Trump–Najib White House Meet in September, 2017


April 24, 2018

Trump–Najib White House Meet in September, 2017

By Bradley Hope,Rebecca Ballhaus and Tom Wright

http://www.wsj.com

Image result for TRUMP AND NAJIB

Donald J. Trump–The Art of the Deal

Najib Razak, whose administration is at the center of the 1MDB corruption probe, may use the trip to play down the risk of further investigations

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/08/23/statement-press-secretary-visit-prime-minister-najib-abdul-razak

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose administration is at the center of a major corruption probe by the U.S. Department of Justice, will visit President Donald Trump in September in Washington, according to a White House official and several people in Malaysia familiar with plans for the trip.

Mr. Najib has been eager to emphasize his friendship with Mr. Trump at a time of U.S. scrutiny over alleged corruption in the Malaysian administration. People close to Mr. Najib say he would likely use the White House visit to try to play down the possibility of further investigations. A spokesman for Mr. Najib declined to comment.

Image result for White House Statement from the Press Secretary on the Visit of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak of Malaysia

The Justice Department, in lawsuits filed in 2016 and updated in June, alleged that Mr. Najib received $681 million and his stepson, Riza Aziz, received $238 million originating from a state development fund called 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

The fund is the subject of one of the world’s biggest alleged frauds, with a total of more than $4.5 billion allegedly stolen. At least six countries are probing the affair, including Singapore and Switzerland.

The 1MDB issue is one of the most pressing problems for Mr. Razak’s administration in the run-up to elections expected in 2018. Nonetheless, Malaysia and the U.S. have many areas of mutual concern, including China’s expansion of military power in the South China Sea.

Image result for Golf najib with Obama

Golf with Trump next?

Mr. Najib has had warm ties with recent U.S. administrations. He has boasted to a Malaysian newspaper and other media that he partnered with Mr. Trump at golf several years ago. Mr. Najib and Mr. Trump won the game, according to Malaysian media reports, and Mr. Najib said he has a signed picture of them together at the event, with an inscription from Mr. Trump: “To my favorite Prime Minister. Great win!” Mr. Najib also played golf with then-President Barack Obama.

Related imageMalaysia’s rich and powerful First Lady of Malaysia and her soulmate Grace Mugabe (below)
 

 

The U.S. suit in June also alleged that Mr. Najib’s wife received a $27 million diamond necklace paid for by funds embezzled from 1MDB. Much of the money Mr. Najib received was returned to the offshore company that sent it to him, court filings show. Mr. Najib and Mr. Aziz have repeatedly denied wrongdoing.

1MDB itself has denied wrongdoing or that any money is missing. It has pledged to work with any lawful authority. Mr. Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, hasn’t responded to the allegations.

The U.S. allegations are contained in a series of civil asset forfeiture cases, in which the U.S. government is seeking to seize $1.7 billion’s worth of homes, artwork, a mega-yacht and company stakes, among other items it says were bought with embezzled funds. The suits only target assets and don’t allege crimes against individuals.

Earlier in August, the Justice Department filed a motion to stay all those cases while it conducts a criminal investigation.

The civil cases identify Jho Low, a Malaysian financier close to Mr. Najib’s family, as the central orchestrator of the alleged scheme. Mr. Low has denied the charges and pledged to fight them in court.

Mr. Najib and his wife, Ms. Rosmah, aren’t named in the civil suits, but are referred to as Malaysian Official 1 and wife of Malaysian Official 1. A government minister has publicly confirmed Mr. Najib is Malaysian Official 1. Mr. Najib’s stepson is also named in the suits.

The Prime Minister has repeatedly denied 1MDB was defrauded and that any money went missing. He created the fund in 2009 to help drive investment in Malaysia and as finance minister he was the final authority for making decisions.

In 2016, Mr. Najib hired Ashcroft Law Firm LLC, headed by former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, to advise him on the 1MDB case, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Najib and Mr. Aziz, and Mr. Aziz’s film production company, are also represented by Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP.

