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

Tricia Yeoh’s Advice to Malaysian Prime Minister– Don’t provide misleading information to foreigners


August 18, 2017

Tricia Yeoh’s Advice to Malaysian Prime Minister– Don’t provide misleading information to foreigners

by Tricia Yeoh@www.freemalaysiatoday.com

Image result for Tricia Yeoh and Najib RazakSpeak the Truth, Keep Your Promises and Act with Conviction

 

Mr Prime Minister, you gave an outstanding speech to international investors at the Invest Malaysia 2017 conference. I am sure many were impressed with the economic achievements that have been accomplished to date under your leadership. However, I do believe that some of the facts that you quoted would require some further elaboration.

Please allow me to do so, especially since one would not want to provide misleading information to foreigners who may not know any better about this beloved country of ours.

Image result for Malaysia

Malaysia–Beautiful from afar, but rotten at the core

You started your speech by saying that you introduced the New Economic Model (NEM) seven years ago at the very same conference, with a plan that has worked and is continuing to work. Perhaps I may remind you that one of the key approaches of the NEM’s economic development plan was to move away from “dominant state participation in the economy” towards “private sector-led growth”.

An IDEAS policy paper published last year examined GLC disposal and investment exercises from 2011 to 2014 (after the NEM was published, by the way) and found that the total acquisition value of RM51.7 billion dwarfs the total disposal value of RM29.5 billion. In simple language, GLICs and GLCs combined have acquired far more than they have sold.

Second, you quoted a Bloomberg article which stated that the ringgit is “easily the strongest major Asian currency this quarter”. What you failed to note was that this is considered a remarkable improvement only because the ringgit had recently rebounded from a 19-year low. Anyone who has children studying overseas would know that as recently as January this year, the ringgit had lost about 22% since the start of 2015 and was at that point the worst-performing currency in emerging Asia. In fact, an analyst in the very same article you quote from seems to imply that the recent growth momentum is strongly related to the impending election, and asks “but what happens after it?”

Third, you said that your government is one that is committed to transparency, accountability and good regulation. I, for one, am particularly pleased that you place public importance on the need for these values in your administration.

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The Architect of NEP-Crony Capitalism and Patronage Politics

Having integrity and governance units at all GLCs – at both federal and state levels – should certainly be applauded. However, these units are monitored by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, which reports to the Prime Minister’s Department. It is difficult to see how any conflict of interest involving your administration could be avoided if the integrity and governance officers were to uncover a certain wrongdoing within their GLCs placements.

Fourth, you referred to international bodies such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, all of whom apparently heaped praises upon Malaysia’s glowing economic performance.

Image result for 1MDB Scandal

 

While the summaries of these reports may have been relatively positive, for which one can certainly be proud of, you failed to mention numerous other instances which are basically big, red flags. These warning signs are indicators that not all is perfect. I say this not with the intention of disparaging my own country – far be it that I would discourage investors from coming in to provide valuable capital for future long-term growth – but to be frank about what it will really take to move our economy forward. Unless we face the honest truth squarely in its face, we will never institute meaningful reforms and will merely chug along.

On this note, you quoted IMF as saying that Malaysia is amongst the fastest growing economies among peers. The very same report also highlights that our country’s “federal debt and contingent liabilities are relatively high, limiting policy space to respond to shocks”. Second, it also says that our “household debt remains high, with debt servicing capacity growing only moderately”. These are only two points that I am lifting from the report – if one looks closer, there are serious challenges that may implode over time if left uncorrected.

Similarly, you quoted the World Bank report that states our economy is progressing from a position of strength, but failed to mention that the same report says that risks in the economy “arise from growing threats of protectionism” and that there is a need to “accelerate structural reforms in the economy”.

I would advise you to personally read these documents from cover to cover to really understand the conditions of the economy today. In short, there is a need to examine the details and not just gloss over the summaries of these reports, advice I would provide to any investor looking into Malaysia.

Fifth, you deftly talked about how your administration is cracking down on “crony capitalism”, “sweetheart deals” and that there would be no more “national follies kept going to stroke the ego of one man”. I especially like this one, where you say “No more treating national companies as though they were personal property” – brilliant. Let us hope then that the national agencies such as the Attorney-General’s Chambers will lend its co-operation to any and all investigations including those from international bodies to assure us that 1MDB will not fall into such a category.

