Emails are not the cause of 1MDB’s financial troubles, but we will defer to the home minister

BY THE EDGE MALAYSIA
The Malaysian Insider
27 June 2015

There are now allegations that emails published by The Edge in recent months about certain dealings between 1MDB and PetroSaudi International were doctored and forged.

This follows the arrest of a former top PetroSaudi executive in Thailand on accusations that he extorted his ex-employer.

Certain media have also quoted unnamed security experts as saying the emails were tampered with or forged.

As a consequence, Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has issued a warning that The Edge could be suspended. Read the rest of this entry »

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In recurring religious conflicts, Muslim MPs ask where Malaysia is headed

by Joseph Sipalan
Malay Mail Online
June 27, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, June 27 ― Muslim lawmakers from both sides of the political divide have raised concerns over the seeming trend of Muslims imposing their beliefs on others, questioning if this is reflective of a wider agenda that is backed by Putrajaya to turn Malaysia into an Islamic state.

The federal lawmakers noted that the federal government appeared either unable to stop or even condoning of incidents in which Islamic sensibilities are imposed on the larger society by religious authorities and individuals.

“This issue bothers me because as our forefathers taught us, religion should be about faith and (is) personal,” Umno’s Pulai MP Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed told Malay Mail Online via text message.

“I suspect the longer-term objective of these groups is to usurp power through religious means and therefore avoid being legitimately elected.

“While I respect their motives and intentions, the elected government of the day must control the actions of these groups and act in the interest of all the citizens of the country,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »

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Both Annuar Musa and MACC should explain whether MARA and MACC have received earlier tip-off about corruption of MARA Inc property purchase in Melbourne, and if so, why no action until The Age expose on Tuesday

The Najib administration continues to tie itself in knots, in one scandal after another.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said yesterday that MARA officials named in Australian newspaper The Age’s report on the Melbourne property scandal are innocent until proven guilty.

He said no action can be taken against them based on a “trial by media” as they must be thoroughly investigated first.
“No action has been taken against them yet. Investigation must be done to determine whether they broke the law,” Najib told a press conference after chairing Umno’s supreme council meeting.

“We cannot take action based on suspicion or a trial by media or social media. It must be based on the rule of law. You are deemed innocent until proven guilty.”

He said the government would remain transparent over the case and assured that the scandal would be thoroughly investigated.

This is very different from the tenor of the statement made by the MARA Chairman, Tan Sri Annuar Musa, at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) yesterday to submit several documents relating to the purchase of properties in Australia by MARA Inc. 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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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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Why did Annuar make the U-turn in 48 hours from National Economic Council chaired by Najib approving the Melbourne Dudley Street property deal by Mara Inc to Najib opposing the Melbourne purchase?

MARA Chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa should explain why he made the U-turn in 48 hours from saying at his media conference on Wednesday that the National Economic Council chaired by the Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, had approved the Melbourne Dudley Street property deal by MARA Inc. to his statement today that Najib had actually opposed the Melbourne purchase?

Annuar should know that this is the 21st century and Information Age and he cannot just behave like monarchs of olden days when information could be controlled and manipulated for him to wilfully and arbitrarily insist that he had never said what he had actually uttered, or that he had been misunderstood or his statements had been twisted when what he said was crystal-clear.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Annuar could complain that the latter’s statement had been “twisted” by news portals like Malaysiakini and The Malaysian Insider to mean that Najib had personally approved the purchase, when the decision to buy Dudley House in Melbourne was made by the National Economic Council by consensus.

Or in the subsequent words of Annuar in his Facebook: ‘There is no question of approval by any individual, including the prime minister. As I said, it was approved by the National Economic Council and done according to procedure. I hope this is clear.”

Najib and Annuar were only trying to quibble that it is wrong to say that Najib had given approval for the Dudley House purchase when it was decided by the National Economic Council by consensus although chaired by Najib. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call for brave new thinking under Impian Malaysia – case for greater fiscal decentralisation to restructure new Federal-State relations

Impian Kelantan, as part of Impian Malaysia, is dedicated to the fulfilment of an inclusive vision where Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region, are bonded together under an united Malaysian identity and consciousness where they have more in common as citizens of this country than the differences that divide them whether over race, religion or region.

Over the decades, more and more Malaysians should feel that they are increasingly Malaysian-minded finding more common ground with other Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region, although their racial characteristics, religious identities and regional stakes will continue to be an integral part of their lives.

