A Damning Report on Malaysia’s New Autocrat by The Washington Post

November 30, 2015

Obama shakes hands with Najib

The New Autocrat shakes hands with The Democrat

A Damning Report on Malaysia’s New Autocrat by The Washington Post

by Anna Fifield


Online critics of the Malaysian government would be well advised not to spend too much money on cellphones. “Just lost number four,” Eric Paulsen, an outspoken civil liberties lawyer and compulsive tweeter, said Nov. 20 after nearly two hours of questioning at the main police station here over his latest sedition charge.

Paulsen went into the Police station with a shiny new Chinese handset, a Xiaomi, and came out without it. At least it was cheaper than the iPhone and two Samsung Galaxies that previously were confiscated from him this year, apparently because they are tools in his social-media activism.


MP Steven Sim Tze Tzin

His friend Steven Sim Tze Tzin, an opposition parliamentarian who also was questioned that day, still smarts over the iPhone 6 Plus that was taken from him this year. “Don’t they know how much that thing cost?” Sim said, laughing, after emerging from his own session with the Police.

Malaysia, ostensibly one of the United States’ democratic allies in Southeast Asia, is engaged in a broad crackdown on freedom of expression that detractors say is all about silencing critics of Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is embroiled in a corruption scandal. And the crackdown is particularly focused on online commentary, which is proving much harder to control than traditional media.

“The government has at least two intentions,” said Yin Shao Loong, who is Executive Director of the Institut Rakyat, a think tank, and is aligned with the opposition. “One is to stifle freedom of expression. The other is to harass the opposition and sap their energy and tie them up in court cases that could take years.”

Najib’s government has been making heavy use of the 1948 Sedition Act, a remnant of the British colonial period, which makes it an offense to “bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against any Ruler or against any Government.”

Azmi Sharom 3

University of Malaya’s Dr. Azmi Sharom

Among the three dozen or so who have been targeted so far this year are  Dr.Azmi Sharom, a law professor at the University of Malaya who gave his legal opinion on a 2009 political crisis, and Maria Chin Abdullah, the leader of the Bersih group, a civil-society organization that promotes electoral reform, who has been charged with illegal assembly and sedition for organizing huge anti-Najib rallies in August.

Numerous opposition parliamentarians also have been charged with sedition, most of them for criticizing a federal court’s decision in February upholding the conviction of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on charges of sodomy. That case is widely viewed as political.

S. Arutchelvan, a socialist politician, was charged in the past week with sedition for comments he made in February. The well-known cartoonist Zunar, who in September won an International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists, has been charged with nine counts of sedition for nine tweets criticizing the Anwar conviction.

Congrats Zunar

Award Winning Malaysian Cartoonist ZUNAR

And two newspapers deemed hostile to the government were suspended from publishing.“Prime Minister Najib Razak and the Malaysian government are making a mockery of their claim to be a rights-respecting democracy by prosecuting those who speak out on corruption or say anything even remotely critical of the government,” said Linda Lakhdhir of Human Rights Watch. The government, she added, should stop using “repressive laws to harass the media and intimidate its critics.”

The crackdown began after the ruling party fared poorly in 2013 elections, said Murray Hiebert, an expert on Southeast Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, but the repression has accelerated amid a corruption scandal that threatens Najib’s hold on power.

Investigators looking into the heavily indebted sovereign wealth fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB, found that almost $700 million (Malaysian ringgit 2.6 billion) had been deposited into Najib’s personal bank accounts, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

Najib, who founded 1MDB and heads its board of advisers, has strenuously denied any wrongdoing. Arif Shah, a spokesman for 1MDB, said the allegations against Najib were “old” and had been “comprehensively addressed” by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, which in August reported that no funds from 1MDB had been transferred to the Prime Minister’s personal bank accounts.

But amid investigations into the fund, Najib has replaced key officials with appointees deemed friendlier. The new Attorney-General, for example, has dismissed a recommendation from the central bank to begin criminal proceedings against 1MDB.

For Peace and Freedom

The Prime Minister’s Office did not respond directly to questions about Najib’s links to the fund, saying the investigation continues, but a spokesman strongly denied suggestions that opponents of the government were being targeted with legal action.

