A Beleaguered Malaysian Prime Minister seeks Donald Trump and Theresa May’s Support to shore up his regime ahead of GE-14


October 5, 2017

A Beleaguered Malaysian Prime Minister seeks Donald Trump and Theresa May’s Support to shore up his regime ahead of GE-14

Politically Connected UK PR Company’s Contract With Malaysian Government Lurks Behind Royal Visit!

By The Sarawak Report

The British style is different to that of the United States.  Last month’s Najib visit was leaked in Washington DC a couple of weeks beforehand and when Najib presented his tempting deal to President Donald Trump, consisting of multi-billion dollar investments, his voice audibly trembled as he realised that the whole exchange was being filmed, shortly to be uploaded onto YouTube.

The President showed his contempt soon after by leaving Malaysia out of his South East Asia tour.

By contrast, Najib made it to London a couple of days later, had his half hour with Theresa May and was out again safely before anyone knew anything of the visit.  The detail of that Prime Ministerial discussion was, moreover, kept completely secret. Nevertheless, the evidence is glaring that behind both visits lay extensive and expensive PR preparation and Malaysian lobbying by hired agents with close connections to both the US and UK current governments.

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“Now we know what the short little visit to Downing Street was all about. But what has the UK been promised for sending over Prince Charles and what is a promise from Najib Razak worth?”

Malaysian Government Contract With UK Politically Connected PR Company 

In the case of the United Kingdom, Sarawak Report has received information that yet another politically-connected UK public relations and private intelligence company has forged a commercial relationship with the Malaysian Government to promote its image, particularly in Sarawak and Sabah, where there is building anger over Prime Minister Najib Razak’s refusal to review the almost non-existent oil royalties being paid to these key resource providing states.

The issue has now extended to Najib’s 2012 Territorial Sea Act, which was specifically designed to further limit Sarawak’s control over its territory to 3 nautical miles from its shore (whereas previously state control extended across the whole continental shelf) thereby taking federal control of Sarawak’s sea-based oil and gas deposits and other rich resources, including marine fishery and other minerals.

Najib has ignored growing demands by the state government of Sarawak, which has responded to popular opinion by asking for a review of these prejudicial arrangements.

Information made available to Sarawak Report makes clear that the company, which has strong connections with the British Conservative Party, has been contracted by Najib in a deliberate and secretive attempt to alter such negative perceptions in favour of the Malaysian Government.

The company promotes a variety of campaigning techniques, but what could be more effective than an old fashioned propaganda coup than the promotion of a Royal Visit, given this company’s clear connections with the present UK Government?

Prince Charles Forest Campaigner Used For ‘Trade Initiative’?

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HRH Prince Charles’ Visit to Malaysia — A strong endorsement of Malaysia’s Corrupt and Scandal ridden Prime Minister Najib Razak?

Today, a statement from the Palace confirmed that Charles is making the visit to Malaysia at the request of the UK Government. Evidence suggests that aggressive lobbying by Najib and his PR contractors has played its part.

It means that the world now certainly knows a great deal more about the content of Mr Najib’s secret discussions with Theresa May at Downing Street last month.  These will without question have included this matter of parading Prince Charles (and his wife Camilla) around Malaysia, inevitably providing a PR opportunity to a Prime Minister, who has spectacularly robbed his people in a world record theft.

Without doubt also there is a valuable quid pro quo in the background from the UK’s point of view, just as there was with regard to the visit arranged with President Trump.

Granted, Prime Minister Theresa May is anxious to demonstrate that the British Government can deliver unilateral trading agreements post-Brexit and that will have doubtless have been on the list.

However, it is also worth a very hefty bet that long mooted arms sales were also on the Downing Street agenda.  Najib’s promises to buy billions of dollars worth of Boeing passenger jets from the United States have echoed to the hollow ring of empty coffers, but it is almost certain that the Malaysian Prime Minister will have thrown out the same bogus line to the United Kingdom, which has been dancing around with various European rivals for several years, chasing supposed military contracts that Najib is at least pretending he is looking to complete.

After all, this veteran UMNO politician has become a cynical expert in playing first world arms-selling nations at their own game.  Even if it comes to naught, the Foreign Office mandarins behind this tawdry visit can expect a nice pat on the back and a chance to move on long before the sham becomes clear. And the PR companies involved can claim to have earned their Malaysian taxpayer-funded contract.