Amid investigations by several Malaysian authorities into 1MDB in 2015, Mr. Najib replaced his Attorney General over his handling of the case. The new Attorney General (Mr. Apandi Ali) announced his own review of the evidence, found no wrongdoing and closed the case.

Mr. Najib and his supporters have repeatedly said the 1MDB affair is hyped by the political opposition—led by former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad—in an effort to oust Mr. Najib and the ruling UMNO party.

—Yantoultra Ngui in Kuala Lumpur contributed to this article.

Write to Bradley Hope at bradley.hope@wsj.com, Rebecca Ballhaus at Rebecca.Ballhaus@wsj.com and Tom Wright at tom.wright@wsj.com

T K Chua’s Merdeka 2017 Musings


August 21, 2017

T K Chua’s Merdeka 2017 Musings

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com

Image result for Merdeka 2017

Sehati Sejiwa (One heart, One Spirit)–are we serious, Mr. Prime Minister?

Someone narrated to me the Merdeka wishes he had read in a news portal recently – a nation staying together, united against corruption, people showing patriotism and leaders ever willing to sacrifice for the nation.

In a way, he told me a few things for me to ponder over. And yet, upon reflection, I felt that he had told me nothing.

Malaysia will be 60 years old in a few days and like most countries, we will probably be celebrating the occasion with pomp and grandeur. There will be slogans, speeches, recitals, pledges, banquets, march pasts, parades and processions. But it will last only for a day, at the most.

What about the rest of the 364 days?

First, do we look like a nation staying together right now? What do we hear more often nowadays – programmes and encouragement for us to come together, or instigation and indoctrination that make us drift apart?

If we are constantly being reminded that we Malaysians are different for 364 days, how would one single Merdeka Day urging us to stay together make a difference? Food for thought, isn’t it?

Second, are we really united against corruption? Maybe the common folks are. But I am not too sure of the well-connected, the groups with vested interests, the bureaucrats, the numerous NGOs, the business people, and the rich and powerful.

Sometimes I feel that those who are against corruption are the least able to do anything about it. Maybe during our Merdeka celebration, we will have another pledge against corruption but seriously I don’t think it is going to make any difference.

Image result for Malaysian Flag at half mast

Malaysia Mourning on Merdeka Day?

Third, we want the people to show their patriotism during the Merdeka Day celebration. But again, I don’t think we can conjure up patriotism, neither can we fake it. When no flags are raised, that means the people are “tired”. It is useless to coerce or threaten the people with punishment if they have not flown the Jalur Gemilang.

Patriotism comes from our hearts. When there are occasions for celebration, the people will be willing and spontaneous without promptings, coercion or threats. We ought to know better whether the people are in the mood.

Fourth, I think it is time to rethink the notion of leaders sacrificing for the nation. For too long history books and national television stations tell us this.

What really is sacrificing for the nation? It would be working tirelessly for the nation even at the expense of one’s own well being, making the nation prosper not oneself, and refraining from benefiting from privileges or preferential treatment for oneself.

Image result for Malaysians celebrating Merdeka?

Requiem for Malaysia?

Now, which leader here or elsewhere is doing just that? It is time we stop talking about leaders sacrificing for the nation. There are none. On the contrary, I think we should start asking our leaders to stop indulging in corruption, abusing their power and amassing wealth for themselves, as well as lavishing privileges and preferential treatment on themselves and their families.

I may sound naive to many. None of us has ever begged any of our so-called leaders to be ministers, heads of GLCs or prime ministers. All of them fight like dogs and cats for those positions. Why then must we pamper them with luxuries, holiday packages, and other privileges if they themselves are so desperate for the job?

Utter nonsense really.

 

No Reason to celebrate 60th Merdeka Day


August 18, 2017

No Reason to celebrate 60th Merdeka Day

by Stephen Ng@www.malaysiakini.com

Image result for UMNO Flags

COMMENT | As we approach Merdeka Day, one thing is too obvious not to be noticed.

