Malaysia: 1MDB Intimidation by the IGP to come


August 1, 2015

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https://therecounter.wordpress.com/2015/08/01/macc-advisor-who-met-sarawak-report-arrested-by-special-branch-as-crackdown-begins/

Malaysia: 1MDB Intimidation by the IGP to come

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com

Najib in anxietyThe Scared Prime Minister

Police have also detained a Deputy Public Prosecutor involved in the recent arrests linked to money from a government agency that allegedly went into Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s private bank accounts, say sources.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Deputy Public Prosecutor Ahmad Sazilee Abdul Khairy, who is seconded from the Attorney-General’s Chambers (A-GC), was the third person arrested in a sweep this morning.

The other two, Tan Sri Rashpal Singh and Jessica Kaur, will be released tonight after Police failed to get a remand at the Petaling Jaya Police Headquarters this afternoon.

Rashpal is a former MACC advisor, while Jessica is an officer with the Attorney-General Chambers. Both were detained this morning and brought to the Petaling Jaya District Police Headquarters where they are being held for questioning under Section 124 of the Penal Code that pertains to activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy. It is learnt they will likely be freed once the Police, who have 24 hours to detain them, finish questioning them.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar confirmed the arrests, Malaysiakini reported, but said DPP Sazilee was not remanded as the Police were expected to finish questioning him today.

Khalid told the news portal that the arrests were made in connection with a Police report lodged against Sarawak Report editor Clare-Rewcastle Brown.

Rashpal and Jessica’s lawyers have been tight lipped over exactly what their clients are being investigated for. Rashpal, however, was mentioned in an article by website Malaysia Today as having met Rewcastle-Brown in London and was under suspicion of leaking information to the UK based website on 1MDB.

MACC denied this in a statement on July 21, saying that Rashpal, as an advisor, had no access to or oversight of the agency’s probe. His tenure with the advisory board had also ended in February.

MACC has also denied that any leak of information from government investigators on 1MDB had come from within the anti-graft agency.

MACC and the A-GC are part of the special government task force that is probing 1MDB, as well as allegations that money from companies linked to the state investor had been deposited into Prime MInister Dautk Seri Najib Razak’s personal accounts. The other two agencies in the task force are the Police and Bank Negara Malaysia.

David Cameron talks to Najib on Democracy, Civil Rights and Corruption


July 31, 2015

Bilateral Relations

David Cameron challenges Malaysian PM Najib Razak on Corruption

The Prime Minister urged Mr Razak to clean up his government and challenged the treatment of Anwar Ibrahim, the country’s opposition leader in jail

Najib-Razak-david-_3392712bDavid Cameron and Najib

Allegations that $700 million (£450 million) in state development funds ended up in Mr Najib’s personal bank accounts overshadowed a visit by the Prime Minister designed to build trade ties.

During a long, one-to-one meeting, Mr Cameron on Thursday urged Mr Najib to clean up his government.

In a pointed move, he then met with civil society leaders, including journalists, the G25 group of campaigners and lawyers, who are campaigning for greater democracy and a free press.Mr Cameron also challenged Mr Najib over the treatment of Anwar Ibrahim, the opposition leader in jail on sodomy charges.

Sir Kim Darroch, Mr Cameron’s national security adviser, met with Mr Anwar’s daughter who is playing a leading role in the opposition movement.They discussed building a free press and her father’s treatment.

The encounters followed demands from some opposition figures that Mr Cameron cancel the visit, during which he courted investors to fund the so-called Northern Powerhouse infrastructure projects in Britain.

The Prime Minister said: “It is right to go ahead with the visit, but nothing should be off the table. We should talk about these issues including the specific ones now,” he said.

“We always have discussions with civil society figures, anti-corruption campaigners, opposition leaders and all the rest and that will happen on this visit too.

“I don’t think it helps not traveling to a country and turning away. It is better to go and talk about these things.”

UK officials stressed the visit was to build relationships between “peoples”, not leaders.

After the one-to-one meeting, Mr Cameron is understood to have repeated the message to a wider gathering of Malaysian government figures in front of Mr Najib.

