September 12 White House Meeting (Mating) of 2 Political Deplorables


August 25, 2017

September 12 White House Meeting (Mating) of 2 Political Deplorables–What a Mess

by John Berthelsen

http://www.asiasentinel.com

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Two Unpopular Leaders–Malaysia’s Najib Razak and POTUS 45 Donald John Trump. Their news conference will be full of unadulterated lies, no doubt.

In asking Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to the White House, US President Donald Trump has extended an invitation to arguably Southeast Asia’s biggest crook among the region’s current leaders and one who has jailed or threatened the country’s opposition into near irrelevance.

The White House didn’t answer a request for comment. But in a prepared statement quoted in the New York Times, the administration said the visit is intended to “strengthen and broaden our bilateral relationship and expand regional cooperation with one of America’s closest partners in Southeast Asia.”

After initially embracing Najib as a moderate Muslim leader of a prosperous democracy, even inviting him on a golf date in Hawaii, former President Barack Obama distanced himself from the Malaysian premier as the revelations of his corruption grew.

Basket of Deplorables headed for Washington

Among those “close partners” in Southeast Asia that the President has invited are Rodrigo Duterte, the President of the Philippines, described in a recent Asia Sentinel editorial as a psychopath who has prosecuted a drug war that has taken the lives of more than 7,000 people, most of them the poorest of the country’s poor; and Prayuth Chan-ocha, the military dictator who ousted a civilian government in Thailand in 2015 and has jailed or harassed thousands of opponents, driving many out of the country.

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De facto Prime Minister of Malaysia Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor welcomes the arrival of South African President’s wife, Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma. US FLOM Melania Trump is waiting to greet her.

Shortly after he was elected last November, Trump placed a 3 am phone call to Najib, engineered by a Najib associate, (Syed Azman, the AP King) promising an invitation. It was widely assumed prior to that Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor were afraid to come to the US for fear of arrest. He is under the microscope of the US Justice Department in a civil case for the theft of at least US$1 billion, much of which was invested in a wide range of property in the United States.

Last July Najib was identified by the Justice Department as “Malaysian Official 1” for having received US$681 million into his personal bank account in Kuala Lumpur from the state-backed 1Malaysia Development Bhd. fund in 2013. At least some of the money is believed to have financed the production company that produced the Hollywood blockbuster “Wolf of Wall Street.”

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The 1MDB mastermind Jho Low is still on the run

Riza Aziz, Najib’s stepson by Rosmah, and the co-producer, is accused of receiving US$238 million in addition. At least six countries are involved in investigating the scandal.

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Leonardo DiCaprio returned an Oscar originally won by Marlon Brando as part of the US Justice Department’s move  to recover $540 million in assets it says were stolen from Malaysia’s troubled wealth fund, 1MDB.

The government has sequestered millions of dollars of property identified as having been purchased in the affair. Leonardo DiCaprio, the star of the movie, has had to turn over an Oscar won by Marlon Brando to the government that was given to him by the producers.

Unsure if 1MDB probe will continue

A call to a US Justice Department spokesman in Los Angeles, which is tallying the assets allegedly stolen by Najib, his relatives and associates, asking for the status of the wide-ranging investigation into the affair wasn’t answered and it isn’t known if the investigation is continuing. When he came into office, Trump fired all the 93 US attorneys in the US and its territories.

Najib’ s visit is scheduled for September. 12, according to the New York Times. It has been met with incredulity by critics, who point out that Najib has been under fire even before he became prime minister. He was the focus of a huge scandal in the previous decade for steering a €114.96 million bribe (US$135.7 million at current exchange rates) to the United Malays National Organization, the country’s biggest political party, on the purchase of Scorpene submarines from the French munitions maker DCN. Altantuya Shaariibuu, a 28-year-old Mongolian beauty who had figured in the case, was murdered by two of Najib’s bodyguards after demanding US$500,000 from Abdul Razak Baginda, the Prime Minister’s close friend and confederate in the affair, who had jilted her.

