Najib’s Rosmah-inspired putsch of UMNO stalwarts


September 4, 2015

Najib’s Rosmah-inspired putsch of UMNO stalwarts

by John Berthelsen

http://www.asiasentinel.com/politics/malaysia-pm-najib-rumored-ordering-another-putsch/

muhyiddin-shafie-mukhriz

If, as rumored in Kuala Lumpur, Prime Minister Najib Razak intends to sack another seven United Malays National Organization (UMNO) leaders from the party, he is taking a daring gamble. They include Kedah Chief Minister Mukhriz Mahathir and former Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

But both Mukhriz, the son of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, and Muhyiddin hail from the Malay heartland, UMNO strongholds whose support he needs to remain in power.  Officials in Johor, where UMNO was born in the 1950s, have already warned that Najib’s dismissal of Muhyiddin as Deputy Prime Minister would wreck the party’s southern power base in 2018.

“He is trying to surgically remove all opposition from the party,” said a longtime political observer in Kuala Lumpur. He and other observers speculated that the Prime Minister’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, is behind the drive to rid the party of figures questioning Najib’s stewardship of the disastrously managed 1Malaysia Development Bhd., although there is no particular proof of that.

Najib has already fired Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail, who was said to be preparing charges against him, as well as the head of the police special branch unit and sent two top officials of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission on “vacation.” 

Officials have also ordered the arrest and questioning of a half-dozen MACC officials on suspicion they were leaking details of the case against the prime minister. A parliamentary investigation has been halted as well as the MACC probe. 

But while he has gone to extraordinary effort to contain the scandal, it has spread well beyond Malaysia’s borders, with Swiss authorities saying on September 2 that they had frozen funds in Swiss banks amid a probe into people linked to 1MDB, on suspicion of corruption and money laundering. Singapore has already frozen funds despite a private plea from Najib, who reportedly flew to the lion city in August.

The entire country was already deeply embarrassed this week by a massive rally that drew tens of thousands of protesters  – one of whom was former PM Mahathir, who is now being investigated for criminal defamation concerning his remarks at the Bersih 4.0 demonstration  over the weekend and calling for Najib’s resignation.

In addition, Transparency International President Jose Ugaz and 1,000 delegates to the 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference at the government center Putrajaya called attention to corruption allegations involving a US$680 million “donation” to Najib Razak’s personal banking accounts – who paid the money, why and what happened to it. Najib has not come up with any convincing explanation for the funds, deposited in his account in March of 2013.

The premier’s peril over the threatened new round of firing stems from the fact that by and large, all of the officials he has sacked are in Putrajaya, the seat of government. Najib has been able to keep the Malay heartland behind him by alleging foreign plots, ethnic Chinese attempts to curb Malay political power and Mahathir, who supposedly wants his son to take Najib’s place.

But Kedah, where Mukhriz remains extremely popular, and Johor, where the Sultan met Muhyiddin in a show of support after he was pushed as Deputy Prime Minister, are two areas that are crucial to electoral success for UMNO.

In addition to Mukhriz and Muhyiddin, others scheduled to be ousted are party vice-president Mohd Shafie Apdal, who is equally popular in Sabah, a largely Christian or tribal region in East Malaysia which UMNO found critical to maintain itself in power in the 2013 general election.  Others are MPs Aziz Sheikh Fadzir  and Jumat Idris and former  Terengganu Chief Minister Ahmad Said, all of whom are local politicians with electoral followings.

aninaGutsy Anina

Earlier, officials ordered the expulsion of Anina Saadudin, a Langkawi women’s wing delegate who caused a storm with an impassioned rant saying the prime minister was urinating on the heads of the 3 million party rank and file.  A YouTube video of the young woman’s tirade went viral and was seen by tens of thousands of people.