“The Sedition Act does not impinge on free speech or democratic principles,” said Dato’ Tengku Sariffuddin, the ‘Prime Minister’s press secretary. “Most, if not all, countries have legal safeguards on the printed and spoken word in order to maintain public order. It is reasonable for Malaysia to safeguard itself in the same manner.”

Pending amendments to the Sedition Act, he said, would serve “to better protect all religions and to prevent the incitement of racial or inter-ethnic conflict.”

The changes would remove a clause outlawing criticism of the government and judiciary. A provision would be added to outlaw incitement to religious hatred in the country, which is 60 percent Muslim. The amendments, once ratified, also would increase the term of imprisonment for sedition from three years to seven years and add a penalty of up to 20 years in prison for seditious activities that result in physical harm or destruction of property.

The spokesman said that Malaysia has “a thriving online space in which opposition voices and publications are given free rein” and that government critics “are more outspoken than in almost any other country in the region.” But critics of Najib describe an elaborate effort to silence them. The Malaysian government has long controlled newspapers and TV stations. Although the rising use of cellphones and social media has loosened the state’s grip on information, especially in rural regions, the government is trying to get a handle on the new technologies.

“There are lots of cybertroopers monitoring posts by opposition [members of Parliament], taking screen shots of them and then circulating them and tagging the Police Chief,” said the opposition parliamentarian Steven Sim, who is being charged for a tweet in which he mistakenly suggested that the former attorney general was manhandled out of office. Sim deleted the tweet when he realized that the photo included was an old one and said it was a genuine mistake. Too late.

“The cybertroopers wrote, ‘Arrest Sim. He’s giving the government a bad name,’ ” the legislator said. It is not clear whether these online monitors are hired by the government or are zealous volunteers. But they have been effective at alerting the authorities to criticism.

For Paulsen, 42, an ethnic Chinese lawyer who leads a human rights advocacy group called Lawyers for Liberty, problems began after the terrorist attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris in January.

A government official said such an attack could happen here, prompting Paulsen to send out a tweet about the Department of Islamic Advancement Malaysia, or JAKIM, which prescribes the sermons delivered during politically slanted Friday prayers.

“JAKIM is promoting extremism every Friday. Goverment needs to address that if serious about extremism in Malaysia,” Paulsen tweeted. The cybertroopers seized on it. The next day, Khalid Abu Bakar, the fawning Inspector General of Police, who also is active on Twitter, posted a photo of Paulsen and his tweet overlaid with the word “rude.”

Then came Paulsen’s first sedition charge. The second was filed after he tweeted that the most extreme forms of Islamic punishment, such as cutting off hands and stonings, were inhumane. The third run-in with the law was a criminal defamation charge after two tweets suggesting that Najib was trying to avoid questioning over the 1MDB affair.

Paulsen does not deny writing any of the tweets, but he does assert his innocence on the fourth allegation against him, which concerns a Facebook post showing a banner in a march that had been doctored to read, “Chinese pigs go home.”

“It was clearly fabricated to make it look like I had posted this,” he said, adding that it seemed designed to provoke racial divisions.

Paulsen said he thinks the efforts against him are part of a broader attempt to silence criticism of the government on social media. “If you’re from the opposition, are a dissident or are active in civil society, they’re going to come after you.”

But Lakhdhir of Human Rights Watch finds some cause for optimism. “A bright light for Malaysia is the strength of its civil society,” she said, “with many who are willing to speak out despite the risks.”

Anna Fifield is The Post’s bureau chief in Tokyo, focusing on Japan and the Koreas. She previously reported for the Financial Times from Washington DC, Seoul, Sydney, London and from across the Middle East.

Slain Malaysian Prosecutor Tied to Najib Probe

November 27, 2015

Slain Malaysian Prosecutor Tied to Najib Probe

Brother of victim found in oil drum contradicts AG’s claim the dead man had nothing to do with case.

 Dato’Anthony Kevin Morais

Morais apparently had been strangled although that is uncertain since his body was cremated before his brother, Charles Suresh Morais, an Atlanta, Georgia businessman, could order a second autopsy. The story involves an astonishing series of twists and turns, including possible links to the 2013 murder of a prominent banker in a Kuala Lumpur temple parking lot.