Otherwise, Malaysian nation-building would be on a trajectory of failure since Merdeka in 1957 and Malaysia Agreement in 1963.
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Annuar must convene emergency MARA Council meeting to demand that MARA Inc Chairman Mohd Lan Allani and CEO Halim Rahman cough out the A$4.75 million (RM13.8 million) bribe MARA paid for the Dudley House apartment block in Melbourne

MARA Chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa is not presenting himself as a model public servant when he refuses to convene an emergency meeting of the MARA Council following the Tuesday expose in Australian daily, The Age, on the MARA Inc. property scams, particularly over the Dudley International House apartment block in Melbourne, which was acquired with A$22.5 million (RM65.4 million) MARA funds, but involving a bribe of A$4.75 million (RM13.8 million), as well as investigations into MARA Inc’s other Australian properties.

Following The Age report, the Australian Federal Police have launched Operation Carambola with raids in Melbourne as part of an international bribery and money-laundering investigation involving high-ranking Malaysian officials, businessmen and the purchase of Melbourne property, seizing computers and files from a home in Vermont South with several other properties targeted across Melbourne.

But it is business as usual in MARA back in Malaysia, although Malaysia has been thrust into the global stage with an international corruption scandal involving a key government statutory body and public servants.

What is most shocking is the rather indifferent reactions of the government authorities, in particular the MARA Chairman who said in a media conference yesterday that MARA will not deny the claims and allegations in the Australian newspaper report and was treating the media expose as “information” to facilitate investigations.

It would appear that Annuar was not surprised at all by the expose in The Age, which completely undermines his claim that he was not aware that the value of Dudley House property had been inflated until he read the reports.

Was Annuar telling the truth and could he be so ignorant about the MARA Inc property scams in Australia? Read the rest of this entry »

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Unappreciated in my own country

Dina Zaman
The Malaysian Insider
26 June 2015

I never thought I would say this but when I arrived home from Singapore, and had a long drawn out battle with baggage delays at KLIA, and then touts at KL Sentral, I looked up to the dark evening sky and thought how Malaysia had become a third world country.

As I stood there with my bags, observing fellow Malaysians shouting at the touts, while the security guards looked away, and then seeing a poor, hapless foreign porter being heckled by a lazy plonker of a Malaysian, I said to myself, there has to be a better way of living and to live.

While I wrestled with anger and contempt at the touts, the Malay in me, the Muslim in me felt dismayed to see much older Malay men wearing the kopiahs (skullcaps) touting cab rides and swearing at those who declined their offers.

Apa dah jadi dengan orang Melayu kita ni (What’s happening to the Malays), I said to myself. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fear-mongering in Malaysia

Syerleena Abdul Rashid
The Malaysian Insider
26 June 2015

Most recently, a group of angry… very angry men stormed Penang government’s administrative building and proceeded to express their dissatisfaction over an issue involving an illegal signage in the heart of George Town.

After awhile, the group split up into two; one group went to the third floor to deliver a memorandum and the other group stayed on the ground floor where the latter, in a fit of rage mixed with adrenalin, brazenly decided to desecrate a few flags.

Unfortunately for us, these acts of intimidation are becoming a permanent fixture in our local society. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Jihadist Trap of Here and Now

By Scott Stewart
Security Weekly
Stratfor Global Intelligence

JUNE 25, 2015

In recent weeks, I have found myself spending a lot of time thinking about the jihadist strategy of al Qaeda and how it compares to that of the Islamic State. Earlier this month, I wrote about the possibility that the al Qaeda brand of jihadism could outlast that of the Islamic State. Last week, I wrote about how ideologies are harder to kill than individuals, focusing on the effect that the death of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader Nasir al-Wahayshi will have on the group and the wider global jihadist movement.

But beyond the impact of leaders like al-Wahayshi, there are other facets of strategy that will influence the war for the soul of jihadism. Specifically, I am talking about time and place. Both al Qaeda and the Islamic State seek to establish a global caliphate, but both differ quite starkly in how to accomplish this task and how soon it can be achieved. Read the rest of this entry »

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All MARA Council members should collecitlvely resign if they caanot explain why they agreed to the establishment of offshore companies in tax havens to buy properties overseas as if engaged in dubious and dishonourable transactions

Yesterday, MARA Chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa said MARA Council has given its subsidiary, Mara Incorporated Sdn. Bhd (MARA Inc.) seven days to provide a detailed written explanation on all matters pertaining to various property deals in Australia.

Annuar said he wants not only an account of the purchase of the Dudley Street apartment block in Melbourne raised by the Australian newspaper, the Age, but also a report on the various transactions in Australia.

He said a special meeting will be held within the next two weeks to probe this matter and discuss further action, based on the report to be provided to the council by Mara Inc.

What Annuar is doing is too little and too late. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is there a Cabinet Minister courageous, public-spirited and patriotic enough to suggest at Cabinet meeting tomorrow that Najib should take leave as PM until the growing number of scandals involving 1MDB, Felda Global Venture (FGV), Tabung Haji and now MARA are resolved?

