Archive for category Najib Razak

Swiss 1MDB probe holds fat tail risks for Malaysia

By Una Galani
Reuters Breakingviews
February 1, 2016

It’s hard to bury a big scandal. That is the awkward lesson that Najib Razak is learning. The Malaysian prime minister is attempting to draw a line under a multi-pronged financial controversy that almost toppled him. But initial findings from Switzerland’s attorney general that around $4 billion may have been misappropriated from Malaysian state firms is a sharp reminder of the lingering threat posed by foreign investigations.

Even by the standards of Malaysian politics, it has been an extraordinary few days. On Jan. 26, the country’s chief prosecutor concluded that $681 million that was transferred into the Prime Minister’s personal account in 2013 was a donation from the royal family in Saudi Arabia, not money from 1Malaysia Development Berhad, an indebted fund he championed. Najib was cleared of graft. Three days later, however, Swiss authorities published preliminary conclusions from its own probe into 1MDB which found that billions may have been squirreled away between 2009 and 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia stifles dissent as public unrest grows

Jeevan Vasagar and Michael Peel
Financial Times
February 2, 2016

Malaysia’s government has been battered by international allegations of corruption on a grand scale — yet at home prime minister Najib Razak appears as secure as ever.

While Kuala Lumpur is under pressure from global regulators, with both Switzerland and Singapore shining a light on alleged misconduct, the prime minister’s tightened grip on power has raised concern about growing authoritarianism.

Over the past six months, as controversy raged over $680m transfers into his bank account, Mr Najib has replaced the country’s attorney-general and sacked a critical deputy prime minister. Meanwhile, his administration has imposed travel bans on opponents and rushed through legislation Malaysia’s bar council describes as a “lurch towards an authoritarian government”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Foreign governments pile pressure on Malaysia over financial scandals

The Malaysian Insider
2 February 2016

Malaysia may have absolved its prime minister in a huge corruption scandal, but foreign authorities investigating suspicious global fund flows are making clear the affair is far from over and that the net may be tightening.

Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali last week cleared Datuk Seri Najib Razak of wrongdoing in accepting a mysterious US$681 million payment (RM2.6 billion) from overseas, sparking accusations of a cover-up in a case that has shaken Najib’s government to its core.

But within days, authorities in Switzerland and Singapore upped the pressure, pointedly responding that investigations into an array of Malaysian money movements were forging ahead and releasing new information. Read the rest of this entry »

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More images of ‘clown-faced’ Najib emerge online

Malaysiakini
Feb 2, 2016

Kita semua penghasut

Graphic artists are fighting back against the police warning issued to artist Fahmi Reza, by posting their own version of his sketch of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak with a clown face.

Fahmi received the warning that he is under police surveillance, after he posted a sketch of Najib, with the face looking like a clown, for an anti-Sedition Act campaign.
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A simple and straightforward answer of “Yes” or “No” from Apandi whether he tried to persuade Swiss Attorney-General to drop 1MDB-related investigations last September

The Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali should give a simple and straightforward answer of “Yes” or “No” whether he had tried to persuade the Swiss Attorney-General Michael Lauber to drop 1MDB-related investigations, and if so, the reasons for his request and whether he had the sanction of the Prime Minister or the Cabinet for such a request to his Swiss counterpart.

The attempt by the Malaysian authorities to get the Swiss Attorney-General’s Office to drop 1MDB-related investigations came to light in the Reuters report entitled “Swiss AG suspects US$4 billion (RM16.6 billion) misappropriated, seeks Malaysia’s help” last Friday which referred to a meeting in Zurich in September last year where Lauber had discussed the 1MDB case with his Malaysian counterpart.

The Reuters report stated:

“Sources familiar with the September discussion between the two law enforcement officials said that the Malaysian official strongly urged Lauber to abandon his 1MDB-related investigation.”

If Apandi had tried to persuade the Swiss authorities to drop its 1MDB-related investigations, then his recent statement that he will co-operate with his Swiss counterparts regarding 1MDB-related investigations will have to be taken with a huge pinch of salt. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib Razak puts Malaysia’s reputation at risk over mind-boggling donations scandal

EDITORIAL
Sydney Morning Herald
February 2, 2016

It’s almost a year since Malaysia’s highest court upheld the five-year jail sentence of former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on a dubious charge of sodomy.