Morais’s body disappeared from a Kuala Lumpur hospital mortuary despite pleas by the brother, Charles, for a second autopsy. The body was claimed and cremated over Charles’ objections by

another brother, Richard, who has been in constant trouble with the law and who figured in the 2013 murder of the late Arab Malaysian Bank founder Hussain Najadi.  The bank is now known as AmBank.

Car rammed, prosecutor abducted

Surveillance footage from a CCTV camera the day the 55-year-old Kevin Morais disappeared showed his car being followed and rammed by another. He was reportedly abducted after the collision and was never seen alive again. One of the seven suspects arrested after the footage identified the car in the collision led investigators to a suburb near Kuala Lumpur where Morais’s body, encased in the oil drum, had been rolled into a river. 

Morais had been seconded from the Attorney-General’s Chambers to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, which was looking into financial irregularities involving the troubled 1Malaysia Development Bhd. state-backed investment fund and other issues.

In July, Najib fired the Attorney-Ggeneral, Abdul Gani Patail, one of a dramatic series of events that included forcing out the Deputy Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, transferring the deputy head of the police special branch intelligence division, neutralizing a special parliamentary committee seeking answers over corruption, questioning seven members of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission over leaks about the case, sending the head of the MACC “on vacation” and threatening any and all critics with sedition charges.   

Today, a source said, the commission investigators are terrified and believe they are in danger, followed by Special Branch police, over suspicions they had leaked details of the investigation to Clare Rewcastle Brown, the editor of the UK-based Sarawak Report, which has been deeply involved in investigating the 1MDB case and broken most of the important stories. The leaker, Charles Morais said, may have been his dead brother because anonymous emails to Rewcastle Brown were signed by “jibby@anonymousspeech.com.” “ Jibby,” Charles Morais said  was a nickname for a Morais family friend. However, it is also a derisory nickname used by many for Najib himself.

Najib crony Mohd Apandi Ali, the Attorney-General picked to replace Gani Patail – who is also a lawyer connected to the United Malays National Organization, which Najib heads,  had previously dismissed the alleged draft charge sheet as false. The office denied Kevin Morais was working on the Najib case, which appears to have disappeared.

berthelsen morais 112615-1

Although prosecutors said the mastermind was actually a military doctor who had been prosecuted by Morais recently in a graft case, Charles Morais called for the case to be revisited. 

A thumb drive of evidence

In a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on November 26, Charles Morais, who had flown back to Malaysia from the US, said he had received a mobile USB storage device from his brother shortly before his death, dealing with investigations he was looking into, as well as an alleged draft charge sheet against the prime minister which was released by Sarawak Report and carried the initials of his brother. Morais said that when he saw the alleged draft charge sheet, he recognized his brother’s initials. 

To a police demand that he turn over the USB device for investigation, Charles Morais said the device is in safekeeping in Atlanta, and that he didn’t trust the Police enough to give it to them.

berthelsen morais 112615-2

Charles Morais

“Two to three months before Kevin’s demise, he told me that he was working on a case involving the prime minister and his wife,” Charles Morais said in the sworn document. “He said the prime minister was a terrible guy but that his wife was worse. He actually used the words kolata ala. (Eds: These were Malayalam (a Dravidian dialect spoken in the Indian state of Kerala) and translated into English meaning ‘a person up to no good’. He told me his phone might be tapped and to be careful what I said. That is why half of our conversations were usually in Malayalam.”

Read the statutory declaration of Charles Morais here.

Dead man couriers possible evidence to brother

In mid-August, Morais said, his brother, who in frequent telephone calls said he was increasingly depressed and wanted to retire to London, emailed him telling him he would courier something to him and “to watch out for it as he wanted me to keep it in safe custody. This was the last call I received from Kevin and was about a week before he went missing.” 

Morais called Abdul Gani Patail, the cashiered Attorney-Ggeneral, twice in the attempt to find his brother.  On the second call, Gani Patail answered, saying: “Please remain calm, I am not working there any more. What I have been told is that the police are working relentlessly on the matter.”

Notified that his brother was dead, Charles Morais flew back to Malaysia and went to the mortuary to meet his two brothers, with Richard demanding to leave with Kevin’s body despite the fact that Kevin had broken with him 14 years before.

