Archive for December, 2016
By YANTOULTRA NGUI, CELINE FERNANDEZ and PATRICK BARTA
Wall Street Journal
Dec. 30, 2016
Government uses assortment of laws to silence critics of its handling of global scandal over state fund
KUALA LUMPUR—Graphic designer Fahmi Reza is facing up to two years in prison. His problem? He painted red clown lips on a picture of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and sent it around.
Mr. Najib pledged a new era of civic freedom when he came to power seven years ago in a country known for penalizing political foes. Instead, his government has become increasingly intolerant of critics as it tries to limit fallout from a sprawling corruption scandal related to a state economic-development fund.
International investigators believe associates of the prime minister siphoned billions of dollars from the fund, known as 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB. The U.S. Justice Department has moved to seize $1 billion of assets prosecutors say were purchased with money misappropriated from the fund.
Mr. Najib and 1MDB have denied wrongdoing and promised to cooperate with lawful investigations. The Malaysian attorney general early in 2016 cleared Mr. Najib of wrongdoing.
While pledging to investigate 1MDB fully, Mr. Najib’s government recently has silenced critics under an assortment of laws, arresting dozens. It has barred some from traveling abroad. The government also shut down a probe related to 1MDB by Malaysia’s anticorruption agency, which, according to a person familiar with the matter, had called for criminal charges against Mr. Najib. Read the rest of this entry »
ASEAN Studies Program
The Habibie Center
[Journey through the ebbs and flows of democracy in ASEAN via a conversation between Michael Vatikiotis, a veteran journalist and writer living in Singapore, and Dr. Bridget Welsh, who is a Senior Associate Fellow of the Habibie Center in Jakarta. Their conversation on the state of democracy in Southeast Asia traces the history of the push for democracy in the different countries of the region, current challenges and future prospects. (This article is first published in special issue.)]
Michael Vatikiotis is a writer and journalist living in Singapore. After training as a journalist with the BBC in London, he moved to Asia and was a correspondent and then editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review. He has written two novels set in Indonesia.
Dr. Bridget Welsh is a Senior Research Associate at the Center for East Asia Democratic Studies of the National Taiwan University; a Senior Associate Fellow of the Habibie Center in Jakarta; and a University Fellow of Charles Darwin University in Darwin, Australia. She analyzes Southeast Asian politics, especially Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, and Indonesia.
Bridget Welsh (BW): Michael, why don’t you begin. Where do you think the state of democracy is in the region?
Michael Vatikiotis (MV): Well, if you take a glass half-full approach, then I suppose you would look at the long arch of history of democracy over the last 40 years. I argue that in many countries of Southeast Asia there has been a gradual improvement in the forms of governments that have begun to look more and more institutionally like functioning democracies.
So to break that down, you have of course a wave of democratization that began with the People’s Power revolution in the Philippines in mid-1980s which was itself an outgrowth of Portugal’s Carnation Revolution in the mid-1970s that sparked what Samuel Huntington called the ‘third wave of democratization.’ This eventually reached the shores of Southeast Asia and manifested itself initially in left wing movements, student disruptions and protests in mid 1970s. Thailand saw a crackdown on student movements that led to people fleeing into the jungle and joining the communist insurgency. Similarly in Indonesia, there was the Malari incident which led to a crackdown on campus politics. In Malaysia too, there was a student agitation in the mid-1970s. By the early 80s things had come to a head in the Philippines with the implementation of martial law, the corruption of Marcos’ rule and the deep sense of unease that many people felt because of the way that they were treated by Marcos, either arrested, detained or worse. In 1983, with the murder of Benigno Aquino as he stepped out of a plane from Taiwan at Manila Airport, these finally weld up into a massive popular protest.
At the time I was a young journalist in BBC. I remember covering it from London, and it was a very exciting time, especially the whole notion of ‘people’s power.’ This was well before any of the colored revolutions that have taken place in this century. This was before the end of Cold War. It was also the very first time that CNN had covered this sort of story so far away with live camera shots of the protests. There was a sense that nothing like this had really happened before in postcolonial Southeast Asia. It was shown and reported in a very vivid manner and it also very quickly brought an end to very despotic ruler. Within a matter of weeks Ferdinand Marcos was on a plane to Hawaii.
