Trump, Najib and The Controlled and Free Media


February 18, 2017

Trump, Najib and The Controlled and  Free Media

 

by Dean Johns@www.malaysiakini.com

Prime Minister of Malaysia (PMOM) Najib Abdul Razak must be feeling tremendously superior to his alleged erstwhile golfing buddy and recently-elected President of the United States (POTUS) Donald J.Trump, even without a chance to play a round with him recently.

Because, however many courses Trump owns, and however close to scratch his game might be, he’s competing at world-class level according to US and international rules in full view of a global gallery, and thus has no chance of hiding just how green, gruesomely handicapped and doomed to defeat that he thus far appears to be.

Whereas Najib plays mostly for Malaysia on a minor circuit restricted to such similar small-timers as North Korea and Zimbabwe, who all consider themselves winners because they not only make-up the rules of the game and fake their own scorecards, but also feel free to club anyone who dares criticise or oppose them into silence or submission.

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Or, in some special cases, to death, as in the current case of the alleged hit on a member of North Korea’s Kim family at the KL International Airport 2, or the murder and C4 dismemberment of Mongolian ‘model’ Altantuya Shaariibuu (pic above) in Kuala Lumpur a decade ago.

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No wonder POTUS Trump is so mightily teed-off at the way he’s thwarted at every stroke as he strives to triumph over obstacles like that mother of all sand-traps, the Middle East, and looming water hazards like the South China Sea, while simultaneously trying to deal with domestic challenges ranging from hostile Democrats and disaffected Republicans to hostile news media and intractable courts.

At least you’d imagine that a golfer as avid as Trump so evidently is would be aware of Theodore Roosevelt’s proverbial advice to himself and successive US Presidents to ‘speak softly and carry a big stick’.

But apparently not, as in the blustering press conference he held recently to praise his own allegedly ‘fine-tuned’ administration’s bumbling, stumbling performance in its first few weeks, he seemed rather to be still resorting to speaking glibly because he’s getting so much stick.

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Najib’s Team of Goofers

And if he’s even slightly sincere in his avowed desire to ‘make America great again’, he can look forward to getting even more stick in the future, in light of the fact that two of the principal principles that have contributed most to America’s self-perception as ‘great’ are the freedom of the press and the doctrine of the separation of powers underpinning the independence of the Judiciary.

And it is right here, of course, where Najib’s UMNO-BN regime, North Korea’s Kim dynasty, Zimbabwe’s Mugabe-figure eaded Zanu-PF gang and the similar dominant players in countless other no-account countries well and truly have the wood on Trump attempts to run the US.

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Because while Trump can only endlessly and impotently repeat his lying refrain about the forces of ‘fake news’ that he claims are so ‘unfairly’ ranged against him, Najib, the Kims and Mugabes can, as they so efficiently have done, abolish independent news media, fake or otherwise, and create fake news in their own favour.

Thus, to refer back to the headline of this column, Najib easily trumps Trump in the management of negative or hostile news and views by the simple expedient of making sure there aren’t any. None that can be printed or broadcast, at least, as  UMNO-BN owns and controls all of Malaysia’s ‘mainstream’, or in other words, traditional news media. In contrast in the United States, freedom of expression is guaranteed by The First Amendment, making the media an independent and countervailing force in American society.

This blacking-out of bad news about Malaysia’s ruling regime is reinforced by an Official Secrets Act so severe as to cover virtually every activity of the government, the public services and crony based ‘government-linked corporations’ (GLCs), and of course backed-up by regime domination of the Judiciary which should by rights be Malaysian citizens’ final bulwark against the misrule of their country by the UMNO-BN ‘kleptocracy’.

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At least you’d imagine that a golfer as avid as Trump so evidently is would be aware of Theodore Roosevelt’s proverbial advice to himself and successive US presidents to ‘speak softly and carry a big stick’.

But apparently not, as in the blustering press conference he held recently to praise his own allegedly ‘fine-tuned’ administration’s bumbling, stumbling performance in its first few weeks, he seemed rather to be still resorting to speaking bitingly because he’s getting so much stick.

And if he’s even slightly sincere in his avowed desire to ‘make America great again’, he can look forward to getting even more stick in the future, in light of the fact that two of the principal principles that have contributed most to America’s self-perception as ‘great’ are the freedom of the press and the doctrine of the separation of powers underpinning the independence of the Judiciary.

And it is right here, of course, where Najib’s UMNO-BN regime, North Korea’s Kim dynasty, Zimbabwe’s Mugabe-figureheaded Zanu-PF gang and the similar dominant players in countless other no-account countries well and truly have the wood on Trump attempts to run the US.

Because while Trump can only endlessly and impotently repeat his lying refrain about the forces of ‘fake news’ that he claims are so ‘unfairly’ ranged against him, Najib, the Kims and Mugabes can, as they so efficiently have done, abolish independent news media, fake or otherwise, and create fake news in their own favour.