Mukhriz told the independent news website Malaysiakini he has not heard of any action ousting the seven. However, recently in the city of Alor Setar in Mukhriz’s home state, Najib is said to have told an UMNO division meeting that it was okay to undermine Mukhriz because Mukhriz “had it easy,” referring to his appointment as chief minister – that he put Mukhriz in and that the former prime minister’s son should toe the line on the controversies surrounding 1MDB, the unpopular goods and services tax, an 18–month postponement of UMNO intraparty elections and other hot-button issues.

“The stage is set to get rid of Mukhriz and replace him with Alor Setar UMNO Chief Senator Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah, who goes back a long way with Najib,” according to Imran Imtiaz Shah Yaccob, a Mukhriz supporter. “Ahmad Bashah’s long burning desire for the [chief minister’s] post is an open secret.”

OPEN LETTER to IACC Delegates and Mr. Paul Low


September 3, 2015

OPEN LETTER to IACC Delegates and Mr. Paul Low

by Stephen Ng

http://www.malaysiakini.com

COMMENT To the delegates who attended the 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC), my question to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Paul Low is why bother to defend the indefensible?

Low said that he spoke up every week regarding the scandal involving 1MDB, but is Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak himself responding positively to this with plausible answers?

Giving answers that even a smart young lad would not accept is an insult to one’s intelligence. No wonder why a photograph has also been circulated where Old Boys from Najib’s own alma mater, St John’s Institution, are ashamed of their alumnus.

Why do you think the Interpol had refused Najib’s request for a ‘red notice’ on Clare Rewcastle-Brown, a journalist based in the United Kingdom, whose portal Sarawak Report was among the first to expose this scandal?

Low (photo) should tell us what the answers are that Najib has provided in the cabinet to which we are not privy. Of course, to Low these days, ‘transparency’ is akin to pornography and a taboo subject, but not revealing the truth in the name of ‘official secrets’ is doing injustice to both the people and those he represents.

Without access to the information, how would we be satisfied with the explanations? By merely listening to Low? Answers such as the RM2.6 billion came from an individual donor from the Middle East, is Low accepting that as logical? Does Low have the answers as to where the money borrowed by 1MDB has disappeared?

Just speaking up during the cabinet meetings is not sufficient, but Low should at least be able to obtain some credible answers from Najib that can be offered to hundreds of thousands of my fellow Malaysians who were at the recently concluded Bersih 4 street demonstration in the city of Kuala Lumpur.

Low’s answers appear to be very shallow for someone who always claim that he is divinely appointed to the cabinet. He has always said that he is pleased with the answers given by Najib on a number of other important issues affecting the people of this country.

Low should have answered a number of questions that have been posed to him before. If he said that Najib is sincere with what he is doing, why was the investigation into the 1MDB scandal suddenly called off by none other than Najib himself?

In the first place, can Low tell us whether the draft charge sheet existed, as alleged by Brown? If it did not, why did the present attorney-general say he would investigate into the criminal leak of the charge sheet against Najib?

If Najib were innocent, what is there for him to be afraid of giving the keynote address at the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC?) It is hard even for the ordinary man in the street to believe that Najib was innocent in the entire scandal, being the chairperson of the 1MDB advisory board, the finance minister as well as the prime minister, how does Low expect an international community comprising anti-corruption stalwarts to believe him?

How much lower can Low get? Did he think that the delegates at the IACC are all a bunch of activists with no grey matter left?

I want to give Najib the benefit of the doubt. He can decide to turn up at the IACC meeting to address the international community on the scandal, but please, use some more credible stories.

Where is the Bugis Warrior?

With disappointment, I have to say that Low’s answer given during the IACC was nothing but another true embarrassment to our country’s image as the host of the international conference on anti-corruption.

In addressing corruption, it has to begin from the top down. There is no way that Low can be effectively fighting corruption on the ground alone, when the Prime Minister himself is already in the thick of a possible scandal involving billions of ringgit.

If anything, Low is just another highly-paid apologist for Najib using taxpayers’ money, which is why I have asked him this question several times, “Why bother to defend the indefensible?”