As a side note, I think it was also very important time because up until the mid-1980s, the United States and other Western powers firmly back autocratic regimes because they were anti-communist. This changed with the ‘people’s power’ revolution on the streets of Manila. The color of the revolution was yellow, not red. You had this mild-mannered widow of Benigno Aquino who took over. She was not threatening. She didn’t seem to be communist. This allowed the United States and other Western powers to embrace a popular revolution without having to abandon their sort of anti-communist credentials. There was a sense of relief that they didn’t have to support an autocrat, because he was anti-communist. Read the rest of this entry »
by Rev. Datuk Jerry Dusing
December 25, 2016
As we bring 2016 to a close, we thank God for His love, blessings and protection on us throughout the year. We thank God for the strengthened unity amongst the Church and the people of Sabah of various beliefs.
In the midst of the political and economic challenges of our nation, this Christmas season reminds us that there is hope in God for Sabah and Malaysia. We are a Malaysian family and what we truly desire is for peace within us and amongst us.
The underlying chord that keeps us united as a family is our innate moral sense of love for one another, compassion, respect, honour, fairness, truthfulness and integrity endowed upon us by the Almighty.
These are the qualities of our nation’s moral soil that will allow us to dynamically progress as a pluralistic nation. We should continue to nurture our soil towards a stable political and economic structure now and for our children’s generation. Read the rest of this entry »
Koon Yew Yin
31st December 2016
As we enter into 2017, I am hopeful that the new year will finally bring positive change to Malaysia. But this positive change must begin with voting out the BN government and the installation of a new government.
For now, we see the BN big guns using the media to criticise the opposition for being divided and lacking cohesion. They also allege that there is no agreement on who is to be Prime Minister if the opposition wins. Or which opposition party will take over which portfolio.
Frankly, I do not see these as being big issues or problems. In fact by raising them, it shows how frightened the BN is over the prospect of losing power so that they will use all kinds of scare tactics.
Don’t forget that in the last GE the opposition won more than 51% of total votes. BN ended up with more state and parliament seats because most of the Malay rural areas voted for UMNO. But in the next GE, we have Pribumi, headed by Dr. M, Keadilan headed by Anwar and Amanah headed by Mat Sabu and the PAS moderates.
I believe PAS will eventually work with the opposition when they realise UMNO is making use of them to win. In any case we will definitely have more Malay parties competing for the rural seats. Read the rest of this entry »
[Bridget Welsh highlights persistent corruption trend in Southeast Asia through revealing data, including the Asia Barometer Survey. Indeed, 2016 reveals that corruption remains a major challenge for the region emerging economies. (This article is published in Thinking ASEAN 2016 Kaleidoscope special issue)]
Serious corruption scandals continued to plague Southeast Asia as the monies involve reach record levels. In December 2015 Indonesians were riveted by the US$4 billion extortion attempt of Freeport McMoRan involving the Speaker of the House of Representatives Setya Novanto. He later resigned amidst ethics concerns. Next door in Malaysia, the multi-billion 1MDB scandal has made headlines since July 2015. At issue are kleptocracy allegations against Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak involving the deposit of nearly USUS$700 million deposited into his personal bank account, through an investment vehicle that has been tied to money-laundering and embezzlement being investigated in six international jurisdictions. The actual losses involved extend beyond US$3 billion. Najib clings to power to avoid international prosecution. In mainland Southeast Asia an assessment this year by Global Witness alleges that Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia has taken at least US$200 million for his own personal use and claims that the actual amount pilfered may extend to above US$1 billion. He too appears to be using his office for protection and wealth. The amounts in the abuse of office for personal gain is just one of the many worrying trends involving corruption across the region. Read the rest of this entry »
Message of wind-down of MACC special operations division is clear – MACC should catch more “ikan bilis” but leave the ‘ikan yus” alone!
