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.

North Korea’s spy network in Kuala Lumpur–What’s Up Mr. Najib?


March 1, 2017

North Korea’s spy network in Kuala Lumpur–What’s Up Mr. Najib?

by James Pearson and Rozanna Latiff
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It is in Kuala Lumpur’s “Little India” neighborhood, behind an unmarked door on the second floor of a rundown building, where a military equipment company called Glocom says it has its office.

Glocom is a front company run by North Korean intelligence agents that sells battlefield radio equipment in violation of United Nations sanctions, according to a United Nations report submitted to the Security Council seen by Reuters.

Reuters found that Glocom advertises over 30 radio systems for “military and paramilitary” organizations on its Malaysian website, glocom.com.my.

Glocom’s Malaysian website, which was taken down late last year, listed the Little India address in its contacts section. No one answers the door there and the mailbox outside is stuffed with unopened letters.

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IGP Khalid Abu Bakar–Would you entrust this nincompoop with the safety of your cat? Think again

In fact, no company by that name exists in Malaysia. But two Malaysian companies controlled by North Korean shareholders and directors registered Glocom’s website in 2009, according to website and company registration documents.

And it does have a business, the unreleased U.N. report says. Last July, an air shipment of North Korean military communications equipment, sent from China and bound for Eritrea, was intercepted in an unnamed country. The seized equipment included 45 boxes of battlefield radios and accessories labeled “Glocom”, short for Global Communications Co.

Glocom is controlled by the Reconnaissance General Bureau, the North Korean intelligence agency tasked with overseas operations and weapons procurement, the report says, citing undisclosed information it obtained.

A spokesman for North Korea’s mission at the U.N. told Reuters he had no information about Glocom.

U.N. resolution 1874, adopted in 2009, expanded the arms embargo against North Korea to include military equipment and all “related materiel”.

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Only Emeritus POTUS Barrack Obama trusts him

But implementation of the sanctions “remains insufficient and highly inconsistent” among member countries, the U.N. report says, and North Korea is using “evasion techniques that are increasing in scale, scope and sophistication.”

Malaysia is one of the few countries in the world which had strong ties with North Korea. Their citizens can travel to each other’s countries without visas. But those ties have begun to sour after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s estranged half-brother was murdered at Kuala Lumpur’s international airport on Feb 13.

PAN SYSTEMS

According to the “WHOIS” database, which discloses website ownership, Glocom.com.my was registered in 2009 by an entity called International Global System using the “Little India” address. A similarly named company, International Golden Services is listed as the contact point on Glocom’s website.

Glocom registered a new website, glocom-corp.com, in mid-December, this one showing no Malaysian contacts. Its most recent post is dated January, 2017 and advertises new products, including a remote control system for a precision-guided missile.

Glocom is operated by the Pyongyang branch of a Singapore-based company called Pan Systems, the U.N. report says, citing an invoice and other information it obtained.

Louis Low, managing director of Pan Systems in Singapore said his company used to have an office in Pyongyang from 1996 but officially ended relations with North Korea in 2010 and was no longer in control of any business there.

“They use (the) Pan Systems (name) and say it’s a foreign company, but they operate everything by themselves,” Low told Reuters referring to the North Koreans at the Pyongyang office.

Pan Systems Pyongyang utilized bank accounts, front companies and agents mostly based in China and Malaysia to buy components and sell completed radio systems, the U.N. report says. Pan Systems Pyongyang could not be reached for comment.

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Malaysia’s Home Affairs Minister–He has some explaining to do to Parliament. Does he really care?

One of the directors of Pan Systems Pyongyang is Ryang Su Nyo. According to a source with direct knowledge of her background, Ryang reports to “Liaison Office 519”, a department in the Reconnaissance General Bureau. Ryang is also listed as a shareholder of International Global System, the company that registered Glocom’s website.

Reuters has not been able to contact Ryang.

SMUGGLING CASH

Ryang frequently traveled to Singapore and Malaysia to meet with Pan Systems representatives, the U.N. report says.

On one such trip in February 2014, she and two other North Koreans were detained in Malaysia for attempting to smuggle $450,000 through customs at Kuala Lumpur’s budget airport terminal, two sources with direct knowledge of the situation told Reuters.

