Archive for September 1st, 2016

Leonardo DiCaprio urged to repay donations to Malaysian rainforest fund

Edward Helmore in New York
31 August 2016

Wolf of Wall Street may have been backed by donations linked to an international money laundering scandal, says the Swiss-based charity

The actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio is being urged to repay donations connected to the Malaysian fund that backed his hit film The Wolf of Wall Street and is now subject to a US justice department investigation and asset seizure effort.

The calls come from the Bruno Manser Funds, a Swiss-based charity focused on protecting the Malaysian rainforest. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the organization accused the star of “double standards” for accepting donations linked to an international money laundering scandal.

The charity claims that while DiCaprio has been engaged in an effort to protect the last remaining tracts of rainforest in Sumatra, the scandal-plagued 1MDB fund, which participated in a fundraising Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation auction at Christie’s in 2013, is connected to Malaysian deforestation less than 500 miles away. Read the rest of this entry »

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After official admission that MO1 is Najib, it is height of national cowardice and irresponsibility if Cabinet does not resolve that Prime Minister should personally address UN General Assembly to purge and cleanse Malaysia’s reputation as “global kleptocracy”

At long last, the Malaysian government has officially admitted that the “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” mentioned 36 times in the US Department of Justice (DOJ) lawsuits for forfeiture of US$1 billion of assets as a result of an international conspiracy of theft, embezzlement, misappropriation and money-laundering of US$3.5 billion 1MDB funds is none other than the Malaysian Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

If the Malaysian Government is going to make such an admission six weeks after the US DOJ lawsuits on July 20, why didn’t the Prime Minister and the government make such an admission promptly and immediately after the DOJ actions, especially as the Barisan Nasional Strategic Communications Director and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of EPU, Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan, has said, “only an idiot doesn’t know who that person was” as there is no secret who is Malaysian Official 1 (MO1) mentioned in the DOJ civil lawsuits, as everyone who has read the court documents or familiar with the issues would know who is the person being referred to.

Is Abdul Rahman, who made such an official admission in the interview with BBC, or the Prime Minister capable of offering an answer to this question?

Why the government’s cat-and-mouse game for the past six weeks as to who is “MO1”, to the extent that it prompted a “TangkapM01” campaign, including a demonstration organized by university students last Saturday?

Furthermore, how many Cabinet Ministers knew from the beginning six weeks ago that “MO1” was Najib, and can they explain why the Ministers shied away from the subject of DOJ lawsuits in the Cabinet for the past six weeks?

Is this because the Ministers dare not raise the subject, as it directly affects the Prime Minister, and the Prime Minister in Malaysia has long ceased to be “primus inter pares” in the system of Malaysian governance but is virtually the “Master” over all the Ministers, who are totally at his beck-and-call? Read the rest of this entry »


Who is ‘Malaysian Official 1’? Case closed

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 »


A Political Divide Over Islamic Law Could Undo Malaysia’s Social Fabric

David Hutt
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 »