Sixth, you hailed SMEs as the “hallmarks” of your administration as they are the backbone of the economy. You also said that government policies are, therefore, meant to be business-friendly and pro small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

However, the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act is one such policy that is adversely affecting SMEs. The mechanism poses price ceilings on food and household goods sold at mamak and even small sundry shops. The mechanism to calculate the “right” price is so complicated that some shops have just shut down altogether because they could not afford to pay the fine. There are numerous other examples of regulations that are in fact making it very difficult for the business community to operate, which have been raised regularly at public forums but seemingly in vain.

Finally, Sir, with all due respect, your speech was peppered with many political references, many of which were obviously targeted at a specific individual. I am sure you made your point loud and clear. However, with all due respect, this may have been better said at a platform hosted by your political party – or perhaps out on the road when speaking to your electorate. To have these words uttered at a formal international investment conference may have been considered out of place.

Image result for Tricia Yeoh and Najib Razak

Perhaps your speech at the next Invest Malaysia conference could be more carefully worded – for the sake of future investment into this country we both call home.

Tricia Yeoh is Chief Operating Officer of IDEAS (Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs).

With a firm belief in freedom of expression and without prejudice, FMT tries its best to share reliable content from third parties. Such articles are strictly the writer’s (or organisation’s) personal opinion. FMT does not necessarily endorse the views or opinions given by any third party content provider.

 

 

Chameleon-like nature of Malaysian political culture makes Malaysia a Malusia


August 17, 2017

Chameleon-like nature of Malaysian political culture makes Malaysia a Malusia

by Ronald Benjamin@www.malaysiakini.co

We need a breed of leaders who will bring about a new brand of politics that respects moral integrity, says Ronald Benjamin.

Image result for mahathir badawi najib

The Malusian Transformers–Vision 2020 to  TN50

It is unfortunate that the political culture in Malaysia has lost its moral compass over the years. It seems that any means at one’s disposal is justified as long as the enemy is defeated.

This is evident in the new political landscape of change we currently see in the country.

For example, former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, whose authoritarian rule was responsible for the weakening of institutions of justice over years, now speaks about the importance of independent institutions when he is no longer in power. He currently supports term limits for Prime Minister. Why were such proposals not presented when he was helming the government?

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his cabinet ministers have repeatedly condemned Mahathir for past mismanagement such as the foreign exchange losses in the 1980s and 1990s, crony capitalism and the jailing of political opponents.

Image result for mahathir badawi najibMaking Donald Trump and David Duke Proud

Why were such acts of mismanagement and authoritarian rule condoned at that particular time, when an immediate motion of no confidence against Dr Mahathir would have forced him to step down earlier?

Why was there no ministerial dissent in the cabinet? Does this not show that Barisan Nasional ministers have lost their moral integrity and betrayed the rakyat by condoning wrongdoings? Is this not an act of political survival at all costs?

If Najib is sincere about fighting crony capitalism, why are certain deals involving government contracts still done without open tender?

The opposition parties, who had nothing good to say about Mahathir in his 22 years of reign, have now opportunistically accepted him as a political asset for rural votes.

Have Pakatan Harapan leaders forgotten that Mahathir’s style of politics cultivated ethno-religious dominance in the minds of rural voters over the years, which has made it difficult to fight elite corruption?

What can clearly be seen is that the attitudes of politicians change based on political expediency rather than integrity. A chameleon-like behaviour is projected to the rakyat.

It is obvious that the ends justifies the means. This behaviour of politicians seems to be exciting, especially for those who desire change over the years, but the truth is this excitement would only be for a while.

Image result for Corrupt Malaysia

When moral integrity that sustains good governance is sacrificed in order to win at all costs, it will ultimately crush a party. Therefore, it is vital for Malaysians to discern the behaviour of politicians who have lost their sense of moral integrity. Integrity is required in the DNA of politicians. They must be accountable for their actions.

A political culture of integrity will go a long way in rebuilding trust in our institutions. For this to happen, we need a breed of leaders who will bring about a new brand of politics that respects moral integrity. This would replace the chameleon-like nature of our current political culture.

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.

Lying Again: The DOJ has stopped investigating 1MDB?


August 13, 2017

Image result for Sarawak ReportSarawak Report

Proof The DOJ Has Stopped Investigating 1MDB??!

by Najib Razak’s Communications Team

The US Department of Justice’s (DoJ) suspension of its civil suits against 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) shows there is a lack of evidence of wrongdoing by the state investment fund, says the Barisan Nasional Strategic Communications team.

“Civil suits related to this case which started a year ago, which has essentially gone nowhere without sufficient evidence, are now frozen,” said its deputy director Datuk Eric See-To in a statement on Friday.

He added that the civil action against 1MDB, without sufficient evidence, signalled the political motivation of individuals from the previous US administration.