In return, the UK’s respected Royal Family has been pressed into service to cement the deal, providing Najib with the pre-election ‘validation’ he craves to project in the face of his international disgrace over 1MDB.

Snub To Myanmar Over Rohingya Implies Clean Bill Of Health To Najib!

It is plainly disgraceful that Prince Charles has been used in such a way and advised to travel across the world to shake hands with a kleptocrat before (even worse) being sent to visit the Governor of Sarawak, who is an even more egregious kleptocrat, responsible for destroying the rainforest that the Prince, who is a passionate enviromentalist and indigenous rights supporter, has long campaigned to protect.

After all, Sarawak and Sabah remain BN’s crucial ‘safe deposit’ of seats needed to prop Najib up in power.  The Malaysian PM is clearly determined to keep their oil money, whilst manipulating perceptions back into his own favour, as he hands out cheap bribes in the normal way.

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Even more disgraceful is the fact that this ‘validating’ tour of Malaysia sanctioned by the British Government has been accompanied by a deliberate and public snub of Myanmar, by means of an announcement that the Royal Couple have abandoned their plan to also visit, because of the treatment of the Rohingya.  Campaigners on this issue have made the point perfectly in their statements on the matter:

““To have someone of Prince Charles’s stature go to visit the country would be seen as a reward, and giving legitimacy to the government and the military that are currently violating international law,” said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK.” [Reuters]

Fair enough.  However, instead the ‘reward’ has gone to the global class kleptocrat leader of Malaysia, who has been desperately seeking just this form of international endorsement in front of his electorate as he gears up for his next election.

There can be no doubt in anyone’s mind whatsoever how Najib will use the visit.  He, his spinners and propaganda media will declare that this British Royal ‘valediction’ proves what they have been claiming for months, which is that the DOJ case against him over 1MDB is just a cooked up plot by foreign bloggers.

If Prince Charles is willing to endorse him, they will ask, how can he possibly have been identified as having stolen billions of dollars from his people?

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The poke in the eye to Aung San Suu Kyi (pic above), who has struggled against the military in her country, is another boon to Najib, since he has recently started to posture as a champion of the refugees as a convenient way of forging further solidarity with his new friends in PAS.

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The Vietnamese Boat  People

The Malaysian PM wants people to forget that he and his government were initially responsible for one of the most vicious and cold-hearted rejections of these fellow Muslims in their plight, when Malaysia turned around several hundred in their sinking boats away from the safety of its shores, only to have most of them drown.  Najib made no apology for this outrage until Sarawak Report and others decried such atrocious and pitiless behaviour – and yet he now, thanks to his trade deal, Najib expects to be praised compared to Myanmar.

In Return For ‘Trade’ Must Charles White-Wash Najib And Green-Wash Taib to Sarawak’s Voters?

By traveling to Sarawak and politely shaking hands with the hierachy there, Prince Charles will be complying with one of Najib’s key pre-election priorities, which is to change the perceptions of that Christian state in favour of him and his Government.

The locals will be expected to  reassured through Charles’s presence that Najib is their best option and that he is looking after the concerns of non-Muslims after all, despite the cosying up to extremist Islamic action groups and their harsh agenda to turn Malaysia into an intolerant Islamic State.

Charles, who has long championed the rights of the indigenous peoples and Penan of Sarawak and deplored the greedy destruction of their natives jungle lands, will be lined up to shake the hand of another even more egregious kleptocrat, none other than Governor Taib Mahmud who is single-handedly most responsible for the felling of the Borneo Jungle and has stolen the vast majority of the profits gained.

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The  late Bruno Manser with a Penan Chieftain

As heir to the role of Head of the Church of England he will be publicly flagged up in Sarawak as endorsing a regime that has pushed back against the rights of the majority Christian population of that state: excluding them from power, taking their lands and treating them as second class citizens over the six decades since independence.

Sarawak Report suggests that Malaysians demand further details of Najib’s lobbying contracts with his politically connected UK PR company. Taxpayers have a right to know how much public money has been spent on yet another PR contract designed to covertly maniputlate peoples’ opinion at their own expense.

They should further be entitled to know exactly what promises have been made to the UK in terms of investment of Malaysia’s dwindling reserves of cash, on top of the enormous commitments their Prime Minister has already just made to the US?