So, from the spartan jail cell with a squat toilet and a thin foam mattress on the floor as described by his lawyers, Mr Anwar is not in a position to comment on the deteriorating state of democracy in his country.

We can’t know whether he shares the dismay and despair of many ordinary Malaysians at the wave of repression that has occurred since his jailing. We don’t know what he thinks about the government’s attempts to keep a lid on the mind-boggling scandal in which a $US681 million no-strings-attached gift attributed to the Saudi royal family found its way into Prime Minister Najib Razak’s personal bank account. But we could guess.

This week Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali issued a “move along, nothing to see” order to anyone worried about the donation of such a princely sum to a sitting Prime Minister’s personal bank account in a country claiming to be a representative democracy. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Observer view on corruption in Malaysia

Observer editorial
Sunday 31 January 2016

There is, rightly, widespread concern over Najib and a democratic deficit

Dato’ Sri Mohamed Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak was born to rule. Son of Malaysia’s second post-independence prime minister and nephew of its third, he entered parliament at the age of 23, inheriting his father’s seat and was handed several senior portfolios before being appointed prime minister himself in 2009.

Najib heads the powerful United Malays National Organisation (Umno), the pre-eminent political force. His national and personal dominance symbolises the bumiputera (ethnic Malay) ascendancy in a country with large, constitutionally disadvantaged ethnic Indian and Chinese minorities.

But as the intense firestorm sparked by last week’s arbitrary dismissal of potentially career-ending corruption allegations against him suggests, Najib is also seen by growing numbers of fellow citizens as unfit to rule the country whose leadership he inherited as if by right. His time in government, especially since the 2013 general election, has brought an expansion of repressive laws, multiplying human rights abuses and curbs on media freedoms more reminiscent of Russia than of a supposedly functional, pro-western democracy closely allied to Britain and the US. Read the rest of this entry »

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What would have happened to me if I had RM2.6 billion in my bank account deposited from foreign sources?

The Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali has rejected the investigations and recommendations of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and exonerated Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak of any wrongdoing or crime in the RM2.6 billion donation and RM42 million SRC International scandals, deciding that no charges would be brought against Najib and even instructing MACC to close all investigations on the matters with regard to Najib.

The immediate reaction of shock and outrage by the MACC special operations director Bahri Mohd Zin to the Attorney-General’s decisions and his comment that the MACC would “most likely” to appeal against the AG decision as the cases were so “straightforward” was a mere understatement considering the firestorm the AG’s decision sparked both inside the country and world-wide.

For the past six days, Malaysia was the “bad boy” of the international media, flayed as a country where the Rule of Law is treated as a joke because of the AG’s decision – a sober reminder to the Najib government that Malaysia operates in an open international society and borderless world where everyone of its decisions and actions must be able to stand up to international scrutiny.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamid did his image as the No. 2 in the country no favours when he tried to stop the conflagration of the the firestorm over the Attorney-General’s decision when he said a few hours after the AG’s announcement that “no one should question the competence or independence of Malaysia’s institutions or our legal process” – for Zahid was acting like Canute trying to stop the tide.

What would have happened to me if I had RM2.6 billion in my bank account deposited from foreign sources? Read the rest of this entry »

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Swiss wreck efforts by Malaysia to contain 1MDB scandal

Michael Peel in Bangkok and Jeevan Vasagar in Singapore
Financial Times
January 31, 2016

Malaysia’s leaders are battling the most severe international pressure yet over alleged large-scale corruption after Switzerland torpedoed efforts to contain the growing scandal around the 1MDB investment fund.

Kuala Lumpur’s attempts to play down an affair that has rocked the country and embroiled Najib Razak, the prime minister, have been derailed by a Swiss criminal investigation that said on Friday it found “serious indications“ that about $4bn was misappropriated. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib is notching up a great shame and infamy for Malaysia when we are overtaken by China and even Indonesia in both TI CPI ranking and score within a decade

Durian Tunggal is in the Alor Gajah parliamentary seat, which is the fourth parliamentary constituency I am visiting Malacca today and the 79th parliamentary constituency I am visiting since my six-month suspension from Parliament on Oct. 22. The other parliamentary constituencies I visited today are Masjid Tanah, Tangga Batu and Bukit Katil.

I have been suspended from Parliament not because I had committed any crime or wrongdoing like theft, robbery, murder or corruption, but because I wanted the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to give full and satisfactory accountability for the world-class RM2.6 billion “donation” and RM55 billion 1MDB twin mega scandals.

