My friend Abu Talib responds to this UMNO Fella Apandi


February 8, 2016

My friend Abu Talib responds to this UMNO Fella: A-G Apandi

by V. Anbalagan, Assistant News Editor

My principle is to assist them in the performance of their duties and responsibilities.It was also my directive not to prefer any criminal charge on any suspect unless the prosecution has sufficient, credible and admissible evidence to justify prosecution.–Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman

Former Attorney-General Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman today said he had never directed investigation agencies, including the anti-graft body, to stop their probes.

“My principle is to assist them in the performance of their duties and responsibilities. It was also my directive not to prefer any criminal charge on any suspect unless the prosecution has sufficient, credible and admissible evidence to justify prosecution,” he said.

Current A-G Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali had said he had followed in Abu Talib’s footsteps when he ordered the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to close its investigations into the RM2.6 billion donation and RM42 million SRC International funds deposited in prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s private accounts.

“I am just following my master’s footsteps. Now he said I couldn’t do that. I am confused.I hope he can come to see me so that I can offer my explanation,” Apandi reportedly told Sin Chew Daily in an exclusive interview.

Apandi was a senior officer with the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) in the early 1980s when Abu Talib was the A-G. Abu Talib last week told The Malaysian Insider that the A-G, who is also the public prosecutor, had no authority to order MACC to close its investigations into the two cases.

“This is a case of public importance that has attracted worldwide attention. The A-G must help MACC to collect evidence as the source of the fund is outside Malaysia,” Abu Talib had said.

Today, Abu Talib said Apandi should refresh his memory of cases where he had directed an on-going investigation to be closed.”Frankly, I cannot remember,” he said.

Abu Talib also said Apandi would not have been in a confused state of mind if he had indeed followed in his footsteps.

“His decision in the circumstances has raised more questions than solve the allegations against the Prime Minister, the status of other investigations related to the activities of 1MDB and persons connected with the company,” he said.

He said that in all fairness to Najib and the public, and mindful that the RM2.6 billion came from outside Malaysia, Apandi should have given all the necessary assistance to MACC to complete their investigations.

“It may well be that at the end of the day, Apandi will find enough evidence to show that Najib had done no wrong under the law,” he added.

The public, said Abu Talib, was not likely to question Apandi’s decision (to clear the PM of criminal wrongdoing) if he had allowed MACC to collect evidence outside Malaysia.

“As it is, Apandi’s decision appears questionable and has cast negative perceptions on his impartiality, commitment to justice and rule of law,” he added.

Abu Talib said he was not answerable to Apandi and that he was free to exercise his constitutional right to comment on a case of great public interest, so long he did not cross the limits of freedom of expression.

“My comment is clear and made in good faith. There is nothing further to explain,” he said.He added that Apandi was welcome to see him if he wanted to learn and know more about the law.

 

A-G Apandi is an overzealous heck and should be impeached


February 7, 2016

The reluctant A-G Apandi is an overzealous heck and should be impeached

COMMENT: Malaysia’s Worst Attorney-General is unable to do what is right. Yet he claims to serve our King. Actually, he is just Najib’s apologist and henchman. He deserves to go down with our most corrupt Prime Minister. Our Parliament must move to impeach him.

I am also someone whose ancestors came from India-a mamak.But  I do not have the problem of wanting to be more Malay than the Malay. Anyway, who is a Malay? He is actually a constitutional construct. Even Ridhuan Tee Abdullah is Malay when he is a Malaysian Chinese. What is great about being a Malay who depends on UMNO’s handouts?  Only mamaks with tons of hang-ups like him, Chief Secretary Hamsa Ali, and Secretary-General to the Malaysian Treasury Irwan Sirega are prepared to sell themselves to the Malaysian political demon for status and name recognition.–Din Merican

source: http://www.malaysiakini.com

Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali dismissed his predecessor Abu Talib Othman’s opinion that he did not have authority to close the RM2.6 billion case, adding that all he did was based on what he had learnt from the former A-G.

“I am just following my master’s footstep. Now he said I couldn’t do that. I am confused.I hope he can come to see me so that I can offer my explanation,” he was quoted as saying by Sin Chew Daily in an exclusive interview.

Last week, Abu Talib slammed Apandi alleging that the AG had no authority to order the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to close its investigations into the RM2.6 billion donation deposited into Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s personal accounts.

“Under Article 145 (3) of the Federal constitution, the A-G has power only to institute, conduct and discontinue any (criminal) proceedings, but has no authority to order any investigation agency to close its investigation papers.

“This is a case of public importance that has attracted worldwide attention. The AG must help the MACC to collect evidence as the source of the fund is outside Malaysia,” said Abu Talib.

Didn’t request Swiss AG to close 1MDB case

In a related matter, Apandi also insisted that he never requested his Swiss counterpart to close the European nation’s own investigations into 1MDB during a meeting last September.

“I never said that… That’s a lie. I never mention any 1MDB cases. It was a courtesy call… If the Swiss needs any help, I will provide…The meeting was about mutual legal assistance. We could help at any time, that’s it.”

Apandi said the meeting between him and Swiss Attorney-General Michael Lauber was also attended by Deputy Solicitor-General Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah and an officer from Lauber’s office.

He said the office of the Swiss Attorney-General had requested the help of the AG’s Chambers through the Foreign Ministry, though the official request they filed only reached him on February 4.

However, Apandi said he has yet to read the Swiss document.The A-G’s Chambers, he added, will extend its help to the Swiss under the mutual legal assistance protocols, though he refused to disclose details as it is “top secret”.

Last week, Reuters reported that a Malaysian official strongly urged Lauber to drop his 1MDB-related investigation during a meeting last September.Prior to Apandi’s decision to close the cases against Najib, Lauber through his office had reportedly made a request to Malaysia for assistance in his country’s 1MDB probe into possible violations of Swiss laws related to bribery of foreign officials, misconduct in public office, money laundering and criminal mismanagement.

Lauber also reportedly said that Najib was not a suspect in the Swiss probe.Apandi subsequently said he would take all possible steps to assist Swiss authorities but clarified that the investigations into the RM2.6 billion donation made to Najib were entirely separate from those into 1MDB.

Gani only worked two days a week

Apandi also said that his appointment to the nation’s top legal office is valid and constitutional.

He said the health problems afflicting his immediate predecessor, Abdul Gani Patail, is an open secret. Abdul Gani, he added, needs to have dialysis three days a week, which rendered the former A-G capable of working only two days each week, minus the weekend.

In contrast, Apandi said he has been working tirelessly since taking over from Abdul Gani.”You see, with the workload of the A-G, I could not take leave after I assume office. I work 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“I even have to work from home (after office hours),” he said, adding he has to maintain communications with his officers via email at all times.For example, he said, he has to work until one in the morning if a case is urgent.

Sacrificed wealth to join public service

Apandi also said he made “financial sacrifices” when he left his private legal practice to join the public service. Nevertheless, he said he was honoured to serve the country and the Agong.”I never ask for this job (AG). I was offered to be made A-G.”

Previously, Apandi said he could earn RM15,000 a case when he was in private practice, excluding the additional legal consultantation fees.”At that time a judicial commissioner could earn a basic salary of RM17,000. For me, that is nothing. Add on other allowances, it would only reach no more than RM20,000.”

He said he has invested money earned from his private legal practice into property, including Wisma Apandi which was build in his hometown of Kota Bahru.

The building, he said, has given him good rental income. Apandi was appointed A-G after his predecessor Abdul Gani was let go purportedly due to “health problems” last July, which coincided with a cabinet reshuffle which saw the deputy prime minister, who had been vocal on the 1MDB scandal, removed.

In late January, he cleared Najib from criminal wrongdoings in the RM2.6 billion donation and RM42 million SRC International cases.

UMNO: Three Down but more problems ahead for Party President


February 6, 2016

UMNO: Three Down but more problems ahead for Party President

by Scott Ng

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com

muhyiddin-shafie-mukhriz

And so Mukhriz Mahathir, a son of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s greatest enemy, is no longer in the hallowed halls. All is well in the UMNO camp once again. But is that so?

As perfect as the situation may seem for Najib and his supporters, the reality is that Mukhriz’s ouster has only deepened the divide between UMNO’s leadership and its grassroots.

Mukhriz’s replacement, Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah, is a proven weakness. Kedah would still be a Pakatan-held state if not for Mukhriz and the bigwigs who campaigned for him in the last general election. And while he may have preferred spending time in the big city to staying put in largely rural Kedah, he nonetheless ran the state credibly.

As a son of Malaysia’s longest-serving Prime Minister, Mukhriz’s pedigree would have been unquestioned in any other period of our recent political history. But these are times when Najib holds unchallenged power.

Mukhriz nonetheless went down swinging. He told the press that the true reason UMNO wanted him gone was that he had the gall to criticise the PM over the 1MDB scandal and the issue of the RM2.6 billion donation. In doing so, he affirmed the belief of thousands of supporters, as well as many other Malaysians, that Najib Razak cares only for Najib Razak, and that there will be hell to pay if any UMNO leader dares to step out of line.

Even the opposition members of the Kedah state assembly went to bat for Mukhriz, with all 15 of them endorsing a statement calling for Najib to step down instead. They said the removal of the Menteri Besar must be done according to the law. Far from merely attempting to drive a wedge between the ruling party and the people, the opposition here voiced out what many Kedahans have been saying — if there really is a crisis of confidence, put it to a vote and show the people that Mukhriz really has lost the support of the state assembly.

Maybe this Bomoh can save UMNO

These shenanigans and ground shifts no longer confuse the people or make them fearful. They make them angry instead, and UMNO is deluding itself if it thinks that the voices that swelled in song at Stadium Darul Aman belonged only to Mukhriz’s political camp. The truth is that the rakyat in Kedah and elsewhere are fed up with the actions of the ruling party and they are no longer content to be silent about it. This certainly is not something any ruling party would want as it prepares for a general election.

UMNO must know that it may have gambled Kedah away unless it has a strikingly brilliant plan for regaining the trust of voters before GE14. But appearances thus far indicate that the party is playing a dangerous game of touch and go. If the clashes currently happening between Mukhriz’s supporters and detractors are any indication, it is likely that the Kedah situation is far from over.

The nation will be watching closely, and the Prime Minister must choose his next move wisely or bear even more open derision in the face of his efforts to turn public opinion around. Where Kedah goes from here, there too may go the rest of the country. Q.E.D

 

Kassim Ahmad: MAN–What is MAN?


February 6, 2016

Kassim Ahmad: MAN–What is MAN?

What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculties! In form and moving, how exspress and admirable! In action, how like an angel! In apprehension, how like a god! The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me – no, nor woman neither.                                                                                                    HAMLET,  Shakespeare.

Recently I promised my readers to write on Man. In the Bible, God said that He created man in His own image. In the Quran, man is His vicegerent on Earth (Arabic: khalifah). The meaning is essentially the same: ruler. Man is the ruler and the re-maker of the Universe. That has, of course been done. Man has created cities and civilizations, from ancient Babylon and Egypt, through ancient Greece, and Rome, through modern Arabian monotheism, and lastly through modern Europe and its extension in the United States of America.

In a beautiful allegory in the second chapter of the Quran, the angels protested against the creation of Man, saying that Man is a shedder of blood and spreader of corruption in the world. God simply said that He knew better. (See Quran, 2: 30)

The angels were partially right. Man did shed blood in the two World Wars. (God forbid that there will be a third!). After the Second World War, there was a period called “Cold War” when a strategic balance was struck between the American-led so-called Democratic block and the Soviet-led Eastern block. In the meanwhile, Man’s knowledge advance, slowly at first, then by leaps and bounce, and we are now at the threshold of colonizing outer space. In two generations we shall indeed be living in outer space!

So it does seem that God’s optimism about Man has been amply demonstrated. If I am not mistaken, more miracles are coming. Anti-aging, for one. We shall soon be forever young!

Public intellectual Kassim Ahmad or  Village Preacher Hadi Awang: Pak Kassim is my Choice by a Mile–Din Merican

There is no doubt that man cannot escape reaping the harvest of what he had sowed. He will be punished to the extent of his criminality, i.e. disobedience to his own Maker.  Unless my reading of the Quran is at fault, this means man will punish his own wrong-doing. What incredible beauty!

 In the end, man will have punished himself enough, and he will be freed from his own Hell, and enter Paradise. Such is God’s incredible power and wisdom. No wonder we are asked always to remember God’s graciousness and mercy.– www.kassimahmad.blogspot.com

The Mukhriz Firing–It’s Personal for Mahathir


February 4, 2016

On Mukhriz: It’s Personal now for Tun Dr. Mahathir

COMMENT by Malaysiakini:

What goes around, comes around. So dictate the laws of karma.In the not too distant past, a politician in the upper echelons was unceremoniously removed, shamed, degraded, beaten and imprisoned.

Then too, many leaders in UMNO had toed the line, remained silent or lent their voices to the chorus of assailment.

And now, the architect of that poignant episode, which served as the impetus for the events that changed the Malaysian political landscape, has a front row seat to witness a similar scene unfold.

This time, it is his own son, Murkhriz Mahathir, who has been forced out of power while those in UMNO continued to remain aphonic. Therein lies the problem with Dr Mahathir Mohamad – it is difficult to feel sympathy for a man who exhibited little or no compassion in deposing his political foe.

Whenever the former Prime Minister points a finger at another accusing him of being unjust or abusing his position, he has four fingers pointing back at him.

One wonders if Mahathir is reflecting on his past deeds at this juncture, and coming to terms with how, over the decades, fate has dictated that he transforms from invincible to vulnerable. Then again, he is a politician to the core, one through whose veins course the art of Machiavelli, where statecraft is managed with cunning shrewdness.

Same strategies

And now, his successors are employing the same strategies to retain their grip on power. He has taught them well.

While he might be suffering from amnesiac spells that have disconnected his medial temporal lobe responsible for storing memories, the people, however, have not forgotten.

Hence, it came as no surprise that when a photograph depicting Mahathir’s wife Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali embracing their son following his forced resignation as Menteri Besar circulated on social media, some expressed sadness and sympathy, others recalled certain incidents during his tenure.

Furthermore, Mukhriz Mahathir is not Anwar Ibrahim. Charlatan or otherwise, Mukhriz is perhaps the most courageous politician to have emerged from the UMNO ranks in recent times. And it is ironic that his detractors with lesser testicular fortitude continue to harp on his real or fabricated sexual orientation to disparage his manhood.

Mukhriz, on the other hand, is nothing more than his father’s son. He ascended the political hierarchy due to his surname, which opened doors without effort on his part. The son of the former Prime Minister is not a fighter. He would not want to risk landing in prison or taking to the streets, let alone being dealt with a black eye.

However, Mahathir’s adversaries would be committing a fatal error in believing that the move against his son would bring the nonagenarian to his knees.They have struck him where it hurts most.

Mahathir is a predator, and such creatures are most ferocious when wounded. The killer instinct does not mellow with age. And the wound inflicted has left his heart bleeding.

If at all Mahathir was on the brink of relenting and ending his campaign to remove the current Prime Minister, the ouster of his son would renew his zeal for blood.For now, it is no longer about politics. It is personal.

MALAYSIAN POLITICS: Najib Razak defies pundits by his staying power


February 4, 2016

MALAYSIAN POLITICS: Najib Razak defies pundits by his staying power

by James Chin

For the past three years, every political pundit in Malaysia has been asked a simple question: when will Datuk Seri Najib Razak be replaced?

A year ago, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the fourth and longest-serving Prime Minister, in power from 1981 to 2003, was gung-ho about his ability to get rid of Najib.

After all, it is on the public record that Dr Mahathir was largely responsible for the political demise of the first and fifth prime ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. There was no reason to think that he could not secure the trifecta, so to speak.

Yet today, the general consensus in the ruling UMNO is that Najib is quite secure despite the scandal surrounding the US$700 million “political donation” from Saudi Arabia and other shenanigans related to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), a company with quasi-status as a sovereign wealth fund and that is under investigation by Singapore, US and Swiss authorities.

Dr Mahathir and his gang are lying low, and Dr Mahathir’s son, the (former) Kedah Menteri Besar, is under siege from Najib (and has since been removed) .

According to The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, The Economist and the like, Najib is “disastrous” for Malaysia. The Western media cannot comprehend how Najib can stay in power when it is “clear” that “corruption” has taken place, with huge and unexplained sums of money ending up in Najib’s personal bank accounts.

The story is even more compelling when you take into account the dramatic sacking of the Deputy Prime Minister, another Senior Minister from Sabah Shafie (Apdal), and the Attorney-General.

The first two were known to be critics of Najib’s role in 1MDB. The Attorney-General was replaced when he tried to charge Najib with corruption (and quickly replaced a former judge Apandi Ali).

The first thing the new  Deputy Prime Minister (Zahid Hamidi) did was to pledge his loyalty to Najib and the new Attorney-General has cleared Najib of any legal wrong doing in the “political donation” case.

It appears it is not illegal in Malaysia to receive millions of dollars in political donations from a foreign power.Najib has said he did not benefit personally, but used some of the money from the royal family in Saudi Arabia to campaign in the 2013 general election and returned the rest.

What many foreigners and analysts fail to appreciate is the enormous power concentrated in the hands of the Prime Minister. In theory, the PM rules through a coalition government. In practice, he exercises his powers like a feudal king.

He holds what are, arguably, the three most powerful offices in Malaysia. In addition to being Prime Minister he is also Finance Minister and Chairman of the National Security Council (NSC).

He controls tenders and contracts worth billions of dollars and, through the NSC, can shut the country down by declaring an emergency. On top of government contracts, he can appoint anyone he likes to thousands of board positions in government-linked companies (GLCs).

It is generally accepted that these GLCs occupy the commanding heights of the economy. Many of these board positions come with generous perks and allowances paid for very little work, other than attending board meetings.

The truth is the only people who can get rid of Najib are the UMNO “warlords”, the UMNO divisional chiefs, members of UMNO Supreme Council and elected representatives.

There are fewer than 200 people in this group and most of them back Najib. They are aware of Najib’s shenanigans but there is nothing Najib has done that Dr Mahathir, his predecessor had not done.

In fact, an authoritative study of Dr Mahathir’s financial misadventures suggests that he lost more than US$40 billion during his time in office. So what if the Swiss investigating 1MDB say US$4 billion has been misappropriated? That’s merely 10% of what Dr Mahathir lost!

Many of the warlords support Najib for practical reasons. They are on the Najib gravy train of contracts and well-paid positions on GLCs. There are, however, three scenarios that could cause the warlords to rock the boat. These would be if:

It seems likely Najib will lose the next general election (due in 2018). The economy dives and there is an arrest warrant issued for Najib. From my vantage point in Kuala Lumpur, the second of these is the most probable.

Najib is unlikely to lose the next general election as long as he can keep Sabah and Sarawak on his side.

Sarawak is due to hold elections in April and I predict a massive victory for Najib’s Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition. Without Sabah and Sarawak, the BN government would have lost power in the 2008 general election.

In the 2013 vote, it was again the Sabahans and Sarawakians who delivered the winning majority to BN. At present there are no indications that Sabah and Sarawak will abandon Najib or BN, not yet anyway.

The third scenario is unlikely given international investigations are highly complex and subject to multiple jurisdictions with multiple interpretations of what is and isn’t a crime.

As long as he is Prime Minister, Malaysia will refuse to cooperate with any investigations implicating Najib, thus delaying the entire process, at least until the next general election in 2018.

There is a 50/50 chance a slumping economy will end Najib’s reign. A good indicator of a country’s economy is its exchange rate. Since the middle of last year, the ringgit has fallen by about 24% against the US dollar that dominates international trade.

Malaysian businessmen are having a hard time trying to import goods and services. The drop in the price of oil has forced Najib to revise his budget and Petronas, the biggest single contributor to the Malaysian treasury, has announced it will slash US$11.41 billion in capital and operating expenses over the next four years.

If the ringgit hits RM5 to US$1, or seems well on the way there, I predict a palace coup against Najib. Not only would the UMNO warlords politically knife Najib, Malaysian business tycoons, always an influential bloc, would join in.

Foreigners, international media and those Malaysians waiting for “good governance issues” to get Najib out are living in fairy land.

Like most states in the region, ultimately in Malaysia you can’t beat bread and butter politics; most Malaysians are focused on the economy and the cost of living. They don’t spend too much time worrying about corruption. – http://www.lowyinterpreter.org, February 3, 2016.

* Professor James Chin is the inaugural director of the Asia Institute, University of Tasmania. He is an expert on the governance issues in Southeast Asia, especially Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.