2017 New Year Message
In his 2016 New Year message exactly a year ago, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak told Malaysians that his RM50 billion 1MDB and RM2.6 billion donation twin mega scandals had been resolved and were no more issues.
Najib could not be more wrong as Malaysia’s international repute and standing suffered an even worse battering this year with the ferocious pounding of the twin mega scandals in the international marketplace of opinion, to the extent that Malaysians felt embarrassed in admitting that they are Malaysians when abroad.
In the past 12 months, Malaysia went from the third “worst corruption scandal of 2015” by international website foreignpolicy.com in the last week of last year, to second worst example of global corruption by Time magazine in March, second place in the index of crony capitalism by the Economist’s ranking in May, and full-blown “global kleptocracy” when in July, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed the largest kleptocratic lawsuits to forfeit US$1 billion of 1MDB-linked assets in the United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland from US$3.5 billion international 1MDB kleptocratic embezzlement and money-laundering scandal.
These were not the only woes for the country for this year – as the country is going through the worst multiple crisis of confidence as evidenced by the worst plummeting in the value of the Malaysian ringgit, the worst racial and religious polarisation in the nation’s history and the unspeakable shame in being excluded from Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)2015 because of data cheating and bungling by the Ministry of Education.
We are ending the 2016 year with news of the downsizing of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) special operations division, which had handled high-profiled cases related to the 1MDB and Felda.
The message is very clear – MACC should arrest and prosecute more “ikan bilis” but it should leave the “ikan yus” alone. Read the rest of this entry »
Pensiangan Formula to address the political and constitutional stalemate created by UMNO’s support for Hadi’s private member’s bill motion on RUU355
An idea came to me during my visit to Pensiangan and Sook in the last three days on a formula which could address the political and constitutional stalemate which had haunted Malaysia for the best part of this year as a result of the initially surreptitious support of key UMNO leaders for PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Awang Hadi’s private member’s bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act (Act 355).
I was visiting Pensiangan as part of my visit to the Sabah Interior which also include Tenom and Keningau together with DAPSY leader and Perak DAP State Assemblyman for Canning, Wong Kah Woh; National DAPSY Publicity Secretary Henry Shim; Sabah DAP Chairman and MP for Sandakan, Steven Wong; Sabah DAP Adviser and MP for Kota Kinabalu, Jimmy Wong; Sabah DAP Deputy Chairman and Sabah State Assemblyman for Kepayang Dr. Edwin Bosi; DAP Sabah Vice Chairman and Keningau DAP Branch Chairman Peter Saili; Sabah DAP Publicity Secretary Phoong Jin Zhe; Sabah DAP Director of Political Education, Adrian Lasimbang; Melalap DAP Branch Chairperson Grelydia Gillod; Pensiangan DAP Assistant Co-ordinators Clare Taunek and Robinson Rusikan.
The majority of the people in Tenom, Keningau and Pensiangan are Christians.
The MP for Pensiangan is Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of national unity.
But Kurup was not in any “national unity” mindset when he warned Putrajaya in May this year that Sabahans and Sarawakians may demand to split from peninsular Malaysia if Hadi’s private member’s bill is passed in Parliament.
Kurup said Hadi’s private member’s bill risks dividing East and West Malaysia and called for its withdrawal.
He said: “If it is forced into Parliament and passed, I’m afraid it will trigger more feelings among the people of Sabah and Sarawak to go their separate ways.
“They [Federal government] shouldn’t have the slightest thought of introducing this law.”
On the last day of the Budget meeting in November when Hadi’s private member’s bill was expected to come up again, the MCA mouthpiece, The Star, devoted the whole of its front-page to Hadi’s private member’s motion with the headline “Solid ‘NO’ to Hadi’s Bill”, featuring the quotes and pics from leaders of five Barisan Nasional leaders, namely from MCA, Gerakan, MIC, PBB and PBS. Read the rest of this entry »
DAP Sabah to create a “political earthquake” in Sabah in 14th General Election through the ballot box to peacefully and democratically start the process of political change in Sabah and Malaysia
The message I have taken to Tenom, Keningau and Pensiangan in the past three days is to call on the people of the Sabah Interior to join the urban voters to create a “political earthquake” in the 14th General Election expected next year through the ballot box to peacefully and democratically start the process of political change in Sabah and Malaysia in order to save Sabah and to save Malaysia for our children and children’s children.
