a concerted campaign of political sabotage to topple a democratically-elected Prime Minister”, but Najib cannot make such an accusation against Musa.

In an exclusive interview with The Malaysian Insider, Musa said Najib has three options: (I) to remain in office and fight the allegations; (ii) resign as Prime Minister; and (iii) go on leave pending investigations by a special government task force.

Musa personally would prefer if Najib takes the third option to allow for an open and transparent investigation, as he holds dear to the legal maxim that one is innocent until proven guilty and this applies to Najib. Read the rest of this entry »

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Siapa untung jika Najib berundur?

The Malaysian Insider
8 July 2015

Siapakah yang bakal mendapat manfaat daripada krisis dihadapi Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak sekarang?

Siapakah bakal dilantik perdana menteri sekiranya Najib terpaksa melepaskan jawatan ekoran skandal syarikat sarat hutang 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) yang sudah menjadi perhatian antarabangsa.

The Malaysian Insider cuba menyenaraikan tokoh yang mungkin mendapat manfaat sekiranya anak kepada perdana menteri kedua, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein berundur. Read the rest of this entry »

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Inquiry Into Malaysian Fund Also Puts Spotlight on Prime Minister

by Austin Ramzy
New York Times
July 7, 2015

HONG KONG — Officials in Malaysia said on Tuesday that they had frozen bank accounts as part of an investigation into the country’s troubled development investment fund and accusations that hundreds of millions of dollars from the fund had been transferred to Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Government investigators have been looking into the finances of the heavily indebted 1Malaysia Development Berhad, also known as 1MDB. News reports have said that some of its funds have been routed to accounts controlled by Mr. Najib. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s Najib Razak fights for political life amid 1MDB claims

by Michael Peel in Kuala Lumpur
Financial Times
July 6, 2015

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak faces a struggle for survival amid growing fallout from allegations that hundreds of millions of dollars were channeled from a state development fund into his personal bank accounts.

Investigators of the escalating scandal at 1Malaysia Development Berhad have passed the country’s Attorney-General evidence relating to transfers totaling almost $700m shortly before the last elections.

Mr Najib has denied taking money for personal gain and has denounced the accusations as “a concerted campaign of political sabotage to topple a democratically elected Prime Minister”.

The Financial Times has not been able to independently verify the allegations. They have added to turmoil in Malaysian politics at a time when Mr Najib’s United Malays National Organisation faces a grave challenge to its near six-decade hegemony.

Analysts say the claims, reported on Friday by the Wall Street Journal and the Sarawak Report website, are potentially fatal for Mr Najib’s career. They appear to make the first direct link between the premier and the long-running scandal over how 1MDB racked up debts of more than $11bn. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s PM Extends Feud to Mahathir’s Son

Asia Sentinel
July 2, 2015

Sources say government is delaying funds and slowing proposals in state Mukhriz controls.

The scorched-earth war between Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and his one-time mentor, former Premier Mahathir Mohamad, has extended to the northern state of Kedah, where Mahathir’s son, Mukhriz, rules as chief minister.

The federal government in Putrajaya reportedly has cut budget allocations to the state, one of the country’s poorest, and is dragging its heels on a proposal by Mukhriz to build an airport in the city of Kulim which Mukhriz deems crucial to boosting the local economy. Reportedly other economic initiatives have been blocked through the federal government’s refusal to pay full land premium for land that Mukhriz is attempting to convert to industrial uses. He is also encountering sniping from Najib forces in the state over his performance as chief minister

It was his father, Mahathir, who paved the way for Najib to become prime minister, first grooming him as defense minister, and then, in 2009 playing an instrumental role in driving his successor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi from power. Anointed by Mahathir, Najib became prime minister only to lead the Barisan in 2013 to the first loss of the popular vote since 1969, although it retained its majority in parliament through gerrymandering. Read the rest of this entry »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By John Berthelsen
Asia Sentinel
July 3, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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Najib: Dr M behind WSJ report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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1MDB Scandal – The Empire Strikes Back after four months

Since the arrest of the former PetroSaudi International (PSI) IT executive in Koh Samui, Thailand at around 3 pm on Monday (June 22) for attempting to blackmail his former employer on leaked information, we have seen “The Empire Strikes Back” on the six-year 1MDB scandal in Malaysia.

Suddenly, some Ministers have becoming quite articulate on the 1MDB scandal, with the Home Minister Datuk Zahid Hamidi claiming ominously that the former PSI executive Xavier Andre Justo in his interrogation by Thai police had implicated several Malaysians who had asked him to manipulate the leaked information which was passed to whistleblower site Sarawak Report.

He even said Putrajaya was prepared to extradite these individuals if there is request from Bangkok.

Zahid also threatened to act against local media that used the leaked information which had been the source of unremitting embarrassment to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak since the end of February when the Sarawak Report website and London’s Sunday Times newspaper reported in-depth investigations into the trail of the missing 1MDB missing billions after gaining access to thousands of documents and emails relating to transactions by 1MDB, including its initial joint venture with the little known oil company PetroSaudi International from 2009.

