More on 1MDB–Sarawak Report

April 26, 2015

More on 1MDB–Sarawak Report


Jho Low AddA US$330 million (RM1.18 billion) loan 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) had issued to PetroSaudi International in 2011 was actually deposited into the account of Good Star Limited, a firm controlled by businessman Low Taek Jho, whistleblower site Sarawak Report claims.

The money was transferred in four separate tranches into Good Star Limited’s RBS Coutts, Zurich account, said Sarawak Report, citing documents from official investigators.

However, approval had only been granted by the regulators for 1MDB to lend the money to its former joint venture partner, PetroSaudi, on the basis that it was to “finance on-going overseas investment in the oil and gas sector”, said Sarawak Report.

It said the rational for the loan approval was “to pursue a strategic and global partnership in the energy sector and promoting foreign direct investment into Malaysia”.

There was no mention made of the company Good Star Limited in the loan application and neither was approval granted for the money to be sent to it, said Sarawak Report.

The investigation also revealed that the USD$330 million, which was sent to Good Star Limited, was officially reported to Bank Negara as having been paid to the PetroSaudi company 1MDB PetroSaudi, it said.

“The question now is who was responsible for providing this misleading information that Good Star Limited was a subsidiary company of PetroSaudi International,” Sarawak Report said.

“Also, why did none of the banks involved in any of these transactions ever see fit to file a suspicious transaction report?”

According to the website’s calculations, USD$1.19 billion of the USD$1.93 billion that 1MDB lent to PetroSaudi ultimately went to Good Star Limited.This included the USD$700 million Good Star allegedly siphoned from 1MDB’s now-ended joint venture with PetroSaudi, which was orchestrated by Low, who is better known as Jho Low.

Good Star Limited had also received an additional US$160 million from a Murabaha Loan agreement signed between PetroSaudi and 1MDB, which was also masterminded by Low, Sarawak Report said.

On Thursday, Sarawak Report said Good Star Limited, found to have transferred over US$500 million to one of the businessman’s bank accounts at BSI Bank Limited in Singapore in 2011 and 2012.

1MDB has come under fire for its financial mismanagement, debts, questionable investments and borrowings.

Since its inception in 2009, the strategic development fund, which is owned by the Finance Ministry, has amassed a whopping RM42 billion in debts.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who chairs 1MDB’s advisory board, has come under attack from various quarters over the firm’s massive losses and dubious dealings, especially from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The former Prime Minister has repeatedly asked Najib to step down, and had said in a blog posting that unaccounted funds from 1MDB spending showed money has “disappeared”, while noting Najib’s inability to explain the matter disqualifies him from leading the country.

Dr Mahathir also hinted at corruption and theft of 1MDB’s funds, saying that money disappearing was “different from just losing”.

“Governments can lose money through bad investments. We would know where the money is lost. But when huge sums of money disappear, then those entrusted with its management must answer for the disappearance. Disappearance is about money lost which cannot be traced. This can be because of corruption or theft.” .

MIER to Putrajaya: Listen to the People

April 22, 2015

MIER to Putrajaya: Listen to the People

By Zurairi

The Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) urged Putrajaya today to pay attention to the public when formulating national policies instead of resorting to knee-jerk reactions, as Malaysians fret over a decline in living standards and quality of life.

Ahead of the 11th Malaysian Plan, MIER said Malaysia urgently needs to adopt an approach that focuses more on enhancing the well-being of the public when managing economic and social development.

“Behavioural approach to policy, listening attentively to the voices of the rakyat, should be the new direction,” MIER said in its Malaysian Economic Outlook for the first quarter of 2015 presentation.

“Doing so will help avoid policies and measures that will result in deadweight losses and the society ending up worse-off than before,” said the report released in its 20th Corporate Economic Briefing.

“Welfare of the rakyat should be the key priority and this calls for greater social capital and strong collective action,” it added.

ED MierCountries that have adopted such an approach includes Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Nordic countries, MIER said. Pointing to the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST), MIER Executive Director Dr Zakariah Abdul Rashid said that Putrajaya must not be “too harsh” towards the public, apart from considering their feedback on the consumption tax.

MIER also warned against a lack of openness and transparency, gap in policy credibility, weak institutions, poor governance and low ethical and moral values, saying these attributes will affect the public perception and that of investors.

“There must be good signalling for market participants to react adequately, while ‘gradual approach’ and extensive consultations will surely help to avoid uncertainty and negative perceptions of stakeholders and rakyat as a whole,” said MIER.

MIER predicted that Malaysia will reach 5.0 per cent gross domestic product (GDP) growth this year, slightly above World Bank’s forecast of 4.7 per cent.

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Fa Abdul’s Open Letter to Prime Minister Najib: 20 Questions

April 12, 2015

Fa Abdul’s Open Letter to Prime Minister Najib: 20 Questions

Rosmah-Mansor-Perdana-MenteriDear PM,

It was a pleasant surprise to read about your planned defamation suit against Nga Kor Ming, the head of Perak DAP, for making baseless allegations of your beloved wife. I have always believed that a good husband shall always protect and care for his wife and family. You have proven to be a loving husband to Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor. Alhamdulillah.