Thus, to refer back to the headline of this column, Najib easily trumps Trump in the management of negative or hostile news and views by the simple expedient of making sure there aren’t any. None that can be printed or broadcast, at least, as UMNO–BN either or both owns and controls all of Malaysia’s ‘mainstream’, or in other words traditional news media.

From left: Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, Steve Mnuchin and Sen. Jeff Sessions have all been nominated to high-profile positions in President-elect Trump’s Cabinet. Alex Wong/Getty Images; F. Carter Smith/Bloomberg via Getty Images; Drew Angerer/Getty Images; Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

This blacking-out of bad news about Malaysia’s ruling regime is reinforced by an Official Secrets Act so severe as to cover virtually every activity of the government, the civil services and crony so-called ‘government-linked corporations’ (GLCs), and of course  backed-up by regime domination of the Judiciary which should by right be Malaysian citizens’ final bulwark against the misrule of their country by the UMNO-BN ‘kleptocracy’.

One tiny flaw

Admittedly this game-winning strategy has one tiny flaw, which is that former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the man who devised and from whom Najib has inherited it, was so keen to create a world-class IT complex he grandly conceived as ‘Cyberjaya’ that he promised global players like Apple and Microsoft that he wouldn’t censor the Internet.

Cyberjaya, like so many of Mahathir’s alleged megalomanic projects, never really took off. But at least the Internet has surprisingly remained relatively free in Malaysia, and thus I can write what I like, or rather what my editors deem not so dangerously politically provocative as to get Malaysiakini raided or banned, in this column.

But Najib and his UMNO-BN accomplices and supporters are apparently quite prepared if not happy to tolerate this relatively minor annoyance, as it gives them a pretext on which to pretend they permit at least some slight degree of press freedom.

And in any event they must figure that however much bad news gets out about them, they can keep buying enough voters to keep them in power with money they SK1M from the public purse to fund annual hand-outs billed as BR1M, which Najib recently boasted increases in amount every year.

Or, to put this another way, there are always enough Malaysians prepared to be so D1M as to accept BR1M and in return to pretend that they’re unaware that Najib, like every one of his fellow UMNO-BN members and cronies, is a KR1M.

In short, though Najib Abdul Razak might seem to the embarrassed, embarrassing and deeply-embattled Donald Trump to be a winner in the contest between himself and the essential democratic institutions of truth, transparency and justice, the Malaysian people are the ‘sure-fire losers’.

Just as the American people will be if Trump and his goofers can’t be persuaded or if necessary forced to finally get themselves on the ball, stop playing around like dimwit banana-republic demagogues and realise that there’s as huge a gulf between their performance so far and true world leadership as between hit-and-giggle golf and the real thing.


DEAN JOHNS, after many years in Asia, currently lives with his Malaysian-born wife and daughter in Sydney, where he coaches and mentors writers and authors and practises as a writing therapist. Published books of his columns for Malaysiakini include ‘Mad about Malaysia’, ‘Even Madder about Malaysia’, ‘Missing Malaysia’, ‘1Malaysia.con’ and ‘Malaysia Mania’.

Scandal ridden UMNO Malay Leadership


February 3, 2017

Scandal ridden UMNO Malay Leadership

http://www.asiasentinel.com/society/malaysia-scholars-fault-umno/

Malay Scholars Find Fault in Malay Leaders

Malaysian Official No. 1–The Corrupt and Corruptor

The United Malays National Organization (UMNO) presents itself as the guardian of Malay interests, culture and language. So what do the 1MDB and other scandals say about the fundamental problems of this long-dominant ruling party, the institutional arm of the Malay elite?

The disappearance of vast sums from the accounts of the state-backed 1MDB investment vehicle, the murder of a senior investigator, the murder by the Prime Minister’s security detail of a pregnant Mongolian translator/model and former girlfriend of Najib’s close associate, must say something about elite behavior.

They may be extreme events but by no means unique in Malaysian history over the past 40 years. What were then vast sums went down similar drains, more than one associated with Bank Bumiputra, including the murder in Hong Kong of an auditor doing his job too well. Plenty of other lesser financial scandals have emerged from specifically Malay, publicly-owned institutions supposedly created to benefit the rakyat but too often ATMs for the elite. They are mostly quickly forgiven and forgotten.

Rather than looking for a contemporary or political analysis of the causes of these various scandals, it is worth casting a glance back at how some well-known Malay intellectuals in the past saw their Malay leaders. Two examples, separated by 140 years, will have to suffice.

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The more recent, written in 1982, appears in Shaharuddin B Maaruf’s Concept of a Hero in Malay Society tracing the influences on the Malay elite from the epic of Hang Tuah to the later era where feudal loyalty was allied with a crass materialism. Some of the feudal traits exhibited by Hang Tuah (and by equivalents at the Javanese Majapahit court) included feats of drinking, gambling, hunting and lovemaking. Do they still dominate?

