Archive for category Najib Razak

16th IACC – the climax that became the nadir of Najib’s six-year anti-corruption campaign with “two elephants not one in the room”

The 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) was meant to the high-water mark of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s six-year anti-corruption campaign and show-case Najib as one of the exemplary global leaders spearheading a transformation programme with anti-corruption as one of its core objectives.

It has however turned out to be the nadir of Najib’s premiership in transparency, good governance and anti-corruption with “two elephants not one in the room”, resulting in the embarrassing and disgraceful last-minute decision by Najib to pull out from officiating at the IACC opening, for fear of “hostile” reception from the 1,000 delegates from 130 countries attending the conference.

Imagine some 1,000 delegates from 130 countries attending an international conference turning “hostile” against the head of government of the host country!

Unthinkable! Unimaginable! Read the rest of this entry »

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Why so few Malays in Bersih 4?

Wong Chin Huat
Malaysiakini
Aug 30th, 2015

COMMENT The question most frequently asked on Bersih 4 is, why are they so few Malays?

I don’t buy the two most common answers: first, PAS does not participate and Harapan Baru does not have the clout; second, Malays are worried of violence and chaos.

For me, the answer is straightforward: the Malays feel politically vulnerable because three main Malay-based parties – first PKR, then PAS, now Umno – are split while the Chinese are seemingly so united behind the opposition especially DAP.

To discourage the Malays to join Bersih 4, one may just need to warn them, if Malays join in enthusiastically, then not only Najib Abdul Razak will go, Umno will lose power, too, and the now politically assertive Chinese will dismantle the New Economic Policy (NEP) and weaken Islam.

Against this backdrop, even if PAS has mobilised, Malay turnout will still be weak because of this anxiety. And ‘violence and chaos’ cited in the Merdeka Center survey is but the code word for the collapse of Umno’s one-party state.

Will I blame our Malay friends who don’t join us? Of course no. Everyone has every right to want the country to be cleaner, freer and more democratic. That needs not have anything to do with ethnicity or religion.

I will not even blame them on their anxiety. Can people force themselves to not be anxious?

Simply because the dismantling of Umno’s one-party state is a colossal change, all of us need a soft landing, not only the Malays who have been told that they will be ‘bangsat’ without Umno. Read the rest of this entry »

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Can we move forward with Bersih 4?

P Ramasamy
Malaysiakini
Sep 1st, 2015

COMMENT The massive Bersih 4 rally that took place in the heart of Kuala Lumpur on on Aug 29 and 30 can be described as tremendous success considering the number of people who took part in it.

It is estimated about 500,000 people were involved and many spent the night sleeping on sidewalks and pavements. Bersih also took an international profile, with similar rallies held in some of the cities worldwide.

Yes, Bersih succeeded in highlighting its objectives of: reforming the corrupt and decadent electoral system, reviving institutions that have become defunct and most importantly, the removal of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak for his involvement in massive corruption related to the disbursement of 1MDB funds.

Unlike earlier Bersih movements, this time there were no untoward incidents involving the police or other law enforcement agencies. The police were surprisingly well-behaved and disciplined.

The actual Bersih rally is over, at least for the time being. Whether Bersih 5 will take place or not will depend on the whether the government takes initiatives to speed up reforms in the country.

Of course, the hardest thing will be to expect Najib to resign from his post. There are no indications that Najib will resign from the pressure exerted by Bersih. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Sarawak Bersih 4 fiasco

Dr Kelvin Yii
Malaysiakini
1st September 2015

The Bersih 4 rally has been catching headlines for the past few days with the crowd in KL swelling to a record number reportedly at 500,000 over the weekend, an unprecedented amount of people willing to stretch it out for 34 hours and sleep on the streets to protest against the corrupt regime as well demand for clean and fair elections, among others.

This commands great pride for me and many other Malaysians who are sick and tired of how corruption and bad governance has wrecked our country. I as a Sarawakian have seen and experienced how corruption and money politics have ravaged our state, and oppressed our people.

The urging for Bersih wasn’t a foreign agenda, neither was it a Malayan concept. We in Sarawak need it more than ever, to stand up against corruption, electoral fraud and bad governance that has left Sarawak as one of the least developed state even though we blessed with the abundance of natural resources.