It is because of the refusal of the Najib administration to live up to the principles and precepts of accountability, integrity and good governance that Malaysia had been named third in the world’s “worst corruption scandals in 2015” by the Foreign Policy website and the reason why Malaysia fell four places in the latest Transparency International (TI) 2015 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) ranking released on Wednesday compared to the previous year – now ranked No. 54 with a CPI score of 50/100.

Malaysia was ranked 50th among 175 countries in 2014 but dropped to 54th among 168 countries in 2015.

Malaysia’s ranking in the TI CPI 2015 could have been lower, as five countries, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Puerto Rico and St Vincent – which had been ranked higher than Malaysia – were excluded due to technical reasons like not meeting three minimum secondary sources for research.

In the TI CPI 2004, Bahamas was ranked No. 24, Barbados No. 17, Dominica No. 39, Puerto Rico No. 31 and St Vincent No. 29.

If these five countries which rank higher than Malaysia had been included, Malaysia’s ranking in 2015 would be between 59 to 60 instead of 54.

Furthermore, if the TI CPI 2015 ranking had taken into consideration the shocking announcement by the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali rejecting the recommendations of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and exonerating Najib from any wrongdoing or crime for the RM2.6 billion donation scandal, Malaysia would have fallen to an even lower ranking in the TI CPI, probably Malaysia’s lowest ranking in TI CPI history since 1995 and be consigned to between No. 65 – 70 in the TI CPI ranking!

This why I had demanded for full accountability in Parliament for Najib’s world-class twin mega scandals, but instead I have been suspended for six months from Parliament. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call for Royal Commission of Inquiry into Najib’s world-class twin mega scandals as nobody expects the truth to be revealed if the matters are left solely to normal government investigations or even the PAC

The Attorney-General, Tan Sri Mohd Apandi Ali’s rejection of the investigations and recommendations of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and exoneration of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak of any crime or wrongdoing in the RM2.6 billion donation and RM42 million SRC International scandals have convinced the overwhelming majority of Malaysians that they cannot get to the bottom of the Najib scandals from the ordinary government investigation and enforcement agencies and processes.

After the “purges” at the end of July last year, where Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Senior Minister for Rural and Regional Development, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal and the Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail were sacked; arrest or immediate transfer of key officers in major investigative agencies like the Attorney-General’s Chambers, Bank Negara, the MACC and the Police associated with demands that there should be full and fearless investigation into the twin mega scandals; and the four-month derailment of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) investigations into 1MDB and the subsequent appointment of a “cari makan” Chairman for the PAC, many entertained doubts that the truths about the Najib twin mega scandals could be uncovered by normal investigative and enforcement agencies and processes.

The last nail in the coffin of those who still harboured “hope against hopes” that the normal investigative and enforcement agencies could produce results in the probes into Najib’s twin mega scandals was the Attorney-General’s decision to reject MACC’s recommendations and to exonerate Najib of any wrongdoing by deciding that no charges would be brought against the Prime Minister. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib proven wrong that his twin mega scandals are no more issues as they have become even bigger than in the past and gone fully international

The Sembrong Parliamentary constituency which covers the two State Assembly seats of Kahang and Paloh is the 75th parliamentary constituency I am visiting since my six-month suspension from Parliament on 22nd October last year because the Najib administration refused to give full and satisfactory accountability for his two world-class mega scandals – the RM2.6 billion donation and the RM55 billion 1MDB scandals.

Wherever I went, regardless of whether they are Chinese, Malays, Indians, Kadazans or Ibans, Malaysians are united in their demand that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should come full and clean on his two world-class mega scandals.

Ever since the beginning of the new year, Najib had been declaring that his twin mega-scandals were no more issues as they had been resolved, but the opposite was the case – as Najib’s twin mega scandals have become even bigger than in the past and gone fully international.

Najib’s RM2.6 billion and RM55 billion 1MDB twin mega scandals were the reasons why Malaysia was placed as the No. 3 in the world in the “worst corruption scandals in 2015”.

They were also the chief reason why Malaysia had dropped another four notches in the latest Transparency International 2015 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) ranking compared to the previous year, announced a few days ago. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Companies Switzerland Says Are Linked to Malaysia’s 1MDB Scandal

By TOM WRIGHT and BRADLEY HOPE
Wall Street Journal
Jan. 30, 2016

Swiss attorney general’s office is examining allegations of criminal activity from 2009 to 2013

The Swiss attorney general’s announcement that $4 billion may have been misappropriated from Malaysian state-owned companies opened a new front in the troubles facing 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB, the state-investment fund set up by Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2009.