In an address in Singapore on Tuesday, Mr Cameron denounced corruption as the “enemy of progress” that held back growth and fuelled al-Qaeda and migration.

“We have a strong relationship and that enables us to talk difficult issues. I want to raise some of the issues I raised in my speech earlier in the week, such as ethics in business and fighting corruption,” he is understood to have said.

“We should be working together for an open society and open economy.”

Mr Najib is facing growing calls to resign over the allegations, which he denies. He this week fired attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail, who was investigating the scandal, and Muhyiddin Yassin, who had criticised him over the affair.

Malaysia: What Collective Responsibility Means


July 31, 2015

Malaysia: What Collective Responsibility Means

by Dr. Mavis Puthucheary

http://www.themalaymailonline.com

Mavis PuthuchearyThe Prime Minister of Malaysia is fully within his constitutional rights to reshuffle the Cabinet, getting rid of those whom he thinks are not loyal to him and packing the Cabinet with a new line-up of faithful supporters.

But for him to say that he had to take this action because they contradicted the concept of collective responsibility shows a lack of understanding of this important democratic convention. The purpose of this article is three-fold.

First it demonstrates that the concept of collective responsibility refers to public criticism of government policy and cannot be used to condone any wrong-doings of individual ministers. Second, it is the Prime Minister who is responsible for taking action that has had the effect of contradicting the concept of collective responsibility. Third, for the concept of collective responsibility to work effectively, members of Parliament, both from the opposition and from the ruling coalition, need to act like parliamentarians rather than representatives of their political parties.

The doctrine of ministerial responsibility, whether collective or individual, expresses the conventional relationship of ministers to Parliament. For the doctrine to work properly, it requires that all ministers be jointly responsible as a team. This means that individual ministers may not in public express views that contradict public policy.

Since the ministers who have been sacked did not openly criticise the policies of the government, they cannot be said to have contravened the doctrine of collective responsibility. Collective responsibility does not mean that ministers must condone the personal misconduct of their fellow ministers.

Indeed, they have a moral duty to protect the integrity of the government. A prime minister who does not take action against a colleague who has been found to have committed a serious personal offence, runs the risk of having his whole government fall.

But what happens when it is the PM who does not resign even though he is directly involved in a financial scandal? In such a situation, individual ministers or the Cabinet as a whole may revolt against the PM.

If this fails to bring about the PM’s resignation, the matter will be brought up in Parliament where it is likely to result in a vote of no confidence against the PM. The fact that the Cabinet has not taken action to censure the PM is an indication of the extent to which money politics has seeped into the political system.

Although the PM accused his deputy of bringing about a negative public perception of the government, it cannot be denied that this negative public perception was already there before the deputy intervened and it is likely to increase with the deputy’s dismissal.

Second, if anyone should take the responsibility for contradicting the concept of collective responsibility, it is the prime minister himself. Although the PM does have the prerogative of choosing his Cabinet, the fact that he chose to appoint the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to be a deputy minister shows his complete disregard for the concept of collective responsibility.

For this committee is most closely identified with the function of securing government accountability to Parliament. The work of this committee is based on the principle that Parliament grants money to the government to carry out certain expenditures and holds the ministers accountable for the proper use of this money.

It is directly involved in the task of holding government accountable for the way it has spent public money. Our Parliament’s PAC was in the midst of carrying out this important function when the PM appointed the chairman and three other members of the PAC to Cabinet positions.

Clearly, the move has had the effect of reducing the effectiveness of the PAC and indirectly preventing  Parliament from carrying out its important function of holding government accountable. This, together with the sudden removal of the Attorney-General from office, has had the effect of weakening Parliament and jeopardizing the concept of  collective responsibility.

In Britain and other parliamentary democracies, the chairman of the PAC is, by convention, drawn from the Opposition and the committee consists of equal numbers of Members of Parliament  from each side of the House.

This reduces the chances of pressures from the government to influence the outcome. In Malaysia the fact that the PM also heads the Ministry of Finance and, further is also head of a Department with diverse functions and has nearly one-third of the ministers working directly under him — a kind of Cabinet within a Cabinet — makes him the most powerful PM in the world. The convention that the PM’s status is one of “primus inter pares” (first among equals) simply does not apply in Malaysia.