 

1MDB –Another Causalty — Tim Leissner–More still at Large


October 5, 2017

1MDB –Another Casualty — Tim Leissner–More  still at Large

From The Wall Street Journal

by Justin Baer

Image result for 1MDB and Najib

The Malaysian Leader behind the 1MDB Scandal (DOJ Code Name: Malaysian Official 1)

A former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. senior banker linked to alleged financial fraud involving Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd. was barred from the U.S. securities industry for failing to cooperate with a regulator’s investigation.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, a U.S. industry body, said it issued its ban on Tim Leissner on September. 11, after the former banker didn’t respond to requests for documents and other information stemming from his departure from Goldman in early 2016.

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High Flying  Tim Leissner, formerly of Goldman Sachs, seen with  ex-wife Kimora Lee Simmons, is banned from US Securities Industry.

Mr. Leissner was suspended by Goldman and later quit the Wall Street firm after it discovered he had written an unauthorized letter vouching for Jho Low, a Malaysian businessman who is at the center of international probes alleging that billions of dollars were stolen from the state investment fund, The Wall Street Journal has reported.

“Without admitting or denying the findings, Mr. Leissner consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings,” the regulator wrote in Mr. Leissner’s file, noting that Mr. Leissner failed to provide Finra with certain requested documents and information during the course of an investigation into a reference letter that led to his departure from Goldman.

A Finra spokeswoman and a spokesman for Goldman Sachs declined to comment. Mr. Leissner’s lawyer declined to comment. Mr. Low has previously denied wrongdoing, as has 1MDB, which has said it would cooperate with the investigations.

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This Penang-born “Arab”is still at Large

U.S. Justice Department investigators are trying to determine whether Goldman had reason to suspect that money it helped 1MDB raise was misused and, if so, whether the bank was obligated to report any concerns to authorities. The Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission and New York state’s Department of Financial Services also have undertaken examinations of some of the bank’s actions, as have Singapore authorities, the Journal reported last year, citing people familiar with the matter.

Goldman had raised $6.5 billion for the fund and earned nearly $600 million in fees, making the Malaysian client among its most lucrative, the Journal reported at the time. Goldman has previously said it did nothing wrong and had no way of knowing there might be fraud surrounding 1MDB.

Central to Goldman’s 1MDB dealings was Mr. Leissner, a senior investment banker and chairman of the firm’s Southeast Asia office until his departure.

In June 2015, Mr. Leissner wrote to Banque Havilland, a small Luxembourg private bank, vouching for Mr. Low, who wanted to open an account there, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The letter said Goldman had done due diligence on Mr. Low and found no issues. Banque Havilland hasn’t responded to requests for comment.

Goldman compliance executives unearthed the document in a January 2016 email search, The Journal reported. The firm said it confronted Mr. Leissner about the letter, which violated its policies, and he resigned the next day. Later, Singapore’s Monetary Authority cited the letter in barring Mr. Leissner from doing business in the city-state for a decade.

Write to Justin Baer at justin.baer@wsj.com and Tom Wright at tom.wright@wsj.com

Also Read: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-03/ex-goldman-banker-leissner-barred-from-u-s-securities-industry

 

Malaysia: 2018 National Budget–Need for Greater Fiscal Discipline


October 5, 2017

Malaysia: 2018 National Budget–Need for Greater Fiscal Discipline

by T K Chua@www.freemalaysiatoday.com

Image result for Najib as Finance Minister

 

In a couple of weeks, the 2018 national budget will be revealed and a peek into the options and challenges awaiting us, is in order.

Beware of Off-Budget Agencies

FIRST, the budget is not what it used to be. Increasingly there are expenditures and commitments outside the purview of the budget but their impact may eventually impinge on government finance. These are off-budget agencies of which the revenues, expenditures and debts should be tabulated and presented as addendum to the budget.

Keep Budget Deficits under Control

SECOND, in all likelihood, the 2018 budget will be another year of deficits. This means there will be new borrowings or sales of government assets to finance the deficit. New borrowings mean more accumulated debts and more debt service charges going forward. When more is provided for debt service charges, less will be available for other operating expenditures.

THIRD, most government revenue has almost reached its limits unless income and expenditure continue to grow. In recent times, the government has been relentless in its enforcement efforts to extract the maximum from individuals and business establishments. Similarly, the implementation of the GST is in full swing. It is doubtful that the government will be able to cover more loopholes and tax leakages/avoidance cases or to increase further the GST rates at this stage.

If revenues are limited, the government will not be able to offer new expenditure programmes unless it incurs more borrowing and debt.