 Interestingly Shaharuddin singled out not a Malaysian but the martyred Philippine nationalist Jose Rizal and General Sudirman, Indonesia’s military leader in the war of independence, as the wider modern Malay world’s leaders as selfless, determined and principled. In contrast, he quoted the principal agent of British imperialism on the peninsula, Frank Swettenham, on the eagerness of the Malay rulers to accept British overlordship in return for position and income.
Image result for dr shaharuddin maarufA Contemporary UMNO Leader

Shaharuddin himself echoed other post-independence critics of the elite such as Syed Hussein Alatas, the Malay academician turned politician who became Vice-Chancellor of the University of Malaya and a founder of Gerakan, a multi-ethnic, reformist party. Alatas wrote the Foreword to Shaharuddin’s book.

They both noted the conflict between the feudal values of the elite, seen in their devotion to hierarchy, show and dynasty, and the Islam it professed. Instead of acknowledging that Islam’s strength lay in the diversity of interpretation of the Koran, it insisted on a single one laid down by an intellectually bereft elite, more interested in the furtherance of narrow Malay racial interests than in religion. Personal loyalty to a leader also trumped laws and principles.

There was, wrote Shaharuddin “no genuine interest on the part of the Malay elite to foster the intellectual, humanitarian and scientific aspects of Islam … but only to organize Koran reading competitions” – a stark contrast to the days when Islam was at the forefront of intellectual and scientific advance.

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 Present Day Malay Heroin Rosmah ‘Birkin’ Mansor

Reading about the shopping sprees of Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor, of the spending of huge sums to join the celebrity crowd in New York, mansions in California, Hollywood movies and high-priced western paintings suggests that elite behavior has got even worse since Shaharuddin wrote more than a generation ago: “The spirit of indulgence leads it [the elite] to imitate the negative aspects of western culture while the scientific and intellectual tradition is discarded… Being indulgent and imitative, the Malay elite always seeks to identify itself with its western counterpart.”

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Nor was it just a problem of aping western ways. Another was the desire to be grandiose and showy. “They spend lavishly on buildings, cars, official functions and other expenditures for prestige.”

Worse still, “celebrity worship is widespread in Malay society” – as if foretelling the elite urge to be seen in the company of such trashy western celebrities as Paris Hilton.

Shaharuddin’s criticisms were however mild compared with those of Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir 1796-1854) also known as Munshi Abdullah. He was a Melaka-born translator and teacher who worked for the British, notably with Stamford Raffles at the time of the British takeover of Singapore. Abdullah was not a traitor to the Malays but one so appalled by the condition of the Malay states that he saw cooperation with the British as a way of improving the lot of the Malays through economic progress, the end of internecine conflict and the spread of education and knowledge.

An 1838 work following a visit to Kelantan, Kisah Pelayaran Abdullah ke Kelantan, had polite advice for Malay rulers. But his better known autobiographical work Hikayat Abdullah written in the 1840s was more scathing in its views of the monarchs.

“It is no light tyranny that has been exercised by the Malay rulers, apart from a few who were good. Women and children who caught their fancy have been abducted by force as though they were taking chickens, with no sort of fear of Allah and regard for his creatures. They have often murdered men whose offences in no way merited death. They have plundered the property of other men, killing the owners or dragging them off into captivity. If they owe money they refuse to pay it. They are very fond of gambling, cock-fighting, opium-eating and keeping a host of slaves. …There are many other disgraceful practices which I feel too ashamed to mention in this book. They keep young girls, sometimes more than a hundred, as concubines in the palace. They have relations with a girl once or twice then for the rest of her life she cannot marry another man…

“Was there not a time when half the world was under Malay dominion and rule? There are many books and records which tell of the rulers of olden times, how great and powerful they were, so rich and full of wisdom. Why have their lands been despoiled by Allah ere now and passed into foreign bondage.

…Even in my own time there have been several Malay principalities which have come to ruin. Some have reverted to jungle where the elephant and tiger roam, because of the cruel injustices of their rulers and chiefs; not merely distant places but, for example, Selangor, Perak, Kedah as well as Padang, Muar, Batu Pahat and Kesang and many others like them. Once they were rich and flourishing states with a large population. Now they are states only in name. …

“Many are the places and lands which have been destroyed by the depredations of the young scions of the ruling house whose rapacious hands can no longer be tolerated by the people. Other races, the English, the Indians, the Arabs, the Chinese do not conduct themselves in the manner I have described. Only the Malays. Among all the other races the ruler’s children are expected to be well educated and very intelligent… If the Malay ruler do not keep their own children under control, how can they themselves exercise authority over the people? As it is under Malay rule ordinary people cannot lift up their heads and enjoy themselves… Another failing commonly found among Malays is their inability to change or modernise their idea or to produce anything new. They utterly refuse to abandon superstitions of the past…”

And so on. Abdullah used many more pages to denounce the rulers and attitudes of the Malay rulers and state of society of his time.

There seems a continuous theme from the 1820s until today. It might be argued that both Abdullah and Alatas were not really Malays. Abdullah was of Tamil Muslim origin, Alatas of Yemeni ancestry and born in Bogor. But the notion of a pure Malay race is a fiction to which the ancestries of Prime Ministers Tunku Abdul Rahman, Hussein Onn and Mahathir Mohamed attest. No one doubted the mastery of Malay language and culture possessed by Abdullah and Alatas, nor their standing as modernist Muslims with enquiring minds. Are there any such figures in Malaysia today?

(Translation of Hikayat Abdullah by A.H. Hill. Concept of a Hero in Malay Society by Shaharuddin b. Maaruf, Eastern Universities Press, 1984)

 

Malaysia: Exorcising Political Evil Spirits in Year of the Fire Rooster


January 27, 2017

Malaysia: Exorcising Political  Evil Spirits in Year of the Fire Rooster

by Dean Johns@www.malaysiakini.com

Image result for Excorcisinb the Evil Political Spirits in Malaysia

As deeply suspicious of superstition as I am, I must say I have a lot more confidence than usual that my annual Kung Hee Phatt Choi wishes will, or at least can, come true for the vast majority of us in this coming Lunar New Year of the Fire Rooster.

Because, in the process of scratching around among the prophecy-for-profit sites for enough grains of wisdom, or at least wishful-thinking, to inspire me to start pecking-away at the keyboard this week, I came across on that declared this Year of the Rooster to be a ‘wake-up call’ for the ‘exorcism of evil spirits.’

Admittedly, for all I know, this message may have been intended to have a mysteriously metaphysical or otherwise other-worldly meaning. But, simple soul as I am, I couldn’t help taking it literally, as I’ve long been conscious of the fact that there are far too many evil spirits existing and exercising themselves at our expense in this real world of ours, and a wake-up call to start exorcising them is way overdue.

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And nowhere more so than in Malaysia, where the evil spirits of the UMNO-BN regime have been, to switch to more appropriately to poultry-related imagery, treating the country as if was their own foul-yard in which to endlessly rule the roost, or in other words their very own dunghill to crow on, for an astonishing 59 years.

Astonishing to many Malaysian exiles and expatriates, perhaps, not to mention us non-Malaysians, but evidently not sufficiently alarming as to arouse the majority of the nation’s citizens from their deep slumbers.

Certainly there’s a considerable and growing minority of Malaysians who are as wide-awake as can be to the crying need to turn the UMNO-BN rule-the-roosters for once and for all into feather dusters as they so richly deserve.

But so far all their efforts at ridding the country of the curse of the UMNO-BN’s self-styled cocks-of-the-walk, and thus beginning the long process of exorcising Malaysia of the their fowl influence, have turned-out to be futile exercises in nothing much more than cackling and squawking.

Because far too many Malaysians are still allowing themselves to be lulled into silence or some species of waking stupor, if not outright sleep, by a system so totally cocked-up as to included ‘free’ chicken-feed cash handouts and election-day bribes, unconstitutional laws designed to make most people too chicken to complain or protest, and a ceaseless barrage of cock-and-bull stories from the boss-cockies themselves, their capons in the police, ‘justice’ system, ‘religious’ organisations, civil services, government-linked companies (GLCs), regime-funded non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and of course the cockroaches of the so-called ‘mainstream’ media.

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Najib Razak and Kulup– Eggheads stick together

And the ruling-regime roosters themselves, far from being fazed by the fact that when sufficient Malaysians finally arouse themselves they’ll be given the chop, neck and crop, and end up as jailbirds, have taken to crowing about being inspired by the election to the US presidency of that supreme coxcomb, Donald Trump.

Attributing Trump’s success despite his UMNO-style unpopularity to his dominance of ‘non-traditional’ media during the presidential campaign, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi urged his UMNO accomplices and supporters to do likewise.

But as usual Zahid was talking total crap in thus trying to portray UMNO and Trump as similarly underdogs and thus birds of the same feather, given that UMNO has for decades dominated Malaysia’s traditional media, not to mention all the other influential institutions in the nation, allegedly including, crucially, in this context, the Election Commission.

‘UMNO-BN can hardly emulate Trump’

And in any case, UMNO-BN can hardly emulate Trump in making the kinds of promises, however empty they will doubtless prove to be, that arguably won him the election, media or no media.

The idea of UMNO-BN’s promising to ‘make Malaysia great again’ would be ridiculous in light of the fact that the ruling regime has consistently led the nation further toward disgrace than anything remotely like greatness.

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And as for the possibility of its plagiarising Trump’s promise to ‘drain the Washington swamp’, surely even Zahid would have to draw the line at promising to drain the Putrajaya cesspit, given that it was UMNO-BN who dug the thing, and has spent decades filling this stinking morass to overflowing.

Meanwhile, not to be trumped in the talking-cock department by Zahid, Malaysia’s supreme rooster, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, was busy speaking, or, more appropriately, beaking about national unity.

Addressing a ‘Moments of Unity’ event organised by the Malaysian National Unity Department, he declared that “our theme today is ‘moments of unity’. But the truth is, we don’t want just moments of unity. What we want is unity always.”

He then went on with lots more in this tedious vein, before pointing-out that “Malaysia is a multicultural nation,” and therefore “unity has to be translated into action and cannot remain as merely words or thoughts.”