Switzerland’s top prosecutor on Friday named a number of firms in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi in relation to the matter, but gave no details of their roles, if any.

The attorney general’s office said it is examining allegations of criminal activity from 2009 to 2013 relating to PetroSaudi International Ltd., a Saudi oil company; SRC International Sdn Bhd, a unit of Malaysia’s Finance Ministry; Malaysian companies Genting Group and Tanjong PLC; and a joint venture between 1MDB and an Abu Dhabi sovereign-wealth fund called the Abu Dhabi Malaysia Investment Company.

The investigation is one of a series of global probes into 1MDB. A Malaysian government investigation last year found that almost $700 million entered Mr. Najib’s alleged bank accounts via agencies, companies and banks linked to 1MDB ahead of a close election in 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

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“It never rains but it pours” best describes Najib’s world-class twin mega-scandals and the serious multi-faceted Malaysian crisis today

Ever since the beginning of the new year, the Prime Minister and his advisers-propagandists have been hard at work to manufacture a mirage for Malaysians, that all is fine in Malaysia and the multitude of political, economic, good governance and nation-building crisis converging in the country are the mere publicity creations of Opposition politicians and anti-Barisan Nasional NGOs and electronic media which have no grounding in reality.

Hence the up-beat 2016 New Year Message by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak that his world-class twin mega scandals have been resolved and no more issues in the country, which is supposed to be solidified by the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali’s exoneration of Najib earlier this week of any crime or wrongdoing in the RM2.6 billion donation and RM42 million SRC International scandals.

But Najib’s “house of cards” that everything is fine in Malaysia started to tumble down immediately when the response to the Attorney-General’s exoneration of Najib, both locally and internationally, was one of shock, outrage and rejection resulting in an ongoing controversy as to whether Malaysia’s parliamentary democracy and constitution permitted an Attorney-General to act like a dictator with no regard to the fundamental precept of the Rule of Law that “every legal power must have legal limits”.

In the past 24 hours, the saying “It never rains but it pours” seems to best describe Najib’s world-class twin mega scandals and the serious multi-faceted Malaysian crisis today. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal is denting growth

Leslie Shaffer
CNBC
29th January 2016

Thought the long-running political scandal over Malaysia’s deeply indebted sovereign fund was over?

It isn’t and the festering scandal is likely to weigh on the economy and may eventually spur a ratings downgrade, Oxford Economics says.

That’s bad news for Malaysia, which is already suffering from a slide in the price of commodities, an important chunk of the economy and a key source of revenue for the government. The currency has tumbled and the government’s debt levels have climbed, fueling investor concerns.

“Just as it appeared that the long-running scandal over state investment company 1MDB had been satisfactorily resolved, the issue has reignited with an appeal against the ruling exonerating the prime minister,” Christine Shields, lead economist at Oxford Economics, said in a note Friday. “The issue is a real worry as it is eroding confidence and contributing to risk aversion about the country.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Does Hadi support Attorney-General Apandi’s decision that Prime Minister Najib has done no wrong in the RM2.6 billion donation and RM42 million SRC International scandals and that the AG has “absolute discretion” on these matters

The one consuming issue in the last three days both in the country and the world about Malaysia is not the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) rammed through both House of Parliament in a Special Parliament session or the recalibration of the 2016 Budget announced by the Prime Minister-cum-Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today, but the decision of the Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali on Tuesday exonerating Najib of any crime and that no charges would be brought against him in the RM2.6 billion donation and RM42 million SRC International scandals.

Both TPPA and the recalibration of the 2016 Budget were completely overshadowed by the latest scandal emanating from the Attorney-General, which shocked and stunned the nation as to how the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigations and recommendations on the two scandals concerning the RM2.6 billion political donation and RM42 million from SRC International transferred into Najib’s personal bank accounts could be so easily shunted aside by the Attorney-General.

In fact, nobody seemed to have noticed that the TPPA was debated and passed by Dewan Negara today and Najib’s announcement on the recalibration of the 2016 Budget did not receive as much attention as Apandi’s decision 48 hours ago to exonerate Najib.

This has resulted in a boiling controversy as to whether the Attorney-General’s decision on Najib’s RM2.6 billion donation scandal and the transfer of RM42 million from SRC International into Najib’s personal accounts can be legally challenged.