So I was really devastated reading the news on how Sarawak Bersih 4 turned out and was instead used as a platform to attack the different opposition parties. The organisers have since retracted the statement allegedly blaming Sarawak DAP for the premature end of the rally, and claimed they was misquoted, however this did not stop it from being circulated on social media and blogs, and leaving a bad taste in our mouth. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bersih 4 was not a feel-good picnic

Kee Thuan Chye
Malaysiakini
1st Sept 2015

COMMENT When Bersih 4 ended at the midnight of Aug 30, it ended on a high note. The rally defied expectations. Those who had thought it would not be able to sustain 34 hours of street protest without experiencing police harassment and violence sparked by agitators were proven wrong.

An incredibly huge crowd celebrated Bersih 4’s success at the grand finale with an impassioned rendering of the national anthem when the clock struck 12.

Mingguan Malaysia accused the rally of having been controlled and dominated by the DAP. That’s utter bullshit. The DAP could not possibly command this kind of turnout on any given day.

In saying so, the pro-Umno newspaper also insulted the rally’s organisers, Bersih 2.0. It denied them the credit of having done a marvellous and exceptional job of putting together the event and making sure it remained peaceful. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib should not set a negative tone for the 16th IACC on “Ending Impunity: People. Integrity. Action” by last-minute pull-out which is tantamount to defiant declaration that Impunity is Order of the Day in Malaysia

Just checked the official website of the three-day 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) on “Ending Impunity: People. Integrity. Action” in Putrajaya from tomorrow till Friday.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak is still in the distinguished guest-list for the Opening Ceremony, which includes Datuk Paul Low, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Tan Sri Kassim Mohamed, MACC Chief Commissioner, Akere Muna, IACC Chair, Datuk Akbar Satar and President of Transparency International Malaysia, Jose Ugaz Chair of Transparency International.

Despite Najib’s last-minute pull-out from the opening ceremony and delivery of a key-note address for the 16th IACC, will Najib have a last-minute change of plan to honour his earlier promise to open the 16th IACC together with a key-note address?

Ironically, Najib’s absence because of the last-minute pull-out will be the most momentous event at the 16th IACC, overshadowing all the speeches to be delivered, for it would in fact set the negative tone for the international anti-corruption conference on “Ending Impunity: People. Integrity. Action” – as his pull-out and absence will be tantamount to a defiant declaration to IACC and the international community that Impunity is the Order of the Day in Malaysia!

Najib’s absence will be as good as throwing down the gauntlet to the IACC and the international community that they could congregate for impotent global conferences of ending impunity among top leaders in the battle against corruption, but what could they do when a head of government like him defies them and act with utter impunity despite the swirling rumours and allegations about “grand corruption”, or specifically in his case, the RM50 billion 1MDB (according to Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin his last speech as Deputy Prime Minister to the Cheras UMNO Division on July 26) and the RM2.6 billion “donation” twin finance scandals. Read the rest of this entry »

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Has the Najib government learnt nothing from the two-day 500,000-people Bersih 4 overnight rally in KL, Kuching and KK demanding for good governance and free, fair elections?

History was made in the last two days when 500,000 Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region, gender, age or even politics converged into Kuala Lumpur, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu demanding for good governance and free, fair elections to prevent Malaysia from becoming a rogue and failed state.

Has the Najib government learnt nothing from the two-day 500,000-people Bersih 4 overnight rally in KL, Kuching and KK demanding for good governance and free, fair elections?
Do the Prime Minister and his Cabinet Ministers really regard the 500,000 literate and idealistic Malaysians who came from all over the country to support Bersih 4 as bad-hats, trouble-makers and anti-national elements out to destroy the country and therefore should be ignored and marginalised?

If so, then the country is in deeper trouble than anyone realized and underlines the urgency and relevance of a change of government, which has not lost touch with the ground, and to really understand the truism of what Najib had said when he first became Prime Minister six years ago in April 2009 – that the era where the government knows best is over! Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib should speak up, tell police to “hands-off” Bilqis Hijjas and show Malaysia and the world that his government is not obsessed or afraid of yellow colour, T-shirts and balloons

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should speak up, tell the police to “hands-off” dancer/performer Bilqis Hijjas and show Malaysia and the world that his government is not obsessed or afraid of yellow colour, T-shirts and balloons.