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https://www.c4center.org/french-indictment-charge-and-razak-baginda-has-been-indicted

Two officials of a DCN subsidiary have been indicted, specifically on charges of bribing Najib by name. Abdul Razak Baginda was indicted by the French prosecutor in June.

Looting of state fund

As Asia Sentinel reported on June 3, according to documents filed by the US Justice Department’s Asset Forfeiture Section in Los Angeles, as much as US$4.5 billion is said to have gone missing from 1MDB, some of it in the form of jewels now adorning Rosmah’s portly torso. The documents identified the US$681 million that mysteriously appeared in Najib’s personal accounts in 2013 as having come from 1MDB, not mysterious Saudi benefactors, as Najib has claimed.

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Others besides Riza Aziz are Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, the flamboyant Malaysian Chinese financier who convinced Najib to take over an obscure Terengganu fund and turn it into 1MDB; and several top 1MDB officials.

The suspects allegedly “conspired to divert billions of dollars through various means, including by defrauding foreign banks and by sending foreign wire communications in furtherance of the scheme, and thereafter, to launder the proceeds of that criminal conduct, including in and through US financial institutions, “ according to the justice department

The funds diverted were “used for the personal benefit of the co-conspirators and their relatives and associates, including to purchase luxury real estate in the United States and overseas, pay gambling expenses at Las Vegas casinos, acquire more than US$200 million worth of artwork, purchase lavish gifts for family members and associates, invest in a major New York real estate development project, and fund the production of major Hollywood films.”

Political firings, repression

In his own country, Najib engineered the jailing of the opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in 2015 on what are widely regarded as specious sexual perversion charges. In July of 2015, he fired the country’s attorney general, Abdul Gain Patail, on the eve of Patail’s decision to charge him with corruption, and replaced him with Mohamed Apandi Ali, considered to be a stooge of the United Malays National Organization.

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He also kicked out his Deputy Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yasin, as well as Akhil Bulat, the Head of the Police Special Branch intelligence unit and others for questioning his version of events surrounding 1MDB. He ordered the temporary suspension of The Edge Financial Daily and its sister paper after they printed that the equivalent of U$1.83 billion was allegedly stolen by company officers and others from the troubled fund.

The Prime Minister continues in office on the strength of millions of dollars paid in bribes to cadres of the United Malays National Organization; the country’s leading political party, who are instrumental in keeping him at the head of the party.

Polls expected soon

The government must go to the polls under Malaysia’s Westminster parliamentary system by mid-2018. At the moment, the opposition, fractured by political infighting with many of its top leaders under the threat of prison for specious sedition charges, is given little chance of taking over. The ruling Barisan Nasional coalition has effectively gerrymandered the country to ensure victory in addition to denying the opposition a voice in the country’s newspapers and other media, almost all of which are owned by government-aligned political parties.

Last May, the government charged Premesh Chandran, the publisher and CEO of the independent online news portal Malaysiakini – arguably the country’s only effective media voice — with violating he communications and multimedia act for posting footage of a press conference critical of the attorney general’s decision clearing Najib of corruption allegations.

Former Attorney-General Abu Talib on Apandi Ali and 1MDB Scandal Cover-Up


July 30, 2017

Former Attorney-General Abu Talib on Apandi Ali and 1MDB Scandal Cover-Up

by Alyaa Azhar@www.malaysiakini.com

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Abu Talib is of the opinion that Apandi acted to the “best of his ability in the circumstances today” and that he has the power to clear the Prime Minister as “he has the evidence”.

No, Tan Sri, Apandi Ali did his best to exonerate Najib Razak.  Why don’t you ask the incumbent AG to make his evidence (of Najib’s innocence) available to the DOJ and the Malaysian public and bring the IMDB scandal to closure so that Malaysia can go forward.–Din Merican

Two years have passed since Mohamed Apandi Ali was appointed as attorney-general, but his decision to clear Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak of any wrongdoing with regard to the RM2.6 and 1MDB issues continues to haunt him.