This is the stand taken by Apandi himself, who declared that any questioning of the Attorney-General goes against the Federal Constitution and that it is illegal for any panel or body to be formed for that specific purpose. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Chosen, Frozen & Beholden Ones!

By Martin Jalleh

The Chosen, Frozen & Beholden Ones!

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The threat Najib poses to Malaysia’s reputation

Financial Times
January 27, 2016

Opaque payments to the PM raise fears over the nation’s body politic

Events this week have done nothing to dispel a growing sense that Najib Razak has been a disastrous prime minister for Malaysia. Just 24 hours after the country’sattorney-general found that Mr Najib had no case to answer over a $680m sum paid into his personal bank account, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission announced it would seek a review of this ruling.

Separately, it emerged that Tim Leissner, a senior Goldman Sachs banker and the driving force behind deals with a troubled Malaysian state investment fund, had taken “personal leave” and returned to the US.

Mr Najib and 1MDB, the state fund with which Goldman Sachs worked, deny they are guilty of any crimes.

But the web of allegations and investigations swirling around the prime minister and his affairs are damaging Malaysia’s international reputation and deepening a public trust deficit at home. Read the rest of this entry »

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Will AG Apandi institute criminal defamation proceeding in any one of the following five criminal defamation cases against DAP leaders?

Yesterday, the Pandan MP and PKR vice president, Rafizi Rami was found guilty of criminal defamation by the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court and fined RM1,800 – RM200 short of the RM2,000 fine which would have resulted in his disqualification as Member of Parliament and a parliamentary by-election.

In my five decades in Malaysian politics, DAP leaders and I have often been the target of criminal defamation by our political opponents, particularly from, but not confined to, UMNO quarters.

I will like to ask the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali, whether criminal defamation proceedings would be instituted in any one of the following five cases of criminal defamation against DAP leaders, viz:

1. Accusation that I had caused the May 13, 1969 racial riots in Kuala Lumpur, leading illegal street processions in Kuala Lumpur with anti-Malay slogans and abuses when I was never in Kuala Lumpur in the relevant period – as I was in Malacca where I was elected as Member of Parliament on May 11 and 12, 1969 and Kota Kinabalu on May 13 to campaign for independent candidates in Sabah as polling in Sabah was a week after Peninsular Malaysia, facts which would still be in the police archives.

2. That DAP was opposed to Article 3 of the Malaysian Constitution and wanted to create a Christian Malaysia, which was a downright lie as the proposal of a Christian Malaysia was never broached at any party function at any level or by any DAP leader in 50 years of DAP.

3. That the Israelis offered RM1.2 billion to DAP for the 13th General Election campaign in exchange for DAP agreement for an Israeli naval base in Port Dickson, a complete concoction without any iota of truth.

4. That the Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and the DAP/Pakatan Harapan Penang State Government had approved a casino license, a total lie as the authority to approve casino license was under the jurisdiction and in the hands of the Federal Government and not State Government.

5. That DAP supported Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) because the Chinese control trade in Malaysia.

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Good governance, the end of rampant corruption and widespread socio-economic injustices like Najib’s twin mega scandals are the best antidotes to fight extremism and terrorism, including Islamic State (IS)

At the International Conference on Deradicalisation and Countering Violent Extremism (IDC) yesterday, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said he made no apology for stopping at nothing to ensure the security and safety of Malaysians, referring in particular to the slew of draconian laws in the arsenal of the Malaysian government.

Najib’s statement to the IDC, aimed at discussing and boosting co-operation between security agencies from ASEAN and nine strategic partners including Australia, France, Italy, Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Britain and the United States, as well as discussing policies of the respective countries on deradicalisation and countering extremism, had failed to grasp the full spectrum of the threats, brutality and barbarity posed by movements like Islamic State (IS).

While far-reaching security laws are necessary, Najib and all world leaders must never lose sight of the fact that good governance, the end of rampant corruption and widespread socio-economic injustices like Najib’s twin mega scandals are the best antidotes to fight extremism and terrorism, including Islamic State (IS).

It is unfortunate that Najib had named the National Security Council (NSC) Bill as one of the necessary draconian laws to fight terrorism, as the threat of terrorism and in particular the Islamic State (IS) was never mentioned in Parliament, whether in Dewan Rakyat or Dewan Negara, as the raison d’etre why the NSC Bill was necessary. Read the rest of this entry »

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