Koon Yew Yin
COMMENT In two months from now, Parliament will be sitting again. What is at stake for the nation is nothing less than our way of life and our Malaysian dream.
This is because a Private Member’s Bill to amend the Syariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 will be tabled and debated at that sitting.
PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang has been going around to claim that this bill is only to upgrade the Syariah Courts and that it has nothing to do with non-Muslims.
PAS-oriented analysts and ulama leaders have also commented that it is not really a “Hudud Bill” and that it’s passage is only intended to pave the way for PAS to enforce its version of the Islamic penal code in Kelantan. Hence they argue that its effect will be limited.
However, Hadi and his supporters are only trying to fool the public. Read the rest of this entry »
August 4, 2016
The bad news just doesn’t stop for Asia’s worst-performing currency.
Already reeling from a renewed slump in oil prices and a political scandal that just won’t go away, the Malaysian ringgit is now facing the prospect of another cut in interest rates. It’s the region’s biggest loser in the past month and analysts still see scope for it to drop more than 2 percent by year-end.
The currency’s slide highlights all is not well as the nation’s economy heads for its worst performance this decade. Crude oil’s plunge to a four-month low this week undermines the finances of net oil exporter Malaysia, while the appeal of its relatively high bond yields is being tempered by the scandals surrounding a troubled state investment fund. Rabobank Group and UBS Group AG both predict Bank Negara Malaysia will add to its first rate cut in seven years in coming months. Read the rest of this entry »
Meredith L. Weiss
04 AUG, 2016
The damage from Malaysia’s latest financial scandal runs deep. Here’s how it will impact politics in the long-term.
The beans have been counted, the (foreign) prosecutors have stripped off their gloves, and the convoluted flowcharts have been pasted across the blogosphere.
1 Malaysia Development Berhad, better known as 1MDB, has once again lifted Malaysia to the world’s front pages—as usual, for all the wrong reasons. The saga and spectacle are both terribly disappointing and terribly predictable, after decades of eroding checks and balances. Read the rest of this entry »
Why no White Paper or Government Statement in past fortnight to clear Malaysia’s name and reputation from being named a kleptocracy in US DOJ’s legal suits to forfeit over US$1 billion 1MDB-linked assets in US?
The past two weeks had been Malaysia’s most dark and shameful fortnight as three infamous things happened to Malaysia during this period:
• On 20th July, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed its largest single action to forfeit over US$1 billion of assets in the United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland (making it also the world’s largest single action of forfeiture) embezzled, defrauded, misappropriated or money-laundered from 1MDB, the Malaysian national sovereign wealth fund.
• Overnight, Malaysia became notorious worldwide as a kleptocracy with the DOJ civil action under the US Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative (KARI) 2010 for forfeiture of over US$1billion 1MDB-linked assets out of US$3.5 billion embezzled, defrauded, misappropriated or money-laundered from 1MDB which compelled 1MDB auditors, Deloitte Malaysia to disavow the reliability of its audit of 1MDB in 2013 and 2014 on the ground that they would have been impacted if it had known at that time the information contained in the DOJ lawsuits. “Kleptocracy” literally means ‘rule by thieves’.
• The inability of the Malaysian Government to issue a White Paper or a Statement in the past fortnight to clear Malaysia’s name and reputation from being named as a kleptocracy and ranked as one of the world’s top countries afflicted with global corruption.
3rd August 2016
Najib should stand aside while investigations run their course
The US Justice Department’s decision to seize more than $1bn in assets allegedly stolen from Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund has sent shockwaves through the Southeast Asian nation. Until the US announcement last month, most Malaysians were resigned to creeping authoritarianism in their country as the prime minister, Najib Razak, concentrated power in his hands and eviscerated the last vestiges of independent governance.
Mr Najib has in effect removed anyone — from the deputy prime minister to the attorney-general — who questioned his role in the alleged theft of billions of dollars from 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the sovereign wealth fund he established in 2009.