The North Korean trio told Malaysian authorities they all worked for Pan Systems and the cash belonged to the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur, according to the two sources.

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Attorney-General Apandi Ali and Head of Malaysia’s Judiciary–Two of a Kind

The Malaysian Attorney-General decided not to press charges because of insufficient evidence. A week later, the trio was allowed to travel, and the North Korean embassy claimed the cash, the sources said. All three had passports assigned to government officials, the sources said.

Malaysia’s Customs Department and the Attorney General’s office did not respond to requests for comment over the weekend.

The Pan Systems representative in Kuala Lumpur is a North Korean by the name of Kim Chang Hyok, the U.N. report says.

Kim, who also goes by James Kim, was a founding director of International Golden Services, the company listed in the contacts section of the Glocom website. Kim is director and shareholder of four other companies in Malaysia operating in the fields of IT and trade, according to the Malaysian company registry.He did not respond to requests for comment by mail or email.

The United Nations panel, which prepared the draft report, asked the Malaysian government if it would expel Kim and freeze the assets of International Golden Services and International Global System to comply with U.N. sanctions. The U.N. did not say when it made the request.

“The panel has yet to receive an answer,” the report said. Reuters has not received a response from the Malaysian government to repeated requests for comment about Glocom.

POLITICAL CONNECTION

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One of Glocom’s early partners in Malaysia was Mustapha Ya’akub, a prominent member of Malaysia’s ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO). Since 2014, he has been listed as a director of International Golden Services.

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UMNO Youth’s Dato’ Mustapha Ya’akub

As secretary of the UMNO youth wing’s international affairs bureau, Mustapha fostered political connections in the 1990s with countries, such as Iran, Libya and North Korea. Glocom’s Little India address once housed a company owned by UMNO Youth.

Mustapha, 67, said he had been a Glocom business partner “many years back” and said it has been continuously controlled by several North Koreans, including Kim Chang Hyok, whom he said he knew. He did not divulge his role in the company, and denied any knowledge of Glocom’s current business.

“We thought at the time it might be a good idea to go into business together,” Mustapha told Reuters about his first meeting with his North Korean business contacts. He did not say who those contacts were or what they discussed. He denied any knowledge of Glocom’s current business.

Glocom advertises and exhibits its wares without disclosing its North Korean connections. “Anywhere, Anytime in Battlefield,” reads the slogan on one of several 2017 Glocom catalogs obtained by Reuters.

An advertisement in the September 2012 edition of the Asian Military Review said Glocom develops radios and equipment for “military and paramilitary organizations”.  A spokesman for the magazine confirmed the ad had been bought by Glocom, but said the magazine was unaware of its alleged links to North Korea.

Glocom has exhibited at least three times since 2006 at Malaysia’s biennial arms show, Defence Services Asia (DSA), according to Glocom’s website. At DSA 2016, Glocom paid 2,000 ringgit ($450) to share a table in the booth of Malaysia’s Integrated Securities Corporation, its director Hassan Masri told Reuters by email.

Hassan said he had nothing to do with Glocom’s equipment and was unaware of its alleged links to North Korea. Aside from the North Koreans behind Glocom, clues on its website also point to its North Korean origins.

For instance, one undated photo shows a factory worker testing a Glocom radio system. A plaque nearby shows the machine he is using has won a uniquely North Korean award: The Model Machine No. 26 Prize,” named in honor of late leader Kim Jong Il, who is said to have efficiently operated “Lathe No. 26” at the Pyongyang Textile Factory when he was a student.

(Reporting by James Pearson and Rozanna Latiff. Additional reporting by Nicole Nee in SINGAPORE, Michelle Price in HONG KONG and Ned Parker in New York.; Editing by Bill Tarrant.)

 

The Rule of Law in Malaysia


October 9, 2016

The  Rule of Law in Malaysia

by James Giggacher

1MDB shows that an already fragile rule of law is being stretched to the limits, writes James Giggacher.

Malaysia’s rule of law may have reigned supreme in this week’s case of the Budgie Nine – saving the Southeast Asian state from gross national insult at the hands of some silly young Australians. Too bad the same thing can’t be said about another national disgrace, the 1MDB financial scandal.