Covering for Najib, Low has turned out to be a laughing-stock himself by saying that it was him who advised Najib not to give the keynote address due to security reasons; but, when he himself saw how civilised the anti-corruption activists were, he was lost for words.

We have heard such excuses given one time too many in this country that we no longer give it any credence at all, especially coming from someone whose integrity is now being questioned in the public domain based on his own performance as a cabinet minister in charge of integrity.

Previously, when Najib also failed to turn up for another event organised by his party member, titled ‘Nothing2Hide’, it was also at the advice of the Inspector-General of Police, Khalid Abu Bakar.

It was, as if the Police were unable to protect the prime minister, when the people who attended the seminar were none other than members of Najib’s own political party UMNO. In their midst was also the 90-year-old party member, who is none other than former Prime Minister (and I call him the Terminator), Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

When the ‘Terminator’ turned up, the Bugis warrior was missing in action. How then can we, ordinary people in this country, trust Najib, whom even the Crown Prince of the Southern state of Johor said apparently had “everything to hide”.

Hearing Low’s speeches in the IACC from the way it is reported in the news yesterday, it appears to me that Low was essentially saying that Najib faces security threats everywhere he went, and a hostile reception would be expected everywhere he went. A warrior should face all kinds of challenges.

Low is apparently very confused between hostility and security, and between civility and public demand for good answers to the corruption issues revolving around Najib. With or without Najib’s presence, even Transparency International’s chair Jose Ugaz has demanded an explanation to the 1MDB scandal. He echoes the voices of many Malaysians.

If Low’s concerns about Najib’s security were real, then Najib should remain in his Forbidden City of Putrajaya, and live like the emperor of China, who knew nothing about the people who were suffering outside as a result of corruption at the highest level.

Personally, I am very disappointed with the quality of explanations given by both Low and the other cabinet ministers, and someone like Low should at least have more integrity to stand up, tell us the truth and leave behind the legacy of a statesman.

If Najib could not even face the snubs in the midst of a highly-charged atmosphere at the IACC, where the delegates were, in fact, civilised, how do you expect the people of this country not snub his leadership whenever he appears in public, locally or elsewhere?

Last weekend’s Bersih 4 rally was a clear statement made by some 500,000 people of this country but Najib has chosen not to listen; therefore, there is simply no excuse for him not to have turned up at the IACC and explain himself to the international community.

With all due respect to Najib as Prime Minister and to give him the benefits of the doubt, we all wait for him to avail himself to address the questions raised at the IACC or the next parliamentary session. If he passes the test with flying colours, I am prepared to trust him.

However, contrary to the excuses given by Low, it appears to me that Najib lacks the confidence to meet the people after the expose by Sarawak Report and the Wall Street Journal. He is afraid of the colour yellow and words that we all take it for granted that will help to further strengthen our country’s democracy.

Recently, when the daughter of a famous architect in the country, Bilqis Hijjas, distributed yellow balloons with words like ‘Justice’, ‘Democracy’ and ‘Free Media’ at a shopping mall where Najib was attending another open function, she, too, was being probed by the police under Section 504 of the Penal Code for intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of the peace.

This simply does not make sense any more. It is a crime to distribute yellow balloons with words that uphold parliamentary democracy but it is not wrong or right to allow political funds to be funneled into one’s personal accounts.

Did Najib not say in 2012 that all political funds must be channeled into the party’s accounts instead of private accounts in an attempt to fight corruption? See for yourself what was reported in the mainstream media, The Star). After the WSJ expose, Najib said that the money was a donation from an Arab family and it was meant to help the ruling coalition to win the last general election.

This is what shocks most of us! In other words, the last general election was probably influenced by a foreigner who had such big sum of money to splash. This is the rationale behind the Bersih 4 rally last weekend which saw ordinary Malaysians going to the streets.