It is my wish that you could also show similar love and care towards us, your people. Numerous times you have spoken of your role as the protector of the people but sadly we have yet to see the proof of your words.

While interviewed on a televised talk show last Thursday night, you made a clear statement once again that your loyalty is towards the people and your party and that therefore you felt justified in not being answerable to anyone but the people and your party.

Thus, as one of your humble people, Datuk Seri, I would like to seek some clarifications. My questions below are not meant as a provocation. I only seek the truth, Yang Berhormat.

I hope you would take your time to answer these questions and not regard them as rubbish in their coming from a nobody. I may be a nobody to you, Datuk Seri, but I am also one of the people to whom you pledged your loyalty.

These are my 20 questions.

1. Were you given the list of questions prior to your interview on TV3 last Thursday? Did you go through the text to filter its content, enabling you to respond accordingly?

2. Why were the guests to your daughter’s wedding asked not to snap any pictures or share them on social media?

3. Why is it of great importance for you to purchase your 7th private jet now, given that 1MDB hasn’t even been liquidated yet?

4. Why was Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor seen chairing many Cabinet meetings as alleged in Nga Kor Ming’s circulating pictures?

5. Why do you think Sirul and Azilah killed Altantuya Shariibu?

6. Do you think it fair and just to provide the same amount of BR1M to families with RM800 income per month and to those with RM3000 per month?

7. Is it true that there is a Myanmar village set up near Pekan Nanasi, Pekan, Pahang where Myanmar nationals were given MyKad, houses to stay, a motorcycle per family and job at the pineapple estate?

8. As a Muslim, do you support hudud? If yes, why are your wife and daughter not in their hijab?

9. Do you regard Malaysia as an Islamic country? If yes, how do you justify Malaysia as an Islamic country when your party members do not adhere to the Islamic law and Muslim VIPs are selected as directors in corporations involved in non-halal product trading?

10. How do you define racism? Why did you choose to keep silent over racist remarks uttered by Perkasa, Isma, Ridhuan Tee and some of your ministers?

11. Do you think it is wise to have 126,000 Police personnel watching over social media while our country combats crime on the street?

12. What is the core purpose of the Sedition Act? Don’t you think the Sedition Act has been used more widely against ordinary Malaysians frustrated with the administration of the country, compared to any actually spreading hatred among the nation?

13. Why do you think Malaysia is importing more foreign workers? Are we facing shortage of labour? Have you considered fixing a minimum wage system and absorbing our very own Malaysians into the labour market?

14. If you were the Education Minister, what would you do to improve the quality of our education system?

15. Do you think it justifiable for MPs to receive increased salaries and allowances? Why do you choose to consider increments for MPs while ignoring calls to raise our stagnant salaries in accordance with the rising living costs?

16. Why is Malaysia still a non-signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention or its 1967 Protocol? We have more than 100,000 refugees above the age of 18 in our country, yet they are not allowed to work legally. Don’t you think using them as a labour force would be more beneficial to our nation compared to continuously importing more foreign workers?

17. What do you think of the video evidence by Global Witness which revealed how (then Sarawak Chief Minister) Abdul Taib Mahmud’s family members and business associates abuse logging licences to enrich themselves? Why have you not taken any actions based on the undeniable evidence?

18. Why are forest reserves being leased to foreign companies, namely China? Whatever happened to the Aboriginal People’s Act 1954 which gives the Orang Asli legal rights to the land occupied by their ancestors?

19. Is BN being transparent in managing the country? If yes, why are the public the last to find out about the government multimillion projects, and only after implementation?

20. What actions have been taken based on the annual reports by the Auditor-General regarding mishandling of government funds? Perhaps you may begin with National Feedlot Corporation (NFC).

I thank you for taking your time to read my questions, Yang Berhormat. I urge the people of Malaysia to submit their questions as well, since you have given us your word that your loyalty and priority is us. I shall wait patiently for your reply.

“Kalau kerbau dipegang pada talinya, manusia dipegang pada katanya.”

Thank you.


Fa Abdul.

Rakyat wants to know, Najib must answer–Tun Daim

April 11, 2015


Rakyat Mahu Tahu, Najib kena jawab–Tun Daim Zainuddin

Rakyat mahu tahu mana pergi duit 1MDB. 1MDB tidak boleh beritahu, kerajaan tidak boleh beritahu. Ini bukan duit sedikit RM10, RM20, ini melibatkan RM42 bilion. Kita mahu dengar apa sebenar yang berlaku.  – Ikuti Wawancara eksklusif Malaysia Gazette bersama bekas penasihat ekonomi negara, Tun Daim Zainuddin yang menyentuh pelbagai isu.

Tun dilihat banyak mengkritik kepimpinan Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak dalam pelbagai isu. Sejak memberi teguran sehingga hari ini, adakah Tun melihat sebarang perubahan?

Tun Daim: Saya cuma beri pandangan. Pandangan yang berbeza. Saya tengok dan apabila saya beri pandangan alternatif. Terima atau tidak mahu terima terpulang kepada kerajaan. Tetapi nampaknya tidak ada perubahan. Kita mendapat feed back daripada rakyat yang tidak puas hati dengan banyak perkara. Banyak masalah sekarang ini.