Third, paradoxically the principle of collective responsibility can also act as a shield to protect the government against Parliamentary scrutiny. This is particularly the case when backbenchers in Parliament are prevented from making their own decisions because of a strong party discipline.

In such a situation, Parliament and the public are presented with the appearance of a united front that is impenetrable. For collective responsibility to work properly, it is important that backbenchers are given a degree of freedom to exercise their responsibilities as parliamentarians and not just as party members.

This is important because in a parliamentary system, the majority of members of Parliament come from the ruling party. If the assertion of accountability is exclusively a function of the Opposition, we could not properly speak of ministerial responsibility to Parliament.

The maintenance of an effective responsibility to Parliament depends not only on the Opposition but also on the willingness of backbenchers to play their role as parliamentarians. The tendency in Malaysia is for the party whip to come down hard on backbenchers who may wish to query any aspect of government policy.

This practice has the effect of reducing the status of Parliament to a rubber stamp of the government. Yet the role of the backbenchers can be crucial, especially in times of crisis such as what Malaysia is facing today. It is when dissatisfaction among the government’s own backbenchers threatens to break out in open revolt that the government is most responsive to parliamentary pressure.

In many developed democracies, the concept of collective responsibility is regarded as something which has its uses but which can also be inimical to good government. It is recognised that the best decisions are made in an atmosphere of transparency and open debate and this has led to a more tolerant view of public dissension within the government.

Cabinet ministers seem to be given a greater degree of freedom to express views that are contrary to the official view without having to resign or be dismissed.

In Malaysia we have lost out on both counts. A strong party ensures that MPs toe the party line to the extent that Parliament cannot carry out its function to hold the government accountable in any meaningful way, and ministers are prevented from speaking openly against wrong-doings in the government because if they do, they risk being sacked by the prime minister.

As backbenchers fail to see their role as parliamentarians and become lackeys of their party bosses, the concept of collective responsibility becomes little more than a myth to be used by politicians to justify whatever action they choose to take.

* The writer was formerly Associate Professor, Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya. 

Kleptocracy, Corruption and Media Control


July 30, 2015

Malaysia: Kleptocracy, Corruption and Media Control

by Dr Syed Farid Alatas

http://www.themalaymailonline.com

Syed FaridThe recent reports in the Wall Street Journal and Sarawak Report alleging massive corruption involving the upper echelons of the political and corporate elite of Malaysia have once again raised the question of whether or not Malaysia is a kleptocracy. The term is derived from the words ‘klepto’ — (thief) and — cracy’ (rule) and refers to a government dominated by those who use their office to seek personal financial gain, power and status at the expense of the governed. The impact of kleptocratic rulers and officials on a country is devastating. They rule with unscrupulousness and hypocrisy, and distort development planning and policy. Such rulers do not seem to have any interest in the rights, opinions or sentiments of the people they govern. Under their watch a country would undergo large-scale resource depletion and experience a loss of talented human resources. Kleptocratic rule also has dire consequences for the freedom of expression in a country.

A vital means of combating corruption and preventing the emergence of a kleptocratic state is the maintenance of a free press. Although it is true that the irresponsible exercise of the freedom of the press and freedom of expression in general can be harmful to the stability and security of a country, the muzzling of voices of conscience pose a greater danger. Excessive media control is a symptom of authoritarianism. The gradual imposition of high-handed governmental controls over the media takes place as rulers feel more and more insecure and vulnerable as a result of their misdeeds being publicised and debated by academics, activists and the population in general.

The kleptocrats impose restrictions and controls over the media in order to shield themselves from criticism, minimise public information and debate about their misadventures, and eventually prevent voters from acting against them at the polls. It is obvious that the freer people are to obtain information, analyse government decisions and actions, and criticise the perpetrators of illegal and despicable acts, the stronger those people become vis à vis their government. Is that not how things should be? After all, elected polit In fact, there is evidence from cross-country research to show that “a free press is bad news for corruption”.