All of which came across as a load of typically self-serving poppycock, in light of his infamous threat at an UMNO Annual General Assembly some years ago to bathe his keris in Chinese blood, and his administration’s strenuous efforts since then to keep ruling the races by dividing them, while pretending to promote racial harmony.

But at least there’s one grain of reality in Najib’s urging for unity. Never in all the years that I’ve been observing Malaysian politics has any Prime Minister/head of UMNO so powerfully and increasingly unified Malaysians in their loathing of himself, his party and his ruling coalition.

And what with the Scorpene submarine scandal and the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder still unifyingly fresh in our memories, and the multi-billion-dollar 1MDB scam still ongoing, and massive ‘leakages’ being revealed in not just Felda and related companies, but also Tabung Haji and doubtless countless other regime-linked organisations yet to come, this Year of the Rooster looks like the most anti-Najib and anti-UMNO-BN unifying year yet.

And hopefully a wake-up call that will finally awaken enough Malaysians and fire them with a burning desire to put an end to this cock-up of a regime, or, in other words, to seal its cock-a-doodle-doom.


DEAN JOHNS, after many years in Asia, currently lives with his Malaysian-born wife and daughter in Sydney, where he coaches and mentors writers and authors and practises as a writing therapist. Published books of his columns for Malaysiakini include ‘Mad about Malaysia’, ‘Even Madder about Malaysia’, ‘Missing Malaysia’, ‘1Malaysia.con’ and ‘Malaysia Mania’.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

 

Imam Apandi Ali says Najib is OK, we Malaysians are not


February 29, 2016

A Parody: Imam Apandi Ali says Najib is OK, we Malaysians are not

by Iskandar Dzulkarnain

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com

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Not only is he (Najib) a democrat, he is also a pious religious leader who upholds Islam and will not hesitate to invite a respected religious party like PAS to form a unity government with UMNO.–Iskandar Dzulkarnain

Attorney-General Apandi Ali recently cleared Prime Minister Najib Razak of all charges relating to the RM2.6 billion donation and the RM42 million from SRC International that he received in his private bank accounts in 2013.

Instead of rejoicing at Najib’s good fortune as we get back to the daily grind, Malaysians are still speculating like stock market remisiers about his innocence. So what more do Malaysians want?

Why isn’t anyone apologising to Najib on social media or congratulating him for his innocence and honesty? Why is the Opposition still hell bent on implicating him and 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) on the misappropriation of funds?

Way before these developments, Najib hinted of an Anti-Najib Campaign and an international conspiracy to unseat him, and now it is horribly clear countries from the four corners of the world have reared their ugly heads to do precisely as he indicated.

Hong Kong… USA… Singapore… France and Switzerland are all jointly investigating 1MDB for purported fraud and money laundering to the tune of USD4 billion although the Swiss have quietly hinted that Najib is not being investigated.

Everyone knows that America is an enemy, while Switzerland should investigate their own corrupt citizens like Xavier Andre Justo, instead of meddling in other country’s affairs. Hong Kong is China’s stooge while Singapore should be thankful to Malaysia for its very existence and France would do anything to sell their military arms like submarines and nuclear power plants.

Less than three days after AG Apandi cleared Najib of all possible criminal charges, these evil governments started to accuse 1MDB of the misappropriation of funds without any concrete proof. Even France has revived investigations into the Scorpene submarine commissions deal and Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibu.

Malaysians should learn to call it a day. Now that Najib has been triumphantly vindicated, we should be thankful for having such an innocent and honest prime minister who will lead the country to greater heights if we just allow him ample room to do his job.

Even an Arabian Prince who was mistaken for the late Arab King trusted Najib so profoundly, that he willingly donated RM2.6 billion to our Prime Minister’s personal accounts. But instead of blowing the whole sum on the 13th General Election and to combat the waning Muslim Brotherhood threat, our prudent Najib only used up a measly RM62 million of it.

An instead of pocketing the rest like other ruthless and greedy politicians would have done, our prime minister promptly returned the balance or 91 per cent back to the King with an open heart. Such tall tales of chivalry are what fairy tales like the Arabian Nights are made of.

Barisan Nasional leaders can vouch for a fact that Najib is a righteous man who is incapable of corruption, money laundering, swindling or any other hurtful accusations levelled at him by the Opposition.

This is why so many BN leaders are willing to pawn their reputations to protect his impeccable character and sacrifice their careers to ensure no harm befalls dear Najib. This is what true sycophantic friendship is all about.

Everyone including Royalty knows that Najib deserves another chance. AG Apandi should be highly commended for his virtuous actions and for not buckling under the tremendous pressure brought on by the onslaught of negative public opinion.

Meanwhile, a courageous Najib can only smile at all the unthinkable accusations being levelled at him, knowing full well that in the end, the truth will set him free.

Najib has always come across as a moderate world class leader compared to the likes of Robert Mugabe or General Idi Amin. His suave, dashing good looks and charming demeanour immediately impresses anyone he comes in contact with.

For the past six years Najib has done so much to unite the nation with his 1Malaysia slogan, 1MDB and BR1M, and we should be thankful for his contributions.

With the untamed energy of a Bugis warrior, Najib is ready to take the country to the 21st century. He single-handedly abolished the ISA, replacing it with more effective laws like Sosma, Pota and the NSC Bill. He also saved the nation’s economy by implementing the highly popular GST.

With Malaysians getting more and more racist by the day, such laws are heaven-sent to divide and rule the nation, and to save Malaysians from themselves.

Not only is he a democrat, he is also a pious religious leader who upholds Islam and will not hesitate to invite a respected religious party like PAS to form a unity government with Umno.

Therefore, Malaysians should stop believing in the Opposition lies that one man could single-handedly bring an entire nation’s economy to its knees but heed instead the advice of our ministers on getting a second (or third) job instead to ride out the economic downturn.

Be thankful that the GST has saved the nation from getting stuck in an economic rut so that we can look forward to the next BR1M handout.

Lastly, let’s give Najib a big hand for being found innocent, leading Malaysia into first world nation status and restoring democracy and the rule of law to this beloved land of ours.

Tour consultant, sports pilot and naturalist Iskandar Dzulkarnain has been writing for a few years now, especially satirical articles like this. He is an FMT columnist.

The Altantuya Murder Resurfaces with a New Twist–The Game Sirul Plays


February 14, 2016

The Altantuya Murder Resurfaces with a New Twist–The Game Sirul Plays

by Amerik Sidhu

http://www.malaysiakini.com

COMMENT Former Police Commando Sirul Azhar Umar has indicated his intention to ‘expose’ the names of five personalities who have attempted to “bribe or coax” him into implicating Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, in the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu.

What manner of Man is this Prime Minister?

This anticipated revelation is to manifest in Part 4 of a series of audio-visual presentations produced and directed from an Australian detention centre situated at Villawood, New South Wales and scheduled for release in the next few days.

Permit me to take the wind out of your sails, Sirul, by guessing the names of these individuals. They are most likely none other than Pokok Sena MP Mahfuz Omar (accompanying your mother), ex-UMNO division leader Khairuddin Abu Hassan, Sarawak Report founder and editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and your migration consultant, Robert Chelliah.

A Convicted Cold-Blooded Murderer in Skull Cap

Before I proceed further, let me say I find it incredibly incongruous for a convicted cold-blooded murderer – who has never denied shooting a poor defenceless young lady in the head twice, and blowing her body up with military grade explosives – to sit piously before a camera in a religious white skull cap and offer to the world at large, unsolicited narratives on your present position and your advice surrounding this murder.

First, let’s put the situation into perspective. You are not a celebrity. You have been captured by the Australian Immigration Authorities and incarcerated because you are a convicted criminal.

The Australians have, however, very kindly placed at your disposal the means by which you may challenge your detention under the provisions of the Australian Migration Act 1958 and the Regulations made thereunder.

You have taken advantage of these facilities by lodging with the Migration Authorities what may be described as a ‘Protection Visa’ sub-class 866. If you succeed in your application, you will be allowed to remain in Australia as a free man with permanent resident status.

You have been advised by your Australian lawyers and migration consultant that anyone applying for such a protection visa must undergo a process of character clearance under Section 501 of the Migration Act. The relevant minister must be convinced that it is safe for a person with a criminal conviction to be released into the community.

This entails the visa applicant being honest and truthful in his application. It behoves the applicant to describe in detail under what circumstances and conditions he committed the criminal offence for which he had been convicted – i.e. to attempt to reduce the gravity of the crime by way of “mea culpa”.

Extenuating circumstances

In other words, you will have to convince the minister that you are not inherently a criminal by nature, but were forced – by extenuating circumstances – to commit the offence; for example, in the course of your duties as ordered, which may have been the cause of your error of judgment at the time of committing that offence. You will also have to show genuine remorse and regret.

As you have yet to comply with any of the above criteria, your application for this visa looks as if it is doomed from the start, despite what you may have been told to the contrary.

Abdul Razak Baginda–The One Who Got Away thanks to Najib

Sirul, you have gone on record publically, at least twice, by making statements implying that you were ordered to commit this murder.The first occasion was during your trial at the Shah Alam High Court where you read out a lengthy statement from the dock after your defence was called. In this statement you categorically described yourself as a scapegoat used to protect those who were not in court.

The second occasion was when you gave an interview with Malaysiakini on February 17, 2015 in which you also categorically stated you were under orders to kill Altantuya, and that “those with motive for the murder are still free.”

You have not retracted these statements.Your Malaysian lawyers also confirmed on December 31, 2015 that you had applied for a ‘protection visa’ with the Australian authorities and if this was granted, you would be released from detention and would be free to be at large in Australia – but that the biggest stumbling block to obtaining this visa was your conviction.

Bearing in mind the criteria set in place for a visa of this nature to be granted in your circumstances (being a convicted killer), the only hope you would have is to come clean and explain why you committed this murder and under whose instructions.