This observation that I make will answer the question I pose: “How can BN gain back people’s confidence after 2008?”

Sixty years have passed and BN has ruled the nation. This year is crucial as it may be the coming general election that will decide whether Malaysia will return to BN or see a change of government at the federal level.

Image result for Jalur Gemilang at half mast

On August 31, 2017–In stead of rejoicing, we Malaysians  mourn the state of our country. After 60 years of Merdeka, we are being colonised by corrupt and racist UMNO kleptocrats and their partners in MCA, MIC, Gerakan.–Din Merican

My observation is based on the mood of the people as we approach Merdeka Day. It is obvious that the flags are not flying. By now, most shops would be carrying the Malaysian flag and cars would be adorned with the Jalur Gemilang.

But, unless some arm-twisting tactics are used, by now the flags would be all over the place. Patriotism is not something that can be forced. It has to come from the people’s own sentiments.

Although patriotism has nothing to do with giving support to the government of the day, its absence can indicate the people’s sentiments and confidence towards those in the powers of corridor.

This year is the 60th anniversary since Malaysia achieved its independence from the British colonial government in 1957, yet Malaysians are generally lukewarm about the celebration this year.

Why are Malaysians not showing their patriotism?

It does not cost more than RM10 to purchase a Malaysian flag, but could it be that Malaysians are unwilling to fork out even that amount of money, not forgetting the additional 60 sen for the Goods and Services Tax (GST)?

After three years, by now, most Malaysians would have felt the burden of the GST on their rising cost of living.

Only a total reversal of the GST, which unfortunately Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak said is impossible to implement, is the only way BN can gain the people’s confidence.

Pakatan Harapan said the moment they win the general election, they would remove the GST. So, why is BN saying it cannot be abolished?

Is it because the country has reached such a financial state that despite the oil money, the government would not be able to meet financial obligations without the income from GST collection?

All the “positive” reports aside, one needs to only read Tricia Yeoh’s open letter to Najib to realise how much of Najib’s speech at Invest Malaysia last month can be swallowed.

The truth is most people have a very negative economic outlook, with most saying that the country appears to be going nowhere. Malaysians are beginning to see the doom ahead of them with the latest report that in 2016, the country’s debt has hit RM908.7 billion or 74 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

This is one of the highest since the country achieved independence. To say it is no problem is something hard for even ordinary Malaysians to believe. Imagine you are earning RM10,000, but you have to service your loan for the RM7,000 that you have borrowed.

You may be living a lifestyle of someone earning RM17,000 a month, but how many people even earn RM5,000 a month? This is called “over gearing”.

If people smell that something is not right, they will panic to think that the country’s total foreign debts may show that we are in real danger of bankruptcy.

One explanation after another has been given. For example, everyone knows that it is the weaker ringgit that is contributing to the higher cost of foreign debts, but what is the BN government doing about controlling external debts?

What we are hearing about are the mega projects being carried out using borrowed funds. The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) for example is to be built using money from a soft loan provided by China’s Exim Bank at 3 percent over a period of 20 years.

Anyone borrowing from the bank for a housing loan for that period of time will realise that it is not that rosy after all. The moment someone defaults on a loan, there will be penalties. The bank may even force the property to be auctioned off.

Would the RM55 billion soft loan place Malaysia under the control of a Chinese bank, hence, indirectly the Chinese government? No banks would loan any amount of money if it does not have the assurance that it is able to get back the money.

Besides, we all know that Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) is not making any profit despite running the North-South corridor. What makes us think that the ECRL would be able to pay back the loan?

Political violence

Image result for UMNO Red Shirts

UMNO-Malay Unity, not National Unity

It is not only the financial aspect that people are worried about. No thanks to its past record, and people like Jamal Mohd Yunos and his Red Shirts, people seem to have the impression that UMNO is given the right to use violence.

Peace-loving Malaysians are no longer easily intimidated. The silent majority may not do much, but the sentiments are definitely not with UMNO when more political violence unfolds, whether linked to the party, its members, or otherwise.