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The Budgies of Australia

In the face of investigations into the country’s failing sovereign wealth fund, and Prime Minister Najib Razak’s alleged links to millions of missing dollars, the Rule of Law has in fact gone missing in action.

This was certainly the case when Najib sacked Attorney-General, Abdul Gani Patail, who planned to bring charges relating to 1MDB against the Prime Minister in July 2015.In doing so, the Malaysian Prime Minister violated the Malaysian constitution [Article 145 (6)]. Unfortunately, Mr. Patail did not challenge the legality of the sacking in the Malaysian court

The plan was leaked, and Abdul Ghani stepped down, officially for ‘health reasons’. Perhaps he’d heard about what happened to former Mongolian model and Najib’s inner circle mainstay, Altantuya Shaarribuu.

At the same time, Najib removed his deputy and one of his most vocal critics — Muhyiddin Yassin.

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Mamak Mohamad Appandi  Ali–UMNO Crony Attorney-General

The former AG’s replacement, Mohamed Apandi Ali, almost immediately cleared his embattled PM of any wrongdoing. Apandi said that the royal family of Saudi Arabia had gifted Najib $US 681 million, of which $US 600 million had been returned. He also said no criminal offence had been committed. However, several countries, including the US, Switzerland, Singapore and the Seychelles, are still investigating the case.

Reports on the scandal by Malaysia’s central bank and anti-corruption commission have also been dismissed by Apandi; according to him the PM has no case to answer.

And in June, Najib filed court documents that denied graft, misuse of power, and interference in 1MDB investigations in response to a lawsuit brought by former PM and mentor, and now key adversary, Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

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Seeking God’s Mercy

Meanwhile, the almost 700 million dollar question of how 2.6 billion ringgit managed to find its way into Najib’s personal bank accounts has yet to be satisfactorily answered.

So much for due process, democratic safeguards, transparency, and holding those in power to account. But can we expect anything better from a Malaysia still under the sway of long-ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) and its leading party, Najib’s UMNO?

The dismantling of and disdain for judicial and state institutions is not a recent phenomenon. As Jayson Browder notes, BN has long had a poor record of abiding by the rule of law.

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Fighting Fit Rosmah ready to take on all comers

It has consistently leveraged several national laws – including The Peaceful Assembly Act of 2012, the Sedition Act of 1948, and the Printing Presses and Publications Act of 1948 – to curtail freedoms, assembly, political expression as well as intimate activists, opponents, civil society and the media, and ensure its power.

These tactics guarantee the ruling coalition’s stranglehold over Malaysia’s political system “in direct violation of Article 10 of the Federal Constitution in Malaysia.” Article 10 is meant to guarantee Malaysian citizens the right to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of association.

An embattled Najib has only sharpened the teeth of a legal system already heavily stacked in his party’s favour. In August he brought in an unprecedented law that allows him to designate ‘security areas’ and deploy forces to search people, places and vehicles without a warrant.

Draconian would be an understatement.Laurent Meillan, from the UN Human Rights Office for Southeast Asia, said that they were “gravely concerned” about human rights violations as a consequence of the act. The act could further restrict already highly limited rights of free speech and free assembly.

And in March this year, the independent news site The Malaysian Insider, went offline. Owners cited poor financial returns and high costs. The then editor, Jahabar Sadiq, said it was because the threat of being charged with sedition that could lead to jail time had become all too real.

The decision to pull the plug came almost three weeks after Malaysia’s Internet regulator — the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission – issued a gag order on the site because of a report alleging the country’s anti-corruption commission had sufficient evidence to bring criminal charges against Najib in the 1MDB case – even though he had already been cleared by Apandi.

The lesson? Smuggling budgies and smearing the flag is a clear no-no. Smuggling billions and smearing the nation’s sovereign wealth fund is a-ok. It all goes to show that in Malaysia there is the rule of law – but most of the time there’s the law that lets BN rule.

James Giggacher is an associate lecturer in the ANU Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs and editor of New Mandala.

http://www.newmandala.org

Najib in Power:Parliament, Civil Service, Police, Judiciary, and UMNO have failed the Malaysian People


September 20, 2016

Najib in Power:Parliament, Civil Service, Police, Judiciary, and UMNO  have failed the Malaysian People

by  P Gunasegaram

http://www.malaysiakini.com

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After all his failings and lies over his brainchild, 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), and at least US$3.5 billion (RM14 billion) embezzled from it, and as much as US$7 billion (US$28 billion) unaccounted for, why is it that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak remains in power?