FOURTH, most expenditure programmes are “locked in”, stifling the government’s ability to look at the new impetus. The government’s commitments toward BR1M, civil service salaries and benefits, pensions, and debt service charges will continue to grow. This will leave little room for the budget to meet new challenges lurking in the horizon.

Watch the Expenditure Side of Things

FIFTH, the government has looked at the revenue side by introducing new taxes and by enforcing stricter compliance of existing taxes. However, this trend can’t go on forever. It is time to look at the expenditure side of things.

The annual audit report has given more than sufficient information on wastage, inefficiency and abuse of government allocations and expenditures. Sometimes corruption is due to allocations being too lavishly handed out. If government departments and agencies have too much money, the tendency is to be careless with the expenditures.

 

MALAYSIA ‘SCREWED UP’ BY WORST FINANCE MINISTER NAJIB – RESERVES THE LOWEST IN ASIA THAT MoF UNABLE TO PAY EVEN US$600 MILLION DEBT?

Who is the de facto Minister of Finance– Najib Razak or Handbag Rosmah Mansor? How did she spend the funds  allocated for her signature project Permata?

Stringent and optimal budget allocations do not have to affect output or service to the people, as was commonly claimed. We only need those responsible to work harder and be more careful with the money.

The National Budget is not a Mundane or routine exercise

I think it would be a big mistake if we continue to look at the budget formulation as a mundane or routine exercise. Some of the trends are obviously unsustainable. Even if we start to reverse or correct the trends now, it may take us many years to restore sustainability.

TK Chua is an FMT reader.

DOJ Action against 1MDB continues


October 4, 2017

DOJ Action against 1MDB continues, despite Najib’s embrace of President Donald Trump–Justice will be done

http://www.sarawakreport.org

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When the US Dept Of Justice gained its court order to suspend various court actions over the assets it has now seized and frozen relating to 1MDB last month, it made clear that this was because it was in the middle of intensifying its criminal investigations.

In doing so federal agents for the first time described their chief targets in the investigation as criminal suspects, including the PM’s advisor Jho Low and the PM’s step-son Riza Aziz along with the ex-Chairman of Aabar, Khadem Al Qubaisi. However, they also made clear that this was by no means conclusive list:

“The FACs [First Amended Complaints] allege that the individuals who were involved in the Criminal Phases include, but are not limited to, Low; Riza Aziz (“Aziz”), a Malaysian national and the step-son of the senior Malaysian official who oversaw 1MDB; and Khadem al-Qubaisi (“Qubaisi”) . Moreover, the FACs allege that Low and several others, including Aziz and Qubaisi, were involved in or facilitated several multi-million dollar transfers that were made as part of the Criminal Phases. Many of these transfers and Low and others’ involvement in them are described in the FACs, underscoring the direct relationship between the 1MBD Actions and the ongoing criminal investigation.” [Declaration of FBI Special Agent Robert Heuchling – filed 9th May 2017]

In other words Jho Low and Riza can expect to face formal criminal charges sooner rather than later.

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Given that this submission by the DOJ was accepted by Judge Dale Fischer and the court order granted on September 13th, the day after Najib met with Donald Trump, it lays to rest all the recent spin about the case being dropped, thanks to supposed intervention from the President.

The wording of the joint FBI/DOJ submission also intensifies the heat on Najib himself by pointing the finger ever more directly at him.  Just in case anyone in Malaysia still believes that the prime mover and beneficiary of the heist, MO1, refers to someone other than Najib Razak, the statement spells it out even more clearly, because criminal suspect Riza Aziz is described as “the step-son of the senior Malaysian official who oversaw 1MDB” – i.e. Najib and Malaysian Official One (MO1) are without any mistaking one and the same.

Here is an abridgement of the points made in the FBI declaration by Agent Heuchling:

I am a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”)....Specifically, the FACs allege that, over the course of four phases (collectively the “Criminal Phases”), billions of dollars were stolen from the Malaysian government’s 1Malaysia Development Berhad (“1MBD”), a strategic investment company...The 1MDB Actions and the ongoing criminal investigation are related because they involve the same or substantially the same parties, witnesses, facts and circumstances.  Specifically, the United States is investigating the individuals, entities, financial and monetary transactions, and investment vehicles involved in the Criminal Phases.  As alleged in the FACs, one of the Criminal Phases involved the fraudulent diversion of more than $1 billion in proceeds from 1MDB to a Swiss bank account held in the name of Good Star Ltd...The FACs allege that Taek Jho Low (“Low”), a Malaysian national, controlled the Good Star Account, and used the criminal proceeds diverted from 1MBD and deposited into the Good Star Account to purchase tens of millions of dollars of assets in the United States.  During two of the other Criminal Phases, the FACs allege that Low and his associates conspired to divert and misappropriate approximately more than $2.5 billion in proceeds that 1MDB raised through multiple bond offerings in 2012 and 2013.  Many of these funds were then used to acquire assets that are the subject of the 1MDB Actions.  Similarly, during another Criminal Phase, the FACs allege that 1MDB officials and their associates conspired to misappropriate approximately $850 million in 1MDB funds that were borrowed from a syndicate of banks led by Deutsche Bank.  Some of these funds were also used to acquire assets relating to the 1MDB Actions. The FACs allege that the individuals who were involved in the Criminal Phases include, but are not limited to, Low; Riza Aziz (“Aziz”), a Malaysian national and the step-son of the senior Malaysian official who oversaw 1MDB; and Khadem al-Qubaisi (“Qubaisi”) .  Moreover, the FACs allege that Low and several others, including Aziz and Qubaisi, were involved in or facilitated several multi-million dollar transfers that were made as part of the Criminal Phases.  Many of these transfers and Low and others’ involvement in them are described in the FACs, underscoring the direct relationship between the 1MBD Actions and the ongoing criminal investigation. I believe that allowing discovery or other proceedings to occur in the 1MBD Actions will have an adverse impact on the United States’ ongoing criminal investigation..... the claimant in that case propounded 358 separate document requests seeking broad discovery intothe United States’ investigation.  These requests seek “all” documents obtained by the United States during its investigation “[c]oncerning,” among other things, individuals and persons referenced in the forfeiture complaint..transactions cited in the complaint...assets acquired by persons referenced in the complaint
.. the criminal acts alleged in the complaint,including the unlawful diversion and misappropriation of 1MBD and other funds; thematerial misrepresentations and omissions discussed in the complaint; the knowledge and intent of those involved in the criminalacts; specific money laundering transactions; the involvement ofany one of more than thirty banks in the monetary transactions described in the complaint; and communications that the United States has had with various individuals, persons and their counselThe claimant’s counsel also requests that the United States produce “[a]ll Documents and Communications concerning” twenty different legal entities...“including but not limited to . . . ‘information supplied [] by other law enforcement officers, experts,and other witnesses’” (Request No. 2); between any of the over forty individuals discussed or referenced in the forfeiture complaint along with “[d]ocuments sufficient to identify the name, home address, business(es), e-mail address(es), telephone number(s) and facsimile numbers” of these individuals (Request Nos. 3 and 4);  and concerning “all subpoenas, Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (‘MLAT’) requests” or documents and communications obtained by the United States pursuant to any MLAT requests (Request No. 9)....Finally, the requests ..seek, among other things, “all” documents and communications[c]oncerning” the extent to which the United States relied upon “anyother country or principality” as a source of evidence and information; “all” agreements, including cooperation or settlement agreements, the Government entered into with individuals and persons; “all” “witness statements,transcripts, memoranda of interviews,reports, notes or video or audio recordings” “[c]oncerning” the subject matter of the forfeiture complaint; “all [d]ocuments and[c]communications” between the United States and “any other country or principality . . . including Malaysia, Seychelles, Switzerland, Singapore, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, France, the United Kingdom, Australia, the Cayman Islands, New Zealand, the British Virgin Islands, and the United Arab Emirates” or any of these countries’ agents or representatives..All or almost all of these documents are evidence of the conduct underlying the Criminal Phases of the 1MBD Actions.Providing these documents to any of the claimants in the 1MDB Actions could result in their disclosure to other third parties.  The disclosure of such information to subjects or targets of the criminal investigation could give these individuals and entities a preview of the United States’ criminal investigation as well as the opportunity to track the status of the criminal investigation.  Disclosure of such materials also will potentially identify witnesses who have provided information to the government, including their identity and location ...By obtaining discovery directly from the government or third parties about the government’s investigation, individuals and entities involved in the Criminal Phases could potentially conceal, alter, or destroy evidence, as well as intimidate and/or retaliate against potential witnesses Producing any identifying witness information could result in witness intimidation or jeopardize the safety and security of witnesses – a legitimate concern in this case, given that press reports have publicized potentially retaliatory or threatening acts linked possibly to the 1MDB investigation.
For example:On or about September 1, 2015, the media reported that Khairuddin Abu Hassan, an official in the United Malays National Organization, was arrested by Malaysian authorities after he announced that he intended to travel to New York to provide information about 1MDB to the FBI. Similarly, on or about August 1, 2015, the media reported that three Malaysian law enforcement officials, including a deputy public prosecutor, an official of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and an official from the Attorney General’s Chambers of Malaysia, all of whom were working on a special task force in Malaysia investigating 1MDB, were arrested by Malaysia’s Special Branch, Malaysia’s intelligence service, because of news reports relating to 1MDB published in the United Kingdom. On or about April 8, 2016, Malaysian media reported that Rafizi Ramli, a member of Malaysia’s Parliament, was arrested because he was suspected of disclosing information relating to 1MDB. Just a few days ago, Malaysian local media reported that the driver of former Malaysian attorney-general, Abdul Gani Patail, who opened the initial investigation into 1MDB in that country, was shot in public by two unidentified men. (See “Driver’s Shooting a Warning to Gani Patail from ‘MO1’ Not to Assist in DOJ’s 1MDB Criminal Probe? [Abridgement of Agent Heurchling statement, which was accepted by the Court]

