by Karishma Vaswani
Asia business correspondent
The allegations shocked the world. In July, the US Department of Justice filed a lawsuit to seize the assets it says were bought with more than $3.5bn stolen from Malaysian national wealth fund 1MDB.
US Attorney General Loretta Lynch laid the case out clearly: “Unfortunately, sadly, tragically, a number of corrupt officials treated this public trust as a personal bank account.”
The lawsuit alleged that those named in the suit were responsible for the fraud. But it also mentioned a “Malaysian Official 1” more than 30 times, and alleged that this official received some $681m of the stolen money, and returned most of it.
From the details in the suit, it was widely understood that “Malaysian Official 1” is Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, but it was never officially confirmed.
But in an interview with me, Abdul Rahman Dahlan, a senior government minister in Mr Najib’s cabinet, has confirmed that “MO1” is none other than Mr Razak. Read the rest of this entry »
World Politics Review
Aug. 30, 2016
During my last visit to Malaysia in February, I met the famed film director Chiu Keng Guan to discuss his fourth and latest movie, “Ola Bola.” It had just come out in local cinemas and was already proving to be such a sensation that one newspaper asked if there was an “Ola Bola overload.” A little misty-eyed perhaps, the film is a fictionalized account of the Malaysian national football team’s qualification for the 1980 Olympic Games, arguably one of the country’s finest sporting milestones, made all the more memorable by the fact that it was achieved by a multiracial, multireligious team.
“Ola Bola is a story about Malaysia,” Chiu told me as we sat on the steps of the decaying Stadium Merdeka, where independence from Britain was announced in 1957. “I wanted to talk about team spirit, how a team of young players went through difficulties, trained together, sweated together, and how they worked as a team.”
Being in Malaysia at the time of the film’s release, it wasn’t difficult to notice that, aside from the nostalgia, people were speaking of it as a piece of social commentary in a country where racial and religious tensions are never far from the surface. One critic surmised, “Ola Bola [has] been able to do for Malaysia what many politicians cannot do—to remind us as a nation and as Malaysians, ‘kita menang sama-sama, kita kalah sama-sama’”: We win together; we lose together. One cannot help but feel the critic’s words were even more pertinent months later when politicians forced the country into yet another existential debate.
In May, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (Parti Islam Se-Malaysia, PAS), an opposition party, successfully tabled a bill to introduce strict Islamic criminal codes, known as “hudud,” in the northern state of Kelantan, which has been a PAS stronghold since 1990. Hudud are criminal punishments established by the Quran and Sunnah, the oral teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, which typically cover what are deemed criminal offenses, such as theft, fornication, intoxication, apostasy and slander. Punishments can include the amputation of limbs for theft, flogging for “improper” sexual acts and stoning to death for adultery, although the latter is not always imposed. Read the rest of this entry »
Koon Yew Yin
31st Aug 2016
The hot rumour in town is that Prime Minister Najib may resign soon and that UMNO and BN will go into the next GE without him at the helm. This story seems to have appeared probably because of a n article by Dr. Lim Teck Ghee which appeared recently.
Titled, “Why Prime Minister Najib is on his way out”, the article has resulted in numerous comments and feedback from the public. Some commentators have agreed with Dr. Lim, who incidentally is a friend of mine, and his prediction that Najib will call it a day and leave office ahead of our 14th GE so as to give UMNO an advantage in the polls.
But others have disagreed with him. So strong is the public disapproval and disgust with what has happened in the 1MDB case as well as that unbelievably gigantic donation into the PM’s personal account that many Malaysians want to see Najib pay the price for these two scandals which is costing our taxpayers billions of ringgit. I am with other Malaysians who hope that the Prime Minister will not be able to get away scot-free or in the words of Dr. Lim, be able to engineer “the great escape” from these two scandals which have made headline news around the world for the wrong reasons. Read the rest of this entry »
Najib should remove the latest and most serious national “moment of disunity” by speaking at the UNGA next month to clear Malaysia’s name from serious allegation of Malaysia as a global kleptocracy
Six years ago, nobody in Malaysia would have heard of Batu Sumpah Keningau. In fact, six years ago, very few in Sabah would speak about Batu Sumpah.
For over four decades, after the erection and the unveiling of Batu Sumpah Keningau on
August 31, 1964, the oath stone in Keningau and its significance were largely ignored and even forgotten by both the people and government of Sabah.