They may not be outspoken, but they are waiting for the right moment to strike with another tsunami. This is my observation especially after Mahathir and his men abandoned UMNO.

Image result for UMNO Red Shirts

Jamal Ikan Bakar Yunos and his Red Shirts on a rampage?

The answer to my question, “How BN can gain back people’s confidence?” therefore requires more soul-searching on the part of BN leaders, including those from Sabah and Sarawak.

If flying of the Jalur Gemilang is any indication of the people’s sentiments, it is time for some serious discussions at the higher level.

STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in following political developments in the country since 2008.

‘Nothing to Hide’ Violence 2.0 – the Harbinger of Anarchy in Malusia


August 17, 2017

‘Nothing to Hide’ Violence 2.0 – the Harbinger of Anarchy in Malusia

by S Thayaparan

http://www.malaysiakini.com

Image result for See, people with power understand exactly one thing: violence.”  - Noam Chomsky

COMMENT | Would it surprise anyone that when the dust of this recent scuffle at the Nothing to Hide 2.0 forum settles, the perpetrators – always young Malay youths – would be portrayed as the aggrieved party, much like the thieves of the Low Yat fiasco? UMNO has always been protective of its voting base with Malay opposition voices harassed and intimidated when it comes to courting this specific demographic.

While I have been skeptical of the efficacy of this particular tactic of the opposition when it comes to using the 1MDB issue as a vote getter, the response from the regime and the attempts to derail any form of dialogue points to how much this regime fears the architect of modern Malaysia – Dr Mahathir Mohamad -and his designs on the throne of Putrajaya.

While the current UMNO grand poohbah holds solidarity prayers with Muslims begging God for peace and stability, the Najib refuseniks busy themselves with the task of destabilising UMNO hegemony. There is no point talking about a Malaysian tsunami because the violence in this event, the harassment that Malay opposition figures face, the use of the state apparatus to investigate Najib refuseniks’ sympathisers points to the reality that the next general elections will be the ultimate Malay scuffle.

While some would argue that the questions asked by these so-called provocateurs were meant to derail the forum, the reality is that those questions form the basis of right-wing Malay politics and are the means to which UMNO has maintained hegemony.

Those question about the Memali incident, Bersatu’s simpatico with the DAP and the supposed sins of jailed political prisoner Anwar Ibrahim – rights, race and religion – were meant to demonstrate that the former UMNO Prime Minister had abandoned the Malay community and conspires with the ‘Chinese DAP’ to supplant the rightful place of Malays and Islam in this country.

So, while urban opposition propaganda promulgates the narrative that we are all in this together, the reality is that this “scuffle” between the Malays in the existential threat facing UMNO today. This fight will eventually determine not who controls the destiny of the Malay polity – mainstream Malay politics is based on “Ketuanism” – but rather who controls the gravy train.

Image result for UMNO Ketuanism

The Target of N2H 2.0 Violence–Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad

Nothing will come of any investigation into this matter as nothing has ever come of any investigation where the UMNO ‘titushkas’ have used political violence to disrupt the numerous oppositional and other activists’ forums meant to highlight or discuss the malfeasances of the state.

Ironically, a friend of mine from PAS told me just recently that he remembers the time when the UMNO ‘titushkas’ disrupted ceramahs and various other political gatherings to demonstrate that the opposition could not maintain stability in their own house, then how could they with the country.

Image result for Zahid Hamidi and Tiga Line Gang

N2H Violence –The Harbinger of Things to Come

In case anyone assumes that it is prejudicial to jump to conclusion as to UMNO’s role and my description of the UMNO provocateurs, read the comments of Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi with regard to the intersection between organised thuggery and UMNO;

“He said, ‘The 6,171 Malays, they are not real thugs (samseng), they were Pekida members and were part of the Tiga Line group, Gang 30, Gang 7 – these are festivities (kendurikendara) gangsters.” Furthermore, he added, ‘I tell our Tiga Line friends, do what should be done.’”