Is there a Cabinet Minister who is courageous, public-spirited and patriotic enough to suggest at the Cabinet meeting tomorrow that Datuk Seri Najib Razak should take leave as Prime Minister until the growing number of scandals involving 1MDB, Felda Global Venture (FGV), Tabung Haji and now MARA are resolved?

The unusual spectacle of the Prime Minister taking to tweets to protest that certain media had twisted the remarks by the MARA Chairman, Tan Sri Annuar Musa that he had approved the MARA purchase of the five-storey Dudley International House apartment block in Melbourne in 2013 has raised even more questions about the Najib premiership – including whether Najib was personally sending out the tweets or whether it was being handled by his grossly-overpaid but misguided “Public Relations” consultants.

I have closely listened to the video recording of Annuar’s press conference statement and I do not think it is fair on the Prime Minister’s part to blame any media for highlighting that Najib had personally approved the MARA acquisition of the Dudley House apartment block in Melbourne.

May be the Prime Minister and his grossly-overpaid Public Relations consultants would like to consider hosting a meeting of all journalists in the country, whether print or online and embracing all languages, and asking them to vote by secret ballot whether Malaysiakini and The Malaysian Insider had twisted Annuar’s statement when they chose the headline “Najib luluskan” (Najib approved) on the MARA purchase of the Melbourne property. Read the rest of this entry »

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Will Annuar Musa resign as MARA Chairman to take responsibility for MARA’s international corruption scandal and to pioneer a culture of responsibility for government leaders and captains of statutory boards and corporations?

Will Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Annuar Musa resign as MARA Chairman to take responsibility for MARA’s international corruption scandal and to pioneer a culture of responsibility for government leaders and captains of statutory boards and corporations in Malaysia?

Annuar’s revelation today that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak had approved Mara’s purchase of the property in Australia, which has become the subject of MARA as well as Malaysia’s international scandal, can be no refuge for him or excuse that he can enjoy immunity for bringing MARA and the country to such international disrepute.

Annuar’s claim that MARA was not aware of the kickbacks and inflated price for Dudley House as reported by The Age yesterday, although committed by a subsidiary firm, Mara Inc Sdn Bhd, is can be no defence for Annuar as MARA Chairman from taking responsibility for the corruption scandal. Read the rest of this entry »

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DAP had never aspired to be a Chinese or non-Malay party and we will double up in our resolve to be a fully Malaysian party strengthening our Malay, Dayak and Kadazandusun membership in keeping with our Malaysian ideals and aspirations

There are those who forecast that with the PAS Muktamar resolution to cut off relations with DAP spelling the end of the seven-year-old Pakatan Rakyat, DAP will become a narrow-minded Chinese or non-Malay political party.

They cannot be more wrong. Firstly, DAP had never aspired to be a Chinese or non-Malay party. Right from the beginning during DAP’s formation in 1966, DAP had pledged itself to pursue a Malaysian Dream, not a Chinese Dream, an Indian Dream or a Malay Dream.

This is why DAP is the first political party in the country to be Pan-Malaysian, establishing branches in Sarawak and Sabah before any other political party in the country.

All through the past five decades, DAP had been accused of being anti-Malay and anti-Islam by UMNO, because of UMNO fear that the DAP will be able to make inroads into UMNO spheres of influence with our Malaysian political appeal, transcending race, religion or region.

No political party seeking support from all Malaysians can be anti-Malay or anti-Islam, or for that matter, anti-Chinese, anti-Indian, anti-Dayak, anti-Kadazandusun or anti-Buddhism, anti-Christianity, anti-Hindiuism or anti-Sikkhism.

The battle against such lies and falsehoods had been a particularly uphill battle for the DAP because we had to face the full onslaught of the UMNO juggernaut with its control and ownership of the mass media, particularly in the era before the advent of Internet, the Internet news portals and the social media.

However difficult the terrain, DAP had never wavered from our objectives and principles that the DAP had been formed not to fight for any one race but for all races and Malaysians in the country! Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to review the decision not to investigate serious allegation of 1MDB’s indirect funding of BN’s 13GE campaign

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) should review its decision not to investigate the serious allegation of 1MDB’s indirect funding of Barisan Nasional’s (BN) 13th General Election campaign with public funds.

It is surprising that the PAC chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed has decided that the PAC would not investigate into the 1MDB’s indirect funding of BN’s 13th General Election campaign, telling Malay Mail Online that it was premature to claim wrongdoing in Genting Plantations’ US$10 million donation to a Barisan Nasional-linked charity, Yayasan Rakyat 1 Malaysia (YR1M) which used the funds for the 13GE campaigning.

After the Wall Street Journal expose, “Fund Controversy Threatens Malaysia’s Leader” last Friday that Genting Plantations contributed US$10 million to YR1M after its parent sold a power plant to 1MDB five times its actual value for RM23 billion when the plant was only worth RM400 million, it was naïve for Jazlan to say that Genting Plantations could have made the donation for a variety of reasons, including CSR (corporate social responsibility).

