Archive for December 14th, 2016

Malaysia needs democracy. I’m in prison for that belief – but I won’t change it

Anwar Ibrahim
Tuesday 13 December 2016

My country is at a crossroads: it can either return to freedom and transparency, or it can become just another failing Muslim-majority country

Winston Churchill once famously paraphrased: “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others.” Recent anti-progressive electoral upsets in the US and UK, combined with potential successes looming for similar sentiment in upcoming European polls, are conspiring to give democracy a bad name in some circles.

Yet despite the challenges, we must be globally resolute in our commitment to accountable representative governments, with reinforcing systems of transparency and accountability.

In the Muslim world in particular, real democracy is essential to confront the threats to life, peace, security, freedom and human dignity that have become virtually epidemic from Africa to east Asia. Failure to address political grievances allows extremists the opportunity to pounce on the disenchanted and marginalised with their brand of deviant Islam.

Earlier this year my long-time friend, Rached Ghannouchi of Tunisia, challenged his Islamist peers by boldly pronouncing at the Ennahda party convention, “We are leaving political Islam … We are Muslim democrats.” Read the rest of this entry »


U.S. Seizure of 1MDB Assets Moves on With Jho Low’s Family Sidelined

by Edvard Pettersson
December 14, 2016

A U.S. effort to seize about $1 billion in assets allegedly acquired with funds siphoned from 1Malaysia Development Bhd. is moving ahead over objections from relatives of the Malaysian financier at the center of the scandal.

A Los Angeles federal judge’s ruling Monday blocking family members of Low Taek Jho, known as Jho Low, from intervening in the forfeiture lawsuits gives the government the upper hand as it seeks to confiscate properties including a $100-million interest in EMI Music Publishing Group, a $35 million Bombardier jet and a $380-million stake in the Park Lane Hotel in New York.

To fight back against the U.S. in Low’s absence, four of his relatives, including his father and brother, are trying to replace the Swiss trustees holding the assets that have declined to oppose the forfeiture. According to the family, the Swiss trustees fear being exposed to criminal liability if they get involved.

U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer refused in Monday’s ruling to give the relatives additional time to pursue legal action in New Zealand and the Cayman Islands, where they are trying to replace the trustees with others who are more willing to defend their interests. Read the rest of this entry »

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RM157 million assets seized by MACC this year only drop in the ocean if Perak Sultan’s warning against grand corruption taken seriously

The Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Razali Ibrahim revealed in Senate yesterday that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had seized and frozen assets RM157.3 million this year, RM9.3 million last year and RM19.3 million in 2014.

The RM157 million assets seized and frozen by MACC this year is only a drop in the ocean if the Perak Sultan, Sultan Nazrin Shah’s concern over grand corruption is taken seriously.

Speaking at the Perak Maulidur Rasul 1438H celebrations in Tanjong Malim on Monday, Sultan Nazrin Shah expressed his concern over corruption and criminal breach of trust committed openly by highly-educated and high-ranking individuals.

He said that based on media reports, corrupt practices and criminal breach of trust were not only rampant but even occurring on a very large scale.

Sultan Nazrin said history had shown that criminal breach of trust and corrupt practices, and ravenous use of power were factors that had caused the downfall of many governments and collapse of civilisations.

He said: “In the history of Islamic governments, many among the leaders of the Bani Umaiyyah (Umayyad Caliphate) and Bani Abbas (Abbasid Caliphate), due to their preoccupation with worldly pleasures, were willing to use their wealth to remain in power.

“When power was regarded as an opportunity to fulfill personal interest and not as a trust, the functioning of the government would be impaired and ultimately resulted in its downfall and collapse of a civilization.”

The Perak Sultan’s focus on “grand corruption” involving people in high places in government is most apt and timely, for Malaysians and the world are asking why China is catching “tigers” and Indonesia “crocodiles”, but Malaysia is not able to catch a single “shark” in the war against grand corruption. Read the rest of this entry »

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