He stressed that it was important to note that 1MDB “is not a party to the DoJ’s civil suits.”

“As far as 1MDB is concerned, all its funds have been accounted for, in addition to the Malaysia Attorney-General’s statements after the DoJ filings that there has been no evidence of any misappropriation of funds,” he said.

Sarawak Report’s comment

It is not surprising these government spokespeople are lying in the face of mountains of documented evidence, since the Najib adminstration has turned blatant misinformation and rejection of the truth into its trademark. Like most criminals in the dock they will continue to plead not guilty until the judge and jury finds them otherwise.

The DOJ spokespeople have stayed the proceedings of the civil case, because that means they can get on with their active parallel criminal investigation at their leisure with the assets still frozen and out of the reach of Riza, Jho and all the rest.  This is how they put it:

The United States makes this Motion on the ground that proceeding with the case is likely to have an adverse effect on the ability of the government to conduct a related federal criminal investigation… The government seeks a stay pending the resolution of a related federal criminal investigation arising from the same fact alleged in the First Amended Complain on the grounds that proceeding with the instant action is likely to have an adverse effect on the government’s ability to conduct the related criminal investigation.”

Trying to pretend that this means anything other than that criminal investigations are ongoing and that the FBI are happy to keep assets frozen for as long as those take represents no more than a refusal to read the print on the page by Najib’s circle.

Image result for Najib is lying again

Relying again on insinutations that new law enforcers are friendly to Najib unlike old ones, again merely betrays BN’s fundamental failure to understand the basic principles of modern democratic governance, which demand that the executive keeps its nose and manipulative interferences out of judicial processes.

DOJ hits pause on 1MDB suits


August 11, 2017

DOJ hits pause on 1MDB suits

http://www.malaysiakini.com

Image result for malaysian official 1

It is no small wonder that the US DOJ is in a quandary over who should be charged. Even the entire Malaysian Cabinet is in a fix.

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has applied to stay its civil forfeiture suits on assets allegedly purchased using misappropriated 1MDB funds to facilitate ongoing criminal investigations by the US government. These involve 13 of the 14 civil forfeiture suits the DOJ filed in July last year.

According to US court filings sighted by Malaysiakini, the DOJ said the proceedings would likely have an “adverse effect on the government’s ability to conduct the related criminal investigation.” This includes investigations in foreign jurisdictions.

A declaration by a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent said the government had been conducting the criminal probe prior to the commencement of DOJ’s action, and that investigation was still ongoing.

FBI special agent Jill Enyart said the disclosure of any facts beyond what the DOJ has already detailed could reveal “potential targets and subjects of the investigation and the investigative techniques that have been and will be used in the investigation”.

“Such disclosures could result in the destruction of evidence, the flight of potential subjects and targets, or the identification and intimidation of potential witnesses,” she added.

Enyart also said that some potential witnesses may live in jurisdictions where their safety and security could be jeopardised if their identities were made known.

She said the proceedings could prejudice “plans” by foreign jurisdictions, as well as “jeopardise the safety of certain foreign law enforcement personnel and threaten their willingness or ability to cooperate with the government in its criminal investigation, thereby closing off sources of evidence of the criminal and other conduct set forth in the first amended complaint (FAC)”.

The investigations, Enyart said, were global in nature, and would take time to pursue as most evidence and witnesses were in foreign jurisdictions.

The DOJ, in the filing, said it would need to update the courts every 180 days on the status of the criminal investigation. Of the 14 suits it filed in the first round in 2016, the DOJ is still seeking a default judgement in its case to seize artwork by Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet.

The DOJ had in total filed three civil forfeiture suits to seize over US$1.7 billion in assets it claims were purchased using funds allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB.

Image result for malaysian official 1

Sorry, buddy, I cannot remember the mind-boggling amount–Rm2.6 billion is just the tip of the iceberg.  I cannot imagine how I am able to pull this off without the connivance of Jho Low from Penang.  Even the DOJ is stuck. since it involves the US and other governments.

In the suits, the DOJ alleged that Malaysian-born businessperson Jho Low had used 1MDB funds to purchase luxury properties, a yacht and a jet. It also alleged that Low had purchased jewellery for the wife of an unnamed Malaysian Official 1 (MO1), including a pink diamond necklace worth US$27.3 million.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan last year confirmed that MO1 was Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.However, he stressed the fact Najib was not named in the DOJ filing showed that the Prime Minister was not a subject of investigation.

Najib has denied misappropriating 1MDB funds, and Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali has also cleared him of any wrongdoing