Bagaimana Tun membuat teguran?

Tun Daim: Dengan menulis surat. Saya memang suka menulis surat sejak dari zaman Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, Tun Hussein Onn, Tun Dr. Mahathir. Saya tidak mahu orang tahu tentang pandangan saya kepada kerajaan. Nampaknya tidak ada perubahan dalam kerajaan. Kalau tidak ada perubahan, kita khuatir pada pilihan raya akan datang besar kemungkinan Barisan Nasional (BN) kalah. Itu yang kita khuatir. Tetapi kalau kerajaan tidak mahu membuat perubahan apa kita boleh buat, kita boleh beri pandangan sahaja.

Selain menulis surat dan memberi pandangan menerusi media, adakah Tun pernah bersemuka dengan Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak?

Tun Daim: Dulu keraplah. Sejak selepas pilihan raya saya tidak jumpa. Kali terakhir jumpa semasa majlis buka puasa di rumah saya. Selalu saya tulis surat atau bercakap menerusi telefon.

Surat-surat Tun itu dibalas atau tidak?

Tun Daim: Kadang-kadang dibalas, kadang-kadang dijawab melalui telefon. Perdana Menteri pun busy, takpalah sekurang-kurangnya beliau baca.

Bagaimanakah Tun melihat sokongan BN dan UMNO kepada Najib?

Tun Daim: Kalau menjadi Presiden, ada kuasa, di hadapan memang mereka sokong. Di belakang kita tidak tahu. UMNO ini caranya memang begitulah. Kalau depan dia taat setia kepada pemimpin tetapi sampai satu ketika apabila panik, mereka mendesak. Itu cara UMNO. Macam Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, apabila sampai masanya baru mereka ambil tindakan. Mungkin UMNO masih confident tetapi tidak senang hati sebab- sebab keadaan sekarang. Itulah yang kita takut terlambat.

Ada yang beri pandangan apabila ketua-ketua UMNO berkumpul dan memberi sokongan kepada Perdana Menteri seolah-olah Najib lemah dan memerlukan sokongan?

Tun Daim: Itu satu tafsiran – kalau kita kuat tidak perlu sokongan. Tetapi daripada maklum balas ketua-ketua bahagian ini datang dan diberi taklimat, tidak ada sesi soal jawab. Kita pun tidak tahu apa ada dalam hati mereka, lagipun tidak sampai 160 orang. Lain-lain yang tidak hadir mungkin ada sebab-sebabnya.

Bagaimana Tun melihat hubungan Najib dan Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin?

Tun Daim: Muhyiddin memang taat setia kepada Najib tetapi baru-baru ini kenyataan mereka memang bercanggah, oleh sebab itu orang membuat ‘bacaan’ sendiri. Paling ketara tentang 1MDB yang disiasat oleh Jabatan Audit Negara. Kita tidak tahu apa yang berlaku dalam Kabinet, kenyataan Perdana Menteri dikeluarkan daripada pejabatnya. Muhyiddin pula daripada kenyataannya sendiri, jadi ada perbezaan sebab itu orang lihat ada berbeza pendapat. Yang pentingnya kerajaan sudah menyuruh Jabatan Audit menyiasat 1MDB

.Saya tidak tahu berapa lama kerana ia pengauditan yang kompleks. Jabatan Audit Negara selalu boleh buat audit semua syarikat-syarikat kerajaan dalam setahun. Kali ini satu syarikat sahaja, patutnya boleh siap dengan cepat tetapi ini complicated sebab berlaku di luar negara. Saksi-saksi mungkin di luar negara, jadi Jabatan Audit perlu fokus completely jika mahu membongkarkan semua apa yang berlaku dalam 1MDB.

Dulu orang tidak faham 1MDB, hanya orang di pekan (bandar) yang bercakap tentangnya, sekarang orang kampung pun mula bercakap pasal 1MDB. Ia membabitkan satu jumlah wang yang besar, RM42 bilion.

Apabila kata aset melebihi hutang, patut ok. Kalau betul syarikat ini ok, kita boleh tubuh lebih banyak syarikat seperti ini tetapi saya ingat bila semua cerita 1MDB keluar sukar untuk pertahankan pinjamannya.

Kalau kita hendak perbetulkan dari bagi tahu, ini jangan tulis, itu jangan tulis susahlah. Kesilapan yang berlaku kita perbetulkan. Jabatan Audit Negara memang bebas walaupun di bawah Kementerian Kewangan.

Rakyat mahu tahu mana pergi duit 1MDB. 1MDB tidak boleh beritahu, kerajaan tidak boleh beritahu. Ini bukan duit sedikit RM10, RM20, ini melibatkan RM42 bilion. Kita mahu dengar apa sebenar yang berlaku.

Rakyat mempertikaikan sejauh mana ketelusan Jabatan Audit Negara dalam siasatan itu, sedangkan jabatan itu juga melaporkan kepada Kementerian Kewangan dan Perdana Menteri juga Menteri Kewangan. Wujud konflik kepercayaan terhadap keputusan siasatan itu?