In March 2010, together with three DAP MPs, including Teo Nie Ching (representing Serdang) and Lim Lip Eng (Segambut) and the then sole Sabah Assemblyman, Jimmy Wong, I visited Batu Sumpah at the Keningau District Office. I revisited the Batu Sumpah in Keningau in 2012.
Since then, as a result of DAP campaign to highlight the nation-building, historic and heritage importance of Batu Sumpah Keningau, and an ongoing campaign programme to erect replicas of Batu Sumpah Keningau in various parts of Sabah, Batu Sumpah Keningau is no more alien to Malaysians and Sabahans, especially with DAP MPs and Sabah State Assemblymen repeatedly articulating “Batu Sumpah Keningau” issues in both Parliament and the Sabah State Assembly. Read the rest of this entry »
Ten years ago, no one in Malaysia would have entertained the thought that it was possible to bring about political changes to the extent there could be change of government in Putrajaya.
But the “political tsunami” in the 2008 General Elections led to the 13th General Elections three years ago on May 5, 2013 when Malaysians voters rooted for change of Federal Government, but it was so near and yet so far – with Datuk Seri Najib Razak scraping through in Putrajaya as the country’s first minority Prime Minister winning 47 per cent of the popular vote and for the first time, saved by the voters of Sabah and Sarawak who decided who will be the country’s Prime Minister and the ruling coalition.
If 60 per cent of the 57 Parliamentary seats in Sabah and Sarawak had voted for change in the 2013 General Elections, Malaysia would have a new political coalition and a new Prime Minister in Putrajaya three years ago.
Malaysia has been described as a prime example of a country which had gone against the international trend in the past decades of decentralization, devolution or delegation of power and responsibility from the national centre to the provincial, state and local governments, not only on public transport, solid waste management and local government, but also in areas like education and policing.
But in Malaysia, the reverse had been the case, consistently centralizing revenue sources and responsibilities, with the country considered as one of the most heavily centralized federations in fiscal terms in the world. Read the rest of this entry »
Ooi Kee Beng
The Straits Times
AUG 26, 2016
The issue of Bangsa Johor (Johor nationality) made national news again on Wednesday, when former prime minister Mahathir Mohamed was asked about it at a forum on relations between the federal government and state governments.
Asked about Johor’s separation from Malaysia, a national concern fanned by provocative comments made by Johor’s Crown Prince, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, Tun Dr Mahathir replied that such a separation would encourage “unhealthy” feelings of superiority and harm the unity of the federation.
The issue of “Bangsa Johor” is hugely interesting on several levels. It acts as a reminder that despite the centralised nature of Malaysian governance, the country was sewn together in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s as a federation. This was clearly reflected in the country’s 1957 Constitution. Read the rest of this entry »
by Scott Shaneaug,
New York Times
Aug. 25, 2016
Critics see Saudi Arabia’s export of a rigid strain of Islam as contributing to terrorism, but the kingdom’s influence depends greatly on local conditions.
WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump do not agree on much, but Saudi Arabia may be an exception. She has deplored Saudi Arabia’s support for “radical schools and mosques around the world that have set too many young people on a path towards extremism.” He has called the Saudis “the world’s biggest funders of terrorism.”
The first American diplomat to serve as envoy to Muslim communities around the world visited 80 countries and concluded that the Saudi influence was destroying tolerant Islamic traditions. “If the Saudis do not cease what they are doing,” the official, Farah Pandith, wrote last year, “there must be diplomatic, cultural and economic consequences.”
And hardly a week passes without a television pundit or a newspaper columnist blaming Saudi Arabia for jihadist violence. On HBO, Bill Maher calls Saudi teachings “medieval,” adding an epithet. In The Washington Post, Fareed Zakaria writes that the Saudis have “created a monster in the world of Islam.”
The idea has become a commonplace: that Saudi Arabia’s export of the rigid, bigoted, patriarchal, fundamentalist strain of Islam known as Wahhabism has fueled global extremism and contributed to terrorism. As the Islamic State projects its menacing calls for violence into the West, directing or inspiring terrorist attacks in country after country, an old debate over Saudi influence on Islam has taken on new relevance. Read the rest of this entry »
Will Najib clear Malaysia’s name of being a global kleptocracy in his 59th National Day and 53rd Malaysia Day Messages and make it the subject of his address to the UN General Assembly next month?
Malaysians will celebrate the 59th National Day and the 53rd Malaysia Day in five and three weeks respectively.
What should be Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s main concern in these two messages?