In a study published in 2003, Aymo Brunetti and Beatrice Weber showed that having free media was positively correlated with better governance (A Free Press is Bad News for Corruption, Journal of Public Economics, 87). This is because press freedom allows for more information to be available to people which in turn enables citizens to exert more pressure on their governments.

Some days ago, the Malaysian Home Ministry suspended the publishing permit of The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily for three months starting from July 27, 2015. The reason given by the Home Ministry is that the reports of the two publications on 1MDB were “prejudicial or likely to be prejudicial to public order, security or likely to alarm public opinion or is likely to be prejudicial to public and national interest”.

This is a claim that few thinking Malaysians would accept. Most Malaysians would also agree that the real danger to the nation is corruption. Furthermore, most people in Malaysia who support free reporting and public discourse on corruption would not condone the spread of rumours to destabilise our country. Those who do act in this irresponsible manner should be dealt with by the law. But, the media should not be gagged. This is because the media have a vital role to play in preventing instability.

Research has shown that it is corruption that results in instability. Sarah Chayes, in her book entitled Thieves of State: Why Corruption threatens global security (W.W. Norton & Co., 2015), investigates how kleptocratic governance results in civil unrest and even provokes violent extremism. To the extent that a free media results in pressures on the government to clean up or at least minimise the incidence of corruption, it can be said that freedom of the press, far from being prejudicial to public interest, is necessary for the stability of the nation.  The probability that kleptocracy would be publicly debated and kleptocrats investigated, exposed and prosecuted, is higher in a country with a free press than in one with a controlled and irresponsible press.

In Islam, as in all the great religious traditions that make up Malaysia, there is the universal value of attachment to the truth. It is regarded as sinful to provide false information, particularly about events that one has personally witnessed. Equally sinful is the withholding of the truth. The Qur’an frequently exhorts humans to avoid concealing testimony and refrain from confounding the truth by lacing it with falsehood.

If it cannot be proven that The Edge reported falsehoods and violated journalistic norms or broke the law, the suspension is against both the standards of universal values as well as Islamic tradition. Islam is the religion of state in Malaysia. Therefore, Malaysians expect the politicians and civil servants to rule with justice and integrity.

The Qur’an commands those entrusted with public and professional duties to carry out their rule with justice and fairness (4:58-59). The vizier and scholar of the eleventh century Seljuq Empire, Nizam al-Mulk, in his famous treatise, the Siyasatnameh or Book of Government, advised his sultan that he should listen to the grievances of his subjects directly, without intermediaries.  A thousand years later, this is still what we want from our leaders.

The fourteenth century Muslim social theorist, Abdul Rahman Ibn Khaldun, believed that government decisions were as a rule unjust. This was based on his study of West Asian and North African polities as well as his experience with the vicissitudes of political life. More than five hundred years later, the Spanish philosopher and intellectual leader of the Spanish Republican government, José Ortega y Gasset, referred to the state as the greatest danger. He believed that state intervention was the greatest danger that threatened civilisation. Malaysians want a strong state that can establish and maintain public order and run an efficient administration. But we do not want a dangerous state, one with disproportionate power such that its intervention results in rule by thieves.

* Dr. Syed Farid Alatas is the Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, in the National University of Singapore.

Malaysia: Can Najib remain Prime Minister?


July 30, 2015

Malaysia: Can Najib remain Prime Minister?

by Greg Lopez

http://www.forbes.com/sites/greglopez/2015/07/29/can-malaysias-prime-minister-survive/

Rosmah and Najib nowThe  Staying Power behind the Prime Minister

It is one thing for the Prime Minister of Malaysia and President of UMNO to pick off his rivals within or without UMNO one at a time. But it is altogether a different ball game when the Rakyat, the opposition parties and significant segments of UMNO are united in scalping the Prime Minister’s head.

The President of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) is always the Prime Minister of Malaysia. It is UMNO who decides who becomes the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Leadership crisis in UMNO always has serious implications to national leadership and Malaysia.

The leadership crisis within UMNO occurs almost every decade. The outcomes of these leadership crisis are balanced as the context is important in determining the survival of the incumbent.