Najib is still talking about accomplishing Vision 2020 objective of Malaysia becoming a fully developed nation although the father of Vision 2020, former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir has already passed judgment that Vision 2020 is not achievable.

Najib should therefore be reminded of the nine “strategic challenges” for Malaysia to accomplish the Vision 2020 objective of a fully developed nation, and the second “strategic challenge” is creating “a psychologically liberated, secure, and developed Malaysian Society with faith and confidence in itself, justifiably proud of what it is, of what it has accomplished, robust enough to face all manner of adversity. This Malaysian Society must be distinguished by the pursuit of excellence, fully aware of all its potentials, psychologically subservient to none, and respected by the peoples of other nations.”

Malaysia has failed miserably to achieve this second “strategic challenge” when the Malaysian government sees an enemy behind every bush and tree, and even worse as demonstrated by recent days, obsessed and even afraid of the yellow colour, T-shirts and now balloons!

Surely, Najib and his sycophants are not thinking of enacting a form of lese-majeste legislation to create a crime of offending the dignity of the Prime Minister and his wife? Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s anti-government protests: What’s next?

Ansuya Harjani
CNBC.com
August 31, 2015

Malaysia’s mammoth civil disobedience campaign has heightened pressure on scandal-ridden Prime Minister Najib Razak but is an imminent departure on the cards? Unlikely, analysts say.

The 61-year-old leader, who is no stranger to controversy, has most recently been accused of pocketing almost $700 million from troubled government fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Najib says the allegations are part of a malicious campaign to force him from office, while his cabinet ministers claim the funds were campaign donations from unnamed sources in the Middle East.

“[The] protests will pile on public pressure on Najib to resign. But unfortunately he’s in quite a strong position,” said James Chin, director of the Asia Institute at the University of Tasmania. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s political crisis in 5 numbers

Michael Peel
Financial Times
August 31, 2015

A marathon 34-hour rally in Malaysia at the weekend drew tens — perhaps even hundreds — of thousands to the streets of Kuala Lumpur to call for the resignation of Najib Razak, the scandal-hit prime minister. Mr Najib on Sunday vowed not to quit and accused the protesters of showing “poor national spirit” by demonstrating on the eve of the country’s National Day. The protest, known as Bersih — meaning “clean” in Malay — highlighted growing faultlines in the Southeast Asian country, as allegations of official corruption and abuses of power swirl. Here is the crisis in five numbers:

$675m : total of March 2013 transfers to accounts in Mr Najib’s name Read the rest of this entry »

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Huge Anti-Government Protests in Malaysia Continue For a Second Day

Nash Jenkins / Kuala Lumpur
Time
30th August 2015

Large Crowds Are Gathering to Demand the Ouster of Malaysia’s Prime Minister
Malaysia’s Anti-Graft Agency Says the Millions in Prime Minister Najib’s Accounts Are ‘Donations’

Saturday’s massive but harmonious anti-government demonstrations in Kuala Lumpur continued overnight and into Sunday morning as historical numbers of Malaysians gathered in the streets of the capital to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak.

“It’s what we need to do for the prime minister to hear our voices and realize we don’t need him anymore,” Abdul Muiz, a 26-year-old businessman in a plastic Guy Fawkes mask, told TIME early Sunday. “I think it’ll stay peaceful — the object is peaceful revolt, since we’re a peaceful nation.”

The marathon rally is expected to last until midnight on Sunday, which will mark the beginning of Merdeka Day, the anniversary of Malaysia’s independence from Britain in 1957. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s masses protest against corruption

Economist
Aug 30th 2015 | KUALA LUMPUR | Asia

A grand day out – Large but orderly marches keep the pressure on an embattled prime minister

TO LISTEN to the dire pronouncements from Malaysia’s authorities, you might have expected a riot. But the big rally which took place in Kuala Lumpur this weekend, organised by Bersih—an electoral reform group angered by allegations of corruption in government—was a calm and joyful affair. Bersih (which means “clean” in Malay) reckoned that 200,000 marched to the capital’s central square on Saturday afternoon to demand the resignation of the prime minister, Najib Razak; the police pegged the crowd at 30,000. Almost everyone wore Bersih’s signature yellow T-shirts—despite the government’s claim, at the eleventh hour, that they were illegal. One yellow-swathed campaigner waved a sunshine-yellow placard: “You can ban a T-shirt”, it read, “but you can’t ban an idea”.