Going back six months ago, Najib had said that he is like the courageous Bugis warrior and I hope he is truly one, so that he will have the courage as a great Bugis leader who will take the bull by the horns.

Bersih 4’s demands

Last weekend’s Bersih 4 rally was a thumping success.Low should have been there himself to see for himself the ‘atmosphere’ on the ground. Despite being a mammoth rally, the crowd was very peaceful. Even Dr Mahathir was there without all his escorts, and he was not being mobbed by the people.

Low and other cabinet ministers could have gone down to the ground to explain to the people, but they did not, except to comment from the side that it was a mini-Arab Spring.

Najib could have easily appeared on a public screen to speak to the people, if he wanted to, but he never did. He knew Bersih’s demands were reasonable, given the current state of the country, but instead of listening to the people, Bersih 4 has been demonised in so many ways.

Low did not mention one provocateur who was a man well-connected with Umno leaders, and he was caught by the rally goers for throwing firecrackers during Bersih 4. This could have caused a stampede, and as a lawmaker had charged, this could have been an attempted murder of its worse kind.

Had there been any casualties or death, I am sure people like Maria Chin Abdullah and her team of volunteers who organised the rally would have been immediately hauled up and blamed for the stampede, but to date, has any firm actions taken against the man caught with the firecrackers?

Low made no mention of such incidents and why there were attempts to demonise Bersih 4 rally from the moment it ended. People like Low should remind Najib that the demands of Bersih 4 rally goers were simple and straightforward, and has nothing to do with dismantling parliamentary democracy.

I quote from Transparency International’s chair, Jose Ugaz who concurs with me that dealing with corruption requires a holistic approach:

“Let us recall those two words – honesty and integrity. What does that mean for Malaysia? The government has taken measures and initiatives to tackle corruption. We will surely hear that from the minister.

“We want to see more progress but that cannot happen while there are unanswered questions about the US$700 million that made its way into the Prime Minister’s personal bank account.”


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

Fellow Malaysians be forewarned


September 3, 2015

Fellow Malaysians be forewarned

Malaysia– Tanah Air Kita Semua– is for all of us.  It is a land of promise; we can together build a better  future for ourselves and for generations to come, if we remain united as a people and work hard for change. Do not allow  Prime Minister Najib and his paid accomplices to destroy what we tried to build since Independence in 1957. We do not need a leader who is all for himself, the consequences be damned. Please take care.–Din Merican

It was obvious to my wife and I, and other Malaysians who were at the Bersih 4.0 rally on August 29 and August 30, that this pre-Merdeka day civil society protest against the corrupt and dishonest Najib regime was a great success. We had the full cooperation of our “Abang Polis” (The Royal Malaysian Police) who made it possible for us to exercise our right of dissent. Because Bersih shook Prime Minister Najib, pro-UMNO supporters are now trying to make this into a Malay versus Chinese affair, citing the lack of Malay participation. I hear that the UMNO pro-Najib  faction is planning an anti-Bersih event soon.

Please stay calm and do not allow yourself to be provoked into acting with emotion and anger. Bersih 4.0 is not about race; it is about Malaysians going to the streets to register their dissatisfaction with corruption and abuses of power by Prime Minister Najib Razak who has lost our trust and confidence in his leadership of our country.

Public Warning

Prime Minister Najib desperately wants to cling to power and will stop at nothing to achieve his objective. I suspect that he will create social unrest by playing the race card to enable him to suspend democracy and resort to emergency powers to govern. Please do not fall into his trap.

Malaysia– Tanah Air Kita Semua– is for all of us.  It is a land of promise; we can together build a better  future for ourselves and for generations to come, if we remain united as a people and work hard for change. Do not allow  Prime Minister Najib and his paid accomplices to destroy what we tried to build since Independence in 1957. We do not need a leader who is all for himself, the consequences be damned. Please take care.–Din Merican

More from IACC–Malaysia’s Corruption


September 3, 2015

Najib’s actions on USD 700 million and  suspicious, say International Critics at IACC

by Anisah Shukry and Muzliza Mustafa

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com

While UMNO leaders continue to insist that the US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) donated to Dato’ Seri Najib Razak is not unusual, international speakers at a global anti-graft conference said the entire affair was suspicious and required action.