The first leadership crisis happened almost as soon as UMNO was established. Leaders from UMNO’s Islamic Department left in 1951 to form the Pan Malaysian Islamic Party of Tanah Melayu, now known as the Pan Malaysian Islamic Party or PAS. Then, this group argued for the centralisation of Islamic affairs, something that the then leaders of UMNO were not prepared to do. The incumbent was not challenged directly and survived. 

The second leadership crisis was the resignation of Dato’ Onn Jaafar (Father of Malaysia’s Third Prime Minister and Grandfather to Hishammuddin Hussein Onn, a potential future prime minister), the prime mover behind the formation of UMNO and its first president. He resigned as president when his attempts to promote greater inter-racial cooperation to gain independence from the British were opposed by certain key leaders in UMNO. Tunku Abdul Rahman stepped in and led UMNO to greater heights albeit with the principle of UMNO as first among equals. The incumbent was not challenged directly but chose to resign. 

The third leadership crisis was the “palace coup” within UMNO. A poor showing by UMNO in the 1969 elections lead to a pogrom against Malaysian Chinese as segments of the Malay community vented their anger at the Malaysian Chinese minority in selected locations. The numbers are disputed but at least some 6,000 Chinese homes and business were destroyed and 184 were killed. Tun Abdul Razak (the father of the current prime minister) took over as prime minister replacing the liberal Tunku Abdul Rahman. A new “more assertive” Malay leadership group replaced the old “more accommodating” one. This “new leadership” included Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Musa Hitam and Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, launched the New Economic Policy (NEP) – an extensive affirmative action policy which covered all aspects of the Malaysian economy and society – aimed at reducing socioeconomic disparity between the ethnic Chinese minority and the Malay majority on the Peninsula as well as the indigenous communities of Sabah and Sarawak collectively termed Bumiputera (“sons of the soil”). The incumbent was forcefully removed. 

The fourth leadership crisis came about when a rival faction – led by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Musa Hitam – almost succeeded in toppling then incumbent President of UMNO and Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad in the 1988 party elections. Mahathir Mohamad then purged the leadership of the government and party of his challengers which included more than half the cabinet members (including Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Malaysia’s fifth prime minister. Anwar Ibrahim, Najib Razak and Muhyiddin Yassin sided with Mahathir). In the post party election tussle, the High Court declared UMNO to be an “unlawful society” following irregularities in the party elections that Dr Mahathir had just won narrowly. Dr Mahathir then founded a new party called UMNO Baru (New UMNO) with all the institutional resources of the old UMNO. The purged members would form a new political party called Semangat 46 in 1989.  In 1990, at the 8th general election, for the first time in Malaysian history, two formal opposition coalitions would be formed to take on the BN. Members of Semangat 46 disbanded in 1996 to return to UMNO. But the idea of opposition parties collaborating with dissidents from the ruling party and receiving strong support from the electorate was now a reality. The incumbent was challenged directly and survived. 

In 1998, Dr Mahathir had his deputy, and heir apparent, Anwar Ibrahim put on trial for sodomy and corruption creating the fifth leadership crisis. This action, together with other social, economic and political development would polarise Malaysian society further between supporters of UMNO and supporters of Anwar Ibrahim. It would also give birth to the Reformasi movement that would catalyse the engagement of large swaths of Malaysians in politics for the first time.  Although short-lived, once again, opposition parties would collaborate through Barisan Alternatif. This collaboration between civil society, opposition parties, dissidents from UMNO and ordinary Malaysians would lay the groundwork for UMNO’s greatest challenge a decade later. The incumbent pre-empted a direct challenge and survived.

Keep Calm

Dr Mahathir resigned on 31 October 2003. There were growing signs that UMNO – let alone vast segments of Malays and Malaysians – were not happy with Dr Mahathir Mohamad. He accepted this signal and paved the way for his deputy, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to take took over, thus averting a leadership crisis and revitalising UMNO’s fortunes. The incumbent averted a direct challenge by resigning.

