1MDB Financial Scandal: Malaysia’s DPM Muhyiddin breaks rank with his Boss Najib


May 21, 2015

Phnom Penh

ambrin-buangCOMMENT: It is time for DPM Muhyiddin to make his stand on 1MDB and stop playing UMNO politics. Listen to the angry voices of Malaysians  who are united in wanting answers to the 1MDB scandal. They want to know why the inept and weak Prime Minister is playing games.

They need some explanation from the Auditor-General, Tan SriAbu Kassim Ambrin Buang, why he has not released his report since he was directed  three months ago by the Prime Minister to conduct a full “no stones unturned” investigation into the affairs of 1MDB. They also expect the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to commence its investigation and stop using Tunku Abdul Aziz to give excuses via the mainstream media for failing to do so .

Both these agencies are thoroughly dysfunctional. If the Auditor-General and the MACC Chief Commissioner are unwilling to do their jobs, they should do Malaysians a favour. Just resign and go play golf for the rest of their lives.

Yes, RM42 billion–not a mean sum– is not missing, as the Prime Minister says. But Malaysians want, and have to right, to be told what happened to the funds and why this sovereign fund is now technically insolvent; they expect to be informed what plans are in place to resolve its financial woes, apart from what has been done now through garage sales of its assets to cash rich GLCs like Tabung Haji in order to pay its creditors.

Here the Governor, Bank Negara Malaysia has failed to do her duty as financial advisor to the government and protector of financial integrity of the banking system. She must resign for allowing local and international banks to lend huge amounts of money to 1MDB.

More importantly, Malaysians expect to  be advised of what will lodin-wok-kamaruddinhappen to the 1MDB Chairman and Directors who have failed to do their fiduciary duty diligently, and its management  team led by a certain Mr. Arul Kanda Kandasamy for dereliction of professional responsibility.

The Sarawak Report, The Edge Magazine disclosures, and the revelations by former Prime Minister Tun Dr.Mahathir Mohamad, and Parliamentarians Tony Pua and Rafizi Ramli can no longer be ignored. These are not figments of their imagination.

The continued failure of 1MDB to meet its debt obligations will create ripple effects throughout the economy by undermining public and international investor confidence in Malaysia. The Deputy Prime Minister is correct in demanding an end to this hide and seek games that are being played by Prime Minister Najib Razak. But how far will Muhyiddin go. Will he demand the Prime Minister’s resignation? That is the question all Malaysians want answered.–Din Merican

1MDB Financial Scandal: DPM Muhyiddin breaks rank with his Boss Najib

by Nigel Aw@www.malaysiakini.com

The government may have repeatedly told the public to wait for the completion of the audit of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) before passing judgement, but a leaked video has revealed the country’s No 2 is not on the same page.

In a leaked video depicting a closed-door meeting between Muhyiddin and UMNO grassroots in Pahang last week, the Deputy Premier said the authorities must wait no longer.

“We have to take action, we cannot be: ‘Nevermind, give a bit more time’. No!” he said exasperatedly.

The event was believed to have taken place at UMNO’s training centre in Janda Baik last Saturday, just a day after 1MDB urged the public to wait for the outcome of the Auditor-General’s Department’s audit.

“We request that no one should prejudge the matter without thorough facts, ahead of the reviews being made public,” said the company in a statement.

This was echoed by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak on Sunday, a day after Muhyiddin’s speech inDPM at UMNO Pahang Janda Baik, through his “frequently asked question” article posted on his blog.

“It is unfair for certain politicians to convict the government in the court of public opinion before the facts are presented by the authorities which are the auditor-general and bi-partisan Public Accounts Committee,” said Najib.

The seven-minute video was uploaded yesterday by former New Straits Times editor Firdaus Abdullah.

The video appeared to have diverted attention from Parliament today, where Najib presented the 11th Malaysia Plan, as journalists swarmed Muhyiddin about the leaked video, which he confirmed to be authentic.

“Those were views aired behind closed doors… It is my view and those of my political colleagues to better understand (the issue),” he said.