Ana Maria Gomes, a lawmaker from Portugal, says Najib must do the patriotic and decent thing like in any real democracy and step down while being investigated. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Kamal Ariffin, September 3, 2015.Ana Maria Gomes, a lawmaker from Portugal, says Najib must do the patriotic and decent thing like in any real democracy and step down while being investigated. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Kamal Ariffin, –September 3, 2015.

They told The Malaysian Insider that it was in the country’s best interests for the Prime Minister to disclose how he came to receive the money, and the possible strings attached to it.

They noted that if similar cases happened in other countries, when found out, the politicians were either charged or left office. European lawmaker Ana Maria Gomes said that any other politician would have resigned if they were in Najib’s place.

“He needs everything to be clarified. In my opinion, anyone who have been under so serious charges, the first thing (they would do) in Europe is resign and then make their case.

“Prove you are innocent and face the consequences,” Gomes said when met at the sidelines after speaking at the 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Putrajaya yesterday.

She said that in her own country, Portugal, a Minister had been subject to a serious allegation several years ago and he immediately stepped down.

An investigation later revealed that the allegations were not true, she said.”That was a patriotic and a decent thing to do. In Malaysia, in view of the allegations against him, there’s no credibility for him to stay in office.”

She added that the action taken against individuals investigating the funds raised suspicions and should not have happened.

“This doesn’t smell good at all, the way the Prime Minister is acting and reacting towards these serious charges and to the popular demand that he resign.”

Greenpeace International Director Kumi Naidoo said that the US$700 million donation was “highly suspicious and highly irregular”, and noted that authorities would have sprung into action if it involved an ordinary citizen.

Najib’s explanation that it was a “political donation” was inadequate, as too much money was involved, he added.

“There are certain small island states in the world that use that amount for their annual budget. This is a massive amount of money and it cannot go unexplained,” he said when met at the sidelines after he spoke at the conference yesterday.

“Was it given for the government or the prime minister to do something for the donor, who might include a particular policy or contract? It’s not a normal private gift, even by rich people’s standards.”

Naidoo advised Najib to come forward and explain clearly who he received the funds from, what it was used for, and the nature of his relations with the donor.

“I think failure to do that will leave him highly compromised and just questions the democracy of Malaysia.”

A real democracy

Naidoo, a human rights activist from South Africa, confirmed that similar cases happened in other countries, but when found out, the politicians were either charged or left office.

“In some cases they stayed in power, but those that stay in power are not from countries we would call democracies or real democracies. And I want to believe Malaysia is a real democracy,” he said

Lise Stensrud from Norway says the Malaysian people should demand justice over a huge amount of money going somewhere where it's not supposed to be. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Kamal Ariffin, September 3, 2015.

Lise Stensrud from Norway says the Malaysian people should demand justice over a huge amount of money going somewhere where it’s not supposed to be. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Kamal Ariffin, September 3, 2015.

He added that he had observed the Bersih 4 rally in Kuala Lumpur over the weekend and was impressed by how peaceful the protesters were.

“I would urge people who are protesting to continue to maintain their dignified, peaceful posture. They have a right to be heard even if it causes discomfort to those in power.”

Lise Stensrud, anti-corruption policy director of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), urged the public to continue pressuring the government over the funds.

“This is something the people should react to, and they should try to demand justice. A huge amount of money going somewhere where it’s not supposed to be.

“The government is serving the people and not the opposite,” she said when met at the sidelines yesterday.

Kuala Lumpur is hosting the ongoing IACC and Najib was to have given the keynote address yesterday. But Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low said he advised Najib to pull out from officiating IACC in Putrajaya yesterday in case the environment turned “hostile”.

The conference at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre ends tomorrow. Touted as a premier global gathering of anti-corruption stakeholders, the IACC is held once every two years and this year it drew 1,000 delegates from 130 countries.

Lim Kit Siang’s Open Letter to 1000 IACC Delegates


September 3, 2015

Lim Kit Siang’s Open Letter to 1000 IACC Delegates

by MP for Gelang Patah Lim Kit Siang

IACC-Lim-Kit-Siang-najibNajib must GO

1,000 IACC delegates from 130 countries should send instant mass signature petition to Najib to attend 16th IACC to come clean on the “two elephants in the room” – the RM50 billion 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” scandals.

OPEN LETTER To Transparency International President and 1,000 delegates to 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) by DAP Parliamentary Leader and MP for Gelang Patah Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, September 3, 2015:

Transparency International President Jose Ugaz made a powerful speech at the opening of the 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) yesterday when he said Malaysia’s commitment towards fighting corruption cannot be taken seriously as long as it did not provide answers to the RM2.6 billion “donation” to the Malaysian Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s personal banking accounts – who paid the money, why and what happened to it.

Harkening back to the mottos of Malaysia’s founding father, Tunku Abdul Rahman, on “Independence and freedom” and “honesty and integrity”, Ugaz referred to the “corruption crisis” in Malaysia and said:

“As a global anti-corruption movement it is our role to ask questions, to challenge those who abuse their power, to champion those who cannot speak and to engage with those who sincerely wish to change.

“Let us recall those two words – honesty and integrity.

“What does that mean for Malaysia?

The government has taken measures and initiatives to tackle corruption. We will surely hear that from the minister.

“We want to see more progress but that cannot happen while there are unanswered questions about the US$700 million that made its way into the prime minister’s personal bank account.

“In recent weeks, we have seen the attorney-general who was critical of the government suddenly replaced, the 1MDB task force suspended, investigators at the anti-corruption commission arrested or transferred, and newspapers suspended for reporting on the matter.

“These are not the actions of a government that is fighting corruption.

“We may well hear promises of reform. That is not what is needed at this time. And promises alone will not restore confidence and trust.

“There are two questions that need to be answered:

“Who paid the money and why?

“Where did it go?

“One man could answer those questions.

“If that does not happen then only a fully independent investigation, free from political interference, can uncover the truth. Until that happens, no claim from the government on anti-corruption will be credible.

“I stand here today with you and say this is what the people want from government – honesty and integrity.”

In a country which cherished in independence, freedom and sovereignty, the Prime Minister will not receive a mysterious “donation” in his personal account from foreign sources to influence the country’s general election outcome – making it more imperative that Najib should come clean with Malaysians and the world.

Najib Terok

This is why no one ever suspected anyone of the five previous Prime Ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Razak, Hussein Onn, Dr. Mahathir and Abdullah Badawi of having received a single sen from any foreign source for anyone of the country’s general elections.

Can Malaysia’s general election and government be bought with a foreign “donation” of RM2.6 billion?

The 16th IACC must demonstrate that it cannot be trifled with, that it has a powerful voice and does not stand alone but has “a common cause with all who speak up against those that would seek to enrich themselves at the expense of the people”.

More is expected of the IACC meeting in Malaysia on the theme “Ending Impunity: People. Integrity. Action” especially on “Action”.

One action that is still open to the 16th IACC is for the 1,000 delegates from 130 countries to send an instant mass signature petition to Najib to attend the IACC to come clean on the “two elephants in the room” in the corruption crisis in Malaysia – the RM50 billion 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” scandals.

It will not be impossible for the 1,000 IACC delegates to sign a joint petition today itself and send it to the Najib by this evening to urge the Malaysian Prime Minister to attend the IACC, whether at the closing ceremony at 6.15 pm tomorrow or at the Farewell Dinner hosted by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to have a dialogue with the IACC delegates on the state of corruption or the battle against corruption in Malaysia.