The rally began at 2pm on Saturday and continued overnight. Parents came with teenage and grown-up children (infants were discouraged). Supporters on Twitter quoted lines from “Les Miserables”, and at least one rally chief tried to lead crowds in some of its tunes. A few campaigners sported bags that read “My prime minister embarrasses me”; one handy protestor had carved a pint-sized model of Mr Najib from polystyrene, which perched on a swing inside a cage. Read the rest of this entry »

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At least five Tuns think Najib should step down as Prime Minister – how many Tan Sris are of such thinking?

Yesterday, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said Umno needs more leaders and prospective leaders who are likeable and adaptable so that they can suit themselves to the environment and the people to ensure the party’s victory in the next general election.

As a result, I specially went through the 19 UMNO leaders in the 37-strong Najib Cabinet, and it is difficult to find more than one person who might qualify to be “likeable and adaptable” who can save UMNO from doom in the 14GE – the Minister for International Trade and Industry Datuk Mustapha Mohamad, but who is so sidelined from the centre of UMNO power politics that he cannot even save UMNO from PAS in Kelantan state general elections.

Until three months ago, second Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah might have qualified to be a “likeable and adaptable” UMNO leader to win back UMNO support, but he has proved to be so malleable as Cabinet spokeman for the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal (according to Tan Sri Muhyiddin in his last speech as Deputy Prime Minister to the UMNO Cheras Division on July 26, 2015) that he blotted his copybook and his credibility as a honest and trustworthy politician is in tatters.

It is indeed ironic that Najib is now talking about the need to have “likeable and adaptable” UMNO leaders to win back popular support for UMNO in 14GE when in his recent Cabinet reshuffle after sacking Muhyiddin as DPM and Shafie Apdal as Rural and Regional Development Minister, he promoted into the Cabinet or increased their public profile and importance in the Najib government people who are the very antithesis of his definition of “likeable and adaptable” leaders who can win back lost popular support for UMNO. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bangkit lawan penzalim adalah wira, kata Mufti Perlis

The Malaysian Insider
29 August 2015

Menjelang perhimpunan Bersih 4 hari ini, Mufti Perlis Datuk Dr Mohamad Asri Zainul Abidin berkata, sesiapa yang bangkit menentang si zalim yang kuat ataupun pengkhianat yang berkuasa, maka dia pastinya seorang wira.

Baginya, jika hanya wanita yang ramai dalam perhimpunan ini, ia memalukan, katanya yang dipercayai merujuk kepada pengerusi Bersih 2.0, penganjur Bersih 4, yang merupakan seorang wanita iaitu Maria Chin Abdullah.

“Memalukan bagi sesebuah masyarakat ataupun pihak jika tiada wira lelaki yang muncul, sebaliknya hanya wanita yang berani tampil bersuara dan bertindak,” kata beliau yang lebih dikenali sebagai Dr Maza. Read the rest of this entry »

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Interview: Malaysia’s Politics Amid the 1MDB Scandal

The Diplomat talks with Bridget Welsh about Malaysia’s corruption scandal and its implications for the country.

By Prashanth Parameswaran for The Diplomat
August 28, 2015

Bridget Welsh is a Senior Research Associate of the Center for East Asia Democracy of National Taiwan University, an Associate Fellow of The Habibie Center and a University Fellow of Charles Darwin University. She has written extensively on Malaysian politics among other issues in Southeast Asia.

She recently spoke with The Diplomat’s associate editor Prashanth Parameswaran about a high-profile corruption scandal – known as the 1MDB scandal – which implicates Malaysia’s current prime minister Najib Razak and could have profound implications not only for the country’s embattled premier, but its politics and economics more generally. An edited version of that interview follows.

Let’s start by talking about the scandal itself. There have been allegations that Najib had mismanaged funds linked to the debt-ridden state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Some have called the 1MDB scandal the biggest financial scandal Malaysia has experienced in its history. What is your view on how we should understand its significance?