How could a nation keep a Prime Minister who is directly and indirectly responsible for the biggest fraud in Malaysian history and perhaps the biggest fraud ever in the world in power? The Minister of Finance Inc (Najib is Finance Minister, too) owns all of 1MDB, he was chairperson of the advisory board and the memorandum and articles of association of 1MDB required him to sign off on all major deals.

In other countries that practice true parliamentary democracy, that would have been enough to nail him and kick him out hard if he had not already resigned by then, but not here. Why?

Just because he was Head of UMNO and Barisan Nasional or BN when the coalition won the last elections in 2013, it does not convey on him an automatic right to remain prime minister until the next elections.

A Prime Minister can be removed if he does wrong under the law but for that to work you need independence of both investigating and prosecuting authorities. Najib circumvented that by removing the previous Attorney-General (Gani Patail) under highly suspicious circumstances. At the same time, the country’s corruption-fighting body saw wrenching changes while central bank officials were questioned by the Police for possible leaks of information over that US$681 million “donation” that went into the accounts of Najib at AmBank.

When dissent within his party began to surface, he took action against senior party officials culminating in the expulsion of his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin who, together with former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, has now formed a new party.

That served as an example for any others who might want to challenge Najib’s leadership of UMNO and resulted in UMNO top guns and other heads of political parties within the BN coalition keeping mum and voicing their support for Najib.

UMNO party elections have been postponed to after the next general elections, preventing would-be contestants from ousting him. It looks like no one within Umno is capable of organising a revolt or rebellion and to force an extraordinary general assembly which could remove him as party chief and hence prime minister.

That Najib remains PM, and UMNO President, is first and foremost a reflection of the poor leadership at the top of UMNO. Except for Muhyiddin, Shafie Apdal and Mukhriz Mahathir, no significant UMNO leader has opposed Najib over 1MDB and other matters. If enough UMNO top leaders join in the clamour against Najib, Najib will have to go – you don’t even have to wait for a grassroots revolt.

Let’s take it from the top. Najib’s current deputy, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, continues to make noises of support for Najib. This one-time solid Anwar Ibrahim supporter, jailed under the Internal Security Act (ISA) with Anwar in 1998 under Mahathir’s rule, must know that if UMNO goes into the polls with Najib at the top, its chances of winning would be much eroded. But he does not want to make the mistake his former boss did of moving too hastily.

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The UMNO Idiotic Minister of Defence

And then, with the exit of Shafie Apdal, comes Hishammuddin Hussein, Najib’s cousin and son of the Third Prime minister, Hussein Onn. Najib was son of the second. If Hishammuddin had his father’s guts, principles and integrity he would have no choice but to voice his opposition to Najib. But no, he does not but condones Najib.

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Ambitious But Unprincipled 

And then there is UMNO Youth Chief Khairy Jamaluddin – suave, dapper and Oxford educated.  A man in so much of a hurry to get to the top that one can’t expect him to be steadfast and upholding and give up what may, yes, get him to the top.

No ‘scrotal gumption’

For all three of them, does good politics dictate that they must support Najib no matter what, even if he allows Malaysia to be turned into a kleptocracy? Do they all not have the “scrotal gumption” – to borrow two words from former Court of Appeal judge Mahadev Shankar – to at least this once put nation and people above their own personal ambitions, and do what’s right even if it is risky?

Who knows, their political ambitions may be furthered if they do that because a majority of Malays themselves are likely to support their actions. Polls indicate Najib’s support among Malays is at an all-time low of 25 percent.

Remember Mahathir’s meteoric rise after he lost his parliamentary seat way back in 1969, criticised then Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, got expelled from UMNO and then became Education Minister in 1974 after he was given a seat to contest by Tunku’s successor, Abdul Razak Hussein, Najib’s father?

Clearly they don’t make young UMNO leaders like they did before. And clearly too UMNO politics were rather devious even then. And MCA and MIC, what say you? Does Liow Tiong Lai for a moment think that the ordinary Chinese think his support for Najib is justified? What about the Indians, Dr S Subramaniam, do you think they support Najib right now?