My three-day visit to Tenom, Keningau and Pensiangan with National DAPSY leader and Perak DAP State Assemblyman for Canning, Wong Kah Woh, in the company of the Sabah DAP Chairman and MP for Sandakan, Steven Wong, Sabah DAP Adviser and MP for Kota Kinabalu, Jimmy Wong and the Sabah DAP Deputy Chairman and Sabah State Assemblyman for Kepayang Dr. Edwin Bosi, has been an eye-opener for me.
I see the greatest contrasts in Sabah – its great wealth and rich natural resources on the one hand and the abject poverty and shocking socio-economic backwardness of the people, mired in a world-class system of corruption and kleptocracy!
Sabah’s own Watergate scandal has only sharpened and highlighted this immoral and unacceptable contrast in Sabah. Read the rest of this entry »
By Luke Hunt
December 30, 2016
Private banker jailed for 30 months.
The legal ramifications following the scandal linked to the 1MDB fund continues to resonate with a court in Singapore convicting a private banker of trying to obstruct investigations into the indebted fund founded by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Yeo Jiawei, 34, a former wealth planner at Swiss private bank BSI where he was known for his taste of the good life, was convicted of four charges related to obstructing, preventing or perverting the course of justice in regards to 1MDB or 1Malaysia Development Bhd.
He was sentenced to 30 months behind bars.
According to police, Yeo earned $18 million from the affair and had asked three witnesses to lie to authorities, get rid of a laptop and urged them not to travel to Singapore. Read the rest of this entry »
The 13 other BN component parties should not walk into the trap prepared by some UMNO leaders and propose instead that the March Parliament set up an all-party Parliamentary Select Committee to strengthen inter-religious relations in Malaysia based on Malaysian Constitution, MA63 and Rukunegara
The Sabah Council of Churches spoke for Malaysians and not just Sabahans when during Christmas, it prayed for truth to prevail in Malaysia, especially among those in power.
In his Christmas Day message, Council president Rev Jerry Dusing said, among others, truth must be established on the issues concerning 1MDB and the “hudud bill”.
He asked: “What is the truth of 1MDB? As Malaysians are left in the dark, we find ourselves frustratingly waiting for foreign nations to expose the truth about this mystery.”
He said lack of truth on the matter compromises the willingness of the public and businesses to respond to public policies and contribute to economic recovery.
I am very disappointed that the Cabinet, at its last meeting of the year yesterday, had not heard Dusing’s Christmas Message and started the new year 2017 with a new commitment to tell Malaysians about the truth, whether it be on 1MDB or PAS President, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill motion to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act (Act 355).
There are six Ministers from Sabah in the Najib Cabinet, three of whom are Christians, one of whom is responsible for national unity as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Tan Sri Joseph Kurup.
It is the height of disappointment that none of the Sabah Ministers had raised Dusing’s Christmas Message at the last Cabinet of the year for the Cabinet and Government to start telling the truth to Malaysians. Read the rest of this entry »
Parliamentary and state assembly contests in Pensiangan, Keningau and Tenom areas will be the focus and the frontline battle-grounds of Sabah DAP in the 14th GE
DAP Sabah will have two major objectives in the 14th General Election expected next year.
The first is to defend the electoral victories by the DAP in Sabah in Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Tawau in the 13th General Election, winning not only the two parliamentary and four state assembly seats in 2013, but also constituencies which we missed winning in these areas.
But the second objective is more formidable and challenging – to make a breakthrough in the interior areas, particularly the parliamentary and state assembly seats in Pensiangan, Keningau and Tenom, as we want to ensure more DAP Kadazan-Dusun-Murut elected representatives take their places in Parliament and the Sabah State Assembly.