Although Jazlan said there is nothing wrong with corporates making CSR contributions, the PAC will be seriously remiss and negligent of its parliamentary duties to uphold probity and integrity in the handling public funds if it ignores the prima facie case that grave impropriety in expenditure of public funds had been committed in 1MDB’s indirect funding of BN’s 13th General Election campaign.

PAC must get to the bottom of the Wall Street Journal report that 1MDB paid inflated prices for energy assets from Genting Group whose subsidiary later contributed to YR1M that is linked to BN and which featured during the campaign for the 13GE. Read the rest of this entry »

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Corrupt Malaysia money distorts Melbourne market

Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker, John Garnaut
The Age
June 23, 2015

Even in Melbourne’s booming property market, the $22.5 million price tag for a building designed like an IKEA cupboard seemed well above the odds. That’s because it was.

Named Dudley House by developers keen to imbue it with a sense of grandeur, it seems the last place to host any untoward dealings.

But the sordid tale of this building highlights one reason that federal treasurer Joe Hockey is so concerned about the foreign funds flowing into an already overheated property market, as well as why local and international corruption fighters say Australia has become an investment hot spot for the crooked and corrupt.

An eight-month Fairfax Media investigation has traced suspicious money flows, court files and corporate records across three continents to uncover why Dudley House’s purchase price was so high.

Its sale was part of a global money laundering and bribery scheme engineered by greedy local developers and powerful officials overseas who pocketed $4.75 million in bribes on this single deal.

Fairfax Media has also discovered that some of these same figures are linked to tax haven companies which are also behind the purchase of around $80 million in Australian properties. Read the rest of this entry »

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Prospects for coalition making, post-muktamar

By Steven Sim
Malaysiakini
Jun 23, 2015

MP SPEAKS Two months ago, Lim Kit Siang proposed a crazy idea; a post-BN post-Pakatan Rakyat “Save Malaysia” grand coalition. Many criticised him, including allies and supporters and even DAP members.

Lim, the DAP parliamentary leader, was inviting Malaysians, including Malaysian politicians, to “think the unthinkable”, going beyond the much cherished two-party system into something else.

What does this “something else” look like?

I was to discover part of the answer when I joined Lim on a trip to the Middle East. Read the rest of this entry »

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Will 1MDB fallout push Najib out?

By P Gunasegaram
Malaysiakini
Jun 18, 2015

QUESTION TIME 1MDB’s impact on the financial markets is more than just worry about whether potential defaults will impact the banking system and whether the government’s finances will be adversely affected when it stands by to honour 1MDB’s many obligations.

These questions have been largely answered – the central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia, has already said that 1MDB does not pose a systemic risk to the domestic banking sector, although it may depress the profits of some banks.

Various analysts believe that the federal government, which owns all of 1MDB through Minister of Finance Inc, has the capacity to take care of 1MDB’s obligations, which amount to RM42 billion.

So why is the ringgit more depressed than it should be and what is really the concern about the situation in the country? The problem is not directly related to the economy but politics. An increasing number of people are considering how the overall political situation in the country will change if Najib Abdul Razak, for whatever reason, decides to step down.

It is more than likely that it is the political situation which is causing the ringgit to be even more volatile than the currencies of other countries that have yo-yoed against the US dollar, but generally trended downwards against the greenback. That the US dollar is strengthening is indisputable, the roots being the strong possibility of upward increases in US interest rates some time later this year. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pak Samad pilih parti berintegriti

A Shukur Harun
The Malaysian Insider
23 June 2015

Beberapa hari selepas Sasterawan Negara, Datuk A. Samad Said menyertai DAP, beberapa sahabat bertanyakan pendapat saya mengenai langkah sasterawan ternama itu, saya menjawab: “Apa salahnya, ini demokrasi, Samad seorang pemikir dan dia sudahpun berfikir sebelum menyertai DAP.”

Untuk beberapa hari saya belum lagi menghubunginya, memikirkan mungkin beliau sedang sibuk dengan perkembangan baru ini, hinggalah penyair Dinsman memberitahu saya bahawa Samad mahu mendengar pendapat saya mengenai langkahnya itu.

Lalu saya menghubunginya, mengucapkan tahniah kepadanya kerana memilih parti yang berintegriti, mempunyai imej bersih. Beliau mengucapkan terima kasih kepada saya.

Pada pendapat saya, sasterawan negara itu membuat pilihan yang tepat, iaitu memilih parti yang mampu mempertahankan integritinya, teguh pada prinsip perjuangannya untuk menegakkan demokrasi dan keadilan, menentang perkauman, walaupun selama puluhan tahun DAP digambarkan sebagai parti chauvinis Cina dan pelbagai lagi. Read the rest of this entry »

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