Over in Sabah and Sarawak, do Kadazans and Dusuns and others actually support Najib? And shouldn’t leaders of parties like PBS and PBB be more circumspect of their support for Najib as leader of the coalition? How about it, Joseph Pairin Kitingan and Adenan Satem? Is it not time to make your views felt?

Umno after all had only 88 seats out of 133 seats at the end of the last elections in 2013 in the 222-seat Parliament. UMNO cannot rule without its partners no matter what some of their leaders say.

The combined opposition had one more than UMNO with 89 seats. If all of UMNO’s partners moved over to opposition, the government is toppled. In fact, if only 23 out of 44 defect, down comes Najib’s government. Surely they are collectively in a position to make some threats but why don’t they? Lack of scrotal gumption again?

He could be removed by Parliament – by a vote of no-confidence which will precipitate general elections if enough people vote with their conscience and not along party lines.

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Najib stays in power because not enough elected representatives from the ruling coalition will say a word against him, let alone vote against him. UMNO has failed the people, MCA has failed the people, MIC has, and likewise Gerakan. The East Malaysian parties have also failed the people.

Ultimately, Malaysia’s elected representatives in Parliament collectively failed the people – they let a terribly tainted Prime Minister continue in office. Now all that is left is for the people to pressure the representatives to do their job and if they do not, kick them out unceremoniously when the time comes.  That will teach them to do the right thing the next time around.

UMNO state seeks DAP’s demise for political reasons


Washington DC

July 2, 2016

UMNO state seeks DAP’s demise for political reasons.

by  Cmdr (rtd) S. Thayaparan

http://www.malaysiakini.com

If you give me six sentences written by the most innocent of men, I will find something in them with which to hang them.”– Armand Jean du Plessis Richelieu

COMMENT:  At first, I was pretty pissed. I am generally in an ornery mood when I began writing but more so now at the sight of Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng being carted off by the establishment, another in a long line of opposition personalities harassed by the UMNO state.

Then I read an email, an impassioned one – you could tell it was impassioned because the whole mail was in capital letters – by a DAP supporter who ended the mail with a question –” Even Though you are a critic of  LGE do you think that LGE should take leave of absence?”

I was a bit surprised at that particular ending since I assumed all understood that my vitriol against the Umno establishment that I see as the clear and present danger, did not preclude criticism against the opposition establishment. Furthermore, as someone who is on record as saying that I think Guan Eng is someone who should be given a shot at being a prime minister  even though he and his followers eschew the idea for so-called pragmatic reasons, I would be the last person who could be considered hostile to the man. That is partisan politics for you.

UMNO State’s Winning Captain

I remember the online opprobrium Ambiga Sreenavesan received when she advocated this option and Cynthia Gabriel of C4 who advocated the same and included “the Youth and Sports Ministry senior officer under investigation for alleged misappropriation of funds amounting to RM100 million should similarly be ordered to go on leave”.

When asked recently, former Bar President Ambiga Sreenevasan was reported as saying, “In view of this being an unusual case, she said the usual conventions cannot necessarily be applied.” I can understand this position. I can empathise with this position but ultimately because the democratic process has been undermined, what we can do is act by individual principle.

Then, of course, there’s DAP’s Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng’s questions to those asking for Guan Eng to take leave which are not really good questions since Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, even if he takes a leave of absence, would still be able to influence the legal and security apparatus beholden to him. There are many reasons why a politician accused of corruption should take a leave of absence until vindicated, but the fact that so far the DAP has not rung that bell, except when it involves BN politicians is predictable.

Of course as DAP’s Seri Delima assemblyperson RSN Rayer, directed at the activists and lawyers at the time, warned “the Malaysian Bar to be ‘cautious’ when commenting on the issue as some quarters may ‘take advantage’ of it”. Nobody, certainly not someone like me, would want to be on the same boat as most BN politicians and certainly not someone like Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim who I have written about before, but yes, I think the Penang CM should take a leave of absence until these charges have been settled.

 

Now of course supporters are going to take offence at my stand. This is to be expected. Ambiga is right when she talks of the stratagem to force opposition leaders to take leave.  However as long as Guan Eng does not take leave, it just provides further propaganda for the Umno state to attack the Penang administration with this issue and further stoke racial and political fires.

