1MDB Scandal–Tough Going for Washington-bound Malaysian Prime Minister

September 7, 2017

1MDB Scandal–Tough Going for  Washington- bound Malaysian Prime Minister

Sarawak Report

Image result for Clare Rewcastle Brown

The Indefatigable, Relentless  and Fearless Crusader–Sarawak Report Founder Clare Rewcastle Brown

Someone clearly thought it was a good idea to help out Malaysia’s unpopular and criminal Prime Minister, Najib Razak, with a high-profile visit to Donald Trump in advance of calling an awkward election.

That person must think that a broad coalition, led on a reform agenda by a previous highly sucessful Prime Minister of twenty years, would be a worse option for Malaysian or perhaps American interests than a notorious kleptocrat.

Image result for Najib to meet TrumpTrump to Najib: “Susah sekarang Jib, gua tak boleh tolong lu, tetapi kalau lu mahu tolong gua, boleh lah” (now it is difficult Jib, I can’t help you, but if you want to help, then fine).

They must also consider it would be better for Najib to remain as Prime Minister rather than his jailed opponent, a former successful Finance Minister, who won the popular vote in GE13 and has campaigned against the endemic corruption that wrecks the country.

However, it is a position that is getting harder by the day to argue, certainly in terms of public perception, because people are wondering why the Trump administration appears to be cynically ignoring its own legal action against theft and money-laundering that benefitted Najib and his own wife and family (the largest ever kleptocracy case)?

Also, why is it also contradicting its own policy on North Korea by welcoming Malaysia’s leader instead of blasting him for his various illegal dealings with the rogue nuclear state?

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Indeed, if Najib and Trump dare take questions during this White House visit they can be pretty sure these are the sort of things most journalists will want to ask about. Leo DiCaprio’s Piccaso gift; Miranda Ker’s diamonds, Rosie’s $27million dollar necklace and Jho Low’s yacht, all funded from stolen development money will make irresistible topics – and then there is also the tricky matter of Malaysia’s use of North Korean slave labour.

Why is Trump being advised to associate with such a tainted pair? One long-time Washington observer has suggested one frivolous reason to Sarawak Report, which would surely be inadequate:

Trump likes to meet with everyone. He likes to be distracted and entertained, by people coming to see him, in his space. He hates overseas trips. People have to come to the throne room to see him.

North Korea

It has been suggested things might in fact turn ugly in that Throne Room, given recent events, were Trump to receive a proper briefing on the nature of his husband and wife team guests.

North Korea is the foreign topic first and foremost on the President’s mind, followed by his steaming frustration over China over this and other matters, and Malaysia is negatively connected to these issues.

After North Korea detonated a hydrogen bomb at the weekend Trump threatened to cut economic ties with all countries that trade with the pariah state and by now he ought to know that one of the worst offenders and violators of UN sanctions over North Korea in recent years has been Najib’s BN government.

In a recent article The Diplomat magazine succinctly summarised Malaysia’s wilful flouting of UN sanctions and its western allies in its dealings with North Korea. It makes highly disturbing reading:

Following the assassination of Kim Jong-nam (Kim Jong-un’s estranged half-brother, who was assassinated with nerve agent VX earlier this year at Kuala Lumpur airport), North Korea watchers and sanctions experts have turned their attention to North Korea’s relationship with Malaysia.
Two cases uncovered by investigators surrounding Malaysian-based companies Glocom and Kay Marine seemingly involve North Korea’s use of Malaysia to breach the UN arms embargo.

The article also highlights Malaysia’s “rare reciprocal visa-free travel arrangement” with North Korea, which undoubtedly assisted in the assassination of Kim Jong-nam. It goes on to point out that Malaysia’s lax import and export controls has made it a serious weak link over proliferation of arms and nuclear products.  This worried the Obama administration, says the Diplomat and it should worry Trump all the more so:

the Obama administration expressed concern – especially in relation to Iran – that “Malaysia was becoming the ‘new Dubai’ for illicit traders.”…Despite improvements, there are still limitations: the Financial Action Task Force noted in its 2015 review of Malaysian anti-money laundering and counterterrorist finance controls that Malaysia still has significant technical gaps in the implementation of targeted financial sanctions, such as long delays in transposing new UN designations.

UN reports in 2013 and 2016 suggested that the country had been used as a meeting venue, and traveled through, by North Korean arms dealers….Glocom is said to be a “Malaysia-based company” advertising “radio communications equipment for military and paramilitary organizations.” While not officially registered in Malaysia, two Malaysian registered companies .. were said to be acting on its behalf. The UN report describes Glocom as a “front company of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea company Pan Systems Pyongyang Branch.

A second case involved Kay Marine, a boat builder sanctioned by the U.S. State Department in 2016….. Are there more Glocoms and Kay Marines in Malaysia or elsewhere? Likely so.

concludes The Diplomat.

There are other shocking human rights aspects to the Najib government’s self-interested exploitation of North Korea’s attempts at sanctions busting.  Malaysia is one of the few countries in the world that has permitted the provision of work visas for North Korean nationals and it was Sarawak Report which exposed how the families of BN government ministers have been exploiting the arrangement to import slave gangs of North Korean prisoners to do dirty jobs in mines and other work sites in Sarawak.

The shocking and disgraceful exploitation, a violation of basic human rights, came to light after two fatal explosions at the Lucky Hill coal mine of Sarawak. The victims turned out to be these unfortunate slaves, imported as one Sarawak Government spokesman explained, because local people were unwilling to do the unpleasant and dangerous work (especially not for free one assumes).

The owners of the Lucky Hill Mining company included a brother of the present Chief Minister of Sarawak and a sister of the former Chief Minister and present Governor of the state, Taib Mahmud.

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Trump’s Malaysian connection– Investor Joo Kim Tiah

No action was of course taken against these high-level folk either over human rights attrocities or plain safety failures. The surving workers have been dispersed from the mines, however activists have informed Sarawak Report that these free labourers have since been spotted on various construction sites around the state, meaning that the government of Najib Razak has done nothing to clean up its act on the use of slave labour from North Korea.

Sarawak Report suggests that Trump address these matters with Najib and that his administration should recognise that a regime that is corrupt and morally bankrupt is also a dangerous regime to his neighbours and supposed allies like the United States.

1MDB – Intimidation of Witnesses

Image result for Gani Patail

Malaysia’s Former Attorney-General replaced by someone who is close to Prime Minister Najib Razak

The other major concern over Najib and his wife is a domestic matter for the United States, since the FBI have been conducting a massive criminal investigation into the money launding of over $4.5 billion of stolen money through the purchase of assets in the United States.

Last month they confirmed that the asset seizures are part of a major criminal investigation, an announcement with Najib’s supporters attempted to spin into a claim that the entire case on 1MDB had been dropped. This could not be further from the case, although Trump’s invitation will of course enable the same spinners to further claim it represents ‘proof’ that the United States Department of Justice plans to let their leader off the hook over the largest global kleptocracy investigation ever undertaken.

Further developments over the last 24 hours have ratcheted up this matter further also with the FBI depicting Najib’s government in its latest court statements in the most sinister terms possible – willing to threaten, intimidate and even endanger witnesses to the case.

Sarawak Report has examined the court documents, placed before the Los Angeles Central Court at the start of the week, and they provide a damning assessment.  The string of filings make clear that the DOJ had applied to ‘stay’ (freeze) its civil action on 10th August for the simple reason that the legal teams representing Jho Low (and his family trust), Riza Aziz, Khadem al Qubaisi and their various companies under seizure had started to ask for disclosure of the FBI’s evidence on the case.

Since the latest FBI/DOJ court filing had consisted of 251 pages of closely detailed evidence the defence teams had come back demanding a list of no less than 358 items of disclosure representing thousands of documents, emails and witness statements from the parallel criminal investigation presently underway into the thefts from 1MDB.

It was in reponse to this that the DOJ applied to freeze the civil case until it has completed all its other criminal investigations. The defence lawyers opposed their motion and on Monday 5th September the DOJ lodged a rejection of that demand with a series of legal responses backed by statements from their investigators.  Their prime concern was that if the information being demanded by Jho Low’s lawyers were given out then witnesses would more than likely to be threatened an intimidated and indeed worse.  It paints an unflatering picture of the suspected criminals behind the 1MDB thefts and their position on the case looks sure to be upheld.

Testifying as to why such matters must not be disclosed FBI agent Robert Heuchling laid a declaration before the court including the following statement:

By obtaining discovery directly from the government or third parties about the government’s investigation, individuals and entities involved in the Criminal Phases could potentially conceal,alter, or destroy evidence, as well as intimidate and/or retaliate against potential witnesses.

The [complaints] allege that the individuals who were involved in the Criminal Phases include, but are not limited to, Low;Riza Aziz (“Aziz”), a Malaysian national and the step-son of the senior Malaysian official who oversaw 1MDB; and Khadem al-Qubaisi (“Qubaisi”).Moreover, the FACs allege that Low and several others, including Aziz and Qubaisi, were involved in or facilitated several multi-million dollar transfers that were made as part of the Criminal Phases. Many of these transfers and Low and others’ involvement in them are described in the FACs, underscoring the direct relationship between the 1MBD Actions and the ongoingcriminal investigation…..I believe that allowing discovery or other proceedings to occur in the 1MBD Actions will have an adverse impact on the United States’ ongoing criminal investigation.This concern is not hypothetical, but real, especially in light of some of the broad discovery requests that have already been served on the government….including the identity of witnesses who provided information to the United States, the sources of evidence from whom the United States obtained relevant information, as well as thousands of documents relating to the Criminal Phases….All or almost all of these documents are evidence of the conduct underlying the Criminal Phases of the 1MBD Actions. Providing these documents to any of the claimants in the 1MDB Actionscould result in their disclosure to other third parties. The disclosure of such information to subjects or targets of the criminal investigation could give these individuals and entities a preview of the United States’ criminal investigation as well as the opportunity to track the status of the criminal investigation.Disclosure of such materials also will potentially identify witnesses who have provided information to the government, including their identity and location; the sources of the government’s information; the…..By obtaining discovery directly from the government or third parties about the government’s investigation, individuals and entities involved in the Criminal Phases could potentially conceal,alter, or destroy evidence, as well as intimidate and/or retaliate against potential witnesses. Producing any identifying witness information could result in witness intimidation or jeopardize the safety and security of witnesses – a legitimate concern in this case, given that press reports have publicized potentially retaliatory or threatening acts linked possibly to the 1MDB investigation.

The FBI agent then provides the court with some examples of the threatening and extra-judicial tactics taken by the Najib Government against 1MDB critics and other forms of intimidation that have been carried out in KL. It makes for shameful reading:

  • On or about September 1, 2015, the media reported that Khairuddin Abu Hassan, an official in the United Malays National Organization, was arrested by Malaysian authorities after he announced that he intended to travel to New York to provide information about 1MDB to the FBI. (See “Arrested Najib Critic Was Scheduled to Meet FBI Agents to Lodge 1MDB Complaint,” (September 19, 2015)
  • Similarly, on or about August 1, 2015, the media reported that three Malaysian law enforcement officials, including a deputy public prosecutor, an official of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and an official from the Attorney General’s Chambers of Malaysia, all of whom were working on a special task force in Malaysia investigating 1MDB, were arrested by Malaysia’s Special Branch, Malaysia’s intelligence service, because of news reports relating to 1MDB published in the United Kingdom. (See “Special Branch Raids Deputy Public Prosecutor’s Office at MACC for 1MDB Documents,” (August 2, 2015)
  • On or about April 8, 2016, Malaysian media reported that Rafizi Ramli, a member of Malaysia’s Parliament, was arrested because he was suspected of disclosing information relating to 1MDB. (See “Malaysian Opposition MP Charged Over 1MDB Leak,” (April 8, 2016),
  • Just a few days ago, Malaysian local media reported that the driver of former Malaysian Attorney-General, Abdul Gani Patail, who opened the initial investigation into 1MDB in that country, was shot in public by two unidentified men. (See “Driver’s Shooting a Warning to Gani Patail from ‘MO1’ Not to Assist in DOJ’s 1MDB Criminal Probe? Bombshell – FBI Hit Bullseyes with Caution ‘The Safety of Certain Law Enforcement Personnel & Their Willingness to Co-operate will be Threatened,” Malaysia Chronicle (August 30, 2017),
  • A number of individuals, who have provided information to the government have expressed significant concerns relating to safety or retaliation if the identities of certain witnesses, especially those located in certain foreign countries, were disclosed publicly. These individuals have also expressed concern for their own safety

This is a shameful reminder of what has been going on in Malaysia now put before a US court.  A former US Ambassador to Malaysia John Malott has also been writing about the situation in an article that like many others ought to be taken up and read by Trump’s advisors.  Malott also posted this succinct summary on his Facebook:

“Basic facts: Najib and his family and cronies have stolen somewhere between 4 and 8 Billion dollars from the country. The US Department of Justice has moved to seize the assets they bought with that money in the US. Malaysia consistently breaks UN and international sanctions on North Korea. Najib has imprisoned his political foes, charged them with sedition, and taken away their passports. He controls the newspapers, television, and radio. The police and judiciary are totally under his thumb. He and his corrupt wife run the government like a family business. Businesses tremble before him. Plus he likes to play golf. He’s really Trump’s kind of guy.”

As John Malott said in his article – “Welcome to Washington Mr Prime Minister”!


Kevin Morais was a mere Gurkha, not the Mastermind

January 19, 2016

Kevin Morais was a mere Gurkha, not the Mastermind

Just like in the Rosli Dahlan case, Kevin was merely the Gurkha, as the Malays would say. He did not plan or mastermind the conspiracy against Rosli or his client, the ex-CCID Director, Ramli Yussof. The masterminds were the ex-Attorney General, Gani Patail, the ex-IGP, Musa Hassan, and the (current) officers from the MACC.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Sarawak Report and Asia Sentinel have both said that the late Kevin Morais was the person who leaked classified Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) reports and information to Sarawak Report.

This, of course, makes sense because Kevin’s cousin in London, Brian Morais, who Kevin was in close contact with, is linked to Clare Rewcastle Brown. And that was how I, too, met Clare. In fact, they all meet quite often and Kevin used to go back to the UK every Christmas to be with his ‘partner’, an old Englishman.

But I do not think that Kevin was the mastermind or the initiator of the whole thing. As the Malays would say, he is too pondan to actually take the lead — and I mean this literally as well and not just figure of speech (after all, he is the ‘wife’ in his gay relationship with that old Englishman).

Just like in the Rosli Dahlan case, Kevin was merely the Gurkha, as the Malays would say. He did not plan or mastermind the conspiracy against Rosli or his client, the ex-CCID Director, Ramli Yussof. The masterminds were the ex-Attorney General, Gani Patail, the ex-IGP, Musa Hassan, and the (current) officers from the MACC.

Kevin’s job was just to be the hit man or assassin and to make sure that Ramli and Rosli both end up in jail on fabricated charges. The court, however, discharged Ramli without his defence being called. So, as the Malays would say, this was a case of buang kes (literally throwing the case out of court). And that was because the court saw that the charges were a fabrication and the figment of the accusers’ imagination.

And at that point of time Kevin should have also dropped the case against Rosli. I mean Rosli was charged for abetting Ramli so if Ramli was not guilt of any crime how could Rosli still be made to face charges?

Let me put it another way. I was charged for driving the get-away car that was used in the bank robbery. And you were the one who is alleged to have robbed the bank. But then the court says you did not rob the bank and was, in fact, somewhere else at that time. So how can I still face charges of driving your get-away car?

What makes this even worse is that the bank manager testifies and says that the bank was never robbed. That is it — there was no robbery. But then I still face charges of being an accomplice in a bank robbery that never took place.

And that is what they did to Rosli. And Kevin was the instrument in that entire episode. But he was merely the instrument, mind you. He was the hit man or assassin. He did not decide who to assassinate and how to conduct the assassination. All that was decided at the higher levels of the Police, A-G Chambers and MACC.

Going by this track record, if what Sarawak Report and Asia Sentinel confess is true, this would mean that Kevin was also the instrument in the leaks of the MACC classified reports and information. He was merely the courier or ‘postman’ of the information.

Those who allegedly murdered Kevin have been arrested. And, according to the police investigation, the murder is linked to another corruption case that Kevin was working on. However, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s critics still insist that Kevin was murdered because he leaked classified MACC reports and information to Sarawak Report. And they insist that Hussain Ahmad Najadi, the founder of AMBank, was also murdered for the same reason.

Well, there are some who say that President Kennedy was assassinated because he employed the Mafia to assassinate Fidel Castro and then refused to pay what was promised. If Castro had been successfully assassinated and if Kennedy had paid off the Mafia would Kennedy have been allowed to live to serve out his full term?

It is also alleged that Marilyn Monroe was murdered (1962) one year before President Kennedy was assassinated (1963) to keep her affair with the two Kennedy brothers a secret. And was President Kennedy assassinated as revenge for murdering Marilyn?

Or could it be that Castro doubled whatever President Kennedy promised the Mafia and they ‘turned’ and worked for Castro? And could it be that the Mafia killed Marilyn hoping that Kennedy would be accused of the murder but when that did not happen they had to get rid of Kennedy themselves?

Or could it be that Robert Kennedy murdered Marilyn to frame his brother so that he could take over as President and those who believed that President Kennedy was behind the murder assassinated him out of revenge?

Yes, the possible theories are endless when you have a fertile mind. And those who have feeble minds would believe any and all theories, especially when it is very sensational. And there are many feeble-minded Malaysians who would believe Najib is behind the murders of Kevin and Hussain Najadi — plus most likely the 600 other murders every year that have occurred for the last ten years since 2006 (note below).

So that would be 6,000 or so murders over the last ten years that we can pin them all on Najib.

[The Malaysian government provided the New York Times with criminal statistics. These statistics showed that homicide rates remained unchanged at about 600 cases per year for the last ten years. (valuewalk.com)]


The Agong acted on non-advice in the dismissal of A-G Gani Patail, says Art Harun

August 14, 2015

Malaysia: The Agong acted on non-advice in the dismissal of A-G Gani Patail, says Art Harun

FMT Reporters@www.freemalaysiatoday.com

ganipatailHigh handed removal of the A-G is unconstitutional

There’s a strong case for arguing that the sacking of Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail was unconstitutional, according to lawyer and writer Azhar Harun, better known as Art Harun.

In an article posted on his blog, “ARTiculations”, he argues that the dismissal was invalid if Prime Minister Najib Razak was seeking to protect his interest and if, in advising the King, he failed to disclose that he had this interest.

He says the Federal Constitution makes it clear that the King, in dismissing the Attorney-General, must act only on the advice of the Federal Cabinet or a minister acting under the general authority of the Cabinet.

What is not clear to the public, he points out, is whether the Cabinet met to decide on Gani’s dismissal and pass a resolution to that effect.

“If there was no such meeting,” he says, “the next question would be was there a minister who was acting under the general authority of the Cabinet who advised the King to dismiss the Attorney-General? By convention, we can assume that the Prime Minister is the minister who has the general authority of the Cabinet.”

If Najib was indeed the person acting under the Cabinet’s authority in asking the King to dismiss Gani, Art says, the question that arises is: “Was the Prime Minister in a position of conflict?”

“It is common knowledge,” he notes, “that the former Attorney- General had established a special task force consisting of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency, the police and Bank Negara to investigate into allegations of wrongdoings in 1MDB and SRC. In fact, he was the head of that special task force.

“That investigation was to look into any wrongdoings in 1MDB and SRC. In the weeks preceding the investigation, we know that there were exposes by the Wall Street Journal and other publications about the sum of USD million being transferred into bank accounts believed to be the Prime Minister’s account.”

Najib RazakHe gave DYMM The Agong a Non-Advice

He also notes that Najib has since admitted that there were “political donations” in his account.

Art says there was no doubt that Najib might be implicated in the investigations by the special task force. “Being so, it is respectfully submitted that the Prime Minister was in a position of conflict or potential conflict. That conflict of interest would surely, under the law, disqualify him from advising the King to dismiss the Attorney- General.

“In those circumstances, the Prime Minister ought to have relinquished his power to advise the King. Arguably, the proper person to advise the King would then be the Deputy Prime Minister. This could be formalised by a cabinet resolution giving the Deputy Prime Minister authority to do so.

“The Prime Minister’s failure to disqualify himself from advising the King due to his conflict of interest renders his advice invalid and unconstitutional. The King had in fact and in law acted on a non-advice.”

Lightning Strike Against Enemies in UMNO and Public Officials may yet save Najib

July 30, 2015

Malaysia: Lightning Strike Against Enemies in UMNO and Public Officials may yet save Najib

by P. Gunasegaram@www.malaysiakini.com


Whichever way one looks at the changing of the Attorney-General, the appointment of a new Special Branch head and the cabinet reshuffle, they have everything to do with that self-styled strategic development company that isn’t – 1MDB. Just what is the Prime Minister trying to achieve with the 1MDB reshuffle?

Yes, it is the Prime Minister’s prerogative to reshuffle the cabinet and perhaps even to change the attorney-general and the Special Branch head. But if he hopes by this to show his strength, then he is mistaken. He exposes his weakness instead.

The cabinet reshuffle yesterday afternoon was preceded by the change of the attorney-general. Effectively Abdul Gani Patail was removed in an announcement by the Chief Secretary to the government, Ali Hamsa – the reason, health. But Abdul Gani himself was in the dark about the announcement and refused any comment to reporters.

So why was Abdul Gani so unceremoniously removed after his many years of service dating back to the time of Dr Mahathir Mohamad when he was Prime Minister? He was lead prosecutor in Anwar Ibrahim’s first sodomy case and became Attorney-General in 2002. He has served under three Prime Ministers.

More recently he became head of the task force investigating 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). As attorney-general, he had the sole authority to decide on prosecution in the country. Others in the task force are Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, the Inspector-General of Police Abdul Khalid Abu Bakar, and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Chief Commissioner Abu Kassim Mohamad.

Right now the Prime Minister is facing allegations, not properly denied by him or his office, that some RM2.7 billion was deposited into his accounts at AMIslamic Bank. This was reported by The Wall Street Journal which has unambiguously stood by its story. Perhaps the Prime Minister thinks that Abdul Gani is too close to Mahathir, a constant critic of him in recent times and especially over 1MDB, and therefore cannot be trusted.

The new Attorney-General is an UMNO loyalist and a former Federal Court judge. A change at this stage must raise questions as to whether it is being done to ensure that there is no prosecution of the Prime Minister in investigations related to him and 1MDB.

The change in heads at the Special Branch, which does a lot of undercover investigations, acts as the eyes and ears of the government and provides it with intelligence of what is happening on the ground, will raise similar questions especially about why the changes are taking place now.

And then there is the cabinet reshuffle which is related entirely to the 1MDB issue. First out was Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to be replaced by Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. And out was also another Minister, Shafie Apdal. Their only ‘crimes’ were to question the way the Prime Minister was handling the multi-faceted 1MDB problems.

Echoing the feelings of a section of the public

Muhyiddin had at the UMNO Cheras meeting come out strongly against 1MDB. Admitting that he read the suspended The Edge for some of his information on 1MDB, he was merely echoing the feelings of a wide section of the Malaysian public when he reiterated strongly that 1MDB has to be answered, putting the onus squarely on the prime minister. Presumably, as a member of the cabinet, he was not getting enough information on 1MDB.

The Prime Minister’s response was that Muhyiddin and others have to stand behind the concept of collective responsibility of the cabinet and therefore since they could not, they had to go. It was generally expected that this would happen if there was a cabinet reshuffle and it should not have come as a surprise for either Muhyiddin or Shafie and the general public, too.

If Muhyiddin and Shafie expected this, then surely they have some other plans. One could be to force an extraordinary general meeting of UMNO, and the other to move a vote of no-confidence against the Prime Minister in Parliament. Both don’t seem that likely to succeed considering that few have broken ranks and gone against the Prime Minister.

Insiders are reading some things into Muhyiddin’s remarks post the reshuffle. “What you know about 1MDB, I would know a little more than that,” he told a press conference at his residence in Kuala Lumpur this afternoon.

If that implies there will be more information coming out about 1MDB, it is not certain if it will be enough to significantly affect the Prime Minister’s position. But one can expect the playing out of a game plan by those opposed to the Prime Minister although it is not visible yet.

The general expectation was that Ahmad Zahid would replace Muhyiddin and he did, which is not to say that his appointment would be widely welcomed. It helps that he has wide grassroots support in UMNO but not that he is considered a hardliner who as Home Minister  was directly responsible for suspending The Edge.

Much more surprising than Muhyiddin’s ouster was the appointment into the government of four members of the parliamentary public accounts committee (PAC) investigation into 1MDB, including its chairperson Nur Jazlan Mohamed who was appointed deputy home minister. This leaves four Barisan MPs out of eight still remaining as PAC members.

Nur Jazlan himself said that the PAC investigations have been stopped pending the appointment of new members which can take place only after Parliament sits again in October. That means PAC’s interview of, among others, 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda next week will have to be postponed. However, opposition MPs, including DAP’s Lim Kit Siang, have commented that investigations can still go on despite some PAC members joining the government.

Observers feel that the Prime Minister’s appointment of four PAC members into the government was deliberate and aimed at postponing the investigations into 1MDB, buying time for 1MDB and for himself.

Yes, it is the prerogative of the Prime Minister to make cabinet changes and perhaps even to change the attorney-general midstream, although legal opinion is divided on this, as well as the head of the Special Branch. But it certainly does not indicate strength.

It is because the Prime Minister’s position is weak that he has to resort to such strong-arm tactics to keep people supporting him. It is because his position is weak that he has to demonstrate that those who do not support him will have to be prepared to pay the price. It is because he is weak that he has to muzzle the press and stop them from reporting legitimately on 1MDB.

Emulating Mahathir

What he is doing emulates what Mahathir did in a bigger way in 1987 with Operation Lalang, when scores of people were detained under the Internal Security Act and The Star had its licence revoked. Mahathir even pushed members of the old UMNO out of his UMNO Baru, which he set up following a judicial decision against the old UMNO. He moved decisively against the judiciary the following year, raising questions of its independence till today.

He made numerous constitutional changes to the new UMNO, making it all but impossible for a candidate to challenge an incumbent president. Mahathir won very narrowly against Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah in 1987 in the closest battle for presidency in UMNO ever.

Razaleigh eventually set up the opposition Semangat 46 to challenge UMNO and Barisan Nasional but had little success except in Kelantan.

For now, the Prime Minister and UMNO President Najib Abdul Razak has the upper hand, and thanks ironically to Mahathir, his most vocal critic, it does not look like he will be dislodged anytime soon. Few who call themselves politicians will be foolhardy enough to go against Najib when they don’t see a viable game plan that can, well, overthrow him. Najib is certainly not popular in the court of public opinion right now but that does not mean that he will be exiting anytime soon.

Indeed despite the tide of public opinion against him, like Mahathir before him, he is likely to prevail. And then he will have to hope that people will forget or at least forgive, like they did Mahathir before him.

Figuring out the Day of the Long Knives

July 29, 2015

Malaysia:: Figuring out the Day of the Long Knives

by Kim Quek@www.malaysiakini.com

PM and Former DPM

It is all too apparent that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s lightning move to remove the Attorney-General and reshuffle his cabinet on July 28 was done for the singular purpose of neutering criminal investigations and impending prosecution arising from the 1MDB scandal and the RM2.6 billion in Najib’s personal bank accounts.

By removing A-G Gani Patail and offering cabinet positions to members of the parliamentary accounts committee (PAC), Najib hopes to avert impending prosecution and postpone imminent PAC hearings on key players in 1MDB, which in all certainty, will expose the alleged multi-billion heist that will grievously hurt Najib.

Sacking of AG highly dubious

The so-called sacking of Gani is heavily tainted with unconstitutionality, illegality, deceit and malicious intent. The circumstances of the announcement immediately aroused suspicion. It was announced on July 28 by national news agency Bernama through a one-sentence  tweet stating that Gani’s services as A-G were terminated on July 27 due to health reasons, quoting the Chief Secretary of the Government. When  he was asked on July 28, Gani said he had no idea that he had been sacked.


Questions galore: Why wasn’t Gani (photo above) informed? Why wasn’t there a letter of termination from the Head of State Agong, who is the only authority to appoint or to remove the A-G? If Gani had to stop work due to health reasons, why were we told that Gani would still continue to serve as a legal staff till his statutory retirement date in coming October? And why had Gani never complained of ill-health?  And why didn’t PM Najib announce that he had ‘sacked’ Gani?

As the A-G is designated by the constitution (Artiicle 145) as the sole decision-maker as to whether a person should be prosecuted, the independence of his position is guaranteed by mandating his termination through a tribunal appointed by the Agong. Hence, the currently unceremonious ‘dumping’ of Gani is obviously an unconstitutional move.

Sabotaging investigations and prosecutions

Conspiracy theories abound as to why Najib had to act like a desperado. Is it to avert an immediate prosecution which only the AG had the power to execute – keeping in mind that there have been a series of arrests arising from the investigations of the special task force probing the twin scandals of Najib’s RM2.6 billion and the 1MDB fiasco? The task force is made up of the Chiefs of Police, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and Bank Negara, co-ordinated by the A-G.

Nur Jazlan and PAC Politics of Betrayal

Another body hot on the heels of these scandals is the Public Accounts Committee, which is due to grill the current and former CEOs of 1MDB starting from August 4, and also to hear two former directors of 1MDB who resigned in indignation over the theft of US$700 million immediately after signing an allegedly bogus joint venture agreement with PetroSaudi in September 2009.

Nur JazlanPAC Chairman sold out to Najib

Immediately after the cabinet reshuffle on July 28, where PAC chairperson Nur Jazlan Mohamed (photo) and three other members were offered positions in the cabinet, Nur Jazlan announced a suspension of PAC hearings pending appointment of new members in the next parliamentary session commencing in October.

Thus in one lightning swoop, Najib had apparently incapacitated the pursuers of the scandals and immunise himself from harm, and perhaps hopefully, to bury these scandals.

If Najib succeeds, Malaysians will have to bury their heads in shame, and the credibility of this country will suffer a grievous and irreparable blow.

Who would still trust a country where the Prime Minister can escape unscathed with RM2.6 billion allegedly unaccounted for in his bank accounts and tens of billions of ringgit of public funds evaporated into thin air through a so-called sovereign wealth fund, of which he is allegedly personally responsible?

Can our institutions – the Police Force, MACC (the anti-corruption commission), Central Bank and the Attorney-General’s Chambers – stand the shame of being cowed and neutered by a tyrannical hand in contempt of our constitution and law?

We must defend against authoritarianism

No, we must not allow this to happen, because we have too much to lose and too much to defend. The special task force must continue to discharge its sacrosanct duties honourably and diligently until the whole truth is uncovered and the culprits punished – with or without Gani Patail as A-G. They owe this to themselves and to the future generations of Malaysians.

As for the PAC, it should immediately resume hearings under the leadership of deputy chairperson Dr Tan Seng Giaw who shall act as chairperson in the absence of Nur Jazlan. With nine remaining members in PAC (out of a total of 13), there are more than enough members to make up a quorum (minimum is three).

This is the hour when all Malaysians must stand up to defend themselves against an onslaught, which if not repulsed, will turn the country into a failed state of corrupt dictatorship.

KIM QUEK is the author of banned book ‘The March to Putrajaya’.


David Cameron under Fire for Talks with Scandal Ridden Premier Najib Razak

July 29, 2015

Foreign Affairs: David Cameron under Fire for Talks with Scandal Ridden Premier Najib Razak

by Beh Lih Yi in Jakarta


David Cameron

David Cameron under fire ahead of talks with scandal-hit Malaysian leader

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak sacks Deputy and country’s top attorney after questions over claims he took millions from government investment fund.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is facing criticism for pushing ahead with a visit to Malaysia this week at a time when the south-east Asian nation’s leader is embroiled in an escalating corruption scandal and has stepped up a crackdown on dissent.

Malaysian Premier Najib Razak has been urged to resign after media reports alleged some US$700m linked to a troubled state investment fund (1MDB) had ended up in his personal bank accounts.

Razak has denied taking any public funds for personal use, and his government has lashed out at criticism by mounting a crackdown on dissent that has seen two newspapers suspended and a British-based whistleblowing website blocked.

MuhyiddinFormer Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia

On Tuesday, the Malaysian Premier removed his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin, who has openly criticised him over the scandal, just hours after the government sacked the country’s top attorney, who had been leading an official investigation into the corruption allegations against Najib.

Politicians and activists who have criticised the government have also been hit with travel restrictions, with one prominent opposition MP barred from leaving the country.

“There could have been a better time for the visit,” Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Malaysia’s opposition leader, told the Guardian ahead of Cameron’s arrival in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, the final stop of a four-nation tour of south-east Asia.

The MP, who is also the wife of jailed opposition politician Anwar Ibrahim, called on Cameron to raise the scandal and human rights issues when he holds talks with Najib, and said he should also meet opposition parties to get “a better idea” about the political turmoil engulfing the former British colony.

“He must not only meet with the government but the opposition as well,” she said. “He should talk about freedom, the suspension of the newspapers and the use of the sedition law – something that is so repressive – and the welfare of the former opposition leader [Anwar].”

Liew Chin Tong, a lawmaker from the opposition Democratic Action party, said Cameron must tell Najib categorically to “respect the rule of law as well as human rights”.

Cameron is hoping to boost trade ties between the UK and the region during his visit that also includes stops in Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam. Efforts to fight jihadist group Isis are also on the agenda during his stops in Muslim-majority Indonesia and Malaysia.

Michael Buehler, a south-east Asian expert at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, said Cameron would not be “entirely honest” if he ignores the corruption claims during his visit, as business and politics remain closely linked in the region.

“One cannot talk about business without also mentioning the political conditions in these countries. Cameron’s visit is indeed untimely, given the escalation of the corruption scandal in the country,” Buehler said.

Writing in the Daily Mail last week about the trip, Cameron himself vowed to put the fight against graft top of his agenda after claiming critics were “wrong” to say the UK should avoid doing business with countries with barriers to trade, including corruption.

“Many in South East Asia have led the battle against corruption, which costs the global economy billions of pounds a year. Britain is joining them in that fight – I’ve put the issue at the top of the global agenda,” he wrote.

Najib’s move against the deputy premier came in an unexpected cabinet reshuffle just two days after Muhyiddin broke ranks and openly urged Najib to tell “real facts” over the scandal and answer questions over whether he received the money.

Announcing the decision, Najib said “differences of opinions shouldn’t be expressed openly” among his cabinet members, according to the Malay Mail Online website.

The cabinet reshuffle was seen as an attempt to shore up support for the beleaguered Najib in the cabinet, as an internal tussle within the ruling party in the coming days could put pressure on the Malaysian leader to resign.