Tun Daim: Sebab itu dari dulu saya kata, saya pernah menulis surat mencadangkan Perdana Menteri jangan jadi Menteri Kewangan. Kalau ada masalah macam ini bukan salah Perdana Menteri jika beliau bukan Menteri Kewangan. Tetapi saya tidak tahu mengapa Perdana Menteri mahu juga menjadi Menteri Kewangan, Pak Lah pun macam itu juga.

Ia akan wujudkan konflik. Kalau Menteri Kewangan bukan kesilapan, dia juga Perdana Menteri, hendak marah tidak boleh, hendak buang tidak boleh. Kalau Menteri Kewangan orang lain, kita boleh ambil tindakan. Ketua Audit Negara memang membuat audit dan akan menyerahkan kepada Kementerian Kewangan. Semasa saya dulu kita terima sahaja. Dia hendak tulis apa, tulislah dan kita terima.

Kalau kita hendak perbetulkan dari bagi tahu, ini jangan tulis, itu jangan tulis susahlah. Kesilapan yang berlaku kita perbetulkan. Jabatan Audit Negara memang bebas walaupun di bawah Kementerian Kewangan.

Sekarang ini memang susahlah sebab Menteri Kewangan adalah penasihat kepada 1MDB. Ini masalah besar. Saya pun tidak tahu, patut beliau fikir sedalam-dalamnya apa yang baik kepada negara.

Perdana Menteri pun sibuk, banyak masa diperlukan untuk memerintah negara, perlu tahu perkara hal ehwal luar negara. Jadi Menteri Kewangan pula jaga kementerian yang besar, terlalu banyak perkara yang perlu diselesaikan, berkaitan dengan wang pula.

Sebab itu dari dulu saya kata, saya pernah menulis surat mencadangkan Perdana Menteri jangan menjadi Menteri Kewangan. Kalau ada masalah macam ini bukan salah Perdana Menteri jika beliau bukan Menteri Kewangan. Tetapi saya tidak tahu mengapa Perdana Menteri mahu juga menjadi Menteri Kewangan, Pak Lah pun macam itu juga.

Tun ada idea mengapa 1MDB menyimpan wang pelaburannya dari Pulau Cayman di Singapura?

Tun Daim: Kalau kita hendak simpan duit di luar negara, kita ada Labuan Offshore. Kita boleh simpan dolar di Labuan. Mengapa tidak guna Labuan? Kalau tidak guna Labuan bermakna kita tidak percaya dengan sistem perbankan kita. Kalau Menteri Kewangan tidak percaya, siapa hendak percaya? Konflik terlampau banyak. 1MDB beritahu duit itu untuk dilaburkan termasuk dalam IPP, kalau macam itu mengapa simpan duit di luar? Ini soalan-soalan yang tidak dapat dijawab, kita pun heran mengapa soalan tidak dapat dijawab. Cuba telus.

Sebelum ini kata 1MDB tidak pinjam daripada Ananda Krishna, di Parlimen kata pinjam. Apa ni? Kalau sudah buat silap, jangan bohong. Patut terus terang, kalau buat silap kita mengaku kesilapan. Kena perbetulkan kesilapan, bukan cerita-cerita lain. Bila orang korek cerita, sudah jadi masalah kepada kerajaan sebab terbelit sendiri. Kalau rakyat tidak percaya, ini kacau.

Pada pandangan Tun siasatan 1MDB memang mengambil masa?

Tun Daim: Kalau saya kerajaan, saya akan mempercepatkan siasatan, mengembalikan kepercayaan rakyat. Siasatan ini tidak boleh drag on, kalau lama sangat, menghampiri pilihan raya lagi teruk. Rakyat tidak lupa. Kalau kesilapan kecil tidak mengapa. Kerajaan kata tidak bail out (selamatkan) tetapi RM950 juta itu apa tetapi kerajaan kata tidak mahu bail out. Kerajaan patut buat keputusan sama ada hendak tutup atau hendak teruskan. Kalau mahu teruskan, macam mana. Kalau hendak tutup lagi senang, cut the losses. Buat keputusan.

Patutkah 1MDB ditutup? 

Tun Daim: Macam kata Tun Mahathir 1MDB tidak perlu pun. Mula-mula kata 1MDB sebagai sovereign fund (dana berdaulat), sekarang kata strategic industry (industri strategik). Kalau strategik industri, IPP sudah diswastakan sejak sekian lama, hartanah, bina rumah high rise ramai yang boleh buat, kerajaan tidak payah buat. Kerajaan tidak patut terlibat dalam perniagaan. Kalau kerajaan terlibat dalam perniagaan inilah masalahnya kerana kerajaan tidak pandai berniaga. Yang teruk apabila Perdana Menteri jadi penasihat, hendak salah siapa? Saya pun tidak setuju Perdana Menteri jadi pengerusi dalam syarikat-syarikat milik kerajaan (GLC). Sepatutnya GLC yang menjalankan perniagaan patut independent (bebas), apabila Perdana Menteri terlibat susah.

Ekoran kegagalan 1MDB, wajarkah kerajaan melihat balik mekanisme penubuhan GLC?