Connection to AmBank murder

Richard Morais has a checkered history. He has been in frequent trouble with the law in both Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong. Pascal Najadi, the son of the AmBank founder Hussain Najadi, who was assassinated in the car park of a Kuala Lumpur temple in 2013, has charged that no real investigation of the crime has taken place.  Najadi said Richard Morais had requested that his father go to the temple to attempt to settle business dispute that that the murderer was waiting for him.

Pascal Najadi, now a banking consultant in Moscow who says he fears for his own life and has employed bodyguards,  has raised questions over whether his father’s refusal to play along with UMNO financial irregularities led to his death.  On two occasions shortly before he was killed, Najadi said, his father complained about UMNO corruption.  Najadi has repeatedly called for the investigation of his father’s death to be reopened.

On the first occasion, during a lunch at the Shangri-La Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, he told his son he had been approached by unnamed high-ranking UMNO officials to orchestrate a multi-billion  ringgit property deal connected to the Kuala Lumpur City Center that Hussain characterized as clearly illegal and “told them to go fly a kite.” On the second occasion, he told his son that Najib was “lining his pockets with billions of ringgit with no consideration for the future of the country.”

The speculation is that the funds deposited with AmBank came from companies connected to the 1MDB, which has RM42 billion in liabilities, an unknown amount of that unfunded, and is struggling to meet its payments. 

Mastermind arrested, mysteriously freed

Police identified a Malacca nightclub owner, Lim Yuen Soo as the mastermind who paid to have Najadi shot. Lim disappeared for more than two years, with a red alert issued by Interpol at the behest of the Kuala Lumpur police although sources say he seemed to be in and out of Kuala Lumpur regularly. Police arrested him at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in late October, but turned him loose eight days later for lack of evidence, raising a multitude of questions over how he could have been identified as the mastermind for two years only to be freed almost immediately when he was caught.  Since the murder case involving Hussain Najadi was closed,  there are questions why it hasn’t been reopened to find another mastermind behind the killing. 

That has raised additional questions whether Lim – and Richard Morais — have friends in Malaysia’s high political circles. Despite his status –until recently – as a fugitive, Lim is the registered part owner of the Active Force Security Services Sdn Bhd. with the former Malacca Police Chief Mohd Khasni Mohd Nor.

In Malaysia, Islam is big business

November 24, 2015

In Malaysia Islam is big business

by Azrul Mohd. Khalib


MOF Najib Razak

Cash is King PM and Finance Minister

There exists a reality which has been present ever since men discovered organised religion: organised religion as big bsiness.

There are countless examples from history. In ancient Egypt, people would voluntarily give offerings to the cult of Pharaoh in the belief that they were living gods or descended from divinity. Jesus flipped out when he saw the moneylenders at their tables in the temple with the sheep, oxen and pigeons on sale. Martin Luther was so upset about the selling of indulgences as a method of fundraising that he raised hell by nailing 95 objections to the door of a church.

Din's Montage

In more recent times and in our cozy corner of the world, we have seen examples of priests driving luxury cars, wearing expensive watches and living lifestyles more suited to the rich and famous. Just last month, the court decision of a corruption scandal convicting the leaders of a mega church and involving fraud of millions in funds rocked Singapore.

So, being part of organised religion especially in the leadership, can be a lucrative and profitable enterprise both personally and for the faith, of course. It should be no surprise to anyone that those involved would fight tooth and nail on any move which threatens the status quo.

Young Imams

The New Executives of Business Islam

Over the past few weeks, we have heard the bleating and baying of protests from officials, personalities and politicians in response to revelations and accusations alleging the misuse of funds earmarked and intended for religious and humanitarian purposes.

Make no mistake, the amount of money involved in the administration, development and enforcement of Islam in Malaysia is huge. And it involves the use of money from both Muslim and non-Muslim taxpayers. That must be made clear as there is often a mistaken belief, particularly among Muslims that everything dealing with Islamic religious expenditure comes solely from Muslims and that non-Muslims have no right to object or comment on how expenditure is done.

However, regardless of the source of the funds, these religious affiliated bodies must justify the major provisions made to them and also be held accountable, like all other government institutions.

The allocation (2015:RM783 million; 2014: RM 806 million) given to the Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM) under the Prime Minister’s Department gets most of the attention and the fuss as it is visible under the federal budget. It is one of the largest allocations under the Prime Minister’s Department.

However, when the different allocations for the Jabatan Agama Islam Negeri under the individual state budgets including that of the Federal Territory are combined and counted in, the annual amount is closer to more than RM 1.2 billion.


The Big Spending Guardian of  Business Islam

The figure increases further when the costs of running the offices of the state muftis, and bodies related to administration of Islamic justice such as the Shariah courts and judiciary, are taken into consideration.

Last year, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Jamil Khir Baharom was happy to announce that the 2013 collection of zakat (tithes) from Muslims in Malaysia had exceeded RM2.2 billion. In fact, data from the Centre for Zakat Collection (Pusat Pungutan Zakat) also indicates that contributions appreciate on an average of around 20 per cent each year. That is a lot of money and it is good that there is such a large amount available for humanitarian and welfare purposes as the need these days is quite great.

Unfortunately, we seem to be good at collecting but less efficient or diligent in delivering much-needed assistance to the intended recipients and beneficiaries.

Malaysia 2050

The Business Outcome-Damaged Goods

Despite the fact that zakat can only be used to help those of the Islamic faith (as opposed to sedekah which is for anyone) and with such large amounts available annually, there are still too many who are being left out or denied help and assistance.

For reasons which range from the moral and undesirable (e.g. being transgender persons, sex workers, living with HIV and AIDS) to the bureaucratic (incomplete paperwork, no address of residence, non-Malaysian), many, especially the poor, homeless and destitute, are left with hands outstretched hoping to receive money and access to services which ironically were established to help and serve them but remain out of reach.

Knowing of this and seeing so many in need has led many Muslims in Malaysia to wonder where the zakat money has gone to despite the huge amounts collected each year. It is an increasing trend for those fulfilling their religious obligation to do so directly to the poor and needy. Simply put, most of those who do so no longer trust the authorities to distribute their zakat.

The recent arrogant and baseless statement by Dato’ Che Mat Che Ali, chair of the Federal Territory Zakat Centre (PPZ-MAIWP) that Malaysian Muslims are committing a sin when they do so lends strength to this distrust. His assertion that such donors were more likely to be generous to “cute widows” or “eloquent speakers”, rather than those truly in need, was really offensive and likely to result in a backlash with more people electing to bypass the PPZ.

Transparency and accountability of funds related to religious bodies is an issue which appears to not be taken seriously by those in authority. Senator Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki recently stated that the two overseas courses by the Yayasan Pembangunan Ekonomi Islam Malaysia (Yapeim) ― reportedly costing RM290,000 to organise ― were part of the government’s efforts to stop the spread of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) in Malaysia.

Maybe he thinks that we are all stupid or gullible but it is laying it quite thick to expect Malaysians to believe that you had to go all the way to Paris (the city of love!) to do that.

This is on top of the earlier allegations that Jamil Khir, his wife and their entourage had used over RM400,000 in Yapeim funds meant for orphans to pay for an eight-day trip to the US which included shopping sprees and games of golf.

Amidst the fallout came the revelations that this government-backed foundation made a combined annual revenue of RM1.034 billion from 16 profit-making subsidiaries. More than half a million people contribute monthly to Yapeim through a monthly salary deduction scheme which is expected to bring in RM65.73 million this year. A pawn broking business (Ar-Rahnu) is also expected to bring in RM83 million by the end of 2015. Sounds like a successful business.

Let’s not kid ourselves. When it comes to Islam in Malaysia, it is a business. And everyone wants to get a piece of the pie, enjoy the perks and benefits and make a bit of money on the side. All for the faith, of course.

Universiti Malaysia’s Dr. Terence Gomez and C4’s Cynthia Gabriel snub Putrajaya’s political funding panel

September 8, 2015

Enjoy Why MCA

Universiti Malaysia’s Dr. Terence Gomez and C4’s Cynthia Gabriel snub Putrajaya’s political funding panel

by Jennifer Gomez

An expert in political financing and an anti-graft watchdog have snubbed Putrajaya’s consultative committee on political funding, saying they will stay out as long as there were unresolved issues over the RM2.6 billion donation channeled into Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s personal bank accounts.

Universiti Malaya political economy professor Dr Terence Gomez declined to be part of the committee after attending a meeting chaired by governance and integrity minister Senator Datuk Paul Low, where those invited were asked to give feedback on the set terms for the committee.

Gomez told The Malaysian Insider that he did not agree with some of the terms and voiced his concerns at the August 28 meeting.

One of the Gomez’s main concerns was over the fact the committee would not deal with the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) issue, the Finance Ministry-owned state investment firm that has racked up debts of RM42 billion.

“My concern was that 1MDB was the basis of which this committee was formed, so it seems odd that we could not discuss 1MDB.

“If you look at the circumstances around 1MDB, it points to two things – it gives us insight into how we can trace the financing of politics – where the finance can come from (both legal and illegal sources) and two, it also shows us how money is spent in a manner which can even bypass existing laws on elections, including the financing of elections,” Gomez told The Malaysian Insider.

The other issue he was uncomfortable with was the restrictions on what committee members could say to the public, pending completion of the findings.

“I looked around the table and there were some fine people sitting there, including those who have been openly speaking out on 1MDB. So I was concerned that this restriction could be an attempt to silence critics of the state.”

Gomez and anti-graft group Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) had been invited to sit on the national consultative committee on political funding, covering institutional change, monitoring new regulations and law enforcement.

Chaired by Low, a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, it has one year to draw up a plan for use in the next general election, which is due in 2018.

Malaysia has no laws governing political funding and the committee came about following controversies involving 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion that went into Najib’s personal accounts.

Independent of Cabinet

Gomez said since the Prime Minister had been implicated, a Cabinet member should not be leading the committee.”It has to be independent of the Cabinet, it is unacceptable that a Cabinet member is leading the committee, it affects credibility.”

It was now crucial for the committee’s findings to bypass Cabinet and be taken straight to Parliament, said Gomez, who had once done a study on political financing for Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) when Low was its head.

He said that TI-M had hired him as a consultant in the study led by Low, adding that a book was subsequently published on the findings.


Meanwhile, C4 Executive Director Cynthia Gabriel (pic) said she also declined to sit on the committee, and reiterated that it would only do so if investigations into the RM2.6 billion received by Najib were completed.

The money was said to be from a Middle-Eastern donor.”Political financing and money politics are key issues that had fed patronage politics and destroyed a functioning democracy in our country, as such the move to address this is a matter of great interest.

“However, unless the probe into the RM2.6 billion that went into the Prime Minister’s personal bank accounts is completed, no amount of reform announcements or formation of task forces would be able to reduce the trust deficit faced by Najib,” Gabriel said.

She added that C4 was willing to review its decision if investigations into the RM2.6 billion were completed. “Until then, we are concerned that Najib, who is being investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and whom this committee reports to, will not have the political will to adopt the recommendations and move these into comprehensive laws.”

Soon after Najib announced the committee last month, President of the Malaysian Bar Steven Thiru said the Bar Council would not be part of it until investigations into the RM2.6 billion were completed.

Najib, who is also Finance Minister, had already been under pressure over alleged wrongdoing by 1MDB. But the scrutiny grew more intense after The Wall Street Journal reported in early July on the RM2.6 billion that were transferred to his accounts.

Of this amount, the largest portion – US$681 million – was transferred in March 2013, ahead of the general election, leading to suspicions that it was used to influence or finance the polls that year.

Najib has only denied taking money for personal gain, and has said that there was nothing wrong with him holding the funds in trust for his party, UMNO.

IACC : Global Shame for Malaysia–Corruption

September 5, 2015

 IACC : Global Shame for Malaysia–Corruption

by Lim Kit Siang, MP for Gelang Patah


LKSThe three-day 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Putrajaya were three days of global public relations (PR) disaster for Malaysia, a shameful 72-hour torment on the pride, honour and dignity of Malaysia never experienced by Malaysians in nearly six decades of nationhood.

It started with Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s last-minute, panicky and ill-advised pull-out from the opening ceremony of the IACC (in fear of hard questions, “personal issues” and “a possible hostile reception”), replaced by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Paul Low, who started his speech with the cryptic remark: “I am not here to defend the Prime Minister. I am here fighting for my job.”

Right from the very beginning of the opening ceremony, Malaysia’s corruption crisis, in particular the “two elephants in the room”, the RM50 billion 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” financial scandals, took centre-stage and remained the most obsessive issue throughout the three-day conference, up to the closing ceremony.

Right from the beginning of the IACC, Transparency International president Jose Ugaz opened up with a powerful plea for “honesty and integrity” from the Najib administration, asking Najib pointedly to restore confidence and trust by answering questions about the US$700 million in his personal bank accounts – (1) who paid the money and why; and (2) Where did it go.

This was followed up on the second day by the TI co-founder and erstwhile adviser to Najib on anti-corruption matters, Michael J Hershman, telling Najib to come clean on the RM2.6 billion donation that he received.

Hershman (photo) advised Najib: “Tell the truth about where did the money come from and address the accusation. And if he did something wrong, then asked for forgiveness and face the consequences.”

Hershman said the explanations given so far were not good enough. He said; “If it came from the Middle East, who did it come from? When did it come and for what purpose? These are very simple questions.” He added that since Najib had control of the account, he must know where it came from.

“There is no reason for a panel for investigations. Just tell the truth. Get it out in the public,” he added.

On the third and last day yesterday, the criticisms became an avalanche. Global Investigative Journalism Network Executive Director David Kaplan said those attempting to cover up the matter are out of touch with the times and that the government cannot conceal information on the RM2.6 billion deposited into PM Najib’s personal bank accounts in the digital age.

Amnesty International Secretary-General Salil Shetty (photo) asked if the RM2.6 billion in Najib’s personal bank accounts was “grand corruption”.

Transparency International Managing Director Cobus De Swardt warned that in the absence of answers and an independent investigation, “suspicion of corruption, mistrust and appearance of being above the law will prevail”.

The Chairman of UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) coalition, Manzoor Hasan, wants Najib to step down as Prime Minister to allow the investigation into the RM2.6 billion donation he received to proceed without interference.

Malaysia’s travails went on till the very close of IACC with the Transparency International Vice-President Elena Panfilova reiterating that Najib has to come clean on the RM2.6 billion in his personal bank accounts.

Malaysia was literally hauled over the coals at the IACC for the corruption crisis in the country as no one in Government could give any satisfactory or acceptable answer – which is understandable when even the Prime Minister had turned tail from the IACC – although Najib’s Ministers could have done a better job.

[One time Maybank President, Wahid Omar, is now one of the Jokers in the PM’s Department. The other is Paul Low, former Transparency International Malaysia Chapter President who was handpicked to spearhead Malaysia’s anti-corruption crusade. One more Joker, Idris Jala, former Chief honcho of Permandu, has returned to the Long House in Sarawak still in transformation blues mode. As for MACC’s Abu Kassim, he is confined to a wheel chair after the rm2.6 billion shock. May he recover soon as there is still unfinished business.–Din Merican]

When the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Abdul Wahid Omar (photo above) in the closing address, had to invoke God, saying that those who had committed any crime would ultimately be punished though not immediately, pronouncing “If not today, tomorrow, next month, or five years down the road or 10 years down the road. Rest assured, there is God in this world and the truth will prevail”, it was tantamount to Q.E.D about the corruption crisis in Malaysia.

Malu Malu UMNOShame, Shame, Shame on Malaysia

The last three days had been Malaysia’s most shameful and embarrassing experience – we providing an international platform to be lectured by a Peruvian, Cameroonian, Russian, Australian and American among others as if Malaysia is a rogue student caught red-handed in gross misconduct.

However mortifying the 16th IACC had been for Malaysians for the last three days, it is not the end but the beginning of Malaysia’s humiliation on the international stage unless we are capable of change and reform.

In the digital age, where information travels at the speed of light, the world through the 1,000 IACC delegates from 130 countries, will follow with sharp and keen interest and concern whether Malaysia sinks into the bottomless pit or is capable to get back our bearings in our quest for a society with zero tolerance for corruption.

Malaysia’s corruption crisis, and the failure of the Prime Minister to open the conference and to come clean, has rendered the 16th IACC theme, “Ending Impunity: People. Integrity. Action” a failure, as good as excising the word “Ending” of the 16th IACC theme to reduce it to: “Impunity: People. Integrity. Action”.

Malaysians cannot be bystanders to address and resolve Malaysia’s corruption crisis which has been internationalized by the 16th IACC into a global corruption scandal.

Although the Parliament