Rosmah Mansor: It is time to prosecute her


September 25, 2018

Rosmah Mansor: It is time to prosecute her

by Bernama

The MACC investigation on former Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s wife Rosmah Mansor has been completed and the report submitted to the Attorney-General for the next move, MACC Chief Commissioner Mohd Shukri Abdull said.

“The MACC is only responsible for carrying out the investigation and it is up to the Attorney-General whether to prosecute Rosmah or not,” he said.

Prior to this, media reported that Rosmah may face over 20 criminal charges, mostly involving money laundering.

Last June, she was summoned to give her statements to the MACC at the agency’s headquarters in Putrajaya.

On Sept 20, it was also reported that MACC did not rule out that Rosmah would be charged soon.

Shukri, however, refused to comment further. “I cannot answer your questions on whether or not she will be prosecuted because it is outside our jurisdiction,” he said when met after delivering an executive talk titled “Corruption: A Challenge for the Young People” in conjunction with the Varsity Anti-Corruption Convention at (KoMawAR) at Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) in Arau.

On the PKR President-Elect Anwar Ibrahim’s claim that there were elements of corruption in PKR elections, Shukri called on the PKR de facto leader to provide the authorities with information about the persons involved.

He said without the information, it would be difficult for the MACC to begin investigation.Anwar was today reported to have said that there were unnamed leaders in PKR offering projects for support in the party polls, and that the would not tolerate those who use “dirty tactics” in the party polls.

Bernama

Malaysia: The Economy is in bad shape. Thank you, UMNO


September 18, 2018

Malaysia: The Economy is in bad shape. Thank you, UMNO

by Phar Kim Beng@www.malaysiakini.com

Image result for Najib Razak is Malaysia's best economist

Former Prime Minister Najib Razak should be awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Economics for his management of the Malaysian Economy. He pioneered the 1MDB method of robbing the Malaysian Treasury.

COMMENT | The Malaysian economy is in bad shape. Very bad.

Revisiting the 2014 magnum opus of the Prime Minister’s new Economic Advisor Dr. Muhammed Abdul Khalid, The Colour of Inequality: Ethnicity, Class, Income and Wealth in Malaysia, we see that Malaysia’s income gap has not changed much from 1957 levels, when the country first gained independence.

Between 1990 and 2018, Malaysians on the whole gained little, except the very rich. Muhammed describes a small breakthrough in 2012, but there is no telling if this was due to fiscal spending to ward off the effects of the 2007-2008 global financial crisis.

Muhammed’s reliance on the Statistics Department’s Household Income Survey, while illuminating, is not entirely convincing, especially when paired with numbers or assertions culled from Pemandu, the now-defunct government-funded performance delivery unit.

Image result for The poor in kuala lumpur

 

In other words, the actual picture of the Malaysian economy could be worse than what Muhammed actually describes.

Income from the manufacturing sector, for example, has been on the decline, which may be due to the over-reliance on cheap foreign labour – with an estimated 5.5 million migrant workers in the country – which further depresses the cycle of Malaysian wages.

Indeed, Muhammed correctly notes that “90 percent of each ethnic group does not have any liquid savings, and would not be able to survive more than few months in case they lose their source of income or employment”.

Ticking time bomb

This is not a very pleasant picture, even if it is colour blind. Why? The danger lies in the ticking time bomb that cuts across all races and groups. When the income chasm widens, people tend to blame one another for their problems, which in turn accentuates social, political, religious and racial tensions.

While democracy can ameliorate the tensions, it cannot overcome them completely. What democracy cannot structurally and systematically solve, groups of all religious and ideological fancies might rise to plug the policy gaps. When they do so, inter- and intra-ideological or religious pressures will only become more acute.

When political parties refuse to have elections, or postpone them indefinitely, they become blindsided by what the people want, which in turn hastens their own demise, as witnessed with Umno and BN.

Knowingly or unknowingly, as the book was completed well before the May 9 polls in which a kleptocracy was defeated, the above was one of the key takeaways of Muhammed’s simple but sophisticated book.

A bad economy will skew a political party’s fate, even if it well-larded with cash, corruption and connections. Reading the book now, after the 14th general election, it almost seems like a eulogy to UMNO-BN.

Barely a trickle

But The Colour of Inequality is also a sad indictment of how politicians and corporate leaders have steered the mighty Malaysian ship aground.

Image result for the colour of inequality ethnicity class income and wealth in malaysia

As Muhammed (photo, below) notes, most companies simply refuse to pay their workers well. When they don’t, and with less than nine percent of workers unionised, the bargaining power of the workers is overwhelmingly diminished, leaving them to the mercy of their corporate masters.

 

If the book is anything go by, the whole of Malaysia is sputtering to a halt – despite a GDP that “grew from RM5.1 billion in 1957 to RM1 trillion in 2012”. With the national debt now standing at RM1.09 trillion, Malaysia is caught in the vice-like middle-income trap.

The infamous trickle-down economics, for the lack of a better term, is not just non-existent here; wealth seems to be flowing upwards. Given when it was written, The Colour of Inequality references the Occupy Wall Street, where the 99 percent were trying, seemingly in vain, to challenge the grip of the exalted one percent.

In any case, widespread disempowerment is a phenomenon that should not be happening if the state and the market, as is the case in Malaysia, have vouched to work in tandem to help the poor – as reflected in the National Economic Policy and its derivatives.

But although Malaysia as a whole was becoming richer, the income differentials of Malaysians is growing wider. The lethal brew of myriad income determinants and gangly systems of income distribution have conspired to render the middle and working classes disempowered.

As Muhammed puts it: “(As of 2012), the top 20 percent held more than 52.1 percent of all wealth, while the bottom 40 percent held less than eight percent. The distribution of liquid assets was very extreme – the top 20 percent had 95 percent of all financial wealth, while the bottom 80 percent had only five percent.”This shouldn’t be happening

This process of emasculation should not be happening. Especially not after 61 years of independence.

In 1958, there were only 3,000 Malay taxpayers out of the overall of 33,000 taxpayers. A decade later, of the 1,488 students in Universiti Malaya – the only university in the country at the time – who graduated with a BSc, only 69 were Malays. Only four of the 408 who graduated with an engineering degree were Malays.

“During the same period,” Muhammed adds, “only 12 Malays graduated from the medical faculty, representing less than 10 percent of the total medical faculty graduates.”

But while the number of Malay graduates, technocrats and universities between 1970-2018 have risen dramatically, the chasm between rich and poor continues to stay the same, if not widened.

Statistics from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) show that 92 percent of the people are earning less than RM 6,000 a month; four out of 10 Malaysians have no pensions at all; close to 40 percent earn less than RM3,000 per month; 25 percent of Malaysians have no properties to their names; and the money that pilgrims save for the hajj is spent entirely on the hajj, leaving their children with nothing to draw on.

Muhammed adds that it is “estimated that there were only 150,000 inter (-racial) marriages in Malaysia, a small figure in a population of 28 million”. Wealth, or, the lack of it, tends to have the same clustering effects in one group and one race.

An epilogue

One thing that Muhammed does not address at length is the extent to which the state can compel GLCs and GLICs to remunerate their workers well, or at least put a cap on the salary differentials between those at the top and the workers at the bottom.

Additionally, in the aftermath of the financial crisis and Occupy Wall Street, the honeycomb, gig, platform and sharing economy has emerged. If more people put their minds together, more bottom-up solutions – as manifested by Uber, Grab, Air BnB and other forms of electronic commerce – can and will emerge.

But are Malaysians ready for this, beyond the template of the digital free trade zone offered by Alibaba? Or will the proverbial cheese of Malaysians once again be consumed wholesale by a flood of new migrants from China, India and the rest of the world?

Come what may, Malaysians have to work together and understand the structural and systemic reforms that are needed beyond the mere creation of a few digital unicorns.

They need to empower themselves through education, especially online education, even if this involves disciplining themselves to start taking self-enrichment courses – including learning management systems such as edX or Class Central.

If anyone is in need of more inspiration, Muhammed’s book is the best place to start.

The Colour of Inequality, if not redressed, will lead to the panic of inequality, in which only the paranoid will survive. Especially because it is only another 20 years or so before Malaysia starts greying, a process that took European societies a century to experience.


PHAR KIM BENG was a multiple award-winning Head Teaching Fellow on China and Cultural Revolution in Harvard University.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

Lies, damned lies and fairy tales


September 13, 2018

Lies, damned lies and fairy tales

Image result for Bullshit Najib

COMMENT

Unlike the past, I am not going to address you as “Yang Berhormat” (YB). I am not being impolite. Translated, it means the “Right Honourable”. Your conduct over the funds of the 1Malaysia Development Fund (1MDB) has been nothing honourable.

I pride myself as a journalist. It will not need a forensic auditor and time-consuming investigations to poke holes in your assertions and contentions over the past two days.

I have been keeping tabs on the issues related to the 1MDB’s missing billions over the years. You have vindicated my belief that a massive attempt had been made to cover the shenanigans in the company, especially with its finances. Through your statements, you attempt to imply that you’re an angel who has been falsely ostracised and vilified by political opponents.

Image result for New book on 1mdb by WSJ

On Monday, you issued a statement, with documents, to show that you received US$100 million (RM420 million) from Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al Saud. I will accept this on face value, but I am wondering what took you so long to release the letter? It was dated February 1, 2011.

You could have released the letter to counter the Asian Wall Street Journal (WSJ), which broke the story in July 2015. You could have avoided the entire furore and the rakyat would have believed and trusted you. Who knows, you could still be the Prime Minister today. And if that had happened, this commentary would have never seen publication!

 

Even when the US Attorney General Jeff Sessions branded your dealings as “kleptocracy at its worst”, you maintained elegant silence. Understandably so – with one letter, you could supposedly account for only a fraction of the US$681 million (RM2.6 billion) which found its way into your personal account in AmBank.

Like DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang and the majority of right-minded Malaysians, I believe you had been feeding the public with a series of misinformation – aided and abetted by your then cabinet colleagues, your aides and cronies. No one believed you then and no one believes you now on anything you say on 1MDB.

Even WSJ journalists Tom Wright and Bradley Hope (who broke the story and extensively covered the scandal) don’t believe you. Neither do Clare Rewcastle Brown and Sarawak Report and any journalist worth his salt.

Wright and Hope say you were not offering anything new with this disclosure and maintain that the bulk of the RM2.6 billion banked into your account came from 1MDB.

These days, when a currency with all the security features and watermarks can be counterfeited, one does not need sophisticated equipment to produce letterheads in colour on expensive Conqueror paper bearing the emblem of any royal household. I remain to be corrected.

Hence, it is not surprising that Wright noted: “The documents you (Najib) have included are partly misleading (i.e. the wire transfers, which shield the true origin of the funds) and based partly on alleged fraud (the letter purporting to be from the Saudi prince, which was created to mislead regulators and banks.)”

But if you thought that your statement on Monday would have been swallowed by gullible Malaysians, you were wrong. We read only one chapter from Grim’s Fairy Tales. You did yourself no credit with the second chapter with yet another piece of fiction yesterday.

 

The second chapter was an attack on Kit Siang  saying you had issued some proof of the money donated from Saudi Arabia to your personal account. Really?

Image result for New book on 1mdb by WSJ

“Returning stolen money is not the real issue. You should be answering questions on the billions in your bank, your wife’s extravagances, your stepson’s movies, his millions on gaming tables and the apartments in New York and London”.– R. Nadeswaran

 

The Malay Mail quoted you as saying: “Prior to GE 14, Kit Siang along with DAP often asked ‘where is the RM2.6 billion?’ I want to ask Kit Siang before I reveal more documents and explanations, would the YB admit that I have returned some or all the RM2.6 billion, but the facts are deliberately omitted by Pakatan (Harapan)?”

The questions you should answer

Returning stolen money is not the real issue. You should be answering questions on the billions in your bank, your wife’s extravagances, your, stepson’s movies, his millions on gaming tables and the apartments in New York and London.

If the Arab prince (pic below) had only wired US$100 million (RM420 million), where did the balance in your personal account come from? Then again, why return more than US$500 million (RM2.1 billion)?

I find your distraction humorous, entertaining and amusing. We are coming close to the modern day alter-ego of Robin Hood who did just the opposite – robbing the poor to pay the rich.

Common sense dictates this question: Why was the money from the Arab royalty sent to your account via a circuitous and convoluted way before it ended up in Singapore’s Tanore Finance, which then transferred the money into your account?

Couldn’t the money be wired via a bank in Saudi Arabia? Similarly, why send the money back to Tanore instead of the prince’s account?

Image result for jho low 1mdb

The Penang-born Arab who is known for his lavish ways at Malaysia’s taxpayers expense.

We now know who were the owner/beneficiary of this company. They were inexplicably linked to one man – Low Taek Jho or Jho Low (photo). You don’t remember him or you want to say you have not met him? Just to refresh your memory: You and your family holidayed on his yacht and pictures of this outing have gone viral.

You, your Comical Alis and cronies tried to discredit the US Department of Justice (DOJ) report and used it to parrot it as “an attempt by foreigners to overthrow a democratically elected government”.

The DOJ report could not have been more succinct and unequivocal. Paragraphs 339 to 348 outline the flow of funds to an account belonging to “Malaysian Official 1” (MO1). Former BN propaganda chief, Abdul Rahman Dahlan confirmed (to the BBC) that you and MO1 were indeed the same person.

Image result for Tony Pua

Thank You, Tony Pua, for 1MDB Expose

Para 340 says: “On or about March 21, 2013, Tanore transferred US$620,000,000 into an account at AmBank in Malaysia, whose beneficiary was listed as “AMPRIVATE BANKING-MR.” The wire transfer was processed through correspondent bank accounts at JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo in the United States. On or about March 25, 2013, an additional $61,000,000 was wired from the Tanore Account to the same account at AmBank, for a total of $681,000,000.”

What have you got to say about this? Where does this fit into your scheme of things? The courts will decide on your innocence or guilt. In the meantime, if there is going to be a third chapter, don’t take Malaysians to be fools with your implausible, unbelievable and far-fetched stories. If you have to say something, let it be the truth and nothing but the truth.


R NADESWARAN says that Najib should put everything on the table and come clean which could be points for mitigation in the current situation. Comments: citizen.nades22@gmail.com

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

Shafee Joins Najib Razak Liars’ Club: READ ON:


September 10, 2018

Shafee Joins Najib Razak Liars’ Club: READ ON:

 

Image result for sarawak report

Have you heard the one about the Prime Minister and the one billion dollar donation from an Arab Royal (no strings attached)?

Well, here’s another even taller story.  The chief lawyer to the aforementioned Prime Minister has admitted after publicly claiming it was “nonsense” that he had after all been paid RM9.5 million by Najib Razak out of money stolen from 1MDB.

Earlier he had denounced Sarawak Report for exposing it and threatened to “see Anwar in court” for suggesting he had been bought, has now admitted the payment was in fact entirely true.

Shafee had never imagined, of course, that BN could lose the last election and that all the forces of law and order would then be unleashed to investigate the whole affair. With the proof and documentation now presented by the public prosecutors in open court the lying lawyer has had to acknowledge the truth at last.

He should be stripped of the right to practice immediately and thrown off the defence team for Najib Razak, which attempted to gag the entire proceedings, accusing none other than Sarawak Report of falsifying information on grounds of bias.

However, Shafee still thinks he can explain his way out of the situation with a laughable tale of woe. The RM9.5 million was an act of kindness for a friend who needed a new house for his growing family, he said yesterday. What a big family it must be!

Because of this tear-inducing situation the sharp suited lawyer had decided to tot up bills owing to him from UMNO for whom he had worked for simply years without getting round to pressing for payment. Perhaps he thought UMNO was short of money?

Shafee goes on to explain that he therefore took an opportunity of a “chance meeting with” his close friend and confidante, Najib Razak, to raise the matter with him out of the blue.  Why he had never done so on all the previous occasions when they had hunkered down together, for example to discuss how to manage the supposed allegations by one Saiful Bukari against Anwar and then strategise Anwar’s prosecution, is not explained.

After Shafee had brought it up on this unspecified occasion Najib immediately paid ou,t the lawyer’s latest story continues – but not from UMNO’s various offical funds, which you would expect to be the case given Shafee claims it was for accumulated official legal services or as he put it:

“Cases that were assigned to me and my firm ranged from election petitions to other serious litigations involving UMNO and BN.  I remember undertaking litigation works on behalf of UMNO and some other clients in relation to the mega damages in defamation matters”

Najib paid Shafee out of his own bank account instead (from money that Najib says he thought was donated from the Arab Royal, but has also now admitted came from 1MDB instead).

Image result for Najib the Liar

Strangely, Najib did not pay the money in one cheque.  As Sarawak Report originally correctly reported, Shafee received one payment RM4.3 million in 2013 and a later payment of RM5.2 million in 2014. That RM5,200,000 received in February 2014 came just a fortnight before the Appeal Court overturned the earlier acquittal of Anwar, after Najib had specially brought in Shafee to handle the prosecution case.

Shafee still says this was not a payment for those services however.  He still claims that he did that bit of work for UMNO for free – or rather he claims he did it “for the country”.

Image result for pascal najadi

Pascal Najadi, the grieving son of the murdered banker Hussein Najadi, former Chairman of AmBank, has pointed out that the payment in September 2013 came just a month after his father was shot dead.

 

Najadi has claimed that his father had attempted to make a police report and to notify the banking authorities about the mysterious billion dollar payments that had entered Najib’s account at his former bank shortly before his assassination.

Image result for pascal najadi

Can you spot Lawyer Shafee Abdullah who had mysteriously appeared at the hospital?

He also says that Shafee had mysteriously appeared at the scene as his father’s body was transferred to hospital and had aggressively taken over the handling of affairs, including a swift burial before he could reach his father’s side. He has asked if the two matters might be connected and who paid Shafee to turn up at the mortuary to take control?

Malaysians have been left to digest Shafee’s own explanation of events and the fact he has admitted now to lying in public about the whole affair. In the end they will have to see how he fares in court.

NY Times Book Review: Looking Back@Crash of 2008


August 11, 2018

CRASHED

By Dr. Fareed Zakaria

How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World
By Adam Tooze
706 pp. Viking. $35.

Steve Bannon can date the start of the Trump “revolution.” When I interviewed him for CNN in May, in Rome, he explained that the origins of Trump’s victory could be found 10 years ago, in the financial crisis of 2008.

“The implosion of those world capital markets has never really been sorted out,” he told me. “The fuse that was lit then that eventually brought the Trump revolution is the same thing that’s happened here in Italy.” (Italy had just held elections in which populist forces had won 50 percent of the vote.)

Adam Tooze would likely agree. An economic historian at Columbia University, he has written a detailed account of the financial shocks and their aftereffects, which, his subtitle asserts, “changed the world.”

Image result for fareed zakaria

If journalism is the first rough draft of history, Tooze’s book is the second draft. A distinguished scholar with a deep grasp of financial markets, Tooze knows that it is a challenge to gain perspective on events when they have not yet played out. He points out that a 10-year-old history of the crash of 1929 would have been written in 1939, when most of its consequences were ongoing and unresolved. But still he has persisted and produced an intelligent explanation of the mechanisms that produced the crisis and the response to it. We continue to live with the consequences of both today.

CreditTyler Comrie; Photograph courtesy of GSO/Getty Images

As is often the case with financial crashes, markets and experts alike turned out to have been focused on the wrong things, blind to the true problem that was metastasizing. By 2007, many were warning about a dangerous fragility in the system. But they worried about America’s gargantuan government deficits and debt — which had exploded as a result of the Bush administration’s tax cuts and increased spending after 9/11. It was an understandable focus. The previous decade had been littered with collapses when a country borrowed too much and its creditors finally lost faith in it — from Mexico in 1994 to Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea in 1997 to Russia in 1998. In particular, many fretted about the identity of America’s chief foreign creditor — the government of China.

Yet it was not a Chinese sell-off of American debt that triggered the crash, but rather, as Tooze writes, a problem “fully native to Western capitalism — a meltdown on Wall Street driven by toxic securitized subprime mortgages.”Tooze calls it a problem in “Western capitalism” intentionally. It was not just an American problem. When it began, many saw it as such and dumped the blame on Washington.

In September 2008, as Wall Street burned, the German Finance Minister Peer Steinbruck explained that the collapse was centered in the United States because of America’s “simplistic” and “dangerous” laissez-faire approach. Italy’s finance minister assured the world that its banking system was stable because “it did not speak English.”

 

In fact this was nonsense. One of the great strengths of Tooze’s book is to demonstrate the deeply intertwined nature of the European and American financial systems. In 2006, European banks generated a third of America’s riskiest privately issued mortgage-backed securities. By 2007, two-thirds of commercial paper issued was sponsored by a European financial entity.

The enormous expansion of the global financial system had largely been a trans-Atlantic project, with European banks jumping in as eagerly and greedily to find new sources of profit as American banks. European regulators were as blind to the mounting problems as their American counterparts, which led to problems on a similar scale. “Between 2001 and 2006,” Tooze writes, “Greece, Finland, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, the U.K., France, Ireland and Spain all experienced real estate booms more severe than those that energized the United States.”

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Credit Sonny Figueroa/The New York Times

 

But while the crisis may have been caused in both America and Europe, it was solved largely by Washington. Partly, this reflected the post-Cold War financial system, in which the dollar had become the hyper-dominant global currency and, as a result, the Federal Reserve had truly become the world’s central bank. But Tooze also convincingly shows that the European Central Bank mismanaged things from the start.

The Fed acted aggressively and also in highly ingenious ways, becoming a guarantor of last resort to the battered balance sheets of American but also European banks. About half the liquidity support the Fed provided during the crisis went to European banks, Tooze observes.

Before the rescue and even in its early stages, the global economy was falling into a bottomless abyss. In the first months after the panic on Wall Street, world trade and industrial production fell at least as fast as they did during the first months of the Great Depression. Global capital flows declined by a staggering 90 percent. The Federal Reserve, with some assistance from other central banks, arrested this decline. The Obama fiscal stimulus also helped to break the fall.

 

Tooze points out that almost all serious analyses of the stimulus conclude that it played a significant positive role. In fact, most experts believe it ended much too soon. He also points out that large parts of the so-called Obama stimulus were the result of automatic government spending, like unemployment insurance, that would have happened no matter who was president. And finally, he notes that China, with its own gigantic stimulus, created an oasis of growth in an otherwise stagnant global economy.

The rescue worked better than almost anyone imagined. It is worth recalling that none of the dangers confidently prophesied by legions of critics took place. There was no run on the dollar or American treasuries, no hyperinflation, no double-dip recession, no China crash.

American banks stabilized and in fact prospered, households began saving again, growth returned slowly but surely. The governing elite did not anticipate the crisis — as few elites have over hundreds of years of capitalism. But once it happened, many of them — particularly in America — acted quickly and intelligently, and as a result another Great Depression was averted. The system worked, as Daniel Drezner notes in his own book of that title.

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A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in February 2009. CreditJames Estrin/The New York Times

 

But therein lies the unique feature of the crash of 2008. Unlike that of 1929, it was not followed by a Great Depression. It was not so much the crisis as the rescue and its economic, political and social consequences that mattered most. On the left, the entire episode discredited the market-friendly policies of Tony Blair, Bill Clinton and Gerhard Schroeder, disheartening the center-left and emboldening those who want more government intervention in the economy in all kinds of ways. On the right, it became a rallying cry against bailouts and the Fed, buoying an imaginary free-market alternative to government intervention.

Unlike in the 1930s, when the libertarian strategy was tried and only deepened the Depression, in the last 10 years it has been possible for the right to argue against the bailouts, secure in the knowledge that their proposed policies will never actually be implemented.

Bannon is right. The crash brought together many forces that were around anyway — stagnant wages, widening inequality, anger about immigration and, above all, a deep distrust of elites and government — and supercharged them. The result has been a wave of nationalism, protectionism and populism in the West today. A confirmation of this can be found in the one major Western country that did not have a financial crisis and has little populism in its wake — Canada.

The facts remain: No government handled the crisis better than that of the United States, which acted in a surprisingly bipartisan fashion in late 2008 and almost seamlessly coordinated policy between the outgoing Bush and incoming Obama administrations. And yet, the backlash to the bailouts has produced the most consequential result in the United States.

Tooze notes in his concluding chapter that experts are considering the new vulnerabilities of a global economy with many new participants, especially the behemoth in Beijing. But instead of a challenge from an emerging China that began its rise outside the economic and political system, we are confronting a quite different problem — an erratic, unpredictable United States led by a president who seems inclined to redo or even scrap the basic architecture of the system that America has painstakingly built since 1945.

How will the world handle this unexpected development? What will be its outcome? This is the current crisis that we will live through and that historians will soon analyze.

Dr. Fareed Zakaria is a CNN anchor, a Washington Post columnist and the author of “The Post American World.”

Follow New York Times Books on Facebook and Twitter, sign up for our newsletter or our literary calendar. And listen to us on the Book Review podcast.

 

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page 1 of the Sunday Book Review with the headline: The Aftershocks.

Malaysia’s No. 1 Kleptocrat and Crook arrested


July 3, 2018

Malaysia’s No. 1 Kleptocrat and Crook  arrested

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/07/03/asia/razak-malaysia-arrest-intl/index.html

Image result for Justice at Last for Malaysians

We Malaysians rejoice at Najib’s Arrest today–Justice will be done

(CNN)Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was arrested Tuesday, according to Malaysian state media Bernama. Bernama cites the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), which has been investigating billions of state funds that went missing while Najib was in power.

Last week Malaysian Police said they had seized $225 million in luxury handbags, jewelry, cash and goods from six properties linked to the former leader.
The goods were seized as part of the investigation into the sprawling scandal related to 1MDB, a state investment vehicle from which Najib was accused of siphoning off billions of dollars.He has denied any wrongdoing.
Image result for Najib Razak arrested
Najib, whose government was plagued by scandal, was soundly defeated in parliamentary elections in May. Veteran politician Mahathir Mohamad came out of retirement to lead a coalition that challenged and defeated the incredibly unpopular Najib.
According to an investigation by the US Justice Department, Malaysian financier Jho Low used $1.3 million of funds misappropriated from 1MDB to buy 27 different 18-carat gold necklaces and bracelets for the wife of someone listed in the complaint as “Malaysia Official 1.” That official has been widely reported to be Najib.
The US is currently seeking to recover around $540 million misappropriated from the 1MDB fund, with more than $1.7 billion of assets subject to forfeiture under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.
Some of those assets include profits from the Martin Scorsese film “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which was financed by a company associated with 1MDB, as well as properties linked to Low and others.
Mahathir, who succeeded Najib as Prime Minister in May, has promised to hold his former protege accountable.