Mr Najib’s party, United Malays National Organisation (Umno), has ruled the country without interruption for six decades with a mix of cash handouts and suppression of political opponents. But the alleged involvement of Mr Najib, his family and associates with the 1MDB scandal goes beyond the usual levels of corruption in Malaysia. Now the Obama administration has sent an implicit signal that Mr Najib no longer enjoys the unquestioning protection and support of the US. Read the rest of this entry »
By SARA SCHONHARDT in Jakarta and YANTOULTRA NGUI in Kuala Lumpur
Wall Street Journal
Aug. 2, 2016
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, facing a loss of international standing as he wrestles with global investigations into alleged domestic corruption, on Tuesday urged countries not to meddle in the affairs of his Southeast Asian nation.
“I have always been a proponent of openness to the world and collaboration, but we must insist on respect for our own sovereignty, our own laws, and our own democratically elected governments,” Mr. Najib said at the opening of a summit on Islamic finance held in neighboring Indonesia.
Mr. Najib has struggled for more than a year in a scandal centered on the state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd. He used a keynote address to the World Islamic Economic Forum to restate his country’s importance in Asian trade and security arrangements and as a counterbalance to Islamic extremism. Read the rest of this entry »
Call on the Auditor-General and PAC to re-open investigations into 1MDB as the DOJ complaint about billion-dollar 1MDB global embezzlement, misappropriation, money-laundering and corruption have far-reaching impact on their Reports on 1MDB
DAP PJ Utara MP, Tony Pua has rightly castigated the Second Finance Minister, Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani for his indifference and lack of concern over Deloitte’s disavowal of its audited accounts for 1MDB for the years 2013 and 2014.
A week after the US Department of Justice (DOJ) civil action for forfeiture of over US$1billion 1MDB-linked assets out of US$3.5 billion misappropriated from 1MDB, Deloitte Malaysia said its audit of 1MDB in 2013 and 2014 would have been impacted if it had known at that time the information contained in the DOJ lawsuits to seize 1MDB-linked assets.
As such, Deloitte said that 1MDB’s 2013 and 2014 financial statements, which the auditing firm signed off on March 28, 2014 and Nov 5, 2014, “should no longer be relied upon”.
Johari’s statement on Monday that there was no impact on 1MDB for saying the 2013 and 2014 accounts that Deloitte edited should no longer be relied on is most irresponsible and shocking, and shows how little regard the Malaysian Government has for credibility, integrity, best corporate practices and good governance. Read the rest of this entry »
Has the question “Who is ‘MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1’” become a crime and is the speculation that ‘MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1’ could only be Prime Minister Najib a heinous crime in Malaysia?
The hour-long questioning of DAP National Publicity Secretary and MP for PJ Utara, Tony Pua, by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) for his two Facebook postings after the US Department of Justice (DOJ) legal suits to forfeit over US$1 billion 1MDB-linked assets in the United States under the US Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative 2010 raises two important public-interest questions:
Firstly, whether the question “Who is ‘MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1’” mentioned 36 times in the 136-page 513-paragraph DOJ complaint as one of the kingpins of the global multi-billion ringgit 1MDB embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption is a crime; and
Secondly, whether speculation from the various identification given in the DOJ complaint on “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” that the person referred to could only be Prime Minister Najib Razak although no name was mentioned is a heinous crime in Malaysia?
Malaysians do not want their Prime Minister to be mockingly referred to as “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” or “MO1”, whether in local or international circles, which immediately brings to mind the image of Malaysia as the top “kleptocracy” in the world and the DOJ legal action on the global scandal of the multi-billion dollar 1MDB embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption. Read the rest of this entry »
For national pride and international reputation, it is untenable for Malaysian government to adopt a “wait and see” attitude and basically ignore the US DOJ legal action to forfeit over US$1 billion 1MDB-linked assets in United States
The Najib government seems to have decided on a strategy to “wait and see” and basically to ignore the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) legal action to forfeit over US$1 billion 1MDB-linked assets in the United States, as reflected by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s statement after the UMNO Supreme Council meeting on Friday.
Najib said that 1MDB was not directly involved in the DOJ’s civil suits, as 1MDB was not named in the civil complaint and there were no 1MDB assets in the United States.
He said only certain individuals were named in the civil complaint.
He said: “We view the (DOJ) report seriously, and those named must clear their names, in accordance with legal provisions.”
Although the DOJ legal suits specifically named five persons, namely elusive Penang billionaire and 1MDB “mastermind” Jho Low, his associate “Eric” Tan Kim Loong, Najib’s stepson Riza Shahriz bin Aziz, and the two key operatives of the Abu Dhabi companies, Khadem Abdullah AL-QUBAISI and Mohamed Ahmed Badawy AL-HUSSEINY, four other persons were named in codes – (1) MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1; (2) 1MDB OFFICER 1; (3) 1MDB OFFICER 2 and (4) 1MDB OFFICER 3.
From the identification references to “MALAYSIA OFFICIAL 1” in the 136-DOJ complaint, for instance referring to “MALAYSIA OFFICIAL 1” as “a high-ranking official in the Malaysian government who also held a position of authority with 1MDB” and linking Riza as “a relative of MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1”, the only conclusion point to Najib as “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1”.
Did Najib admit to the first Cabinet meeting after the US DOJ action on 27th July or to the UMNO Supreme Council meeting on 29th July that he is “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” referred to in the DOJ complaint, or did any Minister at the Cabinet meeting or any UMNO leader at the UMNO Supreme Council meeting asked Najib whether he was the person referred to?
Or have Malaysian politics and governance degenerated to a stage where no Minister in Cabinet or UMNO leader at the UMNO Supreme Council dared to ask Najib such a simple and straightforward question? Read the rest of this entry »
The decapitation of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), with the simultaneous removal of the three top officers of the MACC, was supposed to mark the end-game of a year-long strategy to remove all obstacles to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak on his game-plan over his two global financial scandals which started in July last year – with the sackings of the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Gani Patail, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Senior Cabinet Minister, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Mukriz Mahathir, the dissolution of the high-level Special Task Force on 1MDB, the derailment of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) investigations into 1MDB and the arrests, immediate transfer, harassment and intimidation of key officers in the key national enforcement or investigation agencies whether the Police, the Attorney-General’s Chambers, Bank Negara or the MACC.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) legal suits on July 20 to forfeit over US$1 billion 1MDB-linked assets in the United States has however come as a “wrench in the works”, destroying Najib’s well-orchestrated plan since last year to make his twin mega scandals vanish into thin air in Malaysia on the ground that they are no more issues as they had been resolved.
The decapitation of MACC with the removal of its top three leaders and the appointment of the new MACC chief, Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad from the Attorney-General’s Chambers could not have come at a worse time in terms of securing public confidence, national and international, in the independence, integrity and professionalism of key national institutions and top public servants.
There are at least three reasons why Dzulkifi Ahmad is most inappropriate for the post as the new MACC chief. Read the rest of this entry »
Najib should not take Malaysians for fools or simpletons in declaring that 1MDB not directly involved in DOJ law suits as without 1MDB there would be no DOJ legal action for forfeiture of over US$1 billion MDB-linked assets in United States
I am most shocked that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak had said after the UMNO Supreme Council meeting this evening that 1MDB is not directly involved in the US Department of Justice (DOJ) report, which is probably a a justification for no government or official response to the DOJ legal suits for forfeiture of over US$1 billion assets in United States which the American authorities alleged had been stolen, misappropriated, defrauded or diverted from 1MDB as a result of global embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption crimes.
Najib said the DPJ civil suits did not contain any information or views from the Malaysian government, Attorney-General’s Chambers or 1MDB itself.
He added that “only those specifically named in the report are mentioned in the report” and that 1MDB is not directly involved in the report.
Najib cannot be more wrong.
Najib should not take Malaysians for fools or simpletons in declaring that 1MDB is not directly involved in DOJ law suits as without 1MDB there would be no DOJ legal action for forfeiture of over US$1 billion MDB-linked assets in United States.
In fact, without 1MDB, the DOJ 136-page legal suits would have no legs to stand on and would immediately collapse.
“1MDB” is strewn all over the 136-page report, and in the first 20 pages, there are over 130 references.
How then can Najib say that 1MDB is not directly involved in the DOJ report? Read the rest of this entry »
by Randeep Ramesh
Thursday 28 July 2016
How a jailed former banker and a lone British journalist broke a story that shook the world
On 22 June 2015, Xavier Justo, a 48-year-old retired Swiss banker, walked towards the front door of his brand new boutique hotel on Koh Samui, a tropical Thai island. He had spent the past three years building the luxurious white-stone complex of chalets and apartments overlooking the shimmering sea and was almost ready to open for business. All he needed was a licence.
Justo had arrived in Thailand four years earlier, having fled the drab world of finance in London. In 2011, he and his girlfriend Laura toured the country on a motorbike and, two years later, they got married on a secluded beach. The couple eventually settled down in Koh Samui, a tourist hotspot, just an hour’s flight south of Bangkok. After trying out a couple of entrepreneurial ventures, Justo eventually decided that he would go into the hotel business. He bought a plot with an imposing house and began building: adding a gym, villas and a tennis court.
That June afternoon, he was expecting a visit from the tourism authorities to sign off on the paperwork. Instead, a squad of armed Thai police burst through the unlocked door, bundling Justo to the ground. The officers tied their plastic cuffs so tightly around Justo’s wrists that he bled on the dark tiled floor. The police quickly moved into his office, ripping out the computers and emptying the filing cabinets. Read the rest of this entry »
Will Najib deny he is “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” or will he admit he is being referred to in DOJ legal suits and sue the US Attorney-General Loretta for defamation?
The identity of “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” in the 136-page US Department of Justice (DOJ) legal suits for the forfeiture of over US$1 billion of assets in United States stolen, embezzled or defrauded from 1MDB and the people of Malaysia still await official confirmation.
Although the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has not been named personally in the DOJ legal suits, it is no exaggeration to say that the identity of “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” has received remarkable concurrence whether locally or internationally – that it could only refer to Najib and nobody else.
Will Najib deny he is “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” or will he admit he is being referred to in DOJ legal suits and sue the US Attorney-General Loretta for defamation? Read the rest of this entry »
By Mong Palatino
July 29, 2016
The clues point to only one person.
The United States Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against some individuals accused of using an investment firm owned by the Malaysian government to steal more than $1 billion.
The lawsuit also mentioned a certain “Malaysian Official 1,” prompting many to ask if it refers to Prime Minister Najib Razak since he has control over the 1Malaysian Development Berhad (1MDB) investment firm and his stepson is one of the accused.
The lawsuit aims to recover some 17 assets in the United States, which have been allegedly acquired through 1MDB funds.
U.S. officials said the lawsuit is the “largest single action ever brought under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.” They vowed to return the funds to the Malaysian people. Read the rest of this entry »
28 July 2016
Investigations into the 1MDB development fund and a new security law are both cause for concern
Malaysia’s new security law, due to come into force on Monday, would be alarming at any time. Its sweeping powers permit authorities to declare national security areas which are off-limits to protests, where individuals and premises can be searched without a warrant, and where killings by security forces need not result in formal inquests. Changes to the country’s criminal code, undermining the rights of suspects, are similarly concerning. Human rights groups warn that existing laws, including the colonial-era Sedition Act – which Prime Minister Najib Razak once vowed to repeal – have been used to detain and muzzle critics. The country’s police chief recently warned that protests by electoral reform group Bersih would be permitted only if participants avoided calling for Mr Najib’s resignation.
The government says the National Security Council Act is needed to protect the public from a mounting global terrorism threat. It is striking, however, that it becomes law as the prime minister faces growing pressure and planned protests over the multi-billion-dollar 1MDB development fund scandal, which has snowballed since emerging a year ago. Even his erstwhile patron, former premier Mahathir Mohamad, has joined forces with the opposition in an attempt to oust him. Read the rest of this entry »
Apandi should explain why the Attorney-General’s Chambers sought to rebut only 17 of the references to “MALAYSIA OFFICIAL 1” in the US DOJ suits to forfeit over US$1 billion 1MDB-linked assets in United States and not to all 36 references?
Yesterday, I asked the Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali to explain why the 17-point Q&A on the Malaysian Attorney-General’s Chambers website on the US Department of Justice (DOJ) legal suits for forfeiture of over US$1 billion assets in the United States which had been stolen, embezzled or defrauded from 1MDB and the people of Malaysia had been taken down after it was uploaded on Monday.
A detailed search has found that the 17-point Q&A, though not displayed on its main AGC portal page, is still available on the AGC website at:
Although the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is not named in the DOJ suits, a person referred to “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” is mentioned 36 times – a person who is identified as the Prime Minister.
The AGC’s 17-point Q&A as good as acknowledged that “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” is Najib, and what Apandi should explain is why the Attorney-General’s Chambers sought to rebut only 17 of the references to “MALAYSIA OFFICIAL 1” in the US DOJ suits and not to all the 36 references. Read the rest of this entry »
Apandi should explain why the 17-point Q&A on the DOJ suit which acknowledged that “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” is Prime Minister Najib was taken down after it was uploaded on AG Chambers’ Portal on Monday
The Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali should explain why the 17-point Q&A on the US Department of Justice (DOJ) legal suits for forfeiture of over US$1 billion assets in the United States which had been stolen, embezzled or defrauded from 1MDB and the people of Malaysia was taken down after it was uploaded onto the Attorney-General’s Chambers’ Internet Portal on Monday.
Is this because the 17-point Q&A acknowledged that “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” mentioned 34 times in the 136-page 513-paragraph DOJ legal suits is the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak although Najib was not named in the suits?
Najib said after the DOJ filed its action under the US Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative (KARI) 2010 on Wednesday that the government takes the DOJ’s allegations seriously, and that “whoever is named should take responsibility and clear their names, and ensure that the people’s money are not abused”.
As Najib is not, and cannot deny that he is the “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” mentioned 34 times in the DOJ suits, and which was as good as acknowledged by the 17-point Q&A uploaded on the AG Chambers’ website on Monday, would he act on his own advice to “take responsibility” and clear his name “to ensure that the people’s money are not abused”? Read the rest of this entry »
By NATHANIEL POPPER
New York Times
JULY 26, 2016
A private equity firm is suing Goldman Sachs, accusing it in court documents filed on Tuesday of improperly trying to curry favor with the scandal-plagued prime minister of Malaysia.
The firm, Primus Pacific Partners, said Goldman provided bad advice to one of its clients to help the financial fortunes of the Malaysian prime minister, Najib Razak.
The prime minister and people close to him have been previously accused by American authorities of embezzling billions of dollars from a Malaysian state investment fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB. Read the rest of this entry »
by Tommy Thomas
COMMENT The might of the most powerful nation in the world has been brought to bear to investigate, uncover and institute legal proceedings to forfeit assets purchased through money stolen from proceeds of bonds sales by 1MDB.
The combined efforts of three US agencies, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), with the assistance of law enforcement agencies in other countries, have produced the most complete, holistic picture of the great fraud perpetrated by Jho Low and his co-conspirators to defraud the people of Malaysia of billions of ringgit ultimately belonging to them.
The 136-page, 513-paragraph ‘Verified Complaint for Forfeiture in Rem’ is a tour de force. The people of Malaysia, suffering under a state of powerlessness and helplessness, owe an immeasurable debt to the sterling work carried out by truly independent institutions in the United States. Read the rest of this entry »
By YANTOULTRA NGUI
Wall Street Journal
July 26, 2016
Government won’t protect citizens, senior government official says
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—The Malaysian government won’t protect citizens from legal action taken outside the country stemming from the scandal surrounding state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd., a senior government official said Tuesday.
Johari Abdul Ghani, who is second in command in the Finance Ministry under Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is also finance minister, said that the 1MDB scandal served as a “very expensive lesson’’ for the Southeast Asian country.
“As far as the government of Malaysia is concerned, any individuals that basically have committed any offense in any countries outside Malaysia, the Malaysian government will not protect them,” Mr. Johari told reporters. “We want them to face the due legal process. That is the commitment of the government.” Read the rest of this entry »