The 16th IACC theme of “Ending Impunity: People. Integrity. Action” must not prove to be a failure – especially on “Action”.

Source:

http://blog.limkitsiang.com/2015/09/03/1000-iacc-delegates-from-130-countries-should-send-instant-mass-signature-petition-to-najib-to-attend-16th-iacc-to-come-clean-on-the-two-elephants-in-the-room-the-rm50-bil/#more-32591

 

Transparency International Chief Jose Ugaz to PM Najib: “Your days of impunity are numbered”.


September 3, 2015

TI Chief Jose Ugaz to Prime Minister Najib Razak:   “Your days of impunity are numbered.”

Najib The SapumanPrime Minister Najib Razak

In Putrajaya, Transparency International chief Jose Ugaz zooms in on the RM2.6 billion controversy. Below is his full speech delivered at the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC). There is a message for former Transparency International-Malaysia Chapter Founder President Tunku Abdul Aziz to stop being a Najib apologist.–www.malaysiakini.com

TI Chief in KL

Let me first thank the IACC for bringing so many people together as part of our great global movement to tackle corruption.The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission for hosting the conference with the IACC. And the Malaysian people for welcoming us to their beautiful country at these momentous time.

This week Malaysia celebrated Merdeka – its independence from colonial rule and freedom from oppression. Independence and freedom. The building blocks of a fair and just society.

TIME Tunku Abdul RahmanTunku Abdul Rahman–A Man  of Honesty and Integrity

All countries face challenges, especially new countries, and I looked back at some of the statements from the founding father of the nation, (Tunku) Abdul Rahman, made at the time of independence in 1957.

There were two words that he used that stood out for me – honesty and integrity.That is what brings us together in the fight against corruption. Honesty and integrity.

We have seen what this means to people all over the world in recent weeks.

In Brazil.

In Honduras.

In Guatemala.

In Iraq.

In Malaysia. Hundreds of thousands of people are sending a message to the corrupt. Your days of impunity are numbered. That is a reason why we are here. But we have a struggle in front of us.

In too many countries the basic rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association are being eroded or taken away. It is hard to fight corruption without those rights.

Most insidious of all is political corruption. The twisting and distorting of the law by governments plagued by cronyism and captured by special interests.

In Kuwait, our chapter was taken over by a government appointed board. In Tunisia, our activists were threatened with legal action for criticising laws that would set the corrupt free. In Russia, civil society organisations are being placed on a register of Foreign Agents – the first moves that could attempt to close down the work of anti-corruption fighters in that country.

Those with integrity removed. Secret deals. Cronies appointed. Violations of human rights. This feeds what we call grand corruption because it creates a climate where corruption flourishes and impunity protects the powerful.

We are in a global world and illicit money can be moved in a single keystroke. The oligarches of corruption can also move freely without legal consequences, flaunting their five-star lifestyle, buying their properties in London, the south of France and Kenya.

That is what we mean by impunity.

Let me give you one example. The former President of Ukraine – Viktor Yanukovych. When he finally fled, the people of Ukraine discovered that their money had been spent on a mansion with a zoo and a full size Spanish galleon ship.

What was revealed was a chain of shell companies in Vienna, London and Liechtenstein that concealed the vast wealth he was stealing from the country. Ukraine’s chief prosecutor has said that there is evidence that at least US$350 million has been stolen…It could be much more.

He and too many corrupt politicians and business people use shell companies to conceal their money. That is why we will talk at length at this conference about the need for public registers of beneficial ownership.

It is collective action that can challenge impunity.In France, after a campaign our chapter, 300 million Euros of assets stolen by the former President Obiang of Equatorial Guinea were frozen by the courts.

Now in Guatemala, after a mass campaign, the former Vice-President is in jail awaiting trial accused of conspiracy and bribery and yesterday the immunity from prosecution of the president was removed and a judicial order was released so he cannot leave the country.