 The above cites that the targets of the civil case are the same as in the criminal investigation and they are now trying to get disclosure of information involving 30 banks, 20 jurisdictions and 40 individual people who have assisted in the 1MDB investigation so far.

Image result for Riza Aziz and DOJ

The FBI and DOJ have made plain that they do not wish to provide such information to tip of their criminal suspects and enable them to intimidate witnesses, so they have frozen the assets relating to the money laundering until they have brought their formal charges. The US Court has accepted their position.

How not to be poor, Irwan Serigar-style


October 3, 2017

COMMENT: This is going to be a rather brief reaction to my friend Nadeswaran’s article. It is easy  for Mr. Siregar to comment about foreigners like Indonesians, Bangladeshis and Filipinos making a living. He forgot that the Malays are making big bucks by being UMNO cronies and parasites sucking blood out of the economy.

Nades has not mentioned one thing about the Irwan Serigar-style and that is, one has to convert to Islam, use Muslim name, be more Malay than a Malay, and finally become Najib’s cheerleader. Both Serigar and Ali Hamsa  got it right and both are prosperous with directorships and status for a long long time to come (beyond the age of 70).–Din Merican

How not to be poor, Irwan Serigar-style

By R. Nadeswaran@www.malaysiakini.com

COMMENT | As one steps off the escalator at a supermarket in Petaling Jaya, there are makeshift stalls in the walkway leading to the shopping trolley rack. The mobile phone repair and accessory stall cannot be missed. Manning it are two Bangladeshi and business is booming.

Down the aisle, there’s a Pakistani in salwar-kameez pushing his ware – carpets. Further down, is an Indonesian woman selling telukung (head scarves). The murukku stall opposite the money changer is staffed by a Sri Lankan.

In the neighbourhood kopi tiam, two Filipinas are busy on the grill dishing out chicken chops and steaks. Elsewhere, the Burmese cook is frying Hokkien mee.

Yes, Treasury Secretary-General Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah is right. Foreigners are surviving and thriving in Malaysia. He argued that if Indonesians can make a living here, Malaysians should be more prosperous.

Well said, Sir. But has it ever occurred to you that in each of the instances cited above – and in the case of Indonesian traders in Chow Kit – they are all operating illegally, if not through dubious means.

Foreign workers are allowed into the country through work permits – applied by and issued to employers. Conditions in such permits stipulate their scope of employment. More importantly, nothing in these documents state that they can engage in business or be self-employed.

Are authorities closing one eye?

So, how do they end up behind the wok or engaged in selling shirts and jeans, or for that matter, pisang goreng? Aren’t these activities prohibited? If so, are we to assume that these are illegal immigrants?

 

Therefore, how come they can apply and get licences? Are the local authorities ‘tutup satu mata’ (closing one eye) and approving such applications? One may argue that they have valid work permits but the caveat and government’s ethos include: No hawker or petty trading licences for foreigners. If they don’t have licences, why aren’t they being shut down?