Tun Daim: Itu yang saya tidak faham mengapa wujudkan 1MDB, kita hendak buat sesuatu mesti ada tujuan. Ini tidak ada tujuan. Macam Khazanah Nasional Berhad (Khazanah), kita tubuhkan dulu supaya tengok bisnes strategik agar tidak berlawan dengan sektor swasta. Banyak pelaburan sektor swasta tidak mahu sebab lambat untung.

Khazanah masuk dalam sektor-sektor swasta seperti Proton, Perwaja. Inilah industri strategik. Macam keretapi laju ke Singapura walaupun ia tidak perlu, MRT, sektor swasta tidak akan buat – mahal. Kalau hendak buat rumah tidak payahlah, ramai yang boleh buat.

Betulkah tindakan kerajaan menubuhkan 1MDB?

Tun Daim: Tidak betul, tidak perlu pun. Prinsip kerajaan tidak perlu buat bisnes. Kerajaan perlu wujud persekitaran bisnes untuk peluang pekerjaan dan kutipan cukai. Hendak terbabit bisnes pasal apa? Kerajaan sepatutnya memerintah sahaja.

Apa pandangan Tun jika 1MDB teruskan dengan Tawaran Awam Permulaan (IPO) ?

Tun Daim: Kalau IPO diteruskan, mereka ingat boleh gunakan Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja (KWSP), Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (KWAP) tetapi DAP siang-siang lagi beritahu kalau gunakan KWSP, KWAP untuk IPO, mereka akan ambil injuksi. Kalau KWSP, KWAP tidak boleh beli, siapa yang hendak beli? Lagi teruk kalau tidak laku. If they take injunction kacau. Mereka kata KWSP duit rakyat, Tabung Haji duit orang Islam untuk tujuan pergi Mekah bukan hendak beli benda-benda tu semua. KWAP untuk golongan pencen pula.

Kalau betul seperti yang didakwa aset 1MDB melebihi hutang bermakna sebarang masalah tidak akan menimbulkan kebimbangan dalam ekonomi negara, bukankah begitu?

Tun Daim: Dalam keadaan sekarang pun, ringgit jatuh. Gabenor Bank Negara kata fundamental masih elok. Bila orang tanya saya – saya jawab kalau fundamental bagus tetapi ringgit jatuh mesti ada sebab. Mungkin pasaran tidak percaya, mungkin salah satunya disebabkan 1MDB. Sebab itu ada laporan yang menyatakan Daim menyebut ringgit jatuh sebab 1MDB.

Saya tidak mengatakan demikian, mungkin pasaran tidak percaya kepada kerajaan dan salah satu sebab mungkin disebabkan 1MDB. Selagi pasaran tidak yakin, tidak percaya, ringgit akan lemah. Bagaimana hendak bagi orang percaya kalau asyik bagi jawapan yang tidak betul. Macam mana orang mahu percaya. Kalau asyik beri jawapan salah akan timbul lagi banyak persoalan.

Bermakna pandangan Tun kedudukan ringgit akan mengambil masa untuk pulih, begitukah?

Tun Daim: Fitch Ratings akan menurunkan taraf Malaysia kepada BBB . Lagi teruk sebab kalau hendak buat pinjaman harga (kadar faedah) lebih tinggi.

Saya ingat masalah kita ialah apabila orang Melayu takut mahu soal pemimpin. Masih buta tuli taat setia. Itu tidak boleh, silap. Kalau mereka silap kita kena tegur, itu tanggungjawab rakyat. Pemimpin kena terima kalau teguran itu betul, barulah kita boleh buat kerja dengan baik.

Bukankah pemimpin belum bersedia menerima teguran?

Tun Daim: Tidak, itu memang sifat orang Melayu, taat setia. Sebab itu orang putih suka orang Melayu. Orang putih tahu orang Melayu akan terima pandangan pemimpin dan nasihat mereka. Itu memang sikap orang Melayu.

Bolehkah ekonomi berhadapan dengan hutang 1MDB jika syarikat ini ditutup?

Tun Daim: Kalaulah kita kata 1MDB lingkup  tetapi selagi bank boleh menanganinya, it’s ok. Kita pernah melalui beberapa syarikat yang rugi seperti forex, Bank Bumiputera, selagi kita boleh handle, bayar hutang – tidak ada masalah. Cuma kita kena berani menghadapinya tetapi kalau kita asyik sembunyi-sembunyi susahlah. Berbalik kepada ekonomi, sekarang ini hanya ekonomi Amerika yang baik. Eropah, China masih lemah.

Betul pertumbuhan ekonomi Malaysia 5.5 peratus dan tidak ada krisis dari segi pertumbuhan tetapi apakah jaminan kita tidak berada dalam krisis dalam perkara lain sedangkan hutang isi rumah meningkat, hutang negara juga semakin menghampiri had. Rakyat Malaysia masih tidak mampu beli rumah, harga barang naik, orang marah. Projek Perumahan Rakyat 1Malaysia yang dilancarkan di Putrajaya pun bukan PR1MA bina tetapi dibina oleh Perbadanan Putrajaya. Inilah kita kata krisis.


 Apa pandangan Tun mengenai pelaksanaan GST? 

Tun Daim: Sepatutnya semasa diumumkan terus dilaksanakan. Jangan tunggu 15 bulan, kita bagi orang debat. Cukai adalah rahsia sebenarnya. Ini kita bagi masa, orang berdebatlah. Memang orang tak suka cukai. Tidak pernah bila umum cukai kita tangguhkan pelaksanaannya sebab cukai perkara rahsia.

Saya cuba perkenalkan GST pada tahun 1985 untuk luaskan pendapatan negara supaya tidak bergantung kepada Petronas tapi Tun Mahathir tidak setuju. GST memang tidak popular tetapi sudah lebih 160 negara melaksanakannya.

GST sebenarnya untuk mengenakan cukai kepada orang kaya. Kalau kita tidak mahu bayar (GST) jangan belanja. Yang rakyat mahu tahu, adakah makanan keperluan dikenakan GST atau tidak, kalau tidak kena (cukai) oklah. Ini tidak, cerita benda tidak tentu hala, sekarang kelam-kabut. Not well thought of.

 Pada pandangan Tun mengapa jadi begitu?

Tun Daim: Dulu Kabinet kalau mahu buat apa-apa, kita akan panggil kesatuan-kesatuan dulu. Kita terangkan apa yang mahu kita lakukan, bincang, dapat maklum balas, justify. Jadi apabila mereka faham, mereka boleh terima dan menerangkan kepada orang ramai. Sekarang ini saya rasa tidak lagi, kerajaan tidak peduli, sebab itu banyak pemimpin kesatuan beralih kepada parti pembangkang.

Kalau kerajaan selalu berjumpa, berbincang, tidak meminggirkan mereka- percayalah mereka tidak akan menentang kerajaan. Itu baru yang dikatakan kerajaan mendahulukan rakyat. Cuepacs minta naik gaji kerana mereka lihat menteri-menteri pun naik gaji, ahli Parlimen naik gaji.

UMNO menyokong pelaksanaan hudud di Kelantan, apa komen Tun?

Tun Daim: Dr. Mahathir pernah menulis surat kepada Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz pada tahun 1994, dalam surat itu beliau menyatakan mahu  ekonomi rakyat Islam diperkukuhkan dan yang kedua soal keadilan. Ini negara Islam yang berbilang kaum, kalau Islam buat salah dihukum dan bukan Islam buat salah tidak dihukum (hudud). Mana keadilan, tanya Dr. Mahathir. Hudud ini agak complicated . Dalam al-Quran pun lebih banyak diberitahu mengenai keadilan. Malaysia belum sedia sebenarnya. Dalam hukum hudud, kalau mencuri potong tangan.

Kalau semua kaya tidak ada orang yang mahu mencuri, sebab itu penting memperbaikan ekonomi orang Islam. Pandangan saya, UMNO di Kelantan sokong hudud sebab di sana ramai orang Melayu.

Dengan cara itu pembangkang sudah berpecah belah. Itu politik sahaja, nothing to do with agama. DAP tidak mahu kerjasama dengan Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang. DAP tahu kalau keluar (pakatan) nanti kalah, kalau terus bersama, masalah.

Apa pun kita kena tengok ending (pengakhirannya) kerana yang penting bagi DAP mahu ke Putrajaya, Pas pun hendak ke Putrajaya, soal ideologi tidak kira. Kalau sampai sana nanti gaduhlah. Terpulang kepada pengundi-pengundi.

Bagi saya yang penting ekonomi, kalau semua baik orang tidak peduli hudud atau tidak hudud. Kita tengok negara yang laksana hudud seperti sebahagian negeri Nigeria ada Boko Haram, Arab Saudi negara Islam, Afghanistan, sebahagian Pakistan ada Taliban. Acheh pula hudud . Di Brunei kita belum dengar pun rakyat kena hukum, negara itu semua percuma.

Cuma masalahnya para pelabur lari, mereka takut. Pelabur Amerika dan Yahudi boikot.

Kalau undang-undang hudud dibaca di Parlimen perlukah sokongan 2/3?

Tun Daim: Tidak payah 2/3, public members bill, ikut majoriti. Besar kemungkinan it goes through dengan sokongan Pas dan UMNO. Setakat ini Najib berdiam kerana tindakan mahkamah, subjudis sebab itulah UMNO diamlah tidak boleh cakap.

Tidakkah sokongan UMNO kepada hudud akan melemahkan UMNO sendiri sebab orang Melayu secara umumnya akan bersama PAS, DAP bersama DAP, UMNO pula ada MCA dan Gerakan? Pada masa sama UMNO perlu jaga hati orang Melayu.

Tun Daim: Apa-apa pun Sabah dan Sarawak tidak akan undi. Sebab ini undi individu. Apa pun tujuan UMNO tujuan sudah tercapai.

Siapakah yang boleh jadi pemimpin pelapis dalam UMNO?

Tun Daim: Kalau dalam UMNO Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. Kalau tidak berpecah-belah.

Adakah Muhyiddin mempunyai ciri-ciri membawa perubahan?