PSI’s leaked information included communications with 1MDB that had embroiled the latter in controversy as it highlighted questionable transfer of funds to a company controlled by Malaysian billionaire Jho Low, who is close to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s family.

PSI and 1MDB have yet to deny these allegations but both insisted that it is based on “tampered” evidence.

Zahid appears to be unfazed when a police source from Thailand’s crime suppression division, which arrested Justo, told Malaysiakini that Interpol and the Malaysian authorities were not involved in the investigation. Read the rest of this entry »

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The untouchable Dr M

Kapil Sethi
The Malay Mail Online
June 22, 2015

JUNE 22 ― On the surface, it seems even more lopsided than a David and Goliath battle. On one side is a frail, almost 90, long gone from the corridors of power old man whose bark is practically all that is left of what was 22 years of autocratic but arguably economically robust rule. On the other is a man decades younger and a second term prime minister controlling all the levers of power who is increasingly comfortable in deploying them to crush all dissent, whether through legislation, 3am wake-up calls by the police or even by suing through the judiciary.

The PM also has publicly-funded government largesse to dole out as and when the situation requires. He has a plethora of government and party posts and contracts to hand out to keep his party cadres in line. He controls all the mainstream media and has a large, ever-expanding public relations machine at his disposal to run down all enemies, real or imagined.

So it would seem bizarre that things have reached such a head that the battle is not only not over, but has spilled out on the international stage courtesy of the New York Times. In a sign of exactly how difficult the situation is for the incumbent PM, his foreign minister is reduced to replying to the article by criticising Dr Mahathir for internationalising the issue rather than rebutting the issues themselves. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia Gets a Dose of Real Talk

By William Pesek
Jun 18, 2015

Asia-based journalists have missed Mahathir Mohamad since he left office in 2003. The former Malaysian prime minister’s mercurial governing style and fiery rhetoric made for great copy. I was in a Hong Kong ballroom in 1997 when Mahathir — the man credited with turning the agricultural backwater Kuala Lumpur, which literally means “muddy river,” into one of Asia’s most impressive skylines — responded to his country’s crashing economy by castigating hedge fund managers. He singled out George Soros as a “moron.”

Mahathir now has a new target — Najib Razak, Malaysia’s current prime minister. The daily squabbling between Najib and his predecessor has unsettled Malaysian markets, with the ringgit falling to its lowest value in a decade. But Najib has nobody to blame but himself for the attacks, given the country’s underlying economic distress. Malaysia’s prolonged slow growth, which has Fitch now threatening a downgrade of the country’s credit ratings, traces back to Najib’s refusal, or inability, to make good on his pledges to dismantle race-based policies that strangle innovation, feed cronyism and repel multinational companies.

You don’t have to take Mahathir’s word for it — Malaysia’s most successful entrepreneurs say the same thing. Just ask Tony Fernandes of AirAsia. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s national per capita income increased 25-fold from 1970 to 2014 but Malaysia’s financial scandal increased by more than 63,000-fold from RM66 million in 1975 to RM42 billion today

When introducing the Eleven Malaysia Plan in Parliament last month, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak boasted that Malaysia’s national per capita income increased 25-fold from 1970 to 2014, rising from the ranks of a low-income economy in the 1970s to a high middle-income economy today.

What Najib did not tell Malaysians is that Malaysia’s financial scandal had increased by more than 63,0000-fold from the RM66 million Bank Rakyat scandal in 1975 to the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal of today!

No wonder that even the former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir, who during his 22-year administration from 1981 to 2003, had chalked up a long series of financial scandals probably costing the country some RM100 billion, has come to forefront to demand accountability, transparency and good governance from the Najib premiership in utter disgust at the biggest financial scandal in the nation’s history – the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal.

In the escalating Najib-Mahathir tussle for accountability, transparency and good governance over the 1MDB scandal, DAP leaders have been proven right that allegations of malpractices, abuses of power and even corruption in the 1MDB scandal in the past few years with DAP MP for PJ Utara Tony Pua and the PKR MP for Pandan Rafizi Ramli spearheading the 1MDB exposes in the last four years had hit the nail on the head about the enormity and iniquity of the 1MDB scandal. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib should live up to his “Nothing2Hide” claim by accepting Mahathir’s challenge to a live-telecast “Ask and Answer All” public duel

It has really come full circle – the longest-serving Prime Minister of Malaysia who in his 22-year premiership had repeatedly denounced Opposition leaders, even former leaders of the Umno/BN coalition government, most notably his one-time Deputy Prime Minister and Prime Minister-designate, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, of disloyalty in using international forums to undermine their own country, being now the target of the very same accusation by the present administration!

In an open letter to the New York Times, the Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman made these same accusations against the “super patriot” Tun Mahathir for attacking the country’s administration and political party, expressing regret at Mahathir’s action “to undermine his own country through the international media as part of a personal political vendetta”.

Anifah wrote: “It is irresponsible of any citizen, let alone a former prime minister, to spread lies and distort facts about state owned companies.”