The 1MBD scandal is the most serious scandal to affect Malaysia’s leadership directly, as it involves inadequately explained and accounted for funds deposited into Najib’s personal bank account alleged used for a deeply flawed general election in 2013. While charges of corruption, embezzlement and abuse of power have occurred before – particularly in the scandal-ridden administration of Najib – and have been tied to efforts to maintain political power and secure wealth by those in power, this scandal raises broader concerns about the integrity of Malaysia’s political institutions and the leadership’s economic governance. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib Razak, patrician premier mired in scandal

David Pilling
Financial Times
28th August 2015

Accusations swirling around the prime minister have transfixed Malaysia, writes David Pilling

This weekend tens of thousands of Malaysians will pour on to the streets of Kuala Lumpur to shout the name of their prime minister, Najib Razak. They will be coming not to praise him, but
to bury him. Among the most popular chants is likely to be “Tangkap Najib”, or “Arrest Najib”.

Now 61, with receding grey hair, neatly trimmed moustache and bespoke suits, Dato’ Sri Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, to give him his full title, can seem a dapper liberal with progressive views on economics and racial harmony. “Najib is the best hope for moderation and reform,” says Sholto Byrnes, senior fellow at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies.

Yet there is another side to Mr Najib, who has been prime minister since 2009, says John Malott, a former US ambassador to Malaysia. The real man, who at 23 became the youngest parliamentarian in his nation’s history, is, he says, neck-deep in the racially divisive, money-soaked politics of the United Malays National Organisation, which has governed
continuously for nearly six decades. The “fake, Najib”, he says, is the product of millions of dollars spent on slick public relations. Read the rest of this entry »

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All about the issues, not yellow, words or numbers

COMMENTARY BY JAHABAR SADIQ, EDITOR
The Malaysian Insider
29 August 2015

Before 6pm yesterday, one of the best jokes in Malaysia was in the form of a riddle. It went like this: why did the chicken cross the road?

Because Tun was on this side.

But after 6pm yesterday, the better joke was that wearing anything yellow with “Bersih 4” was now illegal.

One specific colour, one specific word and one specific number.

Of course, this isn’t the first time such a ban has been gazetted. It happened for Bersih 2 way back in 2011. People ignored it then, people will ignore it now. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia Braces for Protests Against Prime Minister Najib

By JAMES HOOKWAY
Wall Street Journal
Aug. 28, 2015

Malaysian police were bracing Friday for what is expected to be a massive weekend protest in Kuala Lumpur against Prime Minister Najib Razak’s management of the economy and the growing debt problems at a state investment fund.

Authorities said the planned protest is illegal while the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, a government agency, said in a statement it would block websites promoting or encouraging the demonstration, which is set to begin near Merdeka, or Independence, Square in the center of Kuala Lumpur on Saturday. The government also announced that it was against the law to wear yellow T-shirts in support of the rally.

The moves reflect Mr. Najib’s growing resolve to stay in power after it emerged that nearly $700 million was deposited into his bank accounts shortly before 2013’s national elections. Last month he sacked then-Deputy Premier Muhyiddin Yassin after Mr. Muhyiddin called on Mr. Najib to explain the worsening situation at the investment fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB. Mr. Najib also promoted four members of a parliamentary committee investigating 1MDB to the cabinet, meaning they could no longer stay on the panel. The following day, he replaced the country’s attorney-general, who was also involved in an investigation into 1MDB, ahead of his scheduled retirement date in October. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia political crisis poised for street showdown

Michael Peel in Bangkok and David Pilling in Hong Kong
Financial Times
August 28, 2015

Malaysia’s growing political crisis is on the brink of a showdown as tens of thousands of protesters prepare to pour on to the capital’s streets in an effort to topple Najib Razak, the scandal-hit prime minister.

The mass demonstration this weekend known as Bersih — or “clean” — is aimed at forcing the premier’s resignation, after it emerged that unexplained payments of almost $700m were made into bank accounts in his name.

The country’s anti-corruption commission has said the money was from unspecified Middle Eastern donors, rather than Malaysian state coffers. But critics claim the transactions are linked to huge debts run up by a state investment fund, whose troubles some see as emblematic of the misrule of the premier’s long-dominant United Malays National Organisation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia braces for major protests against PM Najib Razak

BBC News

Thousands of Malaysians are set to protest in the capital Kuala Lumpur and elsewhere, calling for Prime Minister Najib Razak to step down over a financial scandal.

He has faced public anger over a $700m (£455m) payment made to his bank account from unnamed foreign donors.

It was discovered last month during a probe into alleged mismanagement at the debt-laden state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Mr Najib has denied any wrongdoing. Read the rest of this entry »

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