Detractors have claimed he was appointed to replace Abdul Gani Patail, who was suddenly removed due to health reasons, with the sole aim of covering-up the 1MDB scandal. Both Apandi and the government have denied this.

In an interview with Malaysiakini, former Attorney-General Abu Talib Othman shared his thoughts on Apandi’s handling of the 1MDB case.

Responding to a question, he agreed that Apandi should be more cooperative with the US authorities instead of dismissing the Department of Justice (DOJ) suit as being politically motivated. “Ideally, he should because we are talking of justice and the rights of the individual,” he said.

Abu Talib cited the case of businessman Eric Chia in which the then Attorney-General had “gone around the world collecting evidence to support the charge preferred against him”.

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The Federal Court, in 2007, however, held that the evidence obtained from Hong Kong was inadmissible. The former Managing Director of Perwaja Steel Sdn Bhd was thus acquitted of committing criminal breach of trust.

“So we don’t know what evidence he (Apandi) has, the evidence the investigating agencies were able to gather which was presented to him for a decision,” said the former AG.

‘Apandi acted to the best of his ability’

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They go to Mecca to cleanse their souls, return home to become more corrupt and then go back to the Holy Land for redemption.–Playing Monkey with God

On the same note, Abu Talib is of the opinion that Apandi acted to the “best of his ability in the circumstances today” and that he has the power to clear the Prime Minister as “he has the evidence”.

“I don’t know whether there is evidence or not. According to him, he examined the investigation papers and found the Prime Minister has not committed any criminal offence and therefore he closed the case.

“You and I don’t know the contents of the investigation papers. Maybe what evidence America has, they (the Attorney-General’s Chambers) don’t have here,” he said.

The DOJ had claimed US$4.5 billion of 1MDB funds had been misappropriated and is seeking to seize US$1.7 billion in assets allegedly acquired using the stolen money.

Apandi, however, said the suit was “politically motivated”, claiming the DOJ never made a formal application to Malaysia’s Attorney-General’s Chambers to obtain further information with regard to its claim.

Asked how he would have handled the matter, Abu Talib cited the case of former culture, youth and sports minister Mokhtar Hashim who was convicted of murder in 1983.

The former AG stressed he would make decisions based on evidence made available. “I had to make a tough decision whether or not to charge him for the murder of his colleague in Negri Sembilan. I disagreed with everybody, I said there was enough evidence. I went to court and I prosecuted him, he was sentenced to death but later it was commuted to life imprisonment.My decision was based on the evidence,” he said.

Abu Talib believes that it is convenient for people to criticise when he or she does not even know the evidence that was presented.

“As Attorney-General, I think he (Apandi) acted on, as what he said, the facts and the law applicable.

“The Police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) never said they have sufficient evidence, all they said was that they have completed their investigation and submitted (the findings) to the Attorney-General,” he pointed out.

Last January, Apandi said the RM2.6 billion in Najib’s personal account was a donation from a member of the Saudi Royal Family.

In its civil forfeiture lawsuits involving 1MDB, the DOJ claimed that the money had originated from 1MDB. Najib has repeatedly denied misusing public funds for personal gain and blamed such allegations on those conspiring to topple him.

Reactions to DOJ Lawsuits reflect Ignorance of Malaysian Officialdom


June 27, 2017

Reactions to DOJ Lawsuits reflect Ignorance of Malaysian Officialdom

by Dr. M. Bakri Musa, Morgan-Hill, California

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Najib Razak, Rosmah Mansor and Riza Aziz (inset): Their Day will come,only a matter of time

America is a Rorschach Test to most foreigners. What they view as America reveals more of themselves than of America; likewise, how they react to events in America.

One visitor to Washington, DC, would see only the homeless under the bridges, potholes on the streets, and “adult” stores at very corner; others, The Smithsonian, Georgetown University, and the National Institutes of Health. The contrasting observations reflect volumes on the observers.

Consider the Malaysian responses to the US Department of Justice (DOJ) lawsuits relating to alleged illicit siphoning of funds from 1MDB. I am not referring to the kopi-o babbling in the echo chamber of UMNO-paid “cyber-troopers” that pollutes the social media. They are pet parrots; babbling whatever is coached to them. With a different master offering more leftovers they could be made to change their tune.

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Where is Mr. Lodin Wok Kamaruddin now?

What interests me instead are the responses of ministers and commentators. Their utterances expose their appalling ignorance of the American justice system. They also reveal much of themselves, as per Rorschach’s insight.

One Minister, eager to be seen as his master’s favorite lapdog, asserted that DOJ is being influenced by the Malaysian opposition. On cue, the other hounds and bitches piled on. A hitherto severe critic of the establishment pontificated that a former champion college debater together with Mahathir and Daim Zainuddin were involved.

Heady stuff for a young man! Though flattered, Syed Saddiq went ahead and filed a police report against that blogger! Mahathir described best those who believed such canards: “Bodoh luar biasa!” (Extraordinarily stupid!)

Those characters must also believe that the American judicial system is like Malaysia’s, where prosecutors could be influenced or paid off a la one Shafee Abdullah. Sarawak Report alleged that he was paid RM9.5 million from Najib’s slush fund before being appointed special prosecutor in Anwar Ibrahim’s case. Shafee has not denied that.

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The RM9.5 million Shafee Abdullah–who else are the beneficiaries of the bounty?

Another Minister declared DOJ’s charges ‘mere’ allegations. Sorry, no marks for stating the obvious. A former journalist-turn-blogger echoed that, and proceeded, for emphasis, to reprint in bold the DOJ’s caution.

Of course DOJ’s accusations, like all court complaints, are “alleged” until adjudicated by the court. DOJ must have credible evidence to not waste taxpayers’ money on frivolous lawsuits. The jury would not buy it. DOJ does not allege any Joe on the street of corruption.

Those who believe otherwise must think that DOJ and American courts are like Malaysia’s where prosecutors could be bought to bring on cases with the flimsiest of evidences and still find judges to convict, as with Anwar’s case.

That is not a far stretch. A few years ago, a defense lawyer V.K. Lingam known for his amazing ‘skills’ in getting his clients acquitted was caught on videotape assuring his listener that he had the judge in his pocket. The lawyer’s utterance, “Correct! Correct! Correct!” would forever be embedded in the annals of shame in the Malaysian Judiciary.

Then there was the character who insinuated that the ‘inactivity’ of DOJ since its first filing a year earlier reveals its sinister political motive. Had he followed the court’s calendar he would have noted the flurry of activities. Among them, the successful challenge by the new trustee of some of the seized properties to be represented.

This character went on to opine that since her initial filing in July 2016, US Attorney-General Loretta Lynch had been “fired,” implying that the lawsuit was without merit. Such willful ignorance reveals a deliberate attempt to mislead. Lynch was a political appointee, and with President Trump’s election all such appointees were replaced. Further, the second filing was by her successor.

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid, a local PhD, implied that all the furor over 1MDB were fake news, the concoctions of hostile foreign media! It is instructive that this character did his dissertation on the local media. To him, the likes of The Wall Street Journal are like Utusan Melayu. His response reveals as much about him as the institution that awarded him his doctorate.

A junior minister accused the Americans of trying to topple Najib, in cahoots with the opposition. Not too long ago he and others were lapping at pictures of Najib golfing with President Obama. That minister however, did not see fit to lead a demonstration at the embassy in defense of Malaysia.

It is unfortunate that this non-too bright character’s remarks resonated with simple villagers. A senior Minister, a little brighter being that he was a London-trained lawyer, dismissed the whole DOJ affair. Malaysia had other far more important issues to attend to, he sniffed. If the staggering sums of the loot did not impress him, what about the charges of corruption levelled at the highest government official, cryptically referred to as “Malaysian Official 1.” That should be his and all Malaysians’ top priority.

Yet another minister advised everyone not to panic. The lady doth protest too much, methinks. Nobody was panicking except her crowd.

Attorney-General Apandi was miffed that DOJ did not consult him. DOJ’s lawsuits were prompted to protect American financial institutions from the corrupting influences of dirty foreign funds. It does not need Malaysia’s ‘help,’ more so considering that Apandi had declared no wrongdoing.

Apandi was also upset at the criminal insinuations against the Prime Minister. His comment unwittingly revealed what he thinks of his job, less as chief prosecutor, more as Najib’s private attorney. No wonder his “investigations” exonerated Najib! Apandi also unwittingly confirmed that MO1 is, in fact, Najib and that the activities he was alleged to have been engaged in were criminal in nature.

If the responses were revealing, the non-response or silence was even more so. The lawsuits allege that billions were illicitly siphoned from the company, and it is mentioned umpteen times in the complaints. Yet 1MDB did not seek to be represented as a party of interest. This reflects its management’s inability to separate the company’s interests from those of its officers’. Najib is 1MDB’s chairman. The management confuses Najib with the company. Management is not looking after the company’s interest in not seeking representation, which was how the mess started in the first place.

Malaysian officials’ responses to DOJ’s lawsuits did not reflect well on them or Malaysia. I can hardly wait for their reactions or “spin” when this DOJ investigation goes on to its next inevitable phase, the filing of criminal charges and or when one of the defendants becomes a prosecution witness.

Meanwhile, fake news or not and collusion or not, MO1, his spouse, or stepson will not be stepping foot in America any time soon, if ever. That is revealing.

The Role of the Malaysian A-G in Political Scandals


June 20, 2017

 

Image result for Apandi AliThe Malaysian Attorney-General is the Public Prosecutor. He must uphold the Rule of Law. (The Malaysian Constitution–Article 145). His job is to protect the public interest, act with objectivity, take proper account of the position of the suspect and the victim, and pay attention to all relevant circumstances, irrespective of whether they are to the advantage or disadvantage of the suspect.
The Malaysian Constitution–Article 145

 

The Attorney General is the principal legal adviser to the Government. His role and responsibilities are provided for in Article 145 of the Federal Constitution. Article 145 of the Federal Constitution provides:

(1) The Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall, on the advice of the Prime Minister, appoint a person who is qualified to be a judge of the Federal Court to be the Attorney General for the Federation.

(2) It shall be the duty of the Attorney General to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or the Cabinet or any Minister upon such legal matters, and to perform such other duties of a legal character, as may from time to time be referred or assigned to him by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or the Cabinet, and to discharge the functions conferred on him by or under this Constitution or any other written law.

(3) The Attorney General shall have power, exercisable at his discretion, to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings for an offence, other than proceedings before a Syariah court, a native court or a court-martial.

(3A) Federal law may confer on the Attorney General power to determine the courts in which or the venue at which any proceedings which he has power under Clause (3) to institute shall be instituted or to which such proceedings shall be transferred.

(4) In the performance of his duties the Attorney General shall have the right of audience in , and shall take precedence over any other person appearing before, any court or tribunal in the Federation.

(5) Subject to Clause (6), the Attorney General shall hold office during the pleasure of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and may at any time resign his office and, unless he is a member of the Cabinet, shall receive such remuneration as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may determine.

(6) The person holding the office of Attorney General immediately prior to the coming into operation of this Article shall continue to hold the office on terms and conditions not less favourable than those applicable to him immediately before such coming into operation and shall not be removed from office except on the like grounds and in the like manner as a judge of the Federal Court.

The Role of the Malaysian A-G in Political Scandals

The A-G’s quick dismissal of the DoJ’s second suit and his vigorous defence of the Prime Minister against any criminal wrongdoing has raised eyebrows.

by  Lim Wei Jiet

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com

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A little over 24 hours ago, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) filed a second suit to recover more assets allegedly acquired using 1MDB funds. The 251-page complaint sheds more light on the scandal and seeks to seize assets such as yachts, diamonds, rights to Red Granite Pictures films and paintings by notable artists.

In a matter of hours, the Malaysian Attorney-General (A-G) saw fit to release a press statement. Two observations were made from this press statement:

Number One – the A-G was unmistakably dismissive of the DoJ’s second suit: “This second action comes on the anniversary of the first, and appears to be a repeat of it”.

Number Two – the A-G mounted a vigorous defence of the prime minister: “The attorney-general expressed his strong concerns at the insinuations and allegations that have been made against the Prime Minister of alleged criminal wrongdoing in relation to the civil action”.

With respect, these postures adopted by the A-G are both misconceived and not in line with the role of an attorney-general in law. Make no mistake – this second civil suit is not a repeat of the first filed on July 20, 2016.

First, the DoJ has now quantified the alleged misappropriated funds at US$4.5 billion from the initial US$3 billion. Second, it reveals several new “phases” in which funds were allegedly siphoned from 1MDB. Third and most obvious, it has identified more assets in which these misappropriated funds were spent on.

It is therefore unfathomable how the A-G can reach a conclusion that the second civil suit is a repeat of the first, what more in a matter of hours after its release.

Eyebrows were also raised as to how quickly the AG sought to shield the Prime Minister from allegations of criminal wrongdoing.

These statements appear to be incongruent with established international conventions on the role of prosecutors.

Article 13(b) of the UN Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors 1990 states that prosecutors shall “(b) protect the public interest, act with objectivity, take proper account of the position of the suspect and the victim, and pay attention to all relevant circumstances, irrespective of whether they are to the advantage or disadvantage of the suspect”.

Meanwhile, Article 3 of the International Association of Prosecutor’s Standards of Professional Responsibility 1999 states that “Prosecutors shall perform their duties without fear, favour or prejudice. In particular they shall…act with objectivity; have regard to all relevant circumstances, irrespective of whether they are to the advantage or disadvantage of the suspect…always search for the truth and assist the court to arrive at the truth and to do justice between the community, the victim and the accused according to law and the dictates of fairness.”

Moving forward, it is humbly recommended that these guidelines be followed by the A-G:

• To appoint a special prosecutor of unimpeachable integrity to investigate and take appropriate action in relation to the 1MDB matter, as the attorney-generals in the US have done in Archibald Cox during the Watergate scandal and Robert Mueller towards Russian interference in the US elections.

• Whenever a foreign jurisdiction takes action on matters relating to the 1MDB matter, take appropriate time to read and liaise with the authorities to comprehensively assess all relevant angles before dismissing the same.

• Whenever any party alleges or accuses a person investigated in the 1MDB matter, take appropriate time to reach out to such parties for more information before dismissing the same.

• Never attack or defend any person currently being investigated in the 1MDB matter to prevent an impression of bias.

If one needs a role model, one can look no further than our US brethren in Sally Yates, the acting US attorney-general who defied US President Donald Trump in defence of the Rule of Law and the dignity of the DoJ.

I end by quoting a paragraph of her poignant speech to the Harvard Law School’s graduating class of 2017:

“There is plenty worth fighting for. For me, it’s criminal justice reform — so that we can have a fair and proportional criminal justice system that applies equally to all regardless of race, wealth or status. It’s also respect for the brave men and women of law enforcement who put their lives on the line to protect us. It’s holding corporate executives who break the law accountable so that cheating and stealing doesn’t become just a way of doing business…It’s the rule of law, and the principle that our law enforcement and intelligence agencies must be free to do their work without political interference or intimidation.”

Lim Wei Jiet is an advocate and solicitor of the High Court of Malaya. He is also the deputy co-chairperson of the Malaysian Bar Constitutional Law Committee.