Prime Minister Badawi performed well in the 2004 election. UMNO alone had 109 out of 219 parliamentary, just one seat shy of being able to govern in their own right. Badawi’s popularity and UMNO’s and the ruling coalition’s might did not go towards greater societal outcomes, as perceived by Malaysians. Instead corruption at the highest levels, rising religious and racial tensions, and other issues (such as crime, rising cost of living, etc.) began to erode Badawi’s support from the electorate. Also, after the 2004 elections, Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction for sodomy was surprisingly overturned in attempts to mend fences. However, upon his release from prison, Anwar launched a political campaign that saw the opposition coalition registering its best ever performance. At one point, he claimed that he had the numbers to form government in 2008. After Badawi’s dismal showing at GE12, he accepted the signals coming from UMNO and society. The incumbent averted a direct challenge by resigning.

At GE13 in 2013, Anwar Ibrahim’s coalition secured the majority popular votes but was unable to secure government due to systemic gerrymandering and what now appears to be widespread fraud.

UMNO’s current and sixth major leadership crisis – where Prime Minister Najib Razak has sacked his Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin – is likely to be its last. A key issue appears to be the inability of Prime Minister Najib Razak to “listen, hear, read or see” the signals.

DPM Zahid HamidiA Brutus –The New Deputy Prime Minister and Beleaguered Boss

Despite spending more than MYR58 billion (US$15 billion) , with the support of an electoral system designed to keep the ruling party in power against an opposition that various administrations have hounded since independence, and against an opposition leader that UMNO had sought to destroy for more than decade, 51% of the electorate voted against Prime Minister Najib Razak. He was unable to listen, hear, read or see this signal coming from the Rakyat.

More importantly, he is also unable to listen, hear, read or see the signals coming from within UMNO. This could be fatal. Powerful segments within UMNO are genuinely concerned that Prime Minister Najib is condemning UMNO to oblivion.

The alleged scandals linked to the current UMNO President and Malaysia’s current Prime Minister are simply too many and too large to ignore. That may be the primary reason why the Prime Minister is unwilling to go.

The opposition, the  Pakatan Rakyat, or segments of UMNO are no match for the office of the Malaysian Prime Minister. The Prime Minister’s office is simply too powerful for any one group to challenge on its own. However, when united, it is a different story altogether.

The doors within UMNO also appear to be closing down for a direct challenge against the incumbent. This means the challenge will be taken outside the UMNO general assembly. This could be potentially disastrous for Malaysia.

Open Letter to Prime Minister David Cameron of the UK


July 30, 2015

READ THIS:

This is a government whose officials have frequently publically sneered at the concept and at the need to uphold human rights (despite being a former member of the United Nations Human Rights, a sitting non-permanent member of the UN Security Council and having a National Human Rights Commission).

In the first half of 2015, the Malaysian government has liberally utilised the Sedition Act of 1948 to detain and charge critics, journalists, academics, activists, and opposition politicians who fell afoul of what the authorities vaguely consider as “seditious.” Whatever that means.

This is the same government that has time and again relented and failed to address rising conservatism and intolerant religious dogma within the country and prefers to maintain an “elegant silence” whenever controversies or debates are related to religion.

It brags setting up and showcasing platforms promoting the concept of “moderation” and tolerance at the international and global levels, yet barely practises them with its own citizens instead preferring to allow racism, religious intolerance and discrimination to begin to mushroom and solidify institutionally to gain communal populist support. This has also led to the radicalisation of individuals and allegedly added on recruits for ISIL as well as other militant groups in the region.

This is a government that has also violated its own promises and charter to “ensure no Internet censorship” (refer to 1996 Multimedia Super Corridor Malaysia 10 Point Bill of Guarantees) and has curtailed freedom of the press numerous times.

The recent suspension of The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily and the blocking of access to the Sarawak Report website in relation to the 1MDB scandal, are themselves in contradiction with the words of the Malaysian prime minister who back in 2009 promised a new way forward in policy and politics with a “vibrant, free and informed media” which “allows people to hold public officials accountable” and that it would not be fearful of doing so. So much for that.

Those promising sunny Canaan days are now gone. Through its actions inflicted upon the media over recent years and especially within the context of the 1MDB affair, this government appears intent on continuing in not honouring those promises. It also appears that it wants to ensure its survival to remain in power at all costs. Especially now.