Will Najib clear Malaysia’s name of being a global kleptocracy in his 59th National day and 53rd Malaysia Day Messages and make it the subject of his fifth address as Prime Minister to the United Nations General Assembly next month?
When Najib became Prime Minister in April 2009, he prides himself as the ‘Father of Transformation’ or ‘Bapa Transformasi’ with a spate of transformation initiatives and an alphabet soup of acronyms such as 1Malaysia, ETP, GTP, NKRA, NKEA, SRI, NEM, BR1M and KR1M, just to name a few.
But the last transformation Malaysians want from Najib is to transform Malaysia into a global kleptocracy overnight – which the US Department of Justice (DOJ) lawsuits for forfeiture of US$1 billion of assets as a result of theft, embezzlement, misappropriation and money-laundering of US$3.5 billion 1MDB funds have highlighted to the international community since July 20. Read the rest of this entry »
Are Malaysians to live with a new division between patriotic Malaysians who want to know and tangkap “MO1” and those who don’t care or want to know who is “MO1”?
A new division has arisen in Malaysia for the past month – between patriotic Malaysians who want to know and tangkap “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” (“MO1) mentioned 36 times and described as a mastermind and co-conspirator in the US Department of Justice (DOJ) lawsuit for US$1 billion forfeiture of assets as a result of theft, embezzlement, misappropriation and money-laundering of US$3.5 billion 1MDB funds and overnight turned Malaysia into a global kleptocracy and those who don’t care or want to know who is “MO1”.
Patriotic Malaysians who want to know and tangkap “MO1” were acting both in word and spirit of the Conference of Rulers’ statement issued ten months ago on October 6 last year representing the concern of the nine royal rulers that the government quickly conclude investigations into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) affair and to take “the appropriate stern action” against those implicated.
The statement by the Conference of Rulers was the first time that the sultans of the nine royal houses have commented on the 1MDB scandal which had by then dragged on for more than a year. Read the rest of this entry »
Was Anis’ “Whole world knows we’ve been robbed, why are we still relaxed?” cry the subject of Cabinet meeting today?
Was #TangkapMO1 spokesperson, Anis Syafiqah Md Yusof’s cry “Whole world knows we’ve been robbed, why are we still relaxed” the subject of the Cabinet meeting today – the fifth Cabinet meeting since the US Department of Justice (DOJ) filings on July 20 for US$1 billion forfeiture of assets as a result of theft, embezzlement, misappropriation and money-laundering of US$3.5 billion 1MDB funds?
Anis had asked the police why they were not doing anything when it was clear that money was stolen from Malaysians – including students and the police – and why the police were not focusing on the robber instead of on Malaysians who want to see justice was done?
This cry that must be answered not only by the Inspector-General of Police as head of the police, but by all heads of national enforcement and investigative agencies responsible for upholding the rule of law, whether the Attorney-General, the Chief Commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Bank Negara Governor, the Auditor-General but also by the Cabinet and the Prime Minister.
Malaysians and the world are shocked that 35 days after the unprecedented DOJ filing of the world’s single biggest lawsuit on multi-billion ringgit theft, embezzlement, misappropriation and money-laundering involving the Malaysian national sovereign wealth fund, which turned Malaysia overnight into a global kleptocracy, the Malaysian government had continued to adopt an indifferent and nonchalant stance as if the integrity and reputation of the Malaysian government and nation are of no consequence at all.
Hence, Anis’ cry, which is the cry of all patriotic Malaysians: ““Whole world knows we’ve been robbed, why are we still relaxed”! Read the rest of this entry »
Who is the “higher power” behind the revival of the story of a national conspiracy to topple Najib as Prime Minister in July last year?
A tantalizing story has come alive after subsiding for a year – was there a national conspiracy to topple Datuk Seri Najib Razak as Prime Minister in July last year?
Probably even more relevant questions, why and who was the “higher power” behind the revival of the story of a national conspiracy to topple Najib as Prime Minister after the passage of a year?
Those who thought the revival of the year-old story of a national conspiracy to topple Najib as Prime Minister would be a quick shot-gun affair, which would be disposed in a matter of a week or so, have been proved wrong – as it has proved to have a longer span of life. Read the rest of this entry »
M. Bakri Musa
23rd August 2016
1MDB is not yet a bloated carcass (it is bloated only with debt) and already the hyenas, vultures and maggots are feasting with glee. In the wild, hyenas and vultures wait till their prey is dead, and maggots, rotting. Not these human hyenas, vultures and maggots.
Scavengers are vital in the ecosystem; they cleanse the environment of dead and decomposing bodies. In contrast, these human hyenas, vultures and maggots feasting on 1MDB are part of the rubbish. Perverse as it may seem, they have an exalted opinion of themselves. They view what they are doing–defending “Malaysian Official 1” who is related to one of the hyenas Reza Aziz–as honorable.
This 1MDB mess is humungous; it will burden Malaysians for generations. That is a grim and undeniable fact. Read the rest of this entry »
Can IGP Khalid order the police probe on 1MDB to investigate the DOJ allegations of criminal conduct of the multi-billion ringgit 1MDB theft, embezzlement and money-laundering or must he first get “green light” from Cabinet or Prime Minister himself?
The recent revelation by the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar that the police have completed the first phase of their investigation into 1MDB, and that the police probe is restricted to the five “non-existing” recommendations by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) as ordered by the cabinet, have reduced police investigation into 1MDB into a charade and a farce.
It raises many questions relating to the independence, impartiality, efficiency and professionalism of the Malaysian police, in particular whether the Malaysian police could rank as one of the world’s top police forces in terms of efficiency and professionalism.
For instance, can IGP Khalid order the police probe on 1MDB to investigate the US Department of Justice (DOJ)’s damning allegations of criminal conduct of the theft, embezzlement and money-laundering of multi-billion ringgit 1MDB funds or must he first get the “green light” from the Cabinet or the Prime Minister himself?
In the absence of such “greenlight” from the Cabinet or the Prime Minister himself, is the Malaysian police forced to resort to world-class play-acting pretending that the 136-page DOJ complaint of a litany of criminal conduct of theft, embezzlement and money-laundering of multi-billion ringgit of 1MDB funds simply does not exist – although some ten countries are independently investigating the global scandal of theft, embezzlement and money-laundering of multi-billion ringgit 1MDB funds?
Can Khalid enlighten Malaysians whether he had officially asked for such “green light” from the Cabinet or the Prime Minister for the Malaysian police probe into 1MDB to investigate the allegations of criminal conduct in the DOJ filings, or whether he had never asked for such approval knowing that it would not be forthcoming, whether from the Cabinet or the Prime Minister himself? Read the rest of this entry »
The police arrest and three-day remand of three student activists, Muhammad Luqman Nul Hakim Zul Razali, Luqman Hakim and Ashraff Nazrin, for promoting next week’s #TangkapMalaysian Official1 rally at Seri Iskandar in Perak yesterday is unwarranted, grave abuse of power and serious police failure to understand their real powers and duties.
The police should release the three student activists immediately, as there is no reason or justification to continue to remand them.
In fact, what all policemen and women should seriously consider is whether they should obstruct or assist the #TangkapMalaysian Official1 campaign.
Should the Inspector-General of Police and the police be concerned as to who is “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” mentioned 36 times in the 136-page US Department of Justice (DOJ) US$1 billion assets forfeiture lawsuits arising from the embezzlement and money-laundering of US$3.5 billion 1MDB funds?
The question must be an unequivocal “Yes” if Malaysia believes in the rule of law and upholds good governance principles of integrity and accountability. Read the rest of this entry »
by Gary Baum
The Hollywood Reporter
The actor-activist says he won’t host the event at his L.A. home due to a scheduling conflict and Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel have stepped in as hosts. The Clinton campaign denies the decision is connected to questions DiCaprio and his foundation are facing over ties to a $3 billion embezzlement scheme.
Leonardo DiCaprio abruptly has dropped out of hosting a Tuesday fundraiser for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at his Hollywood Hills home, sources confirm to The Hollywood Reporter. The $33,400-per-guest event, part of a series of late-August fundraisers for Clinton in Los Angeles, now will be held at the nearby residence of Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel. Read the rest of this entry »
1MDB global embezzlement and money-laundering scandal – more and more questions without a single answer so far!
The 1MDB global embezzlement and money-laundering scandal is a real “wonder” – turning Malaysia overnight into a global kleptocracy with more and more questions with unending international developments every passing day but without a single answer so far!
The latest contributor to this “wonder” of a 1MDB global embezzlement and money-laundering scandal is the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar with his revelation that the Malaysian police have completed the first phase of their investigation into 1MDB, which is restricted to the five recommendations by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) as ordered by the cabinet.
Last month, Khalid said police have recorded statements from 25 individuals into the PAC Report on 1MDB in the first phase of the investigations, and that the police would start the second phase – sending investigators overseas to obtain documents and record the testimonies of witnesses who are abroad.
Khalid said yesterday that the police are waiting for further orders from the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) regarding the matter, and estimated the instructions to be issued in a week or two.
Khalid’s statement sent me back to the PAC Report on 1MDB, as I never knew that the PAC had made five recommendations for police investigation, let alone the Cabinet decision to restrict police investigation to the alleged five PAC recommendations.
Re-reading the PAC Report on 1MDB has confirmed me that my memory had not failed me, that the PAC had never made five recommendations for police investigation. Read the rest of this entry »
By BRADLEY HOPE
Wall Street Journal
Aug. 18, 2016
Investigators are looking into alleged fraud related to a Malaysian fund
Abu Dhabi authorities have arrested Khadem Al Qubaisi, who authorities say is a key figure in an alleged multibillion-dollar fraud related to a Malaysian sovereign-wealth fund, according to people familiar with the matter.
The arrest last week was made in relation to an Abu Dhabi investigation into fraud and corruption, which includes Mr. Qubaisi’s alleged role in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd., known as 1MDB, affair, the people said. No charges have been filed against him.
Mr. Qubaisi was previously restricted from leaving the United Arab Emirates and had his assets in the country frozen, The Wall Street Journal reported in April. Read the rest of this entry »
Najib should walk the talk – prove he is a patriot by defending himself as Prime Minister, the government and the nation from the DOJ allegations about the largest global embezzlement and kleptocracy in the 1MDB scandal
What a contrast!
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak blogging on the meaning of patriotism, that it is more than just raising the Jalur Gemilang, singing the national anthem or making a pledge to adhere to the Rukun Negara principles, but involving numerous levels in patriotism, like joining of hands between Malaysians to achieve a beneficial objective for the nation; genuine help extended to others in need and the effort to protect the nation’s harmony and sovereignty, even if it required sacrificing one’s life.
On the same morning, writing on his Facebook, Najib’s former Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin named Najib as the “rogue” codenamed as “MO1” in the US Department of Justice (DOJ)’s single largest action in the United States and the world for forfeiture of over US$1 billion assets in United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland because of US$3.5 billion embezzlement, misappropriation and money-laundering of 1MDB funds. Read the rest of this entry »
The Daily Beast
The Oscar-winning actor’s charity and the production company behind Wolf of Wall Street have come under scrutiny for ties to a $3 billion embezzlement scandal.
When was the last time a celebrity scandal—not a body part—truly broke the internet? In the age of long lens paparazzi, 24/7 reality TV coverage and conscious uncoupling, we’ve been subsisting on cheap, disposable drama and scripted Bachelor breakups. Nobody thinks big anymore.
Surprisingly, the man to finally bring some old school Hollywood glamour back to the celebrity scandal game may be none other than the founder of the pussy posse himself, Leonardo DiCaprio. Yes, it’s come to this. Read the rest of this entry »
By Gary Baum
The Hollywood Reporter
August 17, 2016
According to the Justice Department, certain donations to the Oscar winner’s charity came directly from a multibillion-dollar embezzlement drama in Southeast Asia.
On the evening of July 20, under a tent at a vineyard in St. Tropez brimming to his specifications with booze, billionaires and babes, Leonardo DiCaprio was preparing to host one of the glitziest charitable events of the year: the third annual fundraiser for his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. Earlier that same day, under far less glamorous auspices half a world away, the U.S. Department of Justice was filing a complaint with the U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles that suggested the recent Oscar winner is a bit player in the planet’s largest embezzlement case, totaling more than $3 billion siphoned from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund called 1MDB.
While the complaint does not target DiCaprio — he’s referred to twice in the 136-page document and only as “Hollywood Actor 1” — the scandal shines an unfamiliar light on the charitable foundation of the most powerful actor in Hollywood thanks to the way the LDF has benefited directly from DiCaprio’s relationship with key figures in the saga. And much like the gala in St. Tropez, with its expressions of one-percenter excess ostensibly in support of saving the environment (guests helicoptering in to dine on whole sea bass after watching a short film about the dangers of overfishing), a closer look at the LDF itself raises questions about its ties to the 1MDB players as well as the lack of transparency often required (or offered in this case) for the specific structure the actor has chosen for his endeavor. Read the rest of this entry »