And in Brazil, where one million people took to the streets for the Petrobas scandal has seen five politicians arrested and criminal cases brought against 13 companies, including the head of the world’s largest construction company. And our movement is now working across seven South American countries to uncover how far the Petrobas scandal has spread, while politicians and heads of these companies have been arrested.

The web of corruption shows very clearly that this is not confined to developing countries. Many companies in Europe and the United States are being investigated for bribery.

Fighting against corruption takes courage.We should pause at this moment and remember those who paid a terrible price for speaking out against corruption.

Danilo Lopez and Frederico Salazar, two courageous journalists were murdered in broad daylight in Guatemala. For more than a decade, Lopez had exposed corruption and the misuse of public funds by corrupt politicians. And a month and a half ago an anti-corruption activist was killed in Mexico.

This year, 24 journalists around the world who have exposed corruption and human rights abuses have been killed. 24. In Azerbaijan, as we meet, investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova was sentenced yesterday to seven and half years for “economic crimes.” These are typical of the bogus charges brought by governments to shut down those who speak out against corruption.

Khadija exposed how the government awarded the rights to a lucrative gold field to the president’s family. In a statement she just said: “I might be in prison, but the work will continue.”

That is the work that everyone in this conference is dedicated to take forward.

Press freedom and freedom of expression are the pillars of democratic societies and journalists must be able to work without fear. We stand with them. Our movement has shown that it can fight back.

In Cameroon, Paul Kingue was freed from prison after a sustained campaign by local and international groups.His crime? Exposing a French-owned banana producer for tax fraud.

In Angola, the most serious charges against Rafael Marques de Morais were dropped after a sustained international campaign. His crime? A book exposing corruption and torture in Angola. For that he could have faced nine years in prison. Just for writing a book.

There are many more activists around the world and many are here present in this conference. Let me pay tribute to you, for your courage, for your honesty, for your integrity. Change can and does happen. Why are we so passionate about the change we want to see?

We share many values. We want to see an end to poverty, we want all children to be able to go to school. We want people to have access to healthcare and live in decent homes. That is why we are here and why we fight corruption.Because the price of corruption is paid for by all of us but especially by the poorest in our countries.

The private jet that is paid for by the school that is not built. The luxury house that is paid for by those who cannot get the medicine they need. The yacht paid for by the homeless. How do we change that? There is much we know, and much you will debate this week.

No one can be in Malaysia and not be aware of the corruption allegations of recent months and how damaging they are to the country. There is a corruption crisis here.

As a global anti-corruption movement it is our role to ask questions, to challenge those who abuse their power, to champion those who cannot speak and to engage with those who sincerely wish to change.

Let us recall those two words – honesty and integrity.What does that mean for Malaysia? The government has taken measures and initiatives to tackle corruption. We will surely hear that from the Minister.

We want to see more progress but that cannot happen while there are unanswered questions about the US$700 million that made its way into the prime minister’s personal bank account.

In recent weeks, we have seen the Attorney-General who was critical of the government suddenly replaced, the 1MDB task force suspended, investigators at the anti-corruption commission arrested or transferred, and newspapers suspended for reporting on the matter.

These are not the actions of a government that is fighting corruption. We may well hear promises of reform. That is not what is needed at this time. And promises alone will not restore confidence and trust.

There are two questions that need to be answered:

Who paid the money and why? Where did it go?

One man could answer those questions. If that does not happen then only a fully independent investigation, free from political interference, can uncover the truth.

Until that happens, no claim from the government on anti-corruption will be credible.

I stand here today with you and say this is what the people want from government – honesty and integrity. Our movement does not stand alone. We have common cause with all who speak up against those that would seek to enrich themselves at the expense of the people.

We are global. We have a powerful voice. We are together against corruption.

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This conference will last three days, but our work will continue each and every day both in Malaysia and throughout the world.