Archive for February 2nd, 2016

Twists and turns of Najib’s RM2.6 billion

Published: 31 January 2016 7:00 AM
The Malaysian Insider

When Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the RM2.6 billion donation controversy has been “comprehensively put to rest”, the Internet promptly responded with memes ridiculing the attorney-general’s (A-G) decision to close the case.

From comedians to artists, local blogs to international news wires, many found it hard to believe that it was okay for a leader of a democratic country to accept billions of ringgit from an unidentified foreign funder.

Najib urged Malaysians to “move on” from the issue but questions still abound despite the A-G’s findings that there was insufficient evidence to implicate Najib.

The Malaysian Insider revisits what is known so far about the billions in his account, since July 2 last year when The Wall Street Journal first broke the news that RM2.6 billion was channelled into Najib’s private bank accounts.
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The Amman Message and intra-Muslim peace

— Syed Farid Alatas
Malay Mail Online
February 1, 2016

FEBRUARY 1 — Hostility between Sunnis and Shiites has become a dominant feature of intra-Muslim relations today. Indeed, the first decades of the 21st century will be known as a period of protracted conflict between these two major denominations of Islam.

Twelver Shiites, who form up to 29 per cent of the global Muslim population, are in the majority in Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Iran and Iraq. They also constitute important minorities in countries such as Lebanon, Kuwait, Turkey, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia.

The history of Islam is characterised by numerous instances of violence and hostility between Sunnis and Shiites. The confrontations were often initiated by Sunni rulers and, sometimes, by the religious elite who were co-opted by the state. Read the rest of this entry »

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Swiss 1MDB probe holds fat tail risks for Malaysia

By Una Galani
Reuters Breakingviews
February 1, 2016

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

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


Malaysia stifles dissent as public unrest grows

Jeevan Vasagar and Michael Peel
Financial Times
February 2, 2016

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

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

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

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Foreign governments pile pressure on Malaysia over financial scandals

The Malaysian Insider
2 February 2016

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

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

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

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More images of ‘clown-faced’ Najib emerge online

Feb 2, 2016

Kita semua penghasut

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

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

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

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

The Reuters report stated:

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

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

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

Sydney Morning Herald
February 2, 2016

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

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

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

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

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The Observer view on corruption in Malaysia

Observer editorial
Sunday 31 January 2016

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

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

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

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

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In Bolehland whether its a crime or not, depends on who did it!

By Martin Jalleh

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