Anifah criticised Dr Mahathir’s attack over the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), Umno and accusations against current Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysian Ex-Prime Minister Unleashes Criticism

Interview by THOMAS FULLER
New York Times
JUNE 17, 2015

Mahathir Mohamad, who served as prime minister of Malaysia from 1981 to 2003, turns 90 next month. He is forcing his way back into the center of Malaysian politics with a fire hose of criticism for the man he helped install in office, Najib Razak, the current prime minister.

In an interview, Mr. Mahathir lashed out at Mr. Najib for what he described as wastefulness and lavish spending. But he also broached a host of other topics, questioning the tenets of modern democracy and calling for a boycott of Myanmar over its persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority there.

Here are excerpts from the interview.

On the splintering of Malaysian politics:

The reason why Malaysia has managed to remain stable and to grow economically was because there was one big coalition of parties. But now you can see there’s a breakup. What will happen in the next election is that no one will be able to gain a majority. This, of course, leads to instability.

On the current prime minister:

I had always supported Najib. I was in a way instrumental in his becoming prime minister. [But] the apparent disappearance of huge sums of money. This is not good. He has never been able to explain how the money was spent. He wants to leave his own legacy. But what he does is verging on criminal. He’s going to lose in the next election. Read the rest of this entry »

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Power Struggle in Malaysia Pits Former Premier Against a Protégé

New York Times
JUNE 17, 2015

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia — Malaysia’s governing party is at war with itself, embroiled in a power struggle that is destabilizing the country and threatening the party’s nearly six-decade stretch of uninterrupted governance.

The battle has revealed itself publicly in a nasty spat between two political titans. Mahathir Mohamad, a former prime minister who turns 90 next month, is the chief architect of a political insurgency aiming to oust the man he helped put into office six years ago, Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Having lost none of the combativeness honed during more than two decades in power, Mr. Mahathir is pressing allegations of malfeasance in a sovereign wealth fund, criticizing the “lavish” lifestyle of the prime minister’s wife, and has resurrected troubling questions about the murder of a Mongolian woman, the mistress of a former top aide to Mr. Najib.

“I’ve had quite a long time in government, and I’ve learned a few things,” Mr. Mahathir said in an interview at his office on Wednesday in Putrajaya, the administrative capital he built from scratch when he was prime minister.

Mr. Najib “wants to leave his own legacy,” he said. “But what he does is verging on criminal.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Nothing to hide — Dr M is now the actual PM of Malaysia!

By Martin Jalleh

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Why things like 1MDB happen

By P Gunasegaram
May 28, 2015

QUESTION TIME Malaysia had no major financial scandals – as in billion-ringgit ones – until the infamous case of Bumiputra Malaysia Finance or BMF emerged in the early eighties and captured the imagination of the press and the public.

Before we are a bit quick to point the finger at former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad for that, let’s point out that Mahathir became prime minister only in 1981, after BMF, Bank Bumiputra’s wholly-owned Hong Kong subsidiary, started loaning money to George Tan’s Carrian group, eventually amounting to RM2.5 billion in all.

The loans were made between 1979 and 1983, which means that loans continued to be made to Carrian even after Mahathir became PM, implying that Mahathir cannot be totally absolved.

Carrian was a rising star in the Hong Kong property market then but subsequently went bust, making it the biggest bankruptcy in Hong Kong at the time. The scale of the scandal was simply enormous and record-breaking, putting Malaysia on the top of the list in terms of banking failure at that time.

The question is what was a unit of Bank Bumiputra, a bank set up to provide bumiputeras access to funding as part of the effort to increase their participation in business, doing lending money to a Hong Kong property group?

This was at that time, the largest banking scandal in the world and the interest in it spiked further when a Bank Bumiputra senior officer sent to Hong Kong to investigate was murdered and his body dumped in a banana plantation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Will Mahathir knuckle under the threat of RM1 million reward for information about his wrongdoings as Prime Minister for 22 years causing RM100 billion losses to Malaysia from his various financial scandals and fade from the political scene?

I read today of a new NGO which has offered a reward of up to RM1 million for information about the wrongdoings of Tun Dr. Mahathir during his 22 years as Prime Minister causing RM100 billion losses to the country from his various financial scandals.

As one of the few who had stood up in and out of Parliament to consistently and persistently criticise and oppose the series of financial scandals and abuses of power during Mahathir’s premiership from 1981 – 2013 – and paying a heavy price of being detained for a second time for 18 months under the Internal Security Act during Operation Lalang where Guan Eng and I were the first to be detained but the last to be released – I find the report of a RM1 million bounty for information about Mahathir’s wrongdoings both amusing and interesting.

Why wasn’t such a RM1 million bounty offered during Mahathir’s 22-year tenure as Prime Minister from 1981-2003? Was it because such an offeror would find himself in incarceration even before the ink of such an offer could dry?

Why was such a RM1 million bounty offered only 12 years after Mahathir had stepped down as the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia? Were they sleeping for the past 12 years and could not pluck up the courage for such a public-spirited offer?

Has the RM1 million bounty any connection with Mahathir’s stepping up of his attacks on Datuk Seri Najib Razak as Prime Minister of Malaysia, whether on the RM42 billion 1MDF financial scandal or the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, which will bring it within the zone of a proxy war in the escalation of the Najib-Mahathir titanic battle? Read the rest of this entry »

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