Your Australian lawyers and your migration consultant have already informed you of this and have advised you to reveal the person or persons who gave you those orders, so as to assist your application for an 866 Visa.  You were about to do this until a hurriedly gathered posse of advisors from Malaysia (whose identities are available), descended on Villawood to persuade you otherwise.

A little concerned

I am reliably advised that amongst this posse were three Special Branch officers from Bukit Aman. They were in contact with a “Datuk” in Sydney who was then entrusted with the task of looking after your financial affairs and those of your son (who is still in Australia), and to identify a AU$1 million property into which you would move once your visa was granted, all to be financed by a certain party.

Your solicitor, Christopher Livingstone, barrister Matthew Golan, and migration consultant Robert Chelliah, were a little concerned that your application for the 866 Visa would stand little chance of success unless extenuating circumstances for the murder were put forth.

You appear to have ignored this advice and instead were persuaded to partake in what can only be described as a very feeble attempt to extricate yourself from your very own committed admissions of unseen hands directing the extermination of a Mongolian irritant.

You now intend to come out with the final (presumably) audio-visual presentation releasing the identities of those you accuse of trying to bribe or coax you into revealing the personality involved in issuing you with those orders to kill. One of these individuals might even be your own mother.

Let us focus on the word ‘bribe’. This would inevitably involve an exchange of currency – in one form or another – in return for a favour. I sincerely hope you disclose the precise sums offered to you by the persons you intend on fingering, because this will inevitably raise further questions in relation to the funding you have received over the past 10 years and from whom these funds came.

You previously engaged the services of two very prominent and capable criminal lawyers, Kamarul Hisham and Hasnal Rezua Merican. These barristers spent a total of 165 days in the Shah Alam High Court defending the charge brought against you. These lawyers then handled your appeal to the Court of Appeal and defended the prosecutor’s appeal to the Federal Court.

Throughout this period you were an out-of-work former Police Corporal, languishing in the Sungai Buloh penitentiary with no access to funds. Your lawyers could not have survived without payment, which would have been substantial for the amount of work involved. How did you manage to pay them?

Who funded your travel to Australia? Who is funding payment of the fees charged by your solicitor, barrister and migration consultant in Australia? Who is paying for your son’s education and living expenses in Australia?

Who funded Sirul?

And who is paying for the continued services of your Malaysian legal team for the work they are doing for you in Australia, and all their travel and accommodation expenses for the numerous trips they have made to Villawood? And who is paying your ‘Datuk butler’ in Sydney for looking after all your needs?

I am sure these are some of the questions every right-thinking Malaysian is asking.In the last audio-visual presentation you made available to the press, you had taken pains to point out that Najib was not involved in the murder you committed. You said it was a big sin for you to slander a person, that Najib was never involved and that he had no links to the case.

One wonders why you found it necessary to make this statement? I am unable to identify one single person who has gone on record directly accusing Najib of involvement in Altantuya’s murder.

Bearing in mind the fact that you, yourself, have gone on record unequivocally insinuating you were made to commit this murder – presumably against your will – and that someone ordered you to do so, this begs the question why, out of 30 million Malaysians, you have chosen to exonerate only one man?Your attempted protection of Najib has only succeeded in opening a Pandora’s Box of suspicions where none may have existed.

Considering the entire circumstances, and specifically acknowledging the fact that you have said you had absolutely no personal motive to kill Altantuya, anyone with a modicum of intelligence would have to conclude that you have been persuaded to refrain from revealing the identity of the person who ordered you to commit this murder with misguided promises of financial security in return.

These promises could only have come from one man, who obviously wields great clout and who appears to have access to vast sums. Who is this man Sirul?

Simply put, you are in a right pickle, mate. If you don’t tell the Australian Immigration authorities why you did this to Altantuya, you will not get your visa. And without your visa, you will remain in detention forever because the Australians won’t allow you to be extradited back to Malaysia as you face the death penalty there, and they don’t agree with it.

My guess is this impasse will be solved once your death sentence is commuted to one of life imprisonment, or you are granted a pardon. Only then will an application for extradition succeed and the Australians will quite happily hand you over to the Malaysian Police. Who knows, perhaps someday you will be known as ‘Datuk Sirul Azhar Umar’ even? Others have been awarded honorific titles for much less, after all.


AMERICK SIDHU (above) is the lawyer who represented the late private investigator P Balasubramaniam

Scorpene Submarine Corruption Case –Former President of Thales International Asia indicted


January 30, 2016

Scorpene Submarine Corruption Case –Former President of Thales International Asia indicted

by John Berthelsen

http://www.asiasentinel.com

Former boss of a French defense company has been indicted in Paris on charges of bribing Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, involving one of the most notorious scandals in Malaysian history, including sex, corruption, murder and political chicanery.

Finally! French Act in Altantuya Murder Case

Bernard Baiocco, 72, former president of Thales International Asia (Thint Asia), a unit controlled by the French munitions manufacturer DCN, was indicted on Dec 15. for “active bribery of foreign public officials on people including Najib Razak,” according to Agence France Press, quoting judicial sources.

Najib is enmeshed in yet another monumental scandal in Malaysia today over US$681 million mysteriously deposited in his personal account in AmBank Malaysia in 2013 that has nothing to do with the affair when he was defense minister, although both cases illustrate the depth of corruption that has overtaken Malaysia. At least four questionable deaths, three of which were outright murder, have been linked to various cases involving Najib.

As stories have increasingly tied him to wrongdoing, he has sought to intimidate the domestic press, most of it owned by government-aligned political parties.  He has sought vainly to buy up opposition websites and has blocked two of the toughest international critics, Asia Sentinel and Sarawak Report, as well as Medium, a popular blog platform used as a mirror site for opposition publications.

Najib was Minister of Defense at the time of the alleged bribe, amounting to €114 million which appears to have been passed on to the United Malays National Organization. In the early part of the first decade, he embarked on a whirlwind of defense purchases, almost all of which were tainted by bribery. However, it was the purchase of two French Scorpene submarines that represented the most spectacular scandal. The episode was the subject of a prize-winning series of stories by Asia Sentinel.

Baiocco was held in custody for 48 hours, according to AFP, together with the Directorate of Naval Construction (DCN) for the sale, who was also indicted for complicity in misuse of corporate assets, the sources said. According to documents made available to Asia Sentinel in 2013, the scandal involved French officials all the way up to including Alain Juppe, then the foreign minister, and was conducted with the knowledge of then-Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

DCN weapons sales across the world were the subject of astonishing scandals, including the deaths of French engineers in Pakistan, reportedly because bribes to Pakistani generals were stopped by French President Jacques Chirac. Others died in Taiwan. DCN has been accused of bribing government officials in half a dozen countries.

“This is an important and encouraging step,” William Bourdon, the crusading French lawyer who brought the case on behalf of Suaram, the Malaysian reform NGO, told AFP. “The French judges show, even if the investigation goes on, their ability to dissect complex corruption mechanisms. In some respects, the investigation is just beginning.” Bourdon was kicked out of Malaysia when he flew there in 2013 to attempt to interview witnesses involved in the case.

The story gained notoriety with the October, 2006 murder by two of Najib’s bodyguards of Altantuya Shaariibuu, a jet-setting Mongolian interpreter and party girl who was said by a Malaysian private detective named Perumal Balasubramajiam, in a sworn statement to have been the plaything of Najib before she was passed on to Razak Baginda, reportedly, the private detective said, because Najib felt a foxy girlfriend who liked anal sex would impede his progress to the prime minister job.  Balasubiamaniam later died of a heart attack although his associates in Kuala Lumpur believe he may have been murdered via an injected drug to induce heart failure during a visit to a government-run hospital.  He died shortly after the visit.

Asia Sentinel was given the Society of Publishers in Asia’s highest award for investigative reporting in 2012 for its series of stories on the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu and the massive corruption connected to her death with the purchase of Scorpene submarines by the Malaysian government from the French government-owned munitions maker DCN and its subsidiaries. A package of the stories can be found here.

After supposedly being passed on to Razak Baginda by Najib, according to reports in Kuala Lumpur, Razak Baginda and Altantuya toured Europe in Razak Baginda’s Ferrari, pausing for pictures in Paris, before the two broke up. But the 28-year-old Altantuya, apparently pregnant, was furious that the US$500,000 promised her for her role as interpreter in the final stages of the Scorpene deal, flew to Kuala Lumpur to demand payment according to a note she left behind in her hotel room.  She was abducted in front of Razak Baginda’s house in Kuala Lumpur by Najib’s bodyguards and murdered, according to a cautioned statement delivered by one of the two that was never delivered in court. Her body was wrapped in C4 explosive and blown up, presumably to destroy the DNA of the fetus.

The trial of the two, lasting months, was by all accounts designed to steer away from any indication of who had hired the two to kill her. It is a question that has never been asked, and in fact an appellate judge ruled that asking motive in the case was irrelevant. Eventually the two were pronounced guilty and sentenced to hang. However, temporarily freed on appeal, one of the two, Sirul Azhar Umar, fled to Australia where he is being represented by two United Malays National Organization lawyers.  Why UMNO lawyers are defending a convicted murderer in Australia has not been explained.  He is said to be negotiating for a huge bribe to keep his mouth shut.

In Paris, according to AFP, the prosecuting judges said they suspected sums from a firm called “C5 commercial engineering” provided for  payment by DCNI, a subsidiary of DCN, of €30 million to Thales International Asia, for “selling expenses for export (FCE).”  The “selling expenses” are suspected of being a bribe. 

Another company, the Hong Kong-based Terasasi Ltd., whose main shareholder was Razak Baginda, received almost the same amount for consultations. Investigators suspect the consultations of being a front for bribes.

The counsel for Mr. Baiocco, Jean-Yves Le Borgne, said his client’s indictment was based on “legal acrobatics” because “there is no evidence” that the former minister had received funding and its advisor must be considered a “commercial agent,” therefore outside the scope of corruption of public officials.