And what exactly should these groups be doing? I would argue that if three years ago you made the claim that Tiga Line was disrupting Bersih activities, you would get UMNO members saying that these thugs are only doing what needs to be done.”

Instilling fear

In other words, it should surprise no one that what needed to be done was to disrupt Nothing to Hide 2.0 to instil a sense of fear in any Malay participant that there would be violence in Bersatu’s political gathering. This is why the state security apparatus is shifting the blame to the organisers of the forum instead of the disruptors of the event.

Always keep in mind UMNO veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s rejoinder – “(Bagaimanapun) jangan memandang rendah kepada kerajaan kerana mereka ada kuasa, ada televisyen, radio, duit dan media. Mereka juga ada alat-alat risikan dan sebagainya. Media dia lebih tahu pada kita. Dia tahu kita belum tahu lagi. Sama ada dengan kekuasaan itu, parti yang berkuasa akan kalah saya tidak tahu.”

What makes this a little more dangerous is the fact that UMNO is not only turning on the Malay community, it is also turning on its own. It should surprise nobody that the former Prime Minister has many sympathisers within UMNO who do not make up the elite of UMNO but who are the “ordinary people” of the party and the beneficiaries of his patronage of his long UMNO watch.

These true believers are pining for the days when the corruption was managed and UMNO kept the Islamists – PAS – at bay while the Islamists within worked their dark sorcery on the Malay community. These are the sleepers that the current UMNO elite fear. What damage have they done in terms of leaks (propaganda) or could they do during the election (sabotage)?

One of the complaints I get from Malay opposition operatives is that I always seem to highlight the political violence against non-Malay opposition parties and personalities and imply – I disagree with this description – that Malays have an easy ride when it comes to spreading their message to the Malay demographic.

Malay academics and social activists always remind me that when it comes to violence carried out by the state, the Malay demographic feels the boot the most. However, what should be of concern is that this time because of the political actors involved, the level of support of the Najib refuseniks and the hidden hands of the Malay opposition political elite, the violence could escalate.

It would be easy to dismiss Nothing to Hide 2.0 violence as just another episode where the state disrupts a gathering – or as some have argued, a black bag operation from the master manipulator – because this is, in reality, the shape of things to come.

When you have a sitting Prime Minister who refuses to acknowledge if he would abide by the results of the democratic process, when there are laws in place which override the traditional mechanism for declaring emergency and a security apparatus which is not independent (and has more or less made such a claim), what you have is a Molotov cocktail of racial and religious disorder.

The most important question is who is going to throw that cocktail, and if you think that UMNO is the only one capable of doing that, you have not been paying attention.

 

Malusia: Take On Hypocrites


August 16, 2017

Malusia: Take On Hypocrites and those who betrayed this nation and our children

by Azly Rahman@www.malaysiankini.com

Image result for dr azly rahman

In honour of the thinking and rational man

Atheist Club? Atheist Republic? Is that a band from California, after Linkin Park and Nirvana? Or a new name for a brand of Chinese-made jeans? I know One Republic is a brand of clothing and True Religion is a pair of cool jeans. Only true believers wear them.

And for the atheist, there is always the question when they die:

All dressed up and nowhere to go?

And what does it mean to believe in Nothing? When we live in a world in which we cannot escape from Somethingness?

Seriously folks, this is a serious matter in Malaysia, today and yesterday, at least. Another distraction from the issue of 1MDB and who allegedly stole the money, and who killed Altantuya and who masterminded the tragedy.

Even if one is an atheist, you’d say: Oh my God. Why was so much money allegedly stolen? Why use C4 explosives on the pregnant woman?

That is what we will say and what we have been saying about what the hell is happening in this heaven called Malaysia.

Malay-Muslims denouncing their religion. Why? Loss of meaning. No spiritual compass. Perhaps? The elders have betrayed them and robbed them of their future.

