Why Najib keeps delaying his trials


March 21, 2019

Why Najib keeps delaying his trials

www. malaysiakini.com
Opinion  |  James Chai

Published:  |  Modified:

 

COMMENT | It’s obvious what Najib (above) is trying to accomplish: do whatever it takes to avoid prison.

Delaying tactics is one of the ways to do that. No matter what we say about them, Shafee Abdullah and his legal team are experienced lawyers who have the law and procedure in the palms of their hands. They know enough of the flaws within the legal system and its weakness in dispensing justice.

Thus far, the four appeals relating to the withdrawal of the prosecution’s certificate of transfer; gag order to prohibit media from discussing the merits of the case; recovery of documents; and the appointment of Sulaiman Abdullah as lead prosecutor all could amount to delaying tactics.

Although these appeals are permitted by the law, they sit uncomfortably in the grey area of whether they are truly important and necessary to protect the accused’s right or they are simply delaying tactics.

My opinion is these are delaying tactics because delaying the trial is profitable for Najib.

In fact, delaying is the only viable option.

Delay trial, delay prison

Firstly, the straightforward conclusion is that delaying trial would delay the eventual conviction. Delaying a day is allowing another day for Najib to negotiate his political survival with the public.

To this end, Najib has been successful in orchestrating a comedic troll machine online that is targeted at making fun of the government. His social media team is creating content that would incite disapproval of the existing government. However fleeting and half-hearted this support is, at least it provides Najib with a lifeline to his political career.

Delay makes prosecution weaker

Secondly, delaying makes sense in a criminal trial because it almost inevitably makes the defence’s case stronger and the prosecution’s case weaker.

In all criminal trials, the courts will try to expedite the trial because the consequences of a criminal trial (fine and/or prison) are much greater than in a civil (non-criminal) case. If a criminal trial could run as soon as possible, then the evidence is more likely to be intact and the witnesses’ memories are likely to still be fresh.

However, there is a bind. It is also precisely because the consequences of a criminal trial to an accused are significantly more drastic than a civil trial, that the court would be more open to the accused’s request for time and appeal applications. This is especially so in a high-profile case that carries significant punishment like Najib’s, where the court would want to avoid accusations of bias against the accused.

That is why the defence would attempt to make every excuse to either extract more information from the prosecution to build their own case, or to drag out the legal process. None of these methods is illegal or impermissible, but they are irksome and maddening to people.

Escaping prison

Thirdly, the most positive outcome for Najib is that delaying may mean escaping prison altogether—his best-case scenario.

We are approaching the end of March 2019 and the trial is not even close to starting. It is not surprising if Shafee (above) and his legal team successfully delay the trial for a few more weeks, even months, so that the earliest start date ends up around May 2019.

That will be one year since the PH coalition came into power.

What this means is that if Najib could drag it out long enough that the trial only starts then, he has a very good chance of not having a court decision until the end of the PH term as government. This is especially when each criminal trial contains voluminous charges and documents that require in-depth exploration of the evidence and submissions that will inevitably use up a lot of time.

It is likely that Najib’s tradition of using a full 5-year term before calling a general election would not be continued by the PH government. This means the next general election is likely to be around 2022.

If Najib could drag it out long enough for each trial, and the subsequent appeal processes in the Court of Appeal and Federal Court, there may be a chance there is no decision before the 2022 general election.

And if the PH coalition had not performed well and gets punished in the 2022 general election with Najib’s Barisan Nasional coalition returning to power, Najib may escape prison.

Although theoretically, the judiciary is independent of the executive, the constitutional subordination of the judiciary since 1988, and the repeated history of controlling and fixing judicial decisions make a “Najib escape” not unlikely.

Even if Najib does end up in prison before the next general election, he may go in as a martyr if the delaying tactic works. The delay would have bought the opposition enough time to build themselves as a credible alternative, and for the PH government to under-perform enough that Najib’s social media hype might translate into real support. That makes a prison term less painful for Najib.

Of course, this is just my hypothesis. But a hypothesis may come true.


JAMES CHAI works at a law firm. E-mail him at jameschai.mpuk@gmail.com.

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

 

 

 

Ethics in business: When broken souls walk our corridors


March 19, 2019

Ethics in business: When broken souls walk our corridor

http://investvine.com/ethics-in-business-when-broken-souls-walk-our-corridors/

Education: In pursuit to nowhere
By Firoz Abdul Hamid

Have you ever been brought down to the depth of your chaotic heart and soul that you feel so broken, lost and alienated in all that surrounds you? A place where the heart never feels at home, or at peace, or in synch with all that others say identifies with you as a being. Only those who have been there will know how broken this place is. How endless in its hopelessness this place looks. And mostly how inescapable this place seems.

I have seen many who have visited this place. But visiting it has made the many I have met such great achievers, and mostly such wonderful beings that a normal trajectory could have never endowed them with such depth of gentleness, unpretentiousness and genuineness. Yet, I have also met those who have visited this place who have turned out to be dark troubled souls – those who truly believe in all their being that destroying and abusing others – be that mentally, emotionally or physically – really is their birth right.

Look around us – take a step back – ponder why people cheat on their partners, employees on their employers, employers on their employees, governments letting down their constituents, markets abusing the system and, alas, people hurting people.

This week alone has laid before me destruction of the human soul to such a proportion that if we cannot and do not find it in our souls to recapture our essence, we are but doomed to great destruction to the point of no return.

Ethiopian Airlines wreckage

READ ON :https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-47605265

 

The Ethiopian Airline Boeing 737 that crashed during take-off, killing all of its 157 people on board, and then on March 15 the cold-blodded killing of Muslims during their Friday prayers in Christchurch, New Zealand, begs the question – who allowed this plane to fly and then what society created a monster who would go so deep down into the darkness of his soul to then feel absolute numbness before committing such a crime, respectively. If one is sober with sound moral judgement, one will not and cannot in his/her making as a human being commit crimes – be that in a home environment, work environment or in public.

Ethics In Business: When Broken Souls Walk Our CorridorsWe each go through our daily grinds, really condoning the little bribery to enforcements, the pandering to houses of power, turning the blind eye when signing off JUST THAT one time in our board or cabinet meetings, not knowing those things have consequences. That we are even unable to discern what we do has consequences, which may or may not directly affect us, is a reflection of the state of our souls, the state of our hearts, the state of the society that enables this. That we think it is fine to seek loopholes not to pay the fine or the tax, or stay silent when wrong happens before us is not a reflection of what is outside, rather it is of what is inside us.

This, I would argue, is the new and postmodern mental illness. An illness so covert in suits and eloquence of Ivy School language and speech that we in the public and private sector are simply not equipped to discern and confront. They come in many forms – in form of C-suites, boards, politicians, educators, legislators, key decision makers, and this list really is inexhaustible. They were once called narcissistic by psychologists. No more. I would argue that the ones who would sell and allow substandard planes to fly (especially after a history of a similar crashing earlier), hate to be perpetrated in societies for their own political future or even good work of colleagues to be diminished for self-preservation suffer from post-modern mental illness. Those who do not bat an eye lid signing off the embezzlement of billions of dollars of public funds. And even those whose entire source of existence is just to see the wrong in everything and not be part of the solution is a problem societies need to address.

In my own country today I see my government putting forth plans after plans, initiatives after initiatives to improve our wellbeing. Yet within and without this same system we have those who are insistent upon keeping with the old, and finding ways to circumvent the credibility and governance intended of these plans. This, I would say, is our greatest threat today. Not our lack in plans for carbon emission, or good governance or sound economic outlook – rather the lack of people able to see beyond the darkness of their souls to aspire goodness for all. In Arabic this is called “maslahah” – for the benefit of the public interest.

If there is one project leaders in every parts of our societies need to embark on – spanning from our dinner tables to our schools to our board and cabinet rooms – is healing souls, saving those conspicuous who walk our streets and important places in our public and private sectors from destroying us collectively. To have sophisticated programmes that identify and heal these people and until this is done not allow them near anything that looks like power. If we do not and cannot address this, no amount of plans and initiatives no matter the sovereignty and market can save us all. No number of changes in elected representatives can save us. This I am certain to the point of the clarity of what my name is.

As Qasim Chauhan says – you are what you hide from others, these unsaid thoughts, emotions and secrets, make you, YOU.

(Firoz Abdul Hamid is an Investvine contributor. The opinions expressed are her own.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who delayed the trial? Not my dog


March 15,2019

Who delayed the trial? Not my dog

by Muhammad Shafee Abdullah

https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/467815

COMMENT | On March 10, I was at my home in Bukit Tunku where I have one matured guard dog of mixed breed. Six months ago, I acquired another mixed breed, this time a puppy (now about 10-months-old) intending that it would be a fully-trained guard dog, as having one guard dog without a second one for any eventuality would be unwise.

I trust guard dogs more than human guards. Even my security guards think the same way, as they rely on my guard dogs to secure the compound while manning the guard houses and the gates. I have a professional dog trainer, a former police K-9 unit personnel trained by the FBI.

Although still a puppy, my dog is bigger than most adult dogs of his breed and extremely strong, fast and cunning. He is very playful as one would expect of a dog that age. When I come up to my house, he stands erect on his hind legs unsupported, even for as long as a minute, without moving.

On that day, the dog was let loose in the outer compound. When he saw me, he became excited and rushed towards me playfully, but I was not expecting this. I was careless and lost my balance and fell squarely on my left arm. I felt no pain even several hours later.

However, that night, I felt my left hand stiffening. At first, I thought nothing of it, believing it must be due to working hard in preparing for the appeals at the Court of Appeal on Monday and Tuesday.

I requested my Indonesian employee to massage my hand. He did so as I conducted discussions regarding the appeals in my library in the presence of at least five of my lawyers until about 1am on March 11. I went back home at about 4.30am, and there was no significant change in the feeling of stiffness.

Perhaps, the massage could have exacerbated the latent injury and the next morning, I felt pain when doing routine things.

I began to have more pain at the COA hearing on the first day (March 11), but it was not something that I could not bear. In any case, I alerted the COA of my possible delay the next morning, as I had to attend to a significant mention of Samirah Chandra Muzaffar’s case at the Shah Alam High Court due to some troubling developments.

At that time, my left hand was not an issue. But that night, I felt a throbbing pain and my wife noticed a significant swelling on the upper side of the left hand.

I could not sleep that night so I attempted to read my preparations for the second day at the COA, but the pain became worse and the swelling grew to half the size of a tennis ball. The pain was so severe I concluded that I must have fractured my hand from the fall.

I went to the court in Shah Alam early in the morning on March 12 and on the way, arranged for an orthopedic specialist at the Columbia Hospital in Shah Alam to have a look at my hand. But the timing was not conducive, so I had to rush to the Shah Alam Court, where the matter ended at 10.15am.

When I arrived in Putrajaya at the COA, my associate lawyer, Harvinderjit Singh, was shocked to see the swelling on my hand and told me to immediately go to the hospital.

Initially, my plan was to complete parts of the appeal in the morning and then head to the hospital either during lunch break or in the late afternoon after the case. I have a high threshold for pain, and I thought I could complete the submission before seeking treatment. But my team were concerned and advised me to seek an adjournment of the fourth appeal to the next day.

Consulted orthopedic specialist

When the court started, we applied for the fourth appeal, which was mostly my submission, not to be undertaken on that day as I needed immediate medical treatment. The attorney-general did not object to us doing the submission within the same week, but not Thursday (March 14) as he would be engaged with the Johor sultan.

Friday, on the other hand, was too short (considering Friday prayers) so we settled for Wednesday. Everything was agreed to when I left the COA leaving Harvinderjit to tend the fort. But what I did not know was that after I had left, all parties, including the court, decided that Friday would be a better option for the hearing of the appeal.

As I had a little more time, I went to consult my regular orthopaedic specialist at the Tung Shin Hospital in Pudu.

The specialist was kind enough to wait for me. Immediately upon examination, he was of the opinion that there could be a fracture. But thank God, the X-ray revealed otherwise.

It was massive soft tissue and blood capillaries injury causing significant internal bleeding that accounted for the tennis ball-like swelling and pain. I was given medication and medical leave up to Friday. But I would be attending court as I did this morning, tomorrow and Friday at the COA.

As you can see, we are not delaying the trial notwithstanding exigent circumstances.

Who delayed this trial? Consider the below honestly, and tell me who is the culprit.

The SRC International trial was fixed commencing from February 12, 2019 to March 29, 2019. But the AG decided at the eleventh hour to add three new additional charges under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (Amla) at the trial court on Jan 28, 2019.

This was hardly two weeks from the trial without giving us the benefit of an earlier notice, especially as this would significantly change the trial dynamics, components and programmes.

A decent AG would give us an early notice so that we could offer an opinion if the three new charges could be jointly tried with the seven existing SRC charges on January 28 itself. If he had given us notice, we would not have to ask for time to consider this suggestion by the public prosecutor on January 28.

We also realised that there could be a serious problem in the mode of charging the three additional charges as they sneakily preferred the charges at the High Court itself calling them “charge 4, 5 and 6” without going through the lower court, as these new charges are trilable by the Sessions Court and need a special legal transfer mechanism for the charges to be transferred to the existing SRC High Court. Any chambering student in a criminal based practice would know this.

Anyway, Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, realising we were unnecessarily taken by surprise, adjourned the matter for further consideration on February  7, just after Chinese New Year. Ask yourself who caused this delay?

As usual, we prepared tirelessly for the submission on Feb 7 in spite of the Chinese New Year and the need to prepare for the main trial starting imminently on Feb 12.

But, lo and behold, the AG personally turned up this time on Februry 7 to give us further shocking news for further concern.

An attempt to sabotage?

First, he said, to avoid troubling the court deciding on the joinder of charges, he was withdrawing the three new charges. What? Is this really happening? Why didn’t he have the decorum to tell us earlier so that we did not have to waste countless red-eyed days and nights preparing the arguments on the joinder?

We complained. Was this an attempt to sabotage by taking us away from preparing the main case? In any case, the statement by the AG that the new charges were withdrawn to save the court time in deciding about the joinder was not frank, as the real reason for the withdrawal was the AG had realised the blunder his office had made in the way he proferred the three additional charges directly at the High Court. This is having blunder and arrogance all together.

Now tell me honestly who caused this unnecessary waste of time and delay?

But that is not all. The AG, out of the blue, suddenly realised and told the court that as a result of two Federal Court decisions, two years and one year earlier respectively, he had second thoughts about the constitutionality of his transfer certificates under Section 418(A) of the Criminal Procedure Code and Section 60 of Amla and the transfer of all the seven charges of SRC cases to the High Court. But hang on, didn’t the AG say constitutional law is his forte?

The AG withdrew all the transfer certificates and literally told the judge that the SRC cases be reverted to the Sessions Court. This is now the subject of appeal on Friday.

Friday is also the subject of whether the judge can flip the AG’s transfer into his own initiated transfer without moving the cases physically to the Sessions Court first (as suggested by the AG himself) and bring them back to the same court.

To let a decision such as this stand would have serious consequences. This decision not only applies to Najib Abdul Razak, but literally everyone who is facing the criminal justice system in Malaysia. These are serious issues that would be dealt with at the COA.

This has never happened before in our country nor in the Commonwealth. A huge issue for determination by the COA is whether a trial if proceeded upon could be declared a nullity and my client could be the victim of a retrial.

Now would it not delay things further for everyone concerned if a retrial is ordered down the line? That is the reason the other coram of the COA granted a stay of the SRC trial until final determination of the appeal. The merit of the appeals is to be determined soon.

Now tell me who caused the delay?

Further among the four appeals is also our claim that we and the court must be given a copy of the fiat to prosecute of Sulaiman Abdullah (and by same arguments in another case involving Gopal Sri Ram).

We need this innocuous document which nevertheless provides the basis for the “fit and proper person” test for us to challenge the appointment if it is called for. Since 1938, our system and all the Commonwealth have provided for inspection fiats of this sort including when I became the prosecutor in Anwar Ibrahim’s Sodomy 2 appeals.

Ironically, the AG initially classified the fiat as an official secret (OSA) which was the excuse provided by Sulaiman in the High Court when he refused to provide the written fiat of his appointment. The AG dropped another bombshell by saying he was not relying on the official secret, and that it was just a “red herring,” and there was never an issue of OSA to begin with.

A red herring? From the mouth of the AG in court? Whose red herring? The AG’s red herring? Why did he mislead us yet again? We prepared a monumental amount of work on the OSA.

Now tell us honestly, after reading this and the facts available, who is causing the delay of the SRC trial.

One has to be as blind as a bat or as deaf as a doornail not to see or hear clearly that it is the Attorney-General’s Chambers which is delaying the trial by raising new things almost on the eve of the SRC trial.

READ THIS: https://www.malaysiakini.com/columns/467873 by Mariam Mokhtar


MUHAMMAD SHAFEE ABDULLAH is the lawyer for former premier Najib Abdul Razak.

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

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Political Clowns in modern Malaysia


February 21, 2019

Political Clowns in modern Malaysia

By Martin Vengadesan   

https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/464924

 

COMMENT | I have a friend with a rather unique superpower – she puts the fear in Ibrahim Ali.

Surprising as it may sound, this friend, a cili padi of a PKR activist, lives near the Perkasa president and is never shy about discussing difficult topics with strangers.

She and Ibrahim have bumped into each other on a number of occasions – at Great Eastern Mall, cafés and even at the National Heart Institute.

When she sees Ibrahim, she usually engages him immediately over his championing of racial politics and says that as a loyal citizen of Malaysia, she doesn’t deserve to be called pendatang for being Chinese.

He responded to her at first, explaining that he is not a racist, but only wants to defend his own race from threats, real or imagined.

But by the last time they met, Ibrahim had given up. He scurried into his car, telling everyone around that she was mad!

Agent provocateurs

Ibrahim is a former student activist who served as Pasir Mas MP under UMNO, then Semangat 46, and finally as a PAS-friendly independent.

Aside from party-hopping and his stints in Parliament (from 1986 to 1995, and again from2008 to 2013), he is best known as the provocative leader of Malay rights group Perkasa.

Always combative, it is amazing that he has managed to survive in politics for so long without a lengthy stint in prison.

From mocking then-parliamentary colleague Karpal Singh’s disability to a vulgar response to an Al-Jazeera interviewer’s questions, and most alarmingly (or should that be seditiously?) implying a May 13-style response to Bersih 2.0, Ibrahim has made a career out of shock tactics and embarrassing scenes.

Image result for pictures of political clowns in malaysia

Unfortunately, Ibrahim is far from being the only right-wing bigot and agent provocateur enjoying the freedom of the land.

Kinabatangan MP Bung Mokhtar Radin has graced (or should that be disgraced?) the halls of Parliament since 1999.

Bung Moktar’s reputation for politically incorrect language and gestures is a mile long.

This genius first caught my attention with his horrific “Batu Gajah tiap-tiap bulan pun bocor” remark about fellow parliamentarian Fong Po Kuan in 2007, and has since progressed to a “Long live Hitler” tweet after Germany beat Brazil in a World Cup semi-final, to a barrage of “f*** you” exclamations last year.

Telling another fellow MP that he wasn’t an MP but a gangster was a particular favourite among the Indian community.

Amazingly, this character seems to pass for witty in the boondocks of rural Sabah. An editor friend of mine, Phil Golingai, told me that Bung Moktar is actually “charming and amusing.” He said “the local people there like him. I like him also, actually.”

Someone must, for Bung Mokhtar has won five consecutive election contests in Kinabatangan, thrashing all comers with winning margins of 30-50 percent, aside from winning unopposed in 2004.

Not yet 60, Bung Moktar is likely to be part of the national dialogue for some time to come.

Clickbait villain

At this point in time, there is no probably no more notorious hate figure or clickbait villain than Jamal Md Yunos.

 

Where does one begin with the Sungai Besar UMNO chief? Protesting water cuts outside the Selangor state secretariat building clad in towels was pretty amusing, I have to say. Although I had to lament the alcohol abuse when he smashed crates of beer with a sledgehammer.

Jamal also made videos taunting cops from palm oil estates when he was on the run, and even called for Malaysiakini’s closure and threatened the safety of the building.

And there’s the rub. Jamal may have been full of stunts geared to catch the public eye. But behind the humour, the threat of violence was not always distant.

I find his antics impossible to forgive, particularly as his men hounded and assaulted two reporters I assigned to cover one of his red-shirt rallies.

I didn’t shed any tears when he spent time in jail (for the unrelated charge of fleeing police custody)… and came out saying he was a changed man who wanted to back prison reform!

‘Not entirely harmless’

On the lighter end of the spectrum, we have Abdul Rani Kulup, king of the police report. Functioning under Gabungan Masyarakat Islam Malaysia, it’s hard to take him and his gang of uniformed personnel too seriously.

A fellow journalist who has interviewed him a few times said: “I won’t say he’s 100 percent harmless, because some of the reports he makes touch on race and religion, the two biggest matches that can light any spark.

“Having said that, I’m not sure anyone takes him seriously. He is a buffoon who is seeking attention, but at the same time he entertains people with his antics.

“He is a pretty nice guy and can be funny,” the journalist said. Turns out Rani Kulup can also play drums and sing at the same time.

Other headline-hogging reprobates appear to have slipped out of the limelight, no longer enjoying the infamy they once earned.

Among these are academician Ridhuan Tee Abdullah, Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) Ppresident Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman, former Kulim MP and Perkasa man Zulkifli Noordin and Mohd Ali Baharom or Ali Tinju, who won instant fame for leading a troupe to carry out butt exercises in front of the house of Ambiga Sreenevasan.

But as UMNO Youth Exco ‘Papagomo’ Wan Muhammad Azri Wan Deris’ thuggish demeanour has shown just the past week, this sort of buffoonery isn’t going away anytime soon.

Some think we shouldn’t give them column inches. The theory is that depriving them of the oxygen of publicity will go a long way towards silencing their hate speech.

However, I must confess (and pardon me for sounding like a snob here) that I want their collective lack of intellect to speak for itself. Some deterrent sentences wouldn’t be remiss either.

Let’s be honest. Train wreck syndrome or not, people like to read about them. I am prepared to wager that this column will enjoy wider readership than my previous about why the average citizen needs to care about freedom of the press.

And maybe we should be asking ourselves why that is.


MARTIN VENGADESAN is a member of the Malaysiakini team.

 

MALAYSIA: Mr. Prime Minister, At 93, you have made history. So, it is time to rise above politics. Be a Statesman


February 17,2019

MALAYSIA: Mr. Prime Minister, At 93, you have made history. So, it is time to rise above politics. Be a Statesman

Opinion  |by  Francis Paul Siah

 

COMMENT | At least, two English dailies have carried editorials on the ills plaguing Pakatan Harapan in recent days. This is not surprising at all. It is a given that all is not well in the nine-month-old Harapan government.

Some of my fellow Malaysiakini columnists have also waded into the issue and with good reasons too. I can agree with some of their pointers.

The parties at the centre of the storm are none other than Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his fledging Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu).

I am also guilty of criticising Mahathir over the past month. There were two issues I took exception to. The first was his decision to bar Israeli athletes from entering the country which ended their participation in the World Para-Swimming Championships originally scheduled to be held in Kuching this coming July.

The second was Bersatu’s intention to set up a chapter in Sabah, reneging on its pact before GE14 with Parti Warisan to not do so.

Yes, I am really disappointed with Tun Mahathir on these two fronts and I stand in total disagreement with him on these issues.

If public feedback on the social media can be taken as a yardstick, there is one which I would feedback to our Prime Minister, to inform him sincerely that his decision to bar the Israeli swimmers has triggered an international outcry. That decision has given Mahathir and Malaysia a bad Image.

My posting entitled ‘Sorry, Dr M, you don’t speak for Sarawak this time’ in the Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) blog attracted a total of 31,755 unique visitors in a single day last January 28.

That was the highest number of visitors to our little NGO blog over the past eight months. Visitors were not only Malaysians but came from the US, Australia, other Asian nations, the UK and other European countries.

This is honest feedback to our Prime Minister. Many do not understand his strong anti-Semitic stand nor his inability to separate race,religion, politics from sports.

To speak from the heart, I feel bad for having to critique our Prime Minister at times and actually feel sorry for him. It’s not nice to speak unkindly of a man his age, no matter his wrongs, and especially so when I’m much younger than him. Guess we are only fallible humans.

This week, I sent this message to my WhatsApp list of friends: “I have been criticising Dr M in recent days so much so that I feel malu having to keep on hammering the grand old man. I am thinking of penning another piece to be titled ‘If I were Dr Mahathir today at 94 …’. Tell me what would you do if you were in his shoes at 94 today?”

Here are some of their responses. Let them be feedback to our Prime Minister for what they are worth.

Be a statesman

  • Tun Mahathir should forget politics. He is not seeking re-election. Concentrate on running the country and turn the economy around. At 94, time is not on his side. So, better hurry. When he is gone, nobody will remember him or his legacy. But the country must be in good hands. Be a statesman, not a politician. Act on a bold vision that the nation will rise to eschew narrow racial politics.
  • Malaysia will be in trouble if Mahathir harbours these three myths:
  • 1. I set the direction, my son will carry on; 2 The Malays are incorrigible ; but I must save them at whatever cost; and  3. Islam  and Muslims/Malays mustremain dominant in Malaysia forever.
  • First of all, I sympathise with Mahathir that he is running a Harapan government that is weak and saddled with a huge debt from the previous regime.
  • These cannot be resolved in three years. Meantime, the people, rural folk, in particular, are suffering from the high cost of living. Unemployment is a serious threat from belt-tightening. During the three years of rough journey to reform the sociopolitical imbroglio, whoever is the PM has to persuade the people to swallow their bitter medicine that will do good later. So you need to wish that Dr M is blessed with good health to continue what he set out to do for the sake of the nation.
  • Mahathir has to concede that Malaysia is in a dire state of decline in living standards. He has to move quickly to arrest that. This is a monumental challenge for any leader and it is incumbent upon Mahathir, as the Pprime minister, to do the job.
  • Put Najib behind bars first. Then bring in the rule of law […] if I were him.
  • Tun Mahathir is an extraordinary man. Not many will live up to 94. If I were him, I would take a break and relax.. I bet he is not aware there is a more beautiful and wholesome life out there, away from power and politics.
  • You should be awarded the “Nobel P***k Prize” for badgering Dr Mahathir. I like him. He is doing his best for the country. Please accord him more respect.

No more pussyfooting

So what is my own take “if I were Dr Mahathir today”? The first thing I would do is to stay far, far away from politics, resign as Bersatu chairperson and allow Muhyiddin Yassin and Mukhriz Mahathir to run the show.

I would not worry about my son’s ascension on the political hierarchy. I should know that the Mahathir name alone would carry my next few generations very well and ensure a bright future for them.

I would also stop meeting former UMNO lawmakers, including those from PAS. I would avoid them like the plague. I should know that when they want to meet me, they expect something. There is nothing such “parasites” could bring to the table to help Harapan improve anything in the country.

I would reshuffle my cabinet. The under-performing ministers should go. Nine months is enough time for them to prove themselves. By now, I should know that some are just not minister-material. A spring cleaning is in order.

I would stop antagonising my Harapan colleagues and start listening to their concerns about accepting ex-UMNO parasites. Saying that they have changed sounds so shallow and feeble. So is telling Shafie Apdal that Bersatu is going to Sabah to help him and Warisan. I should be aware that those statements sounded hollow, childish even.

I would make sure that my promise to Anwar Ibrahim to pass the baton to him two years after Harapan’s victory is fulfilled. No more pussyfooting around on this.My friend is right. Mahathir must stop being a politician. He has to be a statesman.

That is what many would want our current paramount leader to be. Even those of us who have criticised him would badly want him to succeed for the sake of the nation and the people as he enters the final lap of his illustrious political career.

May the One Above continue to bless our dear Dr Mahathir with good health and we all wish him many, many happy years ahead!


FRANCIS PAUL SIAH head the Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) and can be reached at sirsiah@gmail.com

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

7, 2019

 

Up Periscope: Malaysia’s Submarine Scandal Resurfaces


February 13, 2019

By: John Berthelsen

https://www.asiasentinel.com/politics/up-periscope-malaysia-sub-scandal-resurfaces/

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What, until the US$4.5 billion 1MDB affair, had been Malaysia’s biggest scandal, has reappeared – the US$1.2 billion purchase of submarines under then-Defense Minister Najib Razak at the turn of the century, a lurid tangle of blackmail, bribery, murder, influence peddling, misuse of corporate assets and concealment.

Crusading French lawyer William Bourdon and his associate, Appoline Cagnat, are currently in Malaysia discussing the affair with Attorney General Tommy Thomas, according to local media. Bourdon and his associates compiled much of the evidence about the purchase at the turn of the decade for Suaram, the Malaysian good-government NGO, but he was kicked out of the country for attempting to follow up the case by Najib’s government.

Credit: Malaysiakini

The matter has remained in limbo since 2012 as the Najib government pulled out all the stops to keep it buried. Now, however, after the May 9, 2018 election that turned out the Barisan Nasional and brought the Pakatan Harapan coalition to power, the new government has shown considerable zeal in bringing long-buried scandals to the light.

The Scorpene submarines were purchased by Malaysia from subsidiaries of the state-owned weapons manufacturer DCN although there is no evidence that Malaysia ever needed submarines and in fact they had to be based in East Malaysia because the waters around Peninsular Malaysia were too shallow for them to operate efficiently.

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According to evidence compiled by Asia Sentinel in a long series of articles that won the 2013 Award for Excellence in Investigative Reporting from the Society of Publishers in Asia – Asia’s version of the Pulitzer Prize – the transaction steered a €114.96 million (US$130.3 million at current exchange rates) kickback to the United Malays National Organization through a private company called Perimekar Sdn Bhd.

Perimekar was wholly owned by Abdul Razak Baginda and its principal shareholder was his wife, Mazlinda, a close friend of Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor.  He was then the head of a Malaysian think tank called Malaysian Strategic Research.

DCN officials hinted that Perimekar had come into existence only to facilitate the kickback transaction. Documents note that “Perimekar was a limited liability company with a capital of MR5 million (€1.4 million) of which 1 million is available. It was created in August 1999 … it has no record of sales during 2000. Its ownership is in the process of restructuring.”

Razak Baginda was a close friend of Najib Razak, who went on to be Malaysia’s prime minister and would be booted out of office in disgrace over the 1MDB scandal, which later supplanted the Scorpene scandal by far.

Another €36 million was directed to an obscure company in Hong Kong named Terasasi Hong Kong Ltd., whose principal officers were listed as Razak Baginda and his father and which appeared to be nothing more than a name on an accounting firm’s wall. According to an August, 2017 story, Razak Baginda was charged by French prosecutors with “active and passive complicity in corruption.”

According to the documents made available to Asia Sentinel, some of the misdeeds appear to have taken place with the knowledge of top French government officials including then-foreign Minister Alain Juppe and with the consent of former – and current — Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

Top Thales officials been named in news stories in Paris as having suborned bribes in the matter. Najib was also named as the recipient.   However, given the involvement of such individuals as Juppe and others, it seems unlikely that the matter will be carried further in France despite a statement last July by French Ambassador to Malaysia Frédéric Laplanche that “Cooperation between France and Malaysia (on the investigation) is very good.”

As Asia Sentinel reported in 2012, the payment appears to have been in violation of the OECD Convention on Bribery, which France ratified on June 30, 2000. On Sep. 29, 2000, DCNI, a DCN subsidiary, “took corrective actions” after France joined the bribery convention. Contracts concluded after that date were to be routed to companies held by Jean-Marie Boivin, DCN’s former finance chief, headquartered in Luxembourg and Malta respectively.

Among the documents is one that shows Boivin paid to send Razak Baginda on a jaunt to Macau with his then-girlfriend, Altantuya Shaariibuu, a jet-setting Mongolian national who was later murdered by two of Najib’s bodyguards in gruesome fashion in October of 2006 and whose body was blown up with C4 explosives, possibly to destroy the fetus of the child she said she was carrying when she was killed.

In a handwritten note found in her hotel room after she had been murdered, Altantuya said she was blackmailing Razak Baginda for US$50,000, although she didn’t say why. However, according to the documents, she had considerable knowledge of the purchase of the submarines from her relationship with the defense analyst. And, although Najib has repeatedly denied it and sworn on the Quran that he had never met her, there is evidence that he had not only met her but had an affair with her before Razak Baginda.

Two of Najib’s bodyguards, Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar, the latter of whom left the country when he was temporarily freed by an appeals court and remains in Australia, were tried and convicted of her murder in a long-running trial that appeared to be carefully orchestrated to make sure nobody above the two bodyguards was ever named despite the fact that one of them, in a sworn statement, said they were to be paid MYR50,000 to carry out the killing. Musa Safri, Najib’s aide de camp, was identified as the individual who designated Azilah and Sirul to pick up Altantuya. But there is no evidence he was ever questioned by the police about his involvement.

In June 2018, the then-newly appointed Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun told reporters that an investigation into Altantuya’s death would be reopened, based on a new police report submitted by Altantuya’s father. So far there has been little public indication of progress.

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The story, which was considerably bigger than just the Scorpenes, in essence began when Najib was appointed Defense Minister in Mahathir’s cabinet in 1991 and embarked on a massive buildup of the country’s military, arranging for the purchase of tanks, Sukhoi jets, coastal patrol boats – and submarines, all of which appear to have been mired in corruption and kickbacks that enriched Najib and UMNO. French, German, Swedish, Russian and Dutch manufacturers in turn went looking for the most effective cronies of the Malaysian leadership to help them out.

“The major defense contracts in Malaysia as in other countries require substantial money transfers to individuals and/or [political] organizations,” according to documents taken from DCN’s files by French investigators. “In Malaysia, other than individuals, the ruling party [UMNO] is the largest beneficiary. Consultants [agents or companies] are often used as a political network to facilitate such transfers and receive commissions for their principals.”