In fact, I am looking forward not only to more DAP KDM elected representatives, but also to the election of Kadazan-Dusun-Murut State Assemblywomen as well.
This is the reason for my tour of Tenom, Keningau and Pensiangan in the last two days together with National DAPSY leader and Perak DAP State Assemblyman for Canning, Wong Kah Woh. Also with us in the two-day visit to Tenom, Keningau and Pensiangan are the Sabah DAP Chairman and MP for Sandakan, Steven Wong; Sabah DAP Adviser and MP for Kota Kinabalu, Jimmy Wong and the Sabah DAP Deputy Chairman and Sabah State Assemblyman for Kepayang Dr. Edwin Bosi.
The focus of DAP in Sabah in the 14th General Election is to successfully elect DAP KDM parliamentarians and State Assembly representatives for the parliamentary and state assembly contests in Sabah. Read the rest of this entry »
Sabah will be rich and developed after 53 years in Malaysia if there is no corruption and the wealth of Sabah had been used for Sabahans and not hijacked by corrupt leaders and their cronies
Malaysia is now regarded worldwide as a “global kleptocracy” which I had defined in Parliament as a country ruled by PPP – Pencuri, Perompak and Penyamun.
What is equally shocking is that Sabah has also become kleptocracy.
Recently, a joke about Trump and corruption in Malaysia was making the rounds, viz:
Donald Trump wants the white house painted!
Chinese guy quoted 3 million
European guy quoted 7 million
Malaysian guy quoted 10 million.
Trump asked Chinese guy how did you quote?
1 million for paint
1 million for labour
1 million profit.
He asked European?
He said :
3 million for paint
2 million for labour
2 million profit.
He asked Malaysian?
4 million for me
3 million for you
3 million will give it to the Chinese guy to paint.
“4 million for me, 3 million for you” out of a 10 million would put the corruption at 70% of the paint-job, which is phenomenally high.
This is nothing unusual for Sabah, as illustrated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) raid in Sabah in October, when the country was convulsed by revelations of the rampant corruption in the Sabah Water Department, with the MACC assertion that 60 per cent of the RM3.3 billion earmarked by the federal government to improve water supply to residents, including those in remote areas in the Sabah State, had been “siphoned off” by corruption. Read the rest of this entry »
The Straits Times
29th Dec 2016
The lack of excitement over massive infrastructure projects and ringgit’s plunge are signs of market and ground sentiments
The last weeks of December have been busy ones for Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. On Dec 13, Datuk Seri Najib signed the much awaited High Speed Rail (HSR) agreement with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong that will link Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
That same week, he officiated at the opening of Malaysia’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), a project that started in 2011. Days later, on Dec 18, Mr Najib launched the 1.4km-long Batang Sadong Bridge in Sarawak, a huge connectivity leap for Sarawakians, who previously had to rely on ferry crossings. The bridge is one of several projects the government has in store for Sarawak, the others being the massive 2,000km-long Pan Borneo Highway that will link Sarawak and Sabah and a coastal highway that will connect towns in Sarawak.
Soon after the Sarawak trip, Mr Najib was in Sabah to launch eight projects linked to the Pan Borneo Highway. The recent launches came weeks after Mr Najib’s trip to China, one that saw the Malaysian economy potentially receiving a thumping US$33 billion (S$48 billion) of Chinese investment. A major part of the investment deal was Malaysia agreeing to build a 640km-long East Coast Rail Line(ECRL) with Chinese financing. Once completed, the ECRL will link the northernmost town in the east coast state of Kelantan to Port Klang, which fronts the busy Straits of Malacca on the west coast. Needless to say, these infrastructural investments are major game changers that are set to alter Malaysia’s landscape in a fundamental way, unleashing the country’s huge economic potential.
Such long-term growth commitment should excite the public, but not so in Malaysia. As for China’s massive investment, Mr Najib’s critics see it as a sell-out to China’s interest. They were also quick to contest that the US$13 billion ECRL project was overpriced – never mind that the proposed line needs to negotiate the Titiwangsa ridge, difficult geographical terrain that has for a long time kept the east coast of the peninsular relatively underdeveloped compared with the west coast. Read the rest of this entry »
The 14GE objective is not only to remove the UMNO/BN federal government in Putrajaya but also the UMNO/BN state government in Sabah
In September this year, former Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that if there is a four per cent swing against UMNO/BN in the 14th General Election, the UMNO/BN coalition would lose 45 seats, the majority of which are UMNO seats.
This would mean the UMNO/BN coalition getting even less seats than what the Pakatan Rakyat won in the 13th General Election.
With the loss of 45 seats, the UMNO/BN coalition would be reduced to 88 parliamentary seats and would occupy the Opposition benches in Parliament.
Muhyiddin should know what he is talking about as he was the Election Director of UMNO/BN coalition until he was summarily sacked as Deputy Prime Minister because of his disagreement with the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak over the international multi-billion dollar 1MDB kleptocratic money-laundering scandal.
We do not want to have a phoney or fake opposition to win some 25 parliamentary seats in the 14GE and to play the role of “king-maker” who could throw their lot and support to the UMNO/BN coalition to ensure that Najib Razai can continue as Prime Minister, although Najib won an even lower percentage of voter support than in the 13GE in 2013!
Is it possible to ensure a four per cent swing of voters against the UMNO/BN coalition in the 14th General Election? Read the rest of this entry »
The real reason for the sacking of Gani Patail as Attorney-General in July 2015 is one of the truths Sabahans and Malaysians have a right to know
During Christmas, the Sabah Council of Churches prayed for truth to prevail in Malaysia, especially among those in power.
Council president Rev Jerry Dusing said, among others, truth must be established on the issues concerning 1MDB and the “hudud bill”.
Another issue which Sabahans and Malaysians have a right to know is the real reason for the sacking of Tan Sri Gani Patail, a Sabahan, as Attorney-General in July 2015.
Health was given as the reason by Putrajaya for the termination of Gani’s position as Attorney-General three months before his retirement.
But Gani looked very “fit and healthy” when he was called to the Bar in the Kuala Lumpur High Court last Friday.
In fact, Gani was so “fit and healthy” that he has opened his own legal firm, Gani Patail Chambers at Kuala Lumpur Sentral to start a new career. Read the rest of this entry »
The Malay Mail Online
December 23, 2016
DECEMBER 23 — Dengan izin Yang Arif,
Saya, Christopher Leong hadir bagi pihak Pempetisyen, Abdul Gani Patail.
Rakan-rakan yang bijaksana saya Rozielawaty Ab Ghani mewakili pihak Peguam Negara Malaysia, Hendon Mohamed, 20th President of Malaysia Bar, mewakili pihak Majlis Peguam Malaysia dan Lim Chee Wee, 29th President of Malaysian Bar, mewakili pihak Jawatankuasa Peguam Kuala Lumpur.
Yang Arif, saya dengan rendah diri memohon kebenaran untuk berhujah berkenaan Pempetisyen dalam Bahasa Inggeris.
As the days count down towards the end of what has been a challenging year for some of us and as the sun sets on 2016, we may look back to a few momentous or memorable events. I would include this morning’s proceedings as one of them.
It is my pleasure to rise this morning to move this petition for call to the Bar of my friend Abdul Gani Patail. As is the etiquette and long standing convention, we stand before the court shorn of titles, honourific and adornments save for the sombre attire reflective of the formal business at hand.
The Petitioner is no stranger to most of us. He has been a member of the legal fraternity in another life in another guise, in a manner of speaking. I will have more to say on this and will come back to it shortly.
Please permit me to present the Petitioner as a fit and proper person for admission and enrolment by saying a few words on his background. Read the rest of this entry »
Lawyers instructed to look into possibility of instituting legal action against New Straits Times for its lies in its report today: “DAP’s ploy to secure DPM post”
I have instructed my lawyers to look into the possibility of instituting legal action against New Straits Times (NST) for its lies in its report today: “DAP’s ploy to secure DPM post”.
Among other things, the NST report said that I met Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad on Dec. 3 and “sealed a deal that Mukhriz would become prime minister with Kit Siang as his deputy”.
This is total figment of imagination, as I never met Mahathir, whether on Dec. 3 or before to “seal a deal” on the question of PM or DPM if UMNO/Barisan Nasional is ousted from Putrajaya in the 14th General Election. In fact, I had never at any time discussed such a question with Mahathir.
The report “DAP’s ploy to secure DPM post” is pure fantasy. Read the rest of this entry »
By RACHEL LOUISE ENSIGN and SERENA NG
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Dec. 26, 2016
Hundreds of millions of dollars allegedly siphoned from Malaysian state fund 1MDB passed through firms’ pooled accounts in U.S., prosecutors say
Tens of billions of dollars every year move through opaque law-firm bank accounts that create a gap in U.S. money-laundering defenses, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.
These accounts were used by suspects in a multibillion-dollar scandal involving a Malaysian state investment fund known as 1MDB, according to a Justice Department description of events. They also played a part in a Florida Ponzi scheme, in a case related to an official of Equatorial Guinea and in a dozen other U.S. money-laundering cases over the past decade, case records show.
Law firms lump together client money they are holding for short periods, such as while real-estate sales are pending, into pooled bank accounts, and the law firms face no requirement to disclose whose cash is in the accounts. Banks say they generally see only a law firm’s name.
Money often stays in the accounts for only a few days or weeks. At the request of law firms’ clients, funds can be sent from the accounts to other parties, with scant transparency.
While banks and other firms that move money across borders face heavy pressure to alert regulators to suspicious activity, U.S. law firms protect the confidentiality of their pooled accounts in the name of attorney-client privilege. Read the rest of this entry »
Why was Najib absent from the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) Christmas High-tea for three consecutive years in a row?
Why was the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, absent from the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) Christmas high-tea on Christmas Day on Sunday – as it was the Prime Minister’s absence from the CFM Christmas high-tea for three consecutive years in a row.
Najib had said that he did not want to be Prime Minister for only a particular section of the community, but a Prime Minister for all Malaysians.
Najib must be more assiduous to honour his pledge to be a Prime Minister for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion and region.
This is one of the issues which Najib should clarify, particularly at the last Cabinet meeting of the year tomorrow – for Malaysians would like to what was the more important function which prevented the Prime Minister from attending the CFM Christmas high-tea for three consecutive years in a row. Read the rest of this entry »
Poor Liow Tiong Lai, he does not know he is making a fool of himself claiming that Christmas messages should be meaningless “sweet nothings” – a reflection of his political naivette and the political party he represents
Poor MCA President Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai. He does not know he is making a fool of himself claiming that Christmas messages should be meaningless “sweet nothings” –a reflection of his political naivette and the political party he represents.
Is Liow aware what is topmost in the minds of Malaysian Christians this Christmas?
Pay attention to the Sabah Council of Churches which prayed this Christmas for truth to prevail in Malaysia, especially among those in power.
Council president Rev Jerry Dusing said truth must be established on the issues concerning 1MDB and the “hudud bill”.
He said: “What is the truth of 1MDB? As Malaysians are left in the dark, we find ourselves frustratingly waiting for foreign nations to expose the truth about this mystery”.
Dusing also asked for the truth about PAS President, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, which UMNO Ministers have announced will be taken over by the government although there is pin-drop silence from MCA, Gerakan, MIC and the Sabah and Sarawak component parties of Barisan Nasional.
Is there consensus by all the 14 Barisan Nasional parties for the BN government take-over of Hadi’s private member’s bill motion, or is UMNO hegemony so fully established in Barisan Nasional that what UMNO wants, UMNO gets?
The Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur Julian Leow Beng Kim, who is also president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, fully endorsed Dusing and the Sabah Council of Churches in their concerns for the truth to prevail. Read the rest of this entry »