What is the meaning of Islam in Malaysia today? What has the Islamicisation agenda brought us?

Not what Prophet Muhammad taught: Opposing gluttony, combating greed. Look at the kind of lives the leaders and the sultans of the world are living. Look at the poor. Remember what the Arab Spring was about? Herein lies the rise of those who are disillusioned by Islam.

What we are reading about in the Islamic world is about Muslims killing each other, and the richer amongst the Islamic countries are building and buying weapons from the enemies of Islam, to annihilate each other.

Image result for UMNO religious hypocrites

A Malay Muslim of the UMNO variety will freak out at the sight of pork or bacon or ham but find it quite moral to squander or songlap state funds to quote Azly Rahman. MACC, what are you doing about these hypocrites? Billions of ringgits have been songlaped by the UMNO state, while you take on small fries.Occasionally you arrest the likes of Isa Samad for show.–Din Merican

At home in Malaysia, we have these streams of reports about massive and even billion-ringgit corruption cases allegedly involving those who profess the religion of Islam. As the popular saying goes, a Muslim will freak out at the sight of pork or bacon or ham but find it quite moral to squander or songlap millions.

Words they merely are. A prison-house of language we live in. Atheism. Agnosticism. Platonism. Theism. Pantheism. Secularism. Islamism. Anachronism. These are mere words.

The last one is not a belief system though. It sounded like an anaconda with a chronic illness. And if it is “anachronistic”, it should be an anaconda with a lipstick.

Who to hunt

Hunt down not the atheist to destroy them. Hunt those who are killing the nation and the coming generations. Those in power who cause untold damage, pretending to believe in God yet godless in the way they treat the world and its inhabitants.

I hope those planning to do the goodwill hunting of the atheists will be ready with the best weapons: philosophy of religion and rationalistic thought.

The self-proclaimed atheists are very smart people and have all the good arguments (though many might be faulty) to argue why they have left religion, in general.

Image result for The Greek PhilosophersFarewell to Socrates

 

Dialogue is good, hunting is not, let alone calling for the death of atheists. I doubt the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would agree to that. I doubt Islam is about that brand of paranoia.

 When I read about the issue, I recall what I wrote about believing. Here it goes.

“Prayer of a Believer”
by Azly Rahman

Believe in anything you wish to
in anything
in something
in nothing
anything that teaches you the beauty within
and shows you the kingdom you are to govern wisely 
shown by you … yourself 
as Time evolves itself within you
begin believing in anything
privately 
privately 
privately
moving into intimacy with yourself
so that when you worship
you become the worshipper – and the worshipped
like the dancer and the danced
the waves in the water
the self in your self
and when you have become good in believing what is 
good in you
the human in your humanity
the love in your beloved — you become lovers
you evolved 
you and yourself
none should tell you how
none should know
no signs 
no symbols
no house of worship should shroud your soul 
from infinitesimal glows
you evolve 
and evolve 
and walk proudly
publicly
publicly
publicly
even like the sage Siddhartha
with a begging bowl
with Rumi and reason whirling as rhymes in you
like a sadhu
a wanderer in the wilderness
a prophet on Wall Street
a soul meditating on a mountain of light
away from the madness of civilization’s plight
believe in anything you wish to 
you are truth
evolving
creating meaning
in a world
where nothing can become everything
and believing makes you a being
every minute 
every breath 
evolving
a cycle
never ending
a circle 
expanding
illuminating

No. Let us not hunt atheists but focus our energy and resources hunting down hypocrites and those who betrayed this nation and our children: leaders that are godless but wearing the mask of religiosity.

That should be our goal. As for Muslims, we do it with Bismillah hirRahman nirRahim. In the name of the Universal God, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate.


DR AZLY RAHMAN is an educator, academic, international columnist, and author of seven books. He grew up in Johor Baru and holds a Columbia University doctorate in International Education Development and Masters degrees in five areas: Education, International Affairs, Peace Studies Communication, and Creative Writing. Follow him on FacebookTwitter and his blog.