DPM moves differently behind closed doors

Muhyiddin, who is UMNO Deputy President, merely smiled when asked how Najib had reacted to the what he said in the video, replying: “It’s nothing, focus on my (present) statement”.

The video also gave a closer look at who Muhyiddin is when he speaks to UMNO leaders behind closed doors, as he spoke in a frank and Prime Minister-like manner.

Muhyiddin, who often comes across as dull and monotonous in public, displayed his ability to work the grassroots as he cracked jokes and emphasised how UUMNO needed to deal with its public image with regards to 1MDB.

In his speech, Muhyiddin joked that UMNO members were trying to act smarter than they actually were, but then continued in a firm tone declaring that his stance on matters such as 1MDB.

“On issues like this, I am convinced then if it is unresolved, it will be the straw on the camel’s back,” said Muhyiddin, who emphasised his point with uncharacteristic animated hand gestures.

Najib did not appear in the video clip, but other top UMNO leaders present clearly seen were Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Deputy Finance Minister Ahmad Maslan and Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob.

Ambiga on Human Rights In Malaysia


May 20, 2015

Phnom Penh

Ambiga Sreenevasan on Human Rights @ ASEAN People’s Forum

ambiga

“What have we done to deserve this stifling of various freedoms by Putrajaya? (Government of Malaysia).”What a great question for us to ask ourselves and ask of this Barisan Nasional Government.

We love our country, pay our taxes faithfully (albeit, grudgingly at times), volunteer for social causes, donate to needy causes, celebrate our diverse cultures and faith, live peaceably and in harmony with our neighbours and thank God for our many blessings as Malaysians. And what do we get in return?

We get plundered, lorded over, insulted and told to migrate if not happy by our public servants. Yes, please don’t ever forget, they are our servants! The word ‘minister’ was from the Latin word for ‘servants’. Let’s get that right from the start, lest we forget who the real boss is in a democracy.

When we want to protest about how we are treated we are told (by our servants) we have to get permission. When we speak we have to worry about 3 a.m raids by Police with balaclava and sub-machine guns. We draw cartoons or make satirical videos but must not offend ‘she with the big hairdo’ or get charged with sedition. We tweet but the King of Twit (The Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar) monitors our tweets and sends his hounds after us.

Meanwhile we have delusional Ministers telling us not to worry. We have the best education and universities in the world. Our Manglish is better than our neighbour down south. Our Proton is better than BMW. We have the best democracy in the world. Yeah, best my  sweet charity. We don’t hear them boasting that we are Number 1 in corrupt business practices or that we conduct one of the worst election processes in the world.

Yet in everyday life all these self-congratulatory claims make no sense. Many of our graduates cannot get employed and when they do, they are paid RM2,000 a month or thereabouts. Our median monthly salary is RM1,500. Minimum wage is RM900, for many, before ‘deductions’.

How come after more than five decades of this government’s ‘management’ of our economy, over 4 million households and almost 3 million singles still qualify for Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) handouts. That’s almost 23 million of our 30 million population, 76 percent.

Where has all our wealth gone ? 1Malaysia Development Berhad, Bumiputra Malaysia Finance, Port Kelang Free Zone, MAS, Perwaja, Maminco, etc? To add salt to our many financial injuries, they tax us with the Goods and Services Tax (GST) because otherwise the country would go bankrupt! Cost of living is going up but our income is stagnant because we cannot compete. We cannot compete because they have messed up our education system, or to put it another way, they have messed up our children’s future!

Food costs will go up because we are a huge net importer of food and the Ringgit is sliding south against the US dollar. Our nasi lemak and wantan noodles have already gone up if you have not realised by now. And we have another minister assuring us that with GST, prices of goods will go down, if not, cook more at home or in your dorm. Cook with what? Our rice, flour, sugar, beef, milk, fish and vegetables are mostly imported with US dollar.

Ahmad MaslanAhmad Maslan (CGPA-3.85) and his Boss

Hello? You do not need a CGPA of 3.85 to know that, it is just common sense . Pride does not feed hungry stomachs

Blessed with arable land and good weather all year round, we should be exporting food worldwide. But no, we will have none of that. Instead of growing and cultivating edible crop and livestock, we cut down our thousand-year old forests and replace them with oil palm with which we cannot fill our stomach with (unless you want a quick death) and depend on cheap foreign labour to harvest.

My beef with oil palm is that it does not enrich the workers, only the already filthy rich tycoons. Maybe some of us are proud of our billionaires making it into Forbes’ top billionaires list but pride does not feed hungry stomachs.

To compete with other producers globally we use cheap foreign labour not only for our plantations but also for our factories. Paying them minimum wages, we suppress our own Malaysian workers and we do not bother with increasing productivity and investing in innovation so that we can earn higher income, so that more of us can “afford” to pay income tax and not ‘qualify’ for BR1M.

When our ministers boast of the millions qualifying for BR1M, it’s like saying, “Hooray! Look at the huge number of poor people we have to help.” How retarded can we get?

So again, we ask ourselves, what have we done to deserve this? Actually, come to think of it, we have brought this upon ourselves. We have faithfully voted in this same government all these past 13 general elections, in 10 of which we gave them two-third majorities to amend our federal constitution over 700 times. Malaysia Boleh (Malaysia Can).

Yes, perhaps we got the government we deserve. But better late than never as they say. As Malaysians we deserve better, much better. The next time we cast our votes, we should vote for a better future, remembering what a lousy management we have had for the past five decades. We should vote to take back our power to sack non-performing public servants and install competent, honest and selfless servants.

Malaysia better after Najib?


May 16, 2015

Malaysia  better after Najib?

by Aspan Alias

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com

Abdul_Ghapur_SallehWe know with certainty that Najib’s claim of enjoying the support of the people is not true, and what the facade of support is made up of. A crowd of four thousand in Tawau last week was inflated to forty thousand, and even then the four thousand were mostly Indonesian workers from the plantations around Tawau.

The MP for Kalabakan apparently was provided with financial support to assemble as many people as possible to stand in front of PM Najib to clap and scream in support after every word from Najib’s mouth. The support was faked and stage-managed for the purpose of media publicity. Those who came for the rally were paid and of course the money originated from Putrajaya.

Back in Kuala Lumpur, Najib has been “forcing” Cabinet members and opportunistic MPs to be seen to be with him, to give the public impression that he enjoys the support of the people. Initially Muhyiddin was seen to drifting away from Najib and was apparently ready to lead many Cabinet Ministers to jump off the PM’s sinking ship, but chickened out after a four-eyes meeting with the distressed PM before the Supreme Council meeting few days ago.

What transpired or was transacted between them in their discussions is somewhat easy to guess: Muhyiddin, too, already carries heavy-enough baggage, what more any additional burden. He now has no other choice but to swim or to float with the flow like a dead fish.

As an adage goes, the good is for the good while the bad will go for the bad: that was the actual reason for Muhyiddin to chicken out along with the rest of the confused leaders with him. The divide now is between the rakyat and the ruling leaders, in particular Najib.

The Kit Siangs and the Hadis as well as the Anwars and the disillusioned Malays, Kadazans, Dayaks and others all want to show Najib the exit door. Every ordinary man and woman wants Najib to go if possible immediately. He should take this opportunity to live in repentance ever after.

The Besieged Malaysia EmperorThe Besieged Malaysian Emperor

Najib’s retirement would be a priceless gift for each and every Malaysian. How could it not be so? It would help the country to be reborn as a vibrant nation led by an astute and exemplary technocrat. Wouldn’t you agree that this is an irreplaceable contribution from Najib to the nation?

Aspan Alias is an FMT Reader

What’s Happening to Malaysia?


May 15, 2015

Phnom Penh by The Mekong

What’s Happening to Malaysia?

by Syed Hamid Albar*

http://syedhamidalbar44.blogspot.com/

Syed Hamid AlbarThe political scene of Malaysia and its final outcome is being followed closely by domestic and foreign political  observers and pundits. Never in the country’s history has there been such intense polemics and uncertainty on the sustainability of the government. The norm is after the government has been formed, it will move on with its responsibility of governing.

At the same time within the Barisan Nasional (BN) they expressed surprise at how the party could reduce its majority and  clamour for a postmortem of the GE13 to know the reasons. To outsiders it was obvious that the component parties on the whole particularly in Peninsular Malaysia did not have the acceptance of the Chinese and urban voters. Nothing unusual about that. It is not only UMNO that has to change but the component parties need to carry out some soul searching reforms of themselves.

Coming out of this dismal performance there were some intelligent and some funny speculations and responses on what should be the next cause of action the leadership should take. After all the BN had presented a very attractive manifesto promising all kinds of things if it got back to power. Additionally BN spent a lot of money in the election campaign to regain the support of the voters particularly the Chinese but failed. During the election campaign Najib’s advisors have also interestingly asked him to adopt the election strategy of a Presidential election akin to that of Obama. In their view Najib is more popular and acceptable than UMNO or BN. In short they considered his aura and personality would carry the party to victory. Of course this did not happen.

Unfortunately while this works in the UMNO areas but it did not alter the Chinese and urban voters who already decided they wanted change. Immediately after the election results, Najib publicly said that the Chinese voters had betrayed BN. This announcement did not go down well with the Chinese voters. This is now in the pages of history. The  Malayan Chinese Association (MCA) with such dismal performance decided to stay out of the government but came back later on the persuasion of Najib.

Thus although the overall total seats obtained by BN was less than the votes or seats obtained in the 12th GE Najib decided to stay on as leader of the government and party. Some political observers and pundits thought Najib should make way for his Deputy to take over the helm of leadership in the party and government as was the case with his predecessor. Najib was said to be involved in cleverly maneuvering his predecessor’s exit. However Najib ensured this forced exit did not happen to him. He thus quickly garnered the support of the BN Members of Parliament including those from Sabah and Sarawak. For this support he rewarded the leaders of both States well by appointing many of them into his Cabinet.

It must be remembered prior to this he also made sure that all the MPs elected are his men and loyalists. In this way his leadership of the government was well secured.The rationale for him to pass the baton of leadership to his Number Two did not arise. Furthermore having the support from the Sarawak and Sabah MP’s Najib’s position at the helm of the government could not be challenged. Therefore any possible dissent or request for him to step down was totally silenced. Again this was another clever political maneuvering by Najib. Unfortunate for Najib many of his political advisors, who stood for election did not win their seats.

Two years down the road of the General Election the clamour for him to go came back to the centre stage from within and outside the party. This time the voice is louder and stronger and made worse by many unwise and unpopular policies and public statements issued or made by his Cabinet colleagues. Additionally, there were all kinds of stories and scandals were exposed particularly by the social media affecting the image and credibility of the government.

Najib and RosmahThis pressure comes also from Tun Dr.Mahathir and those close to him. The social media was at the forefront of the strong criticisms and open campaign asking him to go. This time it was not merely on the scandals but also on his economic policies and personal lifestyle. The Tun for the first time highlighted the conspicuous and ostentatious lifestyle of the Prime Minister’s wife, his relationship with Jho Low and the high debt position of 1MDB. This was worsened by the implementation of the GST and the inconsistencies of his  explanation to the public which created enormous public displeasure.

This time around it could be seen he is just hanging by the tooth and nail. His own team made contradictory statements that are inconsistent with the principle of collective responsibility as members of the Cabinet. There is a lot of political shadow boxing within the party and government.

On the other side, Tun Dr. Mahathir and his supporters have stepped up their campaign to remove him. Without being apologetic he openly goes around to demand for Najib  to resign. The groundswell for Mahathir’s call is getting stronger and louder. Whether Najib would be able to withstand this onslaught is for everyone to wait and see. It had rattled him but he made a defiant statement that he would not step down at the call of Mahathir since the people has given him the mandate to lead the country. Definitely what is happening has caused what Tun Musa Hitam  to say that the country was imploding which made the political environment and the government business directionless.

Najib Vs MahathirThere seem to be counter move against Tun Dr. Mahathir and his former Ministers like Daim and Zainudin Maidin. This made the spat between Tun Dr. Mahathir and Najib to become more serious and vicious. The public  likes all these to end one way or another to move on with their daily life. Tun Mahathir on record never likes to loose a war or a battle. The country is going to continue hearing his criticisms of Najib and demanding him to step down in favor of Muhyiddin.

This puts Muhyiddin on the spot whether to remain loyal to Najib or take the cue from Mahathir to force his boss to quit. This state of neither here nor there cannot go on for long. Yesterday (May 11)’s Supreme Council meeting seems to bring back calmness to the government and party. The dust has settled on the ground. It is important that new controversies do not keep on surfacing. Najib and Muhyiddin including party and government leaders must not at least in public be perceived to have differences which could cause the public to loose confidence and trust on the leadership of the  party and government;

*Syed Hamid Albar was a former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Home Affairs. Malaysia.

Nazir Razak tells 1MDB Directors to deal with 1MDB Financial Problems or Resign


May 15, 2015

Phnom Penh by the Mekong

Malaysia’s No. 1 Banker, Nazir Razak, said at the ASEAN Business Form yesterday that 1MBD Directors and management must deal with the sovereign fund’s financial problems or resign. He is right in demanding corporate accountability.

lodin-wok-kamaruddinThe truth be told, the Chairman Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin and his Board colleagues have failed to perform their fiduciary duty and must  take  full responsibility for  what had happened to the fund  and deal with the pressing issues, or resign. It is within the powers of the Board to engage an independent firm of auditors to do a forensic audit. There is pressure from creditor banks which  if left ignored could trigger a cross default. The management team led by this hot-shot Arul should  too be fired as soon as possible.

The Board of Directors cannot wait for the Auditor-General to complete his report;  it is notambrin-buang likely that Ambrin Buang will be able to complete his task any time soon. He is taking his time. Without being cynical, I think Ambrin is looking for divine inspiration as he knows his report could implicate the Prime Minister who is Chairman of the fund’s Board of Advisors. But  the Auditor-General should know that 1MDB’s problems won’t just go away. In fact, with the passage of time, they will get worse.–Din Merican

Nazir Razak tells 1MDB Directors to deal with 1MDB Financial Problems or Resign

Nazir Razak2Malaysia’s No. 1 Banker, Nazir Razak

Board members of state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Bhd must appoint an independent auditor to verify its accounts or resign, says CIMB Group Chairperson Nazir Abdul Razak.

Nazir is the younger brother of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who is chairperson of 1MDB’s Board of Advisors.

“The immediate check for a responsible board is to appoint an independent (auditor) nowArul Kandasamy […] otherwise the board and management, in my view, should resign.It is your basic responsibility. There’s a complete mistrust in your financial situation. You have to responsibly deal with that. But instead you sit there and wait for A-G (Auditor-General). To me that’s irresponsible. If you do that then it’s better for you to step down and let someone else come in and take over,” the banker was quoted by The Star as saying over luncheon at the ASEAN Business Club forum today (May 14).

1MDB has been attacked for remaining silent despite numerous reports of mishandling of funds. On Wednesday, Singapore’s Business Times reported that a group of banks led by Deustche Bank is demanding early repayment of a RM3 billion loan after doubts rose over 1MDB’s collateral held in a Singapore bank.

1MDB said it could not comment on the matter due to confidentiality issues. The early repayment demand could trigger a cross default, with the government admitting that 1MDB has poor liquidity. This could affect the government’s credit ratings.

Najib earlier said 1MDB is keeping the funds repatriated from the Cayman Islands in Singapore for ease of transaction.The funds were repatriated after public pressure, given 1MDB’s mounting debts of RM42 billion. The government guarantees RM16 billion of the firm’s loans. The firm is fully owned by the Finance Ministry, which is also headed by Najib.

Nazir previously said that even his teen son can tell that 1MDB is problematic, and urged the firm to clear the air over its alleged mismanagement.

Tun Razak is Putra Nusa–Satria Negara, not Najib Razak


May 12, 2015

Phnom Penh by The Mekong

Tun Razak is Putra Nusa-Satria Negara, not Najib Razak

by Mariam Mokhtar@www.malaysiakini.com

If not for the efforts of whistleblowers, we would not have found out about the new government jet, the doomed 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) project, the self-styled First Lady of Malaysia Rosmah Mansor’s profligate spending; but the cruelest insult, to the Muslims is the Tabung Haji involvement in 1MDB.

Muslims throughout Malaysia, have scrimped and saved for the day when they can fulfil one of the five pillars of Islam, which is to perform the haj (pilgrimage). UMNO Baru under Najib Abdul Razak’s leadership has sold the Muslims short.

tun-razak-dan-najibHow does Najib measure-up as a politician? More often than not, he trades on his father’s name, Abdul Razak Hussein. It is alleged that during some by-elections, posters of his father were put up, to remind us of his political pedigree. Najib is not selling himself, he is using propaganda to sell memories of his father. He is merely reminding people that he is his father’s son.

This is the sign of an insecure person, who lacks confidence in his own abilities. Sadly, he does not measure up to his father. Najib will likely be remembered for dismantling the legacy of his father’s generation, like the FELDA scheme. Najib is a career politician who lost his direction as soon as he took control of the billions of ringgits, which decent, honest, hardworking Malaysians have contributed towards nation building.

Tun Razak and Zhou EnlaiDuring Tun Razak’s time, it would be true to say that many Malays grew up with aspirations, because in those days, you knew that if you worked hard you could provide a better future for yourself and your children. Najib’s folly means that our grandchildren will be saddled with the nation’s debts.

Under Najib, most Malays learn that the only way to untold riches is to become a politician. Today, as the country teeters on the verge of bankruptcy, more Malays have seen Najib in the stark light of reality. It hurts to be told to curb their spending, whilst Najib continues his lavish lifestyle.

UMNO Baru and a succession of leaders have siphoned off billions of ringgits for their own use. They warned us not to discuss ‘sensitive issues’. They silenced us with the Internal Security Act (ISA), threatened us with lawsuits and sent thugs to threaten us.

Now that Najib’s profligacy has been exposed, where is the no-confidence vote against Najib? Why is it so difficult to unseat Najib? Every minute he spends as PM is detrimental to Malaysia. Today, Malay loyalty is not measured by principles and integrity, but by the offer of financial rewards and position. Many ordinary Malays are ashamed of their leaders, but they are hampered by their psychological hang-ups and the serf mentality which cripples them and makes them helpless.

A US Poodle and Stooge of the West

Four years ago, Najib was the darling of the western world. When Najib announced that he would scrap the ISA, the foreign press was in awe of him, and Najib was heady with their accolades. Today, one wonders what they might say.

In 2011, The Economist’s international affairs section, described Najib as ‘Najib The Bold’ and ‘The Man with the Plan’. It said, “If all these laws are indeed repealed and changes implemented, then the political landscape in Malaysia may look very different, in a few years’ time, and Mr Najib will be able to claim a lot of credit for that.”

Today, Najib will remembered as the man who flushed Malaysia down the pan. British magazine The New Statesman declared that Najib deserved applause for his bravery and said, “It unequivocally marks an expansion of freedom in Malaysia, which any future government will find very hard to restrict again.”

Today, Malaysians will say, “What bravery? In times of crisis, Najib slopes-off abroad or keeps silent. With the Pre3vention of Terrorism Act (Pota) and the smendments to the Sedition Act, what freedom?”

The Financial Times described Najib as a “reforming prime minister” in an article entitled ‘Najib: Malaysia’s Born-Again Liberal’. Today, ‘born-again’ people like Ridhuan Tee Abdullah,  the born-again Chinese Muslim, are repulsive characters. Najib is no liberal!

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), praised Najib for developing Malaysia, in an article called ‘Malaysia Finds Its Own Solutions’. Today, the SMH would be hard pressed to find anything good to write about Najib because he is the mother-of-all-problems.

Abu Dhabi’s The National described Najib’s announcement of the repeal of the ISA as dramatic, and it demonstrated his commitment towards a modern progressive democracy. Today, the National should interview all the people caught in the sedition clampdown.

In 2011, Najib warned Malaysians that if the opposition coalition were to rule, they would change everything, including the national flag and its history. That is not true because Najib’s Education Ministry, with the help of some historians, have already altered Malaysia’s history. This career politician does not care a hoot for the people or the nation. He is full of himself and he thinks we owe him a living.