It’s much better for the opposition to demonstrate that even if their leaders are removed from the political chessboard, other personalities could step in the interim and run the state and the opposition machinery.

The problem with the opposition has always been that there has been too much investment in personality politics, which is why the Umno regime has been very effective in neutralising their political foes. This is the perfect opportunity for DAP leaders and the opposition to demonstrate that their – our – cause is more than just about one man. It is also the perfect opportunity for others to demonstrate their leadership capabilities.

While there are murmurs amongst certain opposition supporters that Guan Eng should be above reproach, that since his party and him have set the bar so high and knowing that his political adversaries watch his every move, that any hint of impropriety should be avoided. The majority, of course, shouts down these people.

Ahirudin Attan, (aka Rocky’s Bru), in wishing Guan Eng good luck – since he had a personal relationship with the man – said this while advancing the narrative of the similarities between this particular case and that of former Selangor menteri besar Mohamad Khir Toyo’s – “I believed this country of ours had a working justice system that must be allowed to proceed with as little hindrance as possible in order to let the truth prevail.”

I know Rocky and even though we are playing for different sides, I believe he is sincere when he wishes the best of luck to Guan Eng even if just in remembrance of past comradeship.

However, I do not have the same faith in our justice system as him. I believe that these charges are politically motivated. Ever since the by-elections, the hatred against the DAP has been ratcheted up by propaganda organs of the Umno state. This is why the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has been spinning for the Pahang mufti who advocated genocide against the DAP and non-Muslims. Apparently he has been misquoted but when his own clarifications make his intent clear, why bother arguing the point is beyond me.

Najib’s biggest blunder

The men hunting Lim Guan Eng are not interested in the truth. The men hunting him have a very specific agenda. From talking to some of my UMNO friends – and there are people in UMNO who think this is Najib’s biggest blunder since the 1MDB fiasco – certain themes emerge. The agenda of these men are as follows:

1. Tarnish the reputation of the chief minister of the state that has received accolades from the UMNO state’s own governmental agency thereby damaging the credibility of the government and collecting propaganda material to be used domestically and internationally against a politician who was once detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

2. Capitalising on what UMNO believes is a shift in Chinese voting patterns by damaging the “alternative” Chinese power structure. This is why the head honcho of the MCA is dispensing dollops of schadenfreude since the majority of the Chinese community have stood by in the past when DAP leaders were vilified and targeted by the UMNO state.

3. Furthering the narrative that we have an independent security and legal apparatus by linking the corruption scandal and subsequent legal consequences of Khir Toyo and the allegations against Guan Eng. This is why the rush to paint this as part of a larger unbiased crackdown on corruption in this country.

There is also a racial subtext here. That a Chinese politician is equally as corrupt as a Malay (?) politician. This is fodder for Malay language pro-establishment news outlets and the continuing sabotage of the Malay polity. Remember what veteran journalist A Kadir Jasin said?

4. That the DAP is hypocritical and racists in its reaction against allegations of corruption. Already propaganda organs have been disseminating the numerous public rhetorical blunders by DAP operatives and linking to DAP-friendly online sites where the most vile speech is used in defence of Guan Eng.

5. The outcome is inevitable. Former Law Minister Zaid Ibrahim was right when he implied that the fix is in. Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali is the man who cleared Najib of any wrongdoing but in the process inadvertently raised more questions on the scandal. Perhaps he is the wrong person to run this case for the UMNO state.

His confidence that he can win the state’s case is not a question of legal ingenuity but rather establishment manipulation, plain and simple.

Someone reminded me that where there is smoke there is fire but I am not interested in anything like that. Some would find fault in my thinking but this is of no concern to me. When I say that this is a politically motivated prosecution, this does not mean that I think Guan Eng is innocent or guilty. In a functional system, that would be for the courts to determine. What I mean is that UMNO wants to destroy Guan Eng and the DAP for political reasons.

What I do know is that when the system turns a blind eye against the biggest corruption scandal this country has witnessed, then I say that every single other case of corruption – no matter how small or big or the personalities involved – is irrelevant. There are no laws that demand fidelity. There is only pantomime.

Four months ago, Rayer warned some folks they “should not fall into BN’s trap”.This should have been directed at the opposition.


S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy.