Malaysia: Prime Minister Najib’s Address at the UNGA, New York

September 27, 2015

COMMENT:  How can a scandal-ridden and corrupt Prime Minister who openly supportsdinat UC and sponsors the Red Shirt nationalism which purportedly was intended to redeem Malay dignity and pride be credible.

I like you to decide what you make out of this Address which he made some time ago. In my opinion, he sounds hollow when he does not practise what he says at home. Our Prime Minister assumes that the rest of the world does not know what is happening in our country.

Moderation? That is out of the question. He says and I quote:“Malaysia stands ready to share its experience; of marginalising extremism; maintaining a multi-religious country, where different faiths coexist and prosper; and showing that Islam can not only succeed, but drive progress and development in a pluralistic society.”

And this one beats them all when he told the world body that “Individuals and ethnic and religious groups need to feel they have a stake in a nation’s success, not its failure. So we should commit to more inclusive politics. This is difficult work; it demands pragmatism and compromise. And it must come from within.” It has to be voted in as the statement of the year from our Prime Minister. We must congratulate Foreign Minister  Dato’ Seri Anifah Aman, and his team in Wisma Putra including our Mission in New York, and our Embassy for its eloquence.

All said, I suppose, I must forgive our Prime Minister for he knows not what he is saying and doing.–Din Merican

Malaysia: Prime Minister Najib’s Address at the UNGA, New York (in 2014?)

Malaysia's Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak addresses the 65th General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters in New York, September 27, 2010. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand

PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand-AFP

Mr. President,

I would like to begin by congratulating you on your election. Your wisdom and experience will stand you in good stead as you guide the General Assembly.

I would like to pay tribute to the health workers who are fighting Ebola in West Africa. Malaysia was able to contribute more than 20 million rubber gloves to help the doctors and nurses who are working to stop the outbreak. Our prayers are with them.

I also wish to thank all those who came to Malaysia’s aid in this difficult year.. MH370 and MH17 were tragedies that will stay with us forever. As we mourn the loss of life, we take heart from the compassion shown by our friends. Your support will not be forgotten.

 We thank our friends and allies who give their time and their resources to help find MH370. Men and women continue to risk their lives searching the deepest oceans. We owe them our gratitude, and our commitment: we will not give up the search. We are also grateful to our international partners who are working together to investigate the loss of MH17. Malaysia will continue to seek justice for those who died.

We urge all parties to continue co-operating with the investigation. We hope also that these twin tragedies change the global aviation system for the better, and that nations unite behind new standards on aircraft tracking and overflying conflict zones.

Four years ago, I stood before you and called for a global movement of the moderates, to counter extremism. Last year, I spoke of the conflict between Sunni and Shia that is tearing the Muslim world apart.  Now these two forces – violent extremism and religious intolerance – have joined hands beneath a black flag. Two countries fractured by war face a new threat: a self-declared Islamic State. Its victims are Sunni and Shia, Yazidi and Kurd; any who will not bow before the sword.

This so-called state, torn from existing nations with violence, rules by violence. Its authority is  maintained by forced conversions and public executions. Its militants have destroyed lives and communities. They have destabilised fragile nations, and threatened regional security. Yet their dark ambition stretches further still.

They challenge the very notion of the state. They call our youth with the siren song of illegitimate jihad. And they demand all Muslims swear allegiance to their so-called caliph.That demand will never be met. We reject this so-called Islamic State. We reject this state defined by extremism. And we condemn the violence being committed in the name of Islam.

Around the world, Muslims have watched in despair as our religion – a religion of peace – has been used to justify atrocities. We have turned away in horror at the crucifixions and the beheadings. We have mourned the sons who have been stolen, and the daughters sold.

 We know that the threat to world peace and security is not Islam, but extremism: intolerant, violent and militant extremism. The actions of these militants are beyond conscience and belief. They violate the teachings of Islam, the example set by the Prophet Mohammed, and the principles of Islamic law.

As we speak, some Syrians and Iraqis are being forced to abandon their faith. Yet the Quran states that ‘there shall be no compulsion in religion’ (2:256). They are being forced from their homes, forced to convert to Islam. Yet the Quran says ‘to you your religion, and to me my religion’ (109:6). And if they do not comply, they face death. Yet the protection of life is a fundamental precept of Islamic law; and the killing of civilians, even in war, is prohibited in Islam.

The question is: how should we respond? In the past, when the world has mobilised to fight extremists, we have launched wars without planning for peace. We have attacked one evil only to see a greater evil emerge.

This time must be different. This time, we must defeat not just the extremists, but also their ideas. We must confront the heresy of a state conceived by ungodly men and enforced through violence. In its place, we must advance the true Islam: the Islam founded on the principles of peace, tolerance and respect, as set out in the Quran, sunnah and hadith.

There are key things we must do.First, security and statehood must be returned to the people of Syria and Iraq. Malaysia co-sponsored Resolution 2178 on foreign terrorist fighters to strengthen our commitment to galvanise international action to combat terrorism. We call on the international community to stop the flow of money and recruits to extremist groups. And we continue to offer humanitarian assistance under the ambit of the United Nations or internationally recognised bodies to those who are displaced by fighting. Attacks on militant targets should, at all cost, avoid collateral damage.

Second, we must pursue a different kind of politics. The emergence of these militants is a symptom of political failure; of poor governance in fragile states, and the conflict that still rages between Sunni and Shia.We must break the cycle where one group gains power only to wield it against the other. Where marginalisation leads to radicalisation, as people lose confidence in the state’s ability to provide both security and co-existence.

Individuals and ethnic and religious groups need to feel they have a stake in a nation’s success, not its failure. So we should commit to more inclusive politics. This is difficult work; it demands pragmatism and compromise. And it must come from within.

Malaysia stands ready to share its experience; of marginalising extremism; maintaining a multi-religious country, where different faiths coexist and prosper; and showing that Islam can not only succeed, but drive progress and development in a pluralistic society.

Like all nations, we have had our growing pains. Stability is never permanent; it must be actively maintained. But in Malaysia there are streets in which mosques, temples and churches stand side-by-side. Ours is a society in which religions may differ, but do so in peace; in the knowledge that we are all citizens of one nation.

We believe this moderate approach can make a valuable contribution to fragile states and international affairs alike. It is a philosophy we have used when acting as an honest broker in peace processes in the Southern Philippines and elsewhere; and a principle we will pursue as we chair ASEAN next year, when it forms a 600-million strong ASEAN Community, with greater political-security, economic and socio-cultural integration.

In coming weeks, Malaysia will work with all interested partners to move the moderation agenda forward at the UN. This work informs our bid for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council for the coming term.

The moderation agenda involves us all. The fight against extremism is not about Christians versus Muslims, or Muslims versus Jews, but moderates versus extremists of all religions. We therefore need to rally a coalition of moderates; those willing to reclaim their religion, and pursue the path to peace.

And so I reiterate my call to the leading figures in all the great religious traditions: let us join together to ensure that religion is the source of healing and blessing, rather than conflict and destruction. In this respect, I welcome Pope Francis’ visit to Palestine and his efforts to bring moderate Palestinians and Israelis together to pray for peace.

By demonstrating moderation in the political process, we can ensure no-one is left outside society. By practicing moderation in religion, we can marginalise the extremists. And by committing to moderation here at the United Nations, we can show that the world is willing to fight extremism not just with short-term military operations, but with long-term plans.

The security response by the international community, and a commitment to more inclusive politics by affected countries, will remove two of the conditions that allow extremism to take hold. But to defeat the extremists, we must also undermine their authority – and erode their appeal.

We must confront their propaganda. We must defeat the message that seduces the young into acts of violence. And we must address any legitimate grievances that drive people to extremism, be they political or economic. In short, we must win the hearts and minds of those who would serve the so-called caliph.

This is the work of a generation. To begin, we should focus on the real world conditions that allow disillusion to grow. That means building sustainable economies that bring opportunity for our young people – and addressing legitimate concerns that drive radicalisation.

Malaysia, like so many countries around the world, was appalled by the brutal violence against Palestinian civilians in Gaza. We strongly condemn Israel’s disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks on Gaza, and its continuing violations of international and human rights laws. The use of heavy weapons in civilian areas – the obliteration of houses, mosques and schools – was an affront to common decency. We condemn it not just for the innocent lives taken but for the message it sends: that religions cannot coexist, and that the international community cannot enforce international law and protect the rights of Palestinians.

Their plight is one of the most effective rallying calls for those who claim the international system is broken. So let us unite to find a peaceful, just and lasting outcome that brings dignity and security to the people of Palestine. This should be predicated on a two state solution based on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. This will bring dignity and security to the people of Palestine, who have suffered so much, and allow us to redouble our efforts to bring peace to other parts of the world where conflict fuels extremism.

We must also understand why these militants succeed in drawing people to their cause.The extremists call upon Muslims to pledge allegiance to their self-proclaimed caliphates in Syria and Iraq; in Nigeria and Somalia; and in Kenya and Libya. They reach out to a people in search of a state. That some answer this call is testament to our failure. We have failed to uphold a vision of moderate and inclusive Islamic development, and to tackle isolation in our own communities.

The fight against the extremists must be won not just in Syria and Iraq, but in Britain, Belgium, the US – and Malaysia. We have managed to prevent extremism from gaining a foothold in our country. Yet even a few Malaysians have been lured by foreign terrorist fighters that led them to Iraq and Syria.

Countries must educate, include and when necessary confront those at risk of radicalisation. Our religious leaders must continue to show that faith and society are best aligned under a just rule of law. And we must continue making the case that the moderate path is the righteous path – the path Allah set out for us when he said ‘we have made you into a community that is moderate, justly balanced’ (2:143).

We must confront the myth that committing atrocities in the name of an Islamic State is an act of faith; that death in the service of that aim brings martyrdom. The extremists use this distorted narrative as a recruitment tool. To counter this deception, Muslims should work together to promote a greater understanding of what a true Islamic state means.

An international conference of scholars of Islamic law, convened by my government to define the true meaning of an Islamic state, agreed that for a state to be called ‘Islamic’, it must deliver economic, political and social justice; and it must protect and further the six objectives of Islamic law: the right to life, religion, family, property, dignity, and intellect – the same universal rights enshrined in the UN declaration of human rights.

The so-called Islamic state in Syria and Iraq – and the methods used to declare it – has violated every single one of these objectives. It is therefore neither Islamic, nor a state. Individuals, religious leaders and nations have said and must continue to say so, and to advocate for Islamic principles within a framework of tolerance, understanding and peace.

This, after all, is the true nature of Islam; a religion of peace, one that values coexistence, and mutual comprehension, and learning – even in times of struggle. When 70 prisoners of war were captured during the battle of Badr, for example, the Prophet Muhammad was urged to slay them. Not only did the Prophet protect the lives of innocent civilians, he also spared enemy combatants.

It is this spirit of understanding and compassion that we should continue to embrace, and espouse.. Now is the time to advance a vision of peace and moderation. Let us call for a global community of understanding. Let us prove that we can honour the words of the Prophet, and build balanced and just societies, where different faiths live and prosper in peace.

Let us show that Muslims, united in faith, can be a powerful force for progress, knowledge, and justice – as we were in the greatest periods of our history. As we can be today. And as we will be tomorrow.

The Red Shirt Malays–Henchmen of Corrupt Najib Regime

September 9, 2015

Malaysia : The Red Shirt Malays–Henchmen of Corrupt Najib Regime

by  Prof. Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi

Red Shirt MalaysCOMMENT I am writing as a concerned Malaysian and as a responsible Muslim against the overt threats of those I will refer to as the RSMM – the Red Shirt Malay Menace. I have no idea what the official name of this group is, so I am using my academic licence to call them RSMM. Were this a Bahasa Malaysia article, I would dub them MMTM – Melayu Merah Tiada Maruah.

But strangely enough, this article is not about the RSMM but more about the deafening silence from the Malay political leadership, the Malay leadership of public universities, the Malay ulamas who are muftis, and the Malay leadership in one particular political group which claims to be the sole warriors of Islam.

From the first day that the activities of this group were reported in the media and online videos showing them as ‘pahlawan’ or warriors getting ready for battle, I have kept a close eye on not their childish statements and loud bravado but on who amongst the Malay elites of this country holding the bastion of power socially, religiously and politically would say about this group and their more-than-clear intention.

Din and Kamsiah at Bersih4.0

Fair enough, some of these elites have considered the Bersih 4 rally an illegal event bordering on ‘biadab’ for allegedly marring our National Day events. What is totally unacceptable and unfair is that many of these elites seem to agree to the suggestion that the rally is a ‘Chinese-led’ protest against the sanctity of Malay and Muslim governance in this country.

Were these people blind to the many Malays who were at the rally? What is clear is that both the organisers and the participants were multiracial. Yes, there was more of one race than the others but even if there was the presence of one intelligent, moral and conscientious Malay, that would still make the rally a multiracial event.

What is clear from the pictures and videos, the RSMM organisers and participants are 100 percent Malays. How do I know this academically? Well they called themselves ‘Melayu’ and talked about defending ‘maruah Melayu’. Now I will not speculate on who actually were responsible for the posters showing bloody pictures of racial mayhem but that they were there in plain sight for many to see speaks volume of who the perpetrators might possibly be.

Where have they gone?

Now let us leave the RSMM to their dances of silliness and animalistic mimicry. Let us ask ourselves, where are the moderate and sane voices of the Malay elites?

First, let us ask ourselves where are the moderate and Islamically-sane voices of the many rich and powerful UMNO elites strutting proudly in the corridors of power in Putrajaya? Where are the voices of the Malay menteri and timbalan menteri that number more than two bus coaches can bear?

Many were quick to point out about Bersih’s purported ‘illegality’ and ‘kurang ajar-ness’; where now are their voices against the RSMM and their obvious aim of ‘cari gaduh’. Where are the voices?

Or is it that our Menteris and Timbalan Menteris are frightened that the UMNO delegates would not vote for them if they utter any voice of sanity and love to hear them condemn non-Malays and spew venom on those Malays who loves their non-Malay brethren, be they Chinese, Indians, Christians, Buddhists or Hindus?

Bersih MalaysMany Malaysians like me are wondering whether these Malay elites should be given the serious responsibilities of running this country. For all their wealth, education and frequent trips to Mekah, I see a sorry state of leadership in our cabinet of Malay ‘warriors.’ Or perhaps these Malay leaders are waiting for a signal from their esteemed leader, the Prime Minister himself?

I think I do not wish to say anything about our esteemed Prime Minister because it is very hard to read him since he is always in his infamous ‘elegant silence’ mode. Anyway let us leave the PM as he seems very busy – the busiest I have seen in my entire career – giving speeches here and there and giving this and that to various groups of people.

What I learn is that a true leader must stand alone and be brave and conscientious enough to make a stand. What is the point of being a Minister in the cabinet entrusted by the Agong and the hope of 30 million true Malaysians (minus the RSMM of course) if he or she does not even understand the basic and simply stated ideological statement of the Rukunegara – ‘Kesopanan dan kesusilaan’?

Perhaps Malaysiakini columnist KJ John can be persuaded to give ‘all of us’ a refresher course on the foundation and spirit of the Malaysian idea and constitution.

Closing of Malaysian Minds

This brings me to the Malay elites in education – the vice-chancellors and deputy vice-chancellors of the public universities. I have spent 24 years at a public university in Malaysia and have watched carefully and patiently what happens and what does not happen at our illustrious tertiary education bastions.

What happens is the call for more and more research and so-called ‘high impact publication’. What happens is the increasing demands for publications for promotion to the point that most of my friends have given up even to try to get them.

What happens is the shutting of gates, literally, to concerned Malaysian citizens trying to give an alternate discourse to students who are supposed to be the next leaders of our country. What happens is the last-minute cancellation of well-organised intellectual events to provide balanced perspectives on issues.

What does not happen is the encouragement of Vice Chancellors and their Deputies to implore students to be more responsible for society and to embrace fairness and compassion. What does not happen is the encouragement of debates and discourses on different viewpoints on issues affecting the nation.

Minus these events, universities seem to be a place of training workers and not the training of responsible citizens and visionaries as well as compassionate leaders. Once, I even thought of writing an article titled ‘Public Universities in Malaysia: The Last Place to Learn Anything Meaningful’.

I tell all my children to attend the forums organised by bodies such as the Islamic Rennaissance Front (IRF), the Penang Institute, the Institute of Democratic and Economic Affairs (Ideas) or the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation, venued at Nottingham University Malaysia or Sunway University or the Global Movement of Moderates.

It used to be Universiti Malaya, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and International Islamic University that led the way for intellectual discourses but sadly these institutions have fallen into the hands of those with a small and race-prone vision.

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Yes, public universities in Malaysia have produced many engineers, architects and doctors and lawyers who have made a good materialistic living out of their education. But after four decades, we are faced with the ridiculous and dangerous antics of the RSMM. Can this be said to be the product of our public universities – the extremism of some Malay graduates and the apathy of many others?

So I ask again, where are these voices of professors and academics entrusted with the education of our children, the next citizenry and leaders of Malaysia? Or perhaps these professors are nothing more than civil servants with the motto ‘saya yang mengikut perintah’. The success of my academic carrier has always been ‘Saya tak pernah ikut perintah … terutamanya perintah yang bodoh dan tak masuk akal.’

Wear white

Finally, I wish to call on the voices of our religious scholars, the muftis, the professors of Islam and the leaders of the sole self-professed Islamic party, PAS. What I have heard in the media and more so in the Friday sermons are the condemnation of entities, individuals and events deemed anti-Islamic.

Funnily enough these are the same voices that are strangely muted in cases of corruption of leaders and dubious allegations of sexual misconduct. But more importantly, where is the moderate and magnanimous voices of those who claimed to be the spokesman of the Prophet Muhammad who were compassionate with many of his enemies? Where is the ‘representative’ of the Prophet who would always call on Muslims to be soft spoken and not blare their voices, which he says akin to ‘the braying of an ass or donkey’?

There was even a mufti who had proclaimed the ‘halal-ness’ of the blood of peaceful demonstrators but is completely silent on a group of Muslims baying for blood? I would excuse the Islamic party in this call to moderation because the party which could make women as a pledge of property should not even be given any dignity to explain their ‘elegant silence’.

With all this deafening silence, I charge that Malaysia is a failed state. Its institutions have failed the country, not the rakyat. The rakyat in general know what being a Malaysian is but there seems to be a question whether the Malay elites in the corridors of political, educational and religious power actually do understand the rudimentary ideals of Rukunegara. In this silence, I grade all these institutions an ‘F’. I am, however, willing to give them a supplementary exam, provided that they ask for it.

In closing, I wish to inform all the Malays who are good Malaysians and humble Muslims to join me at a seminar organised by Ideas at the Institut Integriti Negara on September 16. The opening speech will be given by UMNO veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, followed by CIMB chairperson Nazir Abdul Razak.

I will go with my whole family clothed in white. Why white? White is the colour Muslims wear at the sacred ritual of umrah and hajj. It symbolises that we approach Allah without our worldly status and wealth and hoping that all our sins will be washed away. White is also our shroud in death where we hope to die without any feelings of vengeance and despair, but that we end our stay on this earth with compassion to all man.

I wish that all Malays who believe in the idea of a Malaysia with ‘kesopanan dan kesusilaan’ and Muslims who believe in humility and love of the brotherhood of man come to the seminar in the same white to contrast against the zealotry, bigotry and madness of the Red Shirt Malay Menace group and also against the deafening silence of the Malay-Muslim elites in politics, education and Islamic entities.

PROF DR MOHAMAD TAJUDDIN MOHAMAD RASDI is Professor of Architecture at UCSI University, Cheras.–

A Round-Up in Joceline Tan’s Style: A Crazy Week in Malaysian Politics

July 12, 2015


Political Round-Up in Joceline Tan’s Style:  A Crazy Week in Malaysian Politics

ON the evening before the explosive Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was hosting a buka puasa function for the media fraternity in Shah Alam. The venue was the sprawling complex of the Karangkraf Media Group that publishes the Malay daily Sinar Harian. It even has its own mosque.

Najib-Razak-Forbes-Malaysia-27th-Richest1The Kelantan-born Karangkraf Chairman and CEO Datuk Hussamuddin Yaacub is a naturally energetic and bubbly person but his adrenaline was on overdrive as he waited for the Prime Minister to arrive. Najib, in contrast, was a picture of calm – all smiles, rosy-cheeked, slimmed-down and dressed in a milky green baju Melayu. He was in a relaxed mood and it looked like all was well in the world around him.

In hindsight, that evening was the calm before the storm. And what a storm it has been.Despite a number of discrepancies, the WSJ report has opened a can of worms – billion ringgit transactions, private bank accounts and allegations of impropriety. To borrow a street term, it seemed like something foul had hit the fan.

Najib’s team has scrambled to answer some of the questions raised and to do damage control. His lawyers have given the United States-based publication 14 days to respond, failing which they intend to “exhaust all legal avenues and remedies”.

A special task force comprising four of the biggest names in government has been set up to investigate the allegations. Najib has stressed that the truth will prevail in the investigations. At the same time, there has been an overload of speculation, rumours and misinformation.

WSJ Task ForceBehaving like Circus Clowns: Credibility Zero

A pro-opposition news portal wrongly claimed that the accounts frozen by a high-powered task force set up to look into the 1MDB-related funds belonged to Najib. There was even a WhatsApp message going around and claiming that convicted murderer Sirul Azhar would be giving an interview in Australia to name the murderer of the dead Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu. It was a hoax.

The son of the former AmBank founder Hussain Ahmad Najadi, who was shot dead two years ago, also jumped on the bandwagon, telling the notorious Sarawak Report that his father died for reporting corruption in the bank.

Sarawak Report released a 2009 picture of Najib and his family posing with PetroSaudi owner Prince Saudi and the infamous Jho Low. The purpose was to illustrate the 1MDB deal with PetroSaudi. But the one that took the cake was DAP leader Lim Kit Siang calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to be set up and headed by Dr Mahathir.

Lim is getting famous for his bizarre ideas. Dr Mahathir wants Najib out, he has been hounding Najib non-stop on the 1MDB issue and now Lim wants Dr Mahathir to head an RCI on Najib and 1MDB.  Lim, famous for accusing the government of running kangaroo courts, is basically suggesting that the accuser become the prosecutor as well as judge and executioner.

The UMNO bloggers retaliated with a picture of Sarawak Report founder Clare Rewcastle Brown and Datuk Khairuddin Hassan in what looked like a London hotel. Their aim was to link the Sarawak Report with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad because Khairuddin is seen as an operative of the former Premier.

There was evidently a fierce psywar coming from both sides to own the public opinion space. GP Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar had his hands full refuting some of the nonsense on social media. He looked like he could not decide whether to laugh or cry when someone asked whether it was true that he was going to arrest Dr Mahathir.It was as if the circus had come to town.

The storm is not over yet and the issue is still making front-page headlines in all the newspapers.“Everything is moving so fast. UMNO is not in turmoil but there is a lot of confusion among our members especially about why Tun Mahathir has gone so far,” said UMNO orator and Kok Lanas assemblyman Datuk Alwi Che Ahmad.

There is no denying that Najib is under pressure. It is no longer a secret that there are now allegations that UMNO Deputy President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is on the same page as Dr Mahathir and that he is hungry to take over from Najib.

Utusan Malaysia carried a big picture of him in the role of imam for maghrib prayers after breaking fast with the media earlier this week. It was a very powerful image, and he was sending a strong message to his party. Muhyiddin has one little problem though – the Umno ground does not seem to be moving with him despite several endorsements from Dr Mahathir. The reason could also be that UMNO members do not appreciate Dr Mahathir forcing his will on the party again. But who knows, things may change in the months to come.

Najib is politically wounded and there is talk that some UMNO leaders want him to go on leave. But, on the whole, the party is still with him. “It’s the Malay culture, there is sympathy for what Najib is going through. Many of us don’t like it that the attack is coming from outside the country,” said Kapar UMNO Chief Datuk Faizal Abdullah.

Khairy JamaluddinPuts in Political Future in Najib’s Hands

Najib received a much needed boost from his Cabinet on Wednesday. Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said that after listening to the Prime Minister’s explanation, the Cabinet wants the law to take its course and wait for the outcome of the investigations into the 1MDB funds.

The implication is that the Cabinet is standing by Najib and will not pressure him to step down. The ministers joined Najib after the Cabinet meeting as he officiated the induction of young interns joining the offices of Cabinet Ministers. It was what journalists would call a “photo-op” (photo oppor­tunity) and the fraternal scene was clearly not accidental.

Innocent until proven guilty

The Cabinet backing, said a political insider, is necessary and expected. “At that level, they have to go on facts. The Cabinet cannot make decisions based on what appears in a news report or on sentiments. This is not like the UMNO Supreme Council which can decided based on political interests or sentiments. The investigation is ongoing, they have to presume innocence until and unless proven otherwise,” said the insider.

Najib’s survival as Prime Minister is dependent on the outcome of the investigations. The high-powered task force comprising the head of the police force, Bank Negara, Attorney-General’s Office and MACC has moved to centre stage and a lot is expected of them. They will have to ask the relevant questions like where the money in the accounts being investigated came from, whose money was it and where did the money go? These are thorny questions and the taskforce has to provide some answers.

Najib’s personal image, said the above political insider, is at a critical level, and his standing as a leader may not be the same again. This is not an overnight thing. It has been building up over the last few years – stories, true and untrue about his wife and their lifestyle. They could have nipped it in the bud but they did not do enough, and the stories just grew more outlandish and exaggerated.

Najib has become too easy a target of smear attacks, and there will come a time when his party feels they are fighting too many fires set off around him. The Barisan Nasional side seems frozen, unsure how to react to what is happening.

Pakatan Rakyat in Disarray

Pakatan Rakyat or whatever remains of it, is not doing much better. “Instead of jumping the gun and demanding that Najib resign, the opposition could have been more professional and suggest the scope of the investigation to help the public understand it better. They would have been seen as a coalition serious about taking over instead of just out to play politics and score political points. There are too many half-past-six politicians on both sides,” said the above insider.

They would have been seen as a coalition serious about taking over instead of just out to play politics and score political points. There are too many half-past-six politicians on both sides,” said the above insider.

The 1MDB issue is full of cautionary tales for ambitious politicians out there. Politicians in the age of social media will be judged on what they do, what they do not do as well as what their wives and children get up to. It is an era without secrets.

Pakatan Rakyat or whatever remains of it, is not doing much better. Instead of jumping the gun and demanding that Najib resign, the opposition could have been more professional and suggest the scope of the investigation to help the public understand it better.

The 1MDB issue is full of cautionary tales for ambitious politicians out there. Politicians in the age of social media will be judged on what they do, what they do not do as well as what their wives and children get up to. It is an era without secrets. As many in UMNO have pointed out, the Brutus from within is always more deadly than the enemy outside. The maximum damage always comes from attacks by those inside.

Dr Mahathir, said Alwi, opened the door to the attacks. History will see him playing a pivotal role in the rise and fall of his successors. He is like the striker in a football match but he may have kicked the ball into his own net again.“Tun Mahathir wanted to evict the owner of the house but now everything is catching fire,” said Alwi.

Najib’s survival and reputation is in the balance and it is crucial for the task force to quickly finish its investigation and reach a conclusion.


The Eminent Task Force on WSJ Allegations Froze a different set of bank accounts

July 8, 2015

COMMENT: Are you surprised? I am not. As I said in an earlier posting, these publicDin MericanX servants are Najib’s Men and Woman.  They are partisan and cannot be independent. If they are, they will not be chosen. They cannot be stupid. How can a group of professionals make a mistake like this one. Obviously, they are trying to protect their boss and give him to time to do some cover-up.

Soon we will learn that the documents as released by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) do not exist or have gone missing. Well, if Altantuya’s immigration records can disappear, what else Najib’s men cannot think of next.

It would appear that this investigation has started on a wrong footing and it is likely in my opinion going to be another sham. Our public officials cannot be relied upon to do the right thing. If you cannot trust our government and the people in power and officials who work for them, Malaysia is a disgrace in the eyes of the world. Our system of governance is kaput.–Din Merican 

The Eminent Task Force on WSJ Allegations Froze  a different set of bank accounts

WSJ Task ForceThe Eminent Task Force: A-G Gani Patail,  BNM GovernorZeti, IGP Khalid Abu Bakar, and MACC Abu Kassim

The accounts frozen by the special task force investigating the alleged US$700 million (RM2.67 billion) money trail from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) into Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s personal accounts are not the same accounts that the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) had reported on in its exclusive report.

The WSJ in reporting on the freeze of six accounts today, cited a source close to the investigations that the accounts affected “were different from those described in the Journal report last week”.

In addition to the six accounts frozen, documents linked to 17 bank accounts in two banks were also seized by the task force, which comprises the Attorney-General’s Chambers, Bank Negara, police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

The task force’s statement today, however, did not name the banks where the frozen accounts were, nor did it say whether any of them belonged to Najib.

However, sources later today confirmed with The Malaysian Insider that three of the frozen accounts were Najib’s, and were with AmBank and Affin Bank.

The move by the investigating task force follows WSJ’s report last Friday that US$700 million had moved through different companies linked to 1MDB before they money was deposited in two accounts belonging to Najib at AmPrivate Bank in Kuala Lumpur.

The largest sum of US$681 million had allegedly been transferred to Najib’s accounts in March 2013, two months before the general election was held.

The WSJ today also released redacted documents that showed the purported transfer of funds to Najib’s accounts to support its report.

These documents included instructions for telegraphic transfers, charts that showed the alleged flow of money, remittance form and cash deposit authorisation letter by Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, Director of Finance Ministry-owned company SRC International Sdn Bhd, to the branch manager of AmIslamic Bank Bhd.

SRC was also one of the companies involved in the flow of money outlined by the WSJ, which had reported based on documents obtained from the Malaysian government’s investigation.

Najib is also finance minister and chairman of 1MDB’s advisory board, and is now facing his toughest challenge as prime minister over 1MDB which has been criticised for its opaque dealings and massive RM42 billion debt incurred in just six years of operations.

He has denied taking any funds for personal gain but has otherwise not shed any light on the alleged transfers.

Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Anifah Aman’s Open Letter to the NY Times

Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Anifah Aman’s Open Letter to the NY Times Editor

COMMENT: Thomas Fuller’s article and interview with Tun Dr Din MericanXMahathir Mohamad which appeared in the New York Times ( June 17, 2015) have received a response from Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Dato’ Sri Anifah Aman.

It is a reasonable reaction. Minister Aman is expressing concern about the effects of the article and Dr. Mahathir’s interview on Malaysia’s image and Prime Minister’s reputation at home and abroad. As usual, our government’s response has come a little too late.

Furthermore, the Foreign Minister’s Open letter has not added any new material to what is already in the public domain. He merely rehashed them and attacked the former Prime Minister for raising valid issues about the 1MDB scandal.

Damage done to the Prime Minister in the eyes of Malaysians at home and the international community except for his loyal friend, US President Barack Obama, is irreversible. 1MDB scandal has gone out of control because the Prime Minister and his Cabinet, its Chairman Lodin Wok Kamaruddin and Directors, and its Chief Executive Officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy failed to respond clearly and honestly when the matter came to light.

In stead, the Malaysian public were given a merry-go-round with misleading and contradictory answers about the financial affairs  of this sovereign fund. In their arrogance, they assume that we can accept their version as the gospel truth and that we are timid and stupid.What happened to the RM42 billion loan remains answered.

Our attention is being diverted to the politics of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee headed by MP Nur Jazlan and the Opposition, and the antics and tactics of  Mr. Arul and his associates, the Auditor-General, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Inspector-General of Police with occasional interventions by the Prime Minister, his Deputy Prime Minister and senior ministers in his Cabinet.

In order to put Foreign Minister’s Open Letter in the right context, please read this:

Tun Dr MahathirWe may disagree with the Tun’s approach, but in fairness to our former Prime Minister, he had raised them with the Prime Minister in private meetings but he never received any satisfactory response. Tun Dr. Mahathir is consummate politician, no doubt; but in this matter many Malaysians share his concern about 1MDB’s huge debt in the event of a taxpayer or GLC funded bailout or loan default with macro implications on the national economy and our financial and banking system.–Din Merican

The Foreign Minister’s Open Letter as reproduced from :

anifah_amanUNMalaysia’s Foreign Minister Dato’ Sri Anifah Aman

It is regrettable to see Tun Mahathir seeking to undermine his own country in the international media as part of a personal political vendetta.

It is irresponsible of any citizen, let alone a former Prime Minister, to spread lies and distortions about state owned companies – saying for example that RM42 bn is missing from 1MDB to create public anxiety, when in fact these are audited debts backed by RM51 billion in assets. These reckless claims have affected market sentiment towards Malaysia.

Furthermore, it is telling that he continues to mount his attacks, rather than wait for the findings of the enquiries currently being undertaken by Malaysia’s central bank, Auditor General, and parliament’s bipartisan Public Accounts Committee. This shows that Tun Mahathir is not interested in answers from the appropriate lawful authorities. Rather, he is just using 1MDB as an excuse to topple the serving prime minister, Najib Tun Razak.

And all because his personal demands, as Tun Mahathir himself has acknowledged, are not being met. Prime Minister Najib, as Malaysia’s democratically elected leader, will do what he thinks is right for the nation, and will not allow rule by proxy.

Tun Mahathir told the New York Times that UMNO “lacks vision and talented people”, that it “has become a repository of patronage-seeking politicians”, and that members “try to keep out people who are more intelligent than themselves”. But it is Tun Mahathir who led the party for 22 years.

It was he that, during his time, worked to cultivate ‘yes men’ and entrench his position – even introducing a quota system for the UMNO presidency to prevent challengers – rather than bringing in talent and strengthening the party. It is Prime Minister Najib who democratised the party constitution to make it far easier to challenge him for his job.‎

For Tun Mahathir to accuse Prime Minister Najib of acts “verging on criminal” is simply outrageous, and entirely false. It is a measure of the reforms put in place under Prime Minister Najib’s administration that Tun Mahathir has the freedom to be so vocally critical of the party and government he once led.‎

But Tun Mahathir is abusing that freedom, and his privileged standing as a former Prime Minister, to indulge in reckless and baseless personal smears against Prime Minister Najib and his family. Most Malaysians would rather see Tun Mahathir retire gracefully than continue to damage the standing of his own country for personal political gain.

Y.B. Dato’ Sri Anifah bin Haji Aman
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia

The Sabah Earthquake- have we forgotten to mourn together as a nation?

June 7, 2015

The Sabah Earthquake- have we forgotten to mourn together as a nation?

by Din Merican

dato-din-mericanOn September 16, 1963, 4 countries came together to form a new nation called the Federation of Malaysia. The 4 countries were Malaya (which was itself a federation of several states), Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore. On August 9, 1965, Singapore declared her independence after she was expelled from of Malaysia leaving only 3 countries in the Federation.

Since her departure, Singapore has charted her own destiny and become the powerful and important city state financial centre that it is today. When her founder, Lee Kuan Yew died recently, the world stood at attention in respect of the man that had made Singapore what it is- a successful nation where everything works excellently.

The same success story could not be told of the 3 countries left in Malaysia. ‎Economic blackmails by the Federal government under Barisan Nasional in order to have political dominance over the state governments became the way business is done.

In the end, the development of the states were sabotaged by the very central government that the people elected to bring them prosperity. It became worse when several states came under opposition rule.

Outright sabotage of these states’ development which were hostile, while outright bribery of the states that supported the central government. That is how Sabah and Sarawak have become to be regarded as the electoral fixed deposit boxes by the central government politicians in Malaya.

Thus, the resentment towards Orang Malaya continues in these two states. In the end, the politicians of these states too played the political blackmail game and demanded political bribes, sometimes for their states, but most times for themselves, as a condition for supporting the BN central government.

That is the sorry state of affairs we have today which is unashamedly declared by PM Najib in Sarawak recently when he said that he and his wife can sleep on the same pillow because the people of Sarawak support him.

Sabah has been infiltrated many times by Filipino bandits. In the recent Lahad Datu epsiode, Sabah was even invaded‎ leading to the formation of Esscom which is supposed to ensure that the borders of Sabah, being the national borders of Malaysia will never be invaded again. But that was just an empty promise. Since then, more kidnappings have happened and Sabah remain ever exposed to invaders with the central government and military unable to do anything. Therein lies the broken promises that the Federation and the Federal Government made to Sabah which was never fulfilled.

The Federal Government could not and did not provide safety, peace and security to Sabah from foreign invaders. Sabah might as well have been part of the Philippines with such frequent incursions breaching it’s state borders. The Federal Government failed in that basic duty that it owed to a country in the Federation.

Najib's Saudi trip

That is not all. The terrible disease that has struck our nation is symptomatic when Sabah ‎suffered an earthquake just a few days ago. This was a natural disaster. There were deaths. The state is in mourning, but the Prime Minister did not go to Sabah. He has instead gone to Saudi Arabia to perform his umrah. Which is more important?

Yesterday was the Yang DiPertuan Agong’s birthday. There were celebrations and conferment of awards. Did the federal government and its ministers not think of the grief of Sabah? The Agong ‘s speech drafted by the federal government did not even mention Sabah’s disaster. A more appropriate action would be to cancel these celebrations and conferment of awards. But we did not do that.

If Sabah is an integral part of Malaysia, should we not abort all these ceremonies. Or have we simply forgotten to mourn together as a‎ nation?

The Sabah Deal