Archive for April 7th, 2016

Three basic flaws of the long-awaited Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on 1MDB

Two important events happened this morning which would have far-reaching consequences on the development of democratic governance in Malaysia.

The first was the unprecedented march by scores of Members of Parliament from Parliament House to Bukit Aman to protest the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar’s utter contempt of Parliament in the police arrest of PKR Secretary-General and MP for Pandan Rafizi Ramli despite a long-standing parliamentary motion instructing the Inspector-General of Police to take all necessary measures to ensure that there is no obstruction to MPs travelling to and fro parliamentary meetings.

The second item was the tabling of the long-awaited Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on 1MDB.

I have not read the PAC report but clearly the PAC report is guilty of major failings even without having to refer to it.

There are at least three basic flaws in the PAC report on 1MDB. Read the rest of this entry »


Fed Warned Goldman on Malaysia Bond Deals

by Justin Baer and Bradley Hope
Wall Street Journal
April 6, 2016

Regulator raised concerns about risk to firm’s reputation from work on 1MDB transactions

Regulators at the Federal Reserve have raised concerns with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. that deals it helped put together for a controversial Malaysian government investment fund could have put the firm’s reputation at risk, according to people familiar with the matter.

Those deals are increasingly under a brighter spotlight, as additional details emerge about the alleged actions of the firm’s former Southeast Asia head who handled transactions for the fund, 1Malaysia Development Bhd. or 1MDB.

People familiar with the matter said the partner, Tim Leissner, was suspended from the firm for writing a letter vouching for a financier with ties to that fund. Mr. Leissner was suspended and later quit early this year after a review of his email found he had allegedly written an unauthorized reference letter on behalf of Jho Low, a Malaysian investor who helped found 1MDB and was involved in some transactions done by the fund, people familiar with the matter said.

When it disclosed Mr. Leissner’s suspension, Goldman didn’t name Mr. Low. The fact that Mr. Leissner wrote a letter of reference to another financial institution for someone involved in 1MDB puts the firm deeper into the controversy surrounding the fund, lawyers say.

People familiar with the matter said Mr. Leissner’s letter had included details on Mr. Low’s finances, while overstating the extent to which Goldman had done due diligence on him. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lets work for a Three Wins result in the 11th Sarawak State General Election – victories for Pakatan Harapan, Sarawak and Malaysia

The Battle for Sarawak in the 11th Sarawak State General Election with the dissolution of the Sarawak State Assembly on April 11 is the Battle for Malaysia for future generations, in Sarawak as well as rest of the country.

Never before have the Sarawak state general election been so important in the 53-year history of Sarawak, for what happens on Sarawak polling day is not just about Sarawak, about how big a majority Chief Minister Datuk Adenan Satem will have in the new State Assembly, but even more important, how it will affect Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s tenure as sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia and his ability to deflect or to continue to disregard the national and international furore over his RM55 billion 1MDB and RM4.2 billion “donation” twin mega scandals.

In fact it is no exaggeration to say that the forthcoming Sarawak State General Elections is even more important to Najib than to Adenan in determining the fate of the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »

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Child marriage is another form of modern day slavery

Syerleena Abdul Rashid
April 7, 2016

Pasir Putih MP Nik Mazian Nik Mohamad made a mockery of our institution today, by opposing the ban of child marriages by justifying that “If we restrict them from getting married, (their) lust will remain, and they will be exposed to premarital casual sex”. Not only is this justification sexist, it is a huge blow to social justice and human rights in our country.

Child marriage is catastrophic. Common sense dictates that it is immoral and the response given by Nik Mazian, indicate the distressing deterioration of reason and logic in our present day society. According to UNICEF, approximately over ‘700 million women alive today were married as children’ and similar reports by the UN, estimate that between 2011 and 2020, over 140 million children – mostly, girls, will become child brides.

Although in Malaysia, the legal minimum age for marriage under civil law for both genders is 18, girls can marry at 16 under Islamic law – and sometimes even younger with the consent of the Syariah court. In 2014, the Malaysian Syariah Judiciary Department received roughly 600 marriage applications for couples below the age of consent and approximately 446 of these applications have been approved by the department. Read the rest of this entry »


How Muslim Governments Impose Ignorance

Mustafa Akyol
New York Times
MARCH 16, 2016

ISTANBUL — I recently spent a few days in Malaysia, where I was promoting the publication of the Malay edition of my book, “Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty.” The publisher, a progressive Muslim organization called the Islamic Renaissance Front, had set up several talks for me in Kuala Lumpur. As any author would be, I was happy to learn that the team was enthusiastic about my book and had been getting good feedback from audiences and readers. But I was troubled by something else that I suspect many Muslim authors have experienced: My publisher was worried about censorship.

The risk, I was told, was that the Department of Islamic Development, a government body that “was formed to protect the purity of faith,” could ban the book if it was viewed as violating traditional Islamic doctrine.

So far, the Malaysian government has not banned my book. But if it did I wouldn’t be surprised. The department has already outlawed more than a thousand books translated into Malay. Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” was banned because, according to the home minister, it “goes against Islamic teachings,” and even “endangers public harmony” — whatever that means. “Islam: A Short History,” a fairly sympathetic study by the best-selling author Karen Armstrong, was similarly banned for being “incompatible with peace and social harmony.” Read the rest of this entry »

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The Panama Papers’ Sprawling Web of Corruption

by The Editorial Board
New York Times
APRIL 5, 2016

The first reaction to the leaked documents dubbed the Panama Papers is simply awe at the scope of the trove and the ingenuity of the anonymous source who provided the press with 11.5 million documents — 2.6 terabytes of data — revealing in extraordinary detail how offshore bank accounts and tax havens are used by the world’s rich and powerful to conceal their wealth or avoid taxes.

Then comes the disgust. With more than 14,000 clients around the world and more than 214,000 offshore entities involved, Mossack Fonseca, the Panama-based law firm whose internal documents were exposed, piously insists it violated no laws or ethics. But the questions remain: How did all these politicians, dictators, criminals, billionaires and celebrities amass vast wealth and then benefit from elaborate webs of shell companies to disguise their identities and their assets? Would there have been no reckoning had the leak not occurred?

And then the core question: After these revelations, will anything change? Many formal denials and pledges of official investigations have been made. But to what degree do the law and public shaming still have dominion over this global elite? A public scarred by repeated revelations of corruption in government, sports and finance will demand to know. Read the rest of this entry »

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