So, are some local authorities defying government policies and using their powers as little Napoleons to milk the system for their own benefits? Or is the Ali-Baba system flourishing in a different way? Previously, if it was the Malays who were selling or leasing their licences to the Chinese, now the trend is for Malay traders to ‘pajak’ (lease) their licences to their Indonesian brethren.

So if the licence was an issue, it has been ‘kau tim’ (settled) and rules and regulations have been compromised. But how do foreigners occupy and operate in hawker centres that are actually owned by local authorities?

Parasitic rent-seekers

A similar arrangement comes into play. The local (usually a political party minnow with connections) is allocated the stall and pays a rental of RM60 monthly to the council. He then ‘pajak’ (leases) the stall for RM1,000 to the foreigner. For doing nothing, he gets RM940. Why should he work when he is making money by sitting at home and shaking legs? He is part of the rent-seeking crowd, perhaps on a smaller scale.

Aren’t these the same traits we see before each festive season when “special” trading licences are issued? Even the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) probed claims that licences change hands for a few thousand ringgit. Why work when you can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your connections?

The Immigration Department does not approve work permits for “salesmen” – but a walk along Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur will reveal that Bangladeshis are now running the operations for the ‘towkay’ (boss). Even if they have permits as general workers, engaging in a different trade certainly breaks the law.

“If they have hands and legs and can walk, they can make a living in Malaysia,” says Irwan Serigar. But these are not enough. Are locals accorded the same opportunities to use their talents and skills and become entrepreneurs?

Irwan Serigar proudly pronounces that “if we go to Chow Kit, half of them are Indonesians”. Yes, Sir, but how and why have they been allowed to operate there? Isn’t the policy of the government to promote local petty traders?

Local authorities are quick to “raid” local traders for the slightest breach of licencing laws but yet, these foreign traders have been allowed to operate and thrive. The Immigration Department’s crackdown, for some unknown reasons, has never covered hotspots like Chow Kit.

Being able-bodied does not take the ordinary local man anywhere. Let us not forget the politics of patronage, where even the guy who puts up the posters or arranges the chairs at the ceramah expects to be rewarded in one way or another. A hawker’s stall guarantees him life-long pension!

With the election around the corner, don’t expect a clean-up of the rent-seeking culture that has entrenched itself in the system. While the small man gets three figures from his small operation, in existence are vultures who earn millions through similar arrangements.

Unless the government has the will and determination to put an end to such a system, local traders will continue to be sidelined and be subservient to foreigners who have learnt the workings of the system.

 

Malaysia’s Namby-Pamby Najib Razak


September  29, 2017

Malaysia’s Namby-Pamby Najib Razak

By Kee Thuan Chye

(received by e-mail)

Image result for HRH Sultan of Johor

The Plain Speaking Duli Tuanku Sultan of Johor

What the Prime Minister, Najib Razak, says after HRH Sultan of Johor ticked off the Muslims-only laundrette owner sounds embarrassingly hollow.

He said there was basis in HRH Sultan’s concern that the laundrette owner’s action would lead to a narrow image of Islam, contrary to the country’s desire to nurture a united, harmonious, moderate and tolerant society.

Examine his language. He comes across as wishy-washy. He is equivocating.

He doesn’t come right out to condemn the laundrette owner’s action. Instead, he says the action is perceived by HRH Sultan as … blah blah blah … and there is basis for his concern (only the Sultan’s concern, not the Government’s too?) and that the Sultan’s action should be well-received.

He adds: “The Government will remain committed to upholding the true Islamic teachings while protecting the interests of the other communities as demanded of Islam.” And pays lip service to his fond rhetoric about this country upholding “Wasatiyyah” and championing the Maqasid Syariah foundational goals.

Image result for Najib RazakThe Blabber Mouthed Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak

 

At no point does he say in no uncertain terms that extremist and society-dividing actions on so-called religious grounds should stop, that the Government would take action against those who practised them.

He was not assertive and certain as HRH Sultan was in declaring such actions taboo. He did not even say they were detrimental to society.

In fact, the Government should have been the very first authority to tick off the laundrette owner. It’s a real shame that the Sultan had to step in and do the Government’s job. Najib’s tagging on to it afterwards makes him look namby-pamby.

Do we want a government that is so wishy-washy, that closes its eyes to such practices? And, no doubt, for its own political expediency, its fear of losing the extremist Muslim vote?

Image result for Kee Thuan Chye

I’m for a united, harmonious, moderate and tolerant society. I’m not for a wishy-washy government.