It is especially telling that despite the perceived loss of billions of taxpayers’ money, nobody of responsibility and consequence has resigned.

The Malaysian people are increasingly disillusioned, frustrated and angry with this administration, especially when the media are being threatened and suppressed in a perceived effort to control access to information regarding this scandal.– Azrul Mohd Khalib

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/opinion/azrul-mohd-khalib/article/why-pm-cameron-may-want-to-reconsider-his-visit-to-malaysia#sthash.knStpVEv.dpuf

Malaysia: Open Letter to Prime Minister David Cameron

From MP Tony Pua

Dear Mr Prime Minister,

David CameronWelcome to Malaysia

Welcome back to Malaysia. It is an honour that you have decided to return to my country so soon after your last trip in April 2012.

Let me first take this opportunity to congratulate you on the recent successful re-election of your government.

For all its oft-cited shortcomings, the British democratic system remains among the most free and fair in the world, with the Westminster an institution most countries like ours look up to.

I am also extremely encouraged by the increasing assertiveness of UK’s foreign policy which seeks not only to serve the British national interest but equally to establish a minimum moral and ethical standards in a world increasingly dominated by greed and self-interest.

At a forum entitled “Building the world we want by 2030 through transparency and accountability” during the 69th UN General Assembly on September 24th 2014, you highlighted the fact that “the more corruption in your society, the poorer your people are.”

You admonished those who refused to deal with corruption. “Some people don’t want to include these issues in the goals. I say: don’t let them get away with it,” you said.

​Just last month, you wrote in the Huffington Post to implore the G7 to place priority on fighting corruption, using the FIFA scandal to provide the impetus. You argued eloquently that:

…at the heart of FIFA is a lesson about tackling corruption that goes far deeper. Corruption at FIFA was not a surprise. For years it lined the pockets of those on the inside and was met with little more than a reluctant sigh.

The same is true of corruption the world over. Just as with FIFA, we know the problem is there, but there is something of an international taboo over pointing the finger and stirring up concerns… But we just don’t talk enough about corruption. This has got to change.

You have since 2013 led a mission to ensure Britain’s network of overseas territories and Crown dependencies, like Cayman and British Virgin Islands, signed up to a new clampdown on tax evasion, aimed at promoting transparency and exchange of information between tax jurisdictions.

As you said, “we need to know more about who owns which company – beneficial ownership – because that is how a lot of people and a lot of companies avoid tax, using secretive companies in secretive locations.”

Yesterday, your speech in Singapore was pointed and direct. You told the listening Singapore students that “London is not a place to stash your dodgy cash”.

“I want Britain to be the most open country in the world for investment. But I want to ensure that all this money is clean money. There is no place for dirty money in Britain. Indeed, there should be no place for dirty money anywhere.”

You rightly pointed out that “by lifting the shroud of secrecy”, we can “stop corrupt officials or organised criminals using anonymous shell companies to invest their ill-gotten gains in London property, without being tracked down.”

We, Malaysians need you to make the very same points in our country. Making the above points in Singapore is good, but it is like preaching to the converted as our neighbour is ranked 7th in the 2014 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index.

The leaders of the Malaysian government on the other hand, are embroiled in a financial scandal of epic proportions.In particular, our Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, whom you are to meet has been recently accused by The Wall Street Journal that he has received in his personal account cash deposits amounting to nearly US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) in 2013.

It was a damning but substantiated allegation which he has steadfastly refused to deny.

Some, if not all of the money could be linked to state-owned 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) which is crippled by US$11 billion of debt, requiring billions of ringgit of emergency bailout funds by the Malaysian tax-payers.

I am certain that you have been briefed on leaked documents clearly points to an incriminating trail of plunder and international money-laundering across Singapore, the Middle East, the United States, Switzerland and yes, the United Kingdom.

The New York Times and other media outfits have also raised questions about how his family owns properties, in New York, Beverly Hills and London worth tens of millions of dollars.

These properties were purchased with the same opaque “shell companies” which you have rightly censured.

The sheer scale of the sums involved makes the FIFA bribery scandal look like child’s play. This is the very reason for the drastic iron-fisted actions Najib has taken over the past two weeks.

As you would have found out by now, he has sacked the Attorney-General who was leading the investigating task force on the above scandals.

He has also sacked the Deputy Prime minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for questioning the 1MDB shenanigans in a Cabinet reshuffle designed to stifle inquiries into the subject matter.

The newly promoted Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who is also the Home Minister, acted to suspend the country’s leading business papers, The Edge Weekly and The Financial Daily last week because they played a leading role in uncovering the multi-billion dollar scam to defraud Malaysians.

Can you ever imagine the UK Financial Times being suspended? I have on the other hand, been in a relentless pursuit to uncover the conspiracy to defraud the country at the very highest levels since 2010. Earlier in March this year, I became the first Member of Parliament to be sued for defamation by a prime minister in the country in a blatant attempt to muzzle my strident criticisms.

When that failed, I have found out last week that I’ve also become the first MP ever to be barred from travelling overseas, without any reasons, valid or otherwise, being provided.

The only plausible reason for such a drastic action against my right to travel is that I will soon be arrested for my troubles to expose the truth and highlight the staggering size of embezzlement, misappropriation and criminal breach of trust.

If the local media’s Police sources were to be believed, I am most ironically being investigated under the recently amended Criminal Penal Code for “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy”. It is a ‘heinous’ crime which carries up to a 20-year jail sentence.

Mr Prime Minister,

You have written that you “need to find ways of giving more support and encouragement to those in business, civil society and the media who are working to fight corruption”.

Malaysians need your “support and encouragement” today. While we do not need your interference over our sovereign affairs, we also do not need any pretentious praise embedded into polite diplomatic speak which will lend any legitimacy desperately sought by Najib’s administration.

We also hope that the worthy mission to increase trade relations between our two countries with great historical links will not relegate your goals to “make the global business environment more hostile to corruption and to support the investigators and prosecutors who can help bring the perpetrators to justice.”

We pray for your wisdom to speak resolutely on Britain’s zero tolerance against corruption and money laundering. For Malaysia, the façade of a moderate Westminster-like democracy masks many ugly truths of social injustice, political oppression and extensive corruption.

Like you, I’ve had the immeasurable privilege of completing my degree in the best university in the UK, which ranks among the best in the world (if not the best). We completed the same course in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) but I was 6 years your junior.

While you received a first class honours and I missed the cut, I hope that our alma mater has embedded in us the moral fortitude to play our little roles in building a better world.

I will end my letter with a quote from our fellow alumnus and PPEtony-pua2 graduate, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi who most pertinently said, “sometimes I think that a parody of democracy could be more dangerous than a blatant dictatorship, because that gives people an opportunity to avoid doing anything about it”.

Thank you for listening, Mr Prime Minister. – July 29, 2015.

* Tony Pua is DAP Selangor Chairman and Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara

–www.themalaysianinsider.com

Note: I congratulate my MP Tony Pua for penning this Open Letter to you, Mr.  Cameron. Your visit is poorly timed. One would have thought you would have postponed it to a much better time, not now because Malaysia is in a political crisis. The desperate Malaysian Prime Minister will use your visit to boost his image. However, now that you have come to our country those of us who were  educated in Malaysia in 1950s  and abroad have enough “British” manners to receive you and your delegation with respect. We warmly congratulate you on your recent electoral success. 

During your brief stay in Kuala Lumpur, we hope you will convey a message to your idiotic and insecure Malaysian counterpart that he must listen to the voices of the Malaysian people and serve them well.  Right now he cannot be trusted to do the right thing. When no one is watching, he puts his hand in the till to the tune of USD 700 million and maybe more. When he is caught, he fails to respond  with dignity.  He is not attempting to solve our country’s political, economic and social problems. In stead, your Malaysian counterpart is compounding them with his divisive politics.

Mr. Najib should be reminded that we put him there because we voted for his coalition in 2013, although his coalition lost the popular vote,  and we intend to throw his coalition out should he decide to hold our next general elections, barring massive rigging and cheating at the polls. In a democracy, power belongs to the people, that is Democracy 101. –Din Merican