Tun Daim: Muhyiddin boleh bawa perubahan, tetapi kalau dia seorang sahaja, memang tidak boleh menguruskan negara. Seorang pemimpin perlukan pasukan yang pandai, yang ada brain, dan faham tentang negara. Muhyiddin Boleh, tapi kena tahu sejarah negara. Kalau tidak tahu macam mana hendak move forward.

Adakah UMNO dan Barisan Nasional sudah bersedia untuk menghadapi Pilihan Raya Umum akan datang?

Tun Daim: Pilihan raya Permatang Pauh pun tidak bersedia. Patut apabila Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim sudah ke dalam, UMNO bersedialah. Patut kena plan sekarang, apa lagi tunggu? Patut sudah pilih calon dan pergi kempen. – MalaysiaGazette

Najib’s Slow Death

April 4, 2015

Najib’s Slow Death

by Roger Mitton@

Living under the tawdry and sinking regime of Prime Minister Najib Razak must seem to Malaysians like death by treacle.

Rosmah and Najib 1mdbThey are drowning in a gluey black sea of venality the likes of which has not been seen in this region since the days of President Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines.

The mounting litany of shameful episodes that have riven that nation all appear to be traceable to the hapless Prime Minister, who is also the head of the dominant political party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO).

Things are so bad that last week the UMNO-owned newspaper, Utusan Malaysia, carried an outrageous editorial that tried to exonerate Najib and shift the blame elsewhere.It failed, of course, because it was arguing against facts that indicate to all Malaysians that Najib is steadily sinking into the treacly pit of corruption and maladministration into which he has plunged his country.

If you think this is over the top, just consider a few of the more damning indictments against the Prime Minister and his band of gangsters, cheats and philanderers. First, there are the missing billions of taxpayers’ money. It is hard to truly comprehend the full magnitude of this gigantic, nepotistic malfeasance, and even the illustrious New York Times took three pages to try to do it.

Riza and Jho LowSuffice to say that Najib’s stepson, Riza Aziz, the offspring of the PM’s second wife Rosmah, is the man apparently responsible for most of the woes brought about by this debacle – otherwise known as 1MDB.

The initials stand for 1Malaysia Development Berhad, a sovereign wealth fund that has lost billions due to corruption and mismanagement, and is still weighed down by massive nonperforming loans. The fund appears to be almost entirely controlled by Najib, Aziz and a flamboyant Penang conman called Jho Low – no relation to Jennifer Lopez, though he mixes with Paris Hilton and other Hollywood starlets.

Why and how? There is no clear answer, except to recall that Najib is under the sway of Rosmah, a shopaholic wrecking ball, who shrugs off ridicule and ignores how her actions thwart her husband’s premiership. In truth, the personal damage to Najib is piffling compared to the disastrous effect the huge 1MDB losses are having on the already fragile Malaysian economy.

An opposition MP has called the fund fiasco “the mother of the mother of the mother of all scandals in the history of Malaysia”. He may be right. Certainly, there are already worries that if and when 1MDB collapses, the nation’s financial system may take a hit that will dwarf the effect of the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997.

And bear in mind that Malaysia’s resource-dependent economy is already in trouble due to the depressed price of its key exports, petroleum oil and palm oil. Last month (January), Najib announced US$1.5 billion in spending cuts and said Malaysia’s economic growth would fall from 6 percent to between 4.5pc and 5.5pc this year. The economic woes have been compounded by diminishing political support at home.

In the last general election two years ago, Najib vowed to reverse the drop in votes that his UMNO-led coalition had witnessed under his predecessor, PM Abdullah Badawi.It did not happen. His government ceded even more seats and lost four state assemblies and the overall popular vote to the opposition People’s Alliance, led by Anwar Ibrahim.

Since that chastening experience, Najib has clung onto the UMNO leadership by appeasing his key support base, the nation’s Malay-Muslim majority, and marginalising the minority Chinese and Indian communities.

This shocking move was his only option, or else he would have faced the same fate as Abdullah, who was elbowed out after his election failure by UMNO party men.Concurrently, Najib has reversed his promise to dump the colonial-era Sedition Act, and instead applied it with increasing frequency against oppositionists, lawyers, journalists and academics.

Most recently, Anwar has been jailed for five years after a dubious sodomy conviction, while one of the nation’s popular cartoonists has been detained for drawing caricatures that lampoon the farcical Anwar trial.

Not only do these actions signal a premier running scared – as would be expected after the 1MDB catastrophe and his election setback – but they are grotesquely hypocritical.

1MDB-The ScandalTarring Anwar with sodomy conveniently distracts attention from the fact that Najib, a notorious philanderer in his early days like most UMNO leaders, may be complicit in the murder of a Mongolian model. The demise of this woman, the lover of the PM’s closest adviser and many Malaysians suspect also Najib’s mistress, is under investigation due to a $155 million kickback in an intertwined submarine deal negotiated when Najib was Defence Minister.

All of this led Utusan to issue its absurd editorial that – wait for it – blamed America for the country’s woes. It even accused Washington, which has criticised Anwar’s jailing, of copying the opposition leader’s behaviour.

According to Utusan, “The US wants to ‘sodomise’ our legal and judicial system, even though the majority of Malaysians agree with the court’s decision.” Well, that is a moot point. Certainly the voting pattern suggests most Malaysians would happily accept Anwar as their next PM.

daim-mahathirIn any case, Najib’s survival may depend more on UMNO elders like former PM Mahathir Mohamad, and former Finance Ministers Daim Zainuddin and  Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. Since they have all turned against him, though, the omens are not good.

Follow the Money

March 24, 2015

Follow the Money

by Tricia

DG of Bank NegaraAT its annual report launch, Bank Negara Deputy Governor gave a relatively healthy assessment of the country’s economy. So glowing was the report, however, that several members of the audience felt compelled to ask his opinion of 1MDB, the proverbial elephant in the room.

He essentially responded by saying that “sovereigns” (meaning government-backed entities) are not monitored as closely as are “corporates” (meaning the private sector) in their respective issuance of bonds and similar financial instruments. This is presumably because a bond or debt obligation issued by a government authority is usually assumed as low-risk, given that they are backed by the taxing power of the said government.

What Bank Negara said was essentially correct, since its responsibility is limited to ensuring the stability of the Banking Sector. As long as 1MDB – which is a government entity, given it is wholly owned by the Finance Ministry – is able to pay back loans owed to local banks (like Maybank and RHB), then the Banking Sector is safe. But ay, there’s the rub.

As at March 2014, 1MDB’s accounts showed a whopping debt of RM41.9 billion. (Which is, by the way, just short of the entire 2015 budgetary allocation to the country’s development, totaling RM50.5 billion. It is also eight times more than what is allocated to safety and security in 2015, totalling RM4.9 billion).

Ultimately, if it is unable to pay off its multiple loans owed both locally and abroad, does it not mean that the government would have to cough up the sum? And this is already happening as events continue to unfold on a daily basis.

Most recently, Putrajaya confirmed RM950 million was given as a standby credit for 1MDB, which is basically when a fixed amount of credit is made available to the borrower as and when required for a given period of time. These are monies that could have been put to better use, surely.

Tengku Razaleigh HamzahWorse, frustration with the powers that be will surely grow if the additional RM5.6 billion revenues collected from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) that is about to be implemented are shown to be used for such unpalatable purposes. Just this week, former Finance Minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said in Parliament that the people had the right to know if GST “benefited the country or (would be) used only to pay the interest to debtors and bondholders”.

In one of the many conversations I had recently on the “1MDB losses”, a friend reminded me of a joke that is hauntingly relevant. A woman invested RM100 into the bank, expecting her funds to be safe and secure. Upon finding out the money was gone, she screamed hysterically to the bank officer, “You’ve lost my money!” to which he politely replied, “Your money is not lost, ma’am. It’s just somewhere else.” Likewise, the question we ought to be asking ourselves is: Where did the money go?

That is something the Auditor-General’s office will have to answer as they dutifully scrutinise the accounts of the much talked-about entity over the next few weeks.

Even if some of these funds can be restored, the concern still remains: How should government finances remain sustainable over a long-term period? IDEAS, in a policy paper released this week makes some suggestions, pertaining to an existing but very little-heard of national trust fund called the Kumpulan Wang Amanah Negara (or KWAN).

The KWAN was set up in 1988 with the original intention of saving for the future, especially from our depleting national resources. However, its total wealth for all of its 26 years of existence comes up to only RM9 billion. This is a relatively meagre amount when compared with the Norwegian Global Pension Fund, which has more than double that amount despite having started later than the Malaysian KWAN. In fact, it only represents 1.5% of the total petroleum revenue accumulated over the last 26 years.

Although our dependence on the oil and gas sector has fallen slightly over the last few years, its revenues still contribute some one-third to our overall national income. Credit is due to the non-resource sectors (manufacturing and services), given their continual growth as a proportion of total GDP, which is encouraging.

But given the spendthrift tendencies of our government of late (our operational expenditure expanded on average 11% annually from 1971 to present, and more alarmingly by more than 20% in 2011), it is important to strengthen existing infrastructure.

For instance, we propose that the KWAN governance mechanism needs to be made much more robust in the way the fund is managed, how deposits and withdrawals are regulated, and finally, how it is accountable to taxpayers.

Some of the key disciplines of a well-governed fund (as outlined by the Natural Resource Governance Institute and the Columbia Centre on Sustainable Interest) are that it should have clear and well-enforced objectives, fiscal rules, investment rules, division between the authority and various managers, and finally have regular and extensive disclosure to the public whilst ensuring independent oversight bodies exist.

Many of these governance mechanisms do not exist for the KWAN. For instance, the deposit and withdrawal rules are too general and need to be more quantifiably specific. Other oversight agencies ought to be brought in; currently only the Finance Ministry and Bank Negara are involved – parliamentary committees should also be included as an additional measure.

Finally, its reports should be publicly downloadable online and a website should be dedicated to publish all relevant details of the fund.

It is not just 1MDB or Pembinaan PFI or KWAN that must be examined closely; all other state-owned enterprises and funds (and there are many) ought to be monitored with a fine-tooth comb. The adage is true: it really is your and my money. As taxpayers, we should demand nothing less.

Tricia Yeoh is the Chief Operating Officer of a local, independent think-tank. Comments: