Archive for category UMNO

Malaysia’s Edge Group Publications Suspended

By John Berthelsen
Asia Sentinel
July 24, 2015

Government action comes as owner, publisher, say they obtained documents through a ruse

The Edge Financial Daily, the country’s leading financial newspaper, and The Edge Weekly have been suspended from publishing for three months by Malaysian authorities for reporting on the scandal-tarred 1 Malaysia Development Bhd development fund that authorities said was “prejudicial or likely to be prejudicial to public order, security or likely to alarm public opinion.” It also stated that the reporting on 1MDB was “likely to be prejudicial to public and national interest.”

The suspension is unprecedented. Last week, the government also blocked The Sarawak Report, written by Clare Rewcastle Brown from the UK, which has been equally critical of the government. Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has been tied directly to the scandal by reports that US$680 million had been spirited from 1MDB-related companies into his personal accounts.

Tong Kooi Ong, the owner of The Edge Group, and Ho Kay Tat, the publisher, have both been threatened with arrest. Ho was forced to report to the police on July 22 and was questioned for two hours over the paper’s publication of a 3,800 word on July 21 report describing in deep detail, with flow charts, how money had flowed out of 1MDB into PetroSaudi International, a Middle East-based oil exploration company, and that US$1.83 billion allegedly was stolen by company officers and others. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib intends to roll on, not over

Economist
Jul 25th 2015 | KUALA LUMPUR

Soldiering on – Malaysia’s prime minister battles claims of corruption

WHATEVER the truth of them, the accusations levelled against Najib Razak, Malaysia’s prime minister, have astonished a country that some had thought inured to scandal. In early July the Wall Street Journal reported that it had seen documents produced by government investigators suggesting that nearly $700m from companies linked to a troubled state-backed investment fund had been paid into what they believed to be Mr Najib’s personal bank accounts. With worries about an oil-dependent economy, the controversy is the last thing Malaysia needs.

The allegation is that the money was received shortly before the general election in 2013, in which a coalition dominated by Mr Najib’s party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) scraped home, despite narrowly losing the popular vote. The prime minister helped launch the fund, known as 1MDB, in 2009 and chairs its board of advisers. It has acquired land and power plants, yet has struggled to service debts of around $11 billion. The firm’s affairs were already the subject of official investigations, but until this month no one had claimed to have evidence that the prime minister himself had received any money. Read the rest of this entry »

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Keris waving: A decade later

— Liew Chin Tong
The Malay Mail Online
July 20, 2015

JULY 20 — A decade ago on 20th July 2005, the then Umno Youth chief Hishammudin Hussein gave his infamous keris-wielding speech during the Umno Youth General Assembly, in a gesture that has come to symbolise Umno’s turn to right-wing politics since then.

His act of Keris waving is arguably the image that defined the last decade of Malaysian politics. Coupled together with Umno’s right turn, it paved the way for Umno’s dramatic decline.

The Keris waving act was part of the push to the right by certain groups within Umno during the 2005 Umno General Assembly.

The resolution of the said General Assembly was the introduction of a “Malay Agenda” and the reintroduction of the New Economic Policy, which had been downplayed in the early 1990s .

The keris waving act and Umno’s right turn did not gain Umno much new Malay support as the Malay middle ground dislikes harsh and extreme acts. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia PM Najib ready to take on raging bull Mahathir

Rowan Callick
Asia Pacific Editor
The Australian
July 18, 2015

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been under political siege for the two years since ­support for his UMNO-led ­coal­ition, which has ruled since independence in 1957, slid to less than 50 per cent at the last election.

The attacks — from outside and from within his own political camp — have intensified in recent months, becoming increasingly more personal, with a series of claims of corruption.

He has now begun to fight back, launching — and threatening to launch — defamation cases within Malaysia and overseas, ­including against Fairfax newspapers in Australia and The Wall Street Journal.

The opposition grouping led by Anwar Ibrahim attracted more voters at the 2013 general election, but failed to win power due to the gerrymander that gives rural ­ethnic Malay voters an overwhelming advantage. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia should develop a “hysteria index” to monitor which Minister is the most hysterical in the defence of the Prime Minister in face of mounting exposes about the 1MDB and other scandals

A new political phenomenon seems to have developed in Malaysian politics especially at the Cabinet level – with the competition among Ministers as to who could become more hysterical in the defence of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the face of mounting exposes about the 1MDB and other scandals.

Without going too far back in time, the two Ministers competing to be the most hysterical Minister in the past three days are indisputably the Minister for Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan and the Minister for Communications and Multimedia, Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek.

Self-styling himself as Barisan Nasional strategic communications director (which no other BN leader apart from Najib would have heard of), Abdul Rahman went into an overdrive in championing a dubious mercenary character thinking that he could deliver a “killer blow” to the Opposition and therefore found a path leading to his unstoppable political elevation to the stratosphere of Najib’s political empire. Read the rest of this entry »

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Overcoming the legacy of patronage politics

By Bloomberg editors
10th July 2015

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak may very well be, as he insists, innocent of charges that nearly US$700 million (RM2.65 billion) in government-linked funds ended up in his personal accounts. But his handling of the scandal thus far has only underscored weaknesses in the Malaysian political system.

The accusations against Najib revolve around the finances of 1MDB – a debt-ridden state investment company whose advisory board he chairs. In early July, the Wall Street Journal reported that hundreds of millions of dollars may have moved through agencies linked to 1MDB and landed in accounts controlled by the prime minister.

Najib has alleged a political conspiracy to undermine him and vowed not to resign. He’s threatened to sue the Journal, while Malaysian police have launched a probe into how reporters obtained the evidence for its story. The Journal has said it stands by its reporting.

Whatever the facts of the case, Najib inhabits a system that has long suffered from allegations of cronyism. His United Malays National Organisation (Umno) has dominated the government since independence in 1957, in part through gerrymandering and affirmative-action policies that favor the Malay majority. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sudah sampai masanya orang kampung diberitahu perkara sebenar

Amin Iskandar
The Malaysian Insider
12 July 2015

Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor mengatakan semalam “orang kampung” jangan menyangka kehidupan di kota besar Kuala Lumpur lebih baik berbanding di luar bandar.

Menurut menteri Wilayah Persekutuan itu, ini kerana kos kehidupan di kota besar jauh lebih tinggi dan menyebabkan sesetengah penduduk luar bandar yang mempunyai cita-cita untuk hidup mewah akhirnya menjadi gelandangan.

Benar apa yang dikatakan setiausaha agung Umno itu. Di luar bandar jika kita diwariskan tanah keluarga, sekurang-kurangnya kita ada tempat tinggal.

Barangkali sudah sampai masanya Tengku Adnan yang dikenali sebagai Ku Nan dan Umno memberitahu penduduk luar bandar perkara sebenar tentang Malaysia.

Selama ini, penduduk luar bandar hanya diberitahu “cerita-cerita yang indah” saja tentang Malaysia sehingga ramai tertipu dan berhijrah ke kota besar di Kuala Lumpur dan akhirnya merempat.

Oleh kerana kebanyakan penduduk luar bandar selama ini hanya mendapat berita daripada Utusan Malaysia, RTM dan TV3, mereka mungkin tidak berapa tahu tentang Malaysia yang sebenar. Read the rest of this entry »

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Cut losses in 30 BN bastions, DAP strategist says in polls gambit

The Malay Mail Online
July 10, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, July 10 — The opposition should forgo 30 Barisan Nasional (BN) strongholds in its bid for Putrajaya and focus resources on 38 marginal seats to make Umno fall like dominoes, a DAP strategist said today.

Liew Chin Tong, the DAP election planner whose brazen plan to contest against Umno in its stronghold state Johor in Election 2013 saw Pakatan Rakyat taking five out of 26 seats, said the opposition should not stretch itself by trying to take seats where the odds of victory are low.

“Let’s be clear, elections are won or lost in marginal seats. For the new Opposition coalition to form the next government which is stable and with a strong legitimacy, defeating Umno in the Peninsula has to be the priority.

“But to cause Umno to fall like dominoes, we should not set our sights on its strongholds but work on where it is weakest: the marginal seats,” the DAP national political education director said in his analysis titled “The Peninsula Dominoes”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fissures appear in Umno as crisis deepens

By Bridget Welsh
Malaysiakini
Jul 10, 2015

COMMENT As Prime Minister and Finance Minister Najib Razak faces explosive allegations of embezzlement, corruption and electoral manipulation that go to the very core of his leadership and the legitimacy of his government, the country is plunged into yet another crisis.

Sadly crises have become common developments of the Najib government, whose responses to 1MDB even before the revelations by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) brought to the fore questions of economic mismanagement which has undermined the reputation of the Malaysia’s financial institutions.

For many, the issue at hand is what Najib will do – he has already done serious damage to the country and unfortunately every day he stays in office, his leadership negatively affects the country’s reputation. Not only is Malaysia’s international credibility is on the line, its currency, access to foreign capital and future economic prosperity are at risk.

Unlike his father, Malaysia’s second premier Abdul Razak Hussien, Najib has apparently chosen to put himself first rather than the country. During his tenure, Najib has distinguished himself from Dr Mahathir Mohamad in his effectiveness in using the country’s political institutions to strengthen his personal position. He has indeed taken the office of the prime minister to a new low.

Najib deserves a fair and impartial investigation of the allegations made by WSJ. This can be done if he opts to go on leave during the investigation period and appoints respected impartial individuals to lead the investigation. Neither of these have been done so far, as the approach has been to issue denials, thus raising suspicions of a potential cover-up, and this sends conflicting signals about the investigation.

In a ‘fox guarding the hen house dynamic,’ members of the task force assigned to investigate are neither impartial nor distant from developments. In some cases, their job was to review these bank transactions and as such should also be subject to an independent investigation in their failure to act before the WSJ report. The lack on impartiality of the task force does not build credibility, especially in international markets.

Najib’s decision to hold onto power and stay in office compromises any investigation due to the inherent conflict of interests involved and this assures that any departure will be an even harder landing for himself, his family, his political party, Umno, and worst of all, the country. Read the rest of this entry »

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Going on leave best of 3 options for Najib, says Musa Hitam

by V. Anbalagan
The Malaysian Insider
10 July 2015

Embattled Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has three options to consider for his immediate future as he wards off allegations that US$700 million (RM2.67 billion) was transferred into his personal bank accounts, Tun Musa Hitam told The Malaysian Insider.

The former deputy prime minister said Najib could: 1) remain in office and fight the allegations, 2) resign as prime minister and, 3) go on leave pending the investigations by a special government task force.

On a personal note, Musa said he would prefer it if Najib took the third option to allow for an open and transparent investigation.

Speaking exclusively to The Malaysian Insider yesterday, the 81-year Musa said he could no longer sit quietly as the issue gripped the nation. 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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Scandal in Malaysia

Wall Street Journal
July 5, 2015

Evidence that a state-owned fund diverted money to the Prime Minister.

The Journal broke the news Friday that Malaysian government investigators have discovered evidence of potential corruption involving Prime Minister Najib Razak. Almost $700 million linked to the state-owned investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB, was allegedly transferred into his personal accounts. Neither the original source or ultimate destination of the money is clear.

Mr. Najib’s office put out a statement that “there have been concerted efforts by certain individuals to undermine confidence in our economy, tarnish the government and remove a democratically-elected prime minister.” It called the Journal article a “continuation of this political sabotage.”

The size of the alleged diversion is shocking, but the abuse of public entities for private gain is politics as usual in Malaysia. The scandal is a case study in the effects of one-party rule by the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) on the country’s institutions. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on progressive UMNO leaders to support the patriotic call for the scrapping of auction rights of “Patriot” number plates to Yayasan Patriot Negara Malaysia (YPNM)

I am pleasantly surprised that an UMNO State Assemblyman, Tengku Putra Haron Aminurrashid (Kempas – Johor) has spoken up against the ludicrous, disgraceful and most unpatriotic decision granting auction rights of “Patriot” number plates to Yayasan Patriot Negara Malaysia (YPNM) purportedly to promote “patriotism”.

Although the language used by the Kempas UMNO Assemblyman is rather down-to-earth, he undoubtedly expressed the feelings of the majority of Malaysians when he said that the Ministers who allowed an NGO to auction the “Patriot” vanity plates have effectively put “patriotism” on their “backside”.

Have decency, civility and good sense in Malaysia at the Cabinet level gone to the dogs that Ministers can approve such a mercenary and cheap-skate idea of auctioning “Patriot” number plates, as if those who used money to use the “Patriot” number plates are the greatest patriots in the country – even more “patriotic” than the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers and ordinary Cabinet Ministers?

Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (who approved the hare-brained scheme when he was Acting Transport Minister) and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for the “Patriot” number plates auction decision and I fully agree with Tengku Putra Haron that “the application should have been shot down upon presentation”.

His question whether the Cabinet had approved the “Patriot” number plate auction scheme deserves an answer from the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself. Read the rest of this entry »

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UMNO party polls deferred by 18 months is in one sense good news as Najib will be an easier target in 14GE with avalanche of scandals and continued festering of internal UMNO warfare

In one sense, the 18-month postponement of UMNO party polls is good news as Datuk Najib Razak will be an easier target in the 14th General Election with the avalanche of scandals – socio-economic and political – as well as the continued festering of internal UMNO warfare.

Never before in Malaysia has a Prime Minister amassed such a huge brew of socio-economic and political scandals within so short a time, creating a most explosive mix with far-reaching consequences in the next general election.

Umno secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor was not being candid when he merely admitted that the postponement of the Umno election was due to “current political crisis” but not related to 1MDB, as the truth was that the postponement was caused by “current political crisis arising from scandals like 1MDB”.

Unlike the 13GE, the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal will be the lead “scandal” in the 14GE although desperate attempts are being made to defuse it, including an elaborate script of “The Empire Strikes Back” based on the notion that the allegations of the 1MDB scandals were all based on the “tampered” emails (not only unsubstantiated to date but clearly impossible) including the last desperate option of a winding-up and asset-stripping of 1MDB.

But even after being wound up, 1MDB scandal will remain alive in the 14GE although it will be one in a shoal of seething multiple scandals – whether economic and financial like the Felda Global Venture (FGV), Tabung Haji, GST, weak Malaysian ringgit and now MARA’s Australia property scandals, or socio-political like Najib’s major failures including his signature 1Malaysia Policy, Global Movement of Moderates initiative, the National Transformation Programme, the worst racial and religious polarization in the nation’s history. Read the rest of this entry »

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Which is in worse shape: BN or opposition?

– Koon Yew Yin
The Malaysian Insider
26 June 2015

Although it is a long way to the next general election, the current developments we are seeing will, in my opinion, be decisive in shaping the outcome and winner of the next elections. Firstly, we have seen a lot of adverse publicity given the break up of opposition pact, Pakatan Rakyat.

Pro-Barisan Nasional (BN) observers and also some disillusioned opposition supporters are claiming this is dealing a death blow to the opposition’s election hopes. But is this so? I beg to differ from them.

What is happening to the Pakatan is actually a blessing in disguise for them. In fact, it is a big blessing. This is because if we look at the political configuration closely, it is not that the opposition coalition is breaking up. It is the hard line faction of Pas that is splitting from the rest of the Pakatan. This faction wants to chart a future for the country based on Islamic law and a more rigid Islamic state. But can they succeed?

Well, despite the conservative candidates sweeping all the leadership positions in the recent Pas elections, deep down I am sure that they realise that they represent only a minority of the Malay Muslim population. My reading is that the majority of Muslims do not want a more fundamentalist Islamic society. They may have concerns about some aspects of modern life and western values. But even the less educated among them know what has been happening in fundamentalist Islamic nations. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malays won’t fare better or worse if BN falls, says veteran newsman

The Malaysian Insider
19 June 2015

The Malays “won’t be better off” if opposition parties take over Malaysia in the next general election, said veteran journalist Datuk A Kadir Jasin, but neither will they be “worse off”.

But those who knew how to take advantage of opportunities would benefit from a new non-Barisan Nasional government, said Kadir, the former group editor-in-chief of the New Straits Times.

“The opposition pact cannot sideline Malays and Muslims if in the long term they want to govern fairly and preserve national peace,” Kadir wrote in his latest blog posting.

Kadir said that he had written this assessment as a response to the numerous questions he received over what will become of the Malays if the Barisan government was to fall in the next general election. Read the rest of this entry »

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First signs of “threatened with death to born anew” 置之死地而后生 – PR’s “cease to exist” situation elicited neither joy nor celebration from UMNO/BN

PAS MP for Parit Buntar Mujahid Yusuf Rawa gave an interesting description of the present political scenario in his interview with Malaysiakini yesterday when he quipped: “We need to die to be reborn, to live anew.”

Mujahid cannot be more apt when he said in his interview: “Pakatan is just a name. What is more important is the substance.”

Mujahid is referring to a situation which is also described in Sun Tzu’s Art of War and expressed in the Chinese saying, 置之死地而后生zhì zhī sǐ dì ér hòu sheng – “threatened with death to born anew”.

We can already see the first signs of this “置之死地而后生zhì zhī sǐ dì ér hòu sheng” effect, as it has elicited neither joy nor celebration from UMNO/BN quarters, apart from half-hearted “I told you so” reactions. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mat Sabu: Pietistic PAS chooses to work with evil and corrupt Muslims in Umno

By Martin Jalleh

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Why is Najib, as final approving authority for 1MDB, in law and in fact, prepared to brief UMNO division representatives but not Parliament on 1MDB controversy?

The Sunday Star reported that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak will brief UMNO division information chiefs today on the 1MDB controversy as he steps up efforts to counter mounting attacks against him on the issue.

The question that immediately comes to mind is why Najib, who is the final approving authority for all 1MDB decisions, in law and in fact, prepared to brief UMNO division representatives but not Parliament on the 1MDB controversy?

Najib is the final approving authority for all 1MDB decisions in law and in fact because Najib is responsible in law as 1MDB is a government company and as the Prime Minister as well as Finance Minister he must accept full and final responsibility for all of 1MDB actions although he may not be responsible for its day-to-day operations; and responsible in fact, because under Clause 117 of the 1MDB Memorandum and Articles of Association Agreement (M&A), the Prime Minister must give his written approval for any of 1MDB deals, including the firm’s investments or any bid for restructuring. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is Shafie breaking ranks with the Prime Minister and declaring that he is not prepared to “swim or sink” with Najib on the 1MDB scandal and that if Najib is to drown, he should do it alone without dragging down others?

The statement by UMNO Vice President and Rural and Regional Development Minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal raised eyebrows all round.

It is not just his repudiating the principle of collective Ministerial responsibility, but even more significant, his striking a posture which is tantamount to Shafie breaking ranks with the Prime Minister and declaring that he is not prepared to “swim or sink” with Najib on the 1MDB scandal and that if Najib is to drown, he should do it alone without dragging down others.

This is the only interpretation of Shafie’s protest against claims that the entire Cabinet should be held responsible for the 1MDB scandal, saying that it would be unfair to do so when he and his colleagues were just as unclear as the public over the firm’s controversial and opaque deals.

It is shock enough that a senior three-term Cabinet Minister does not understand the principle of collective Ministerial responsibility but it boggles the minds of Malaysians that Shafie could assert both ignorance and innocence about the enormity of the 1MDB scandal, claiming that he was in the position of the ordinary aggrieved Malaysian on the ground that he was as unclear as the public about the 1MDB scandal.

How could this be when the Cabinet at its meeting on 4th March this year cleared the troubled fund of wrongdoing, making all the 35 Ministers individually and collectively for the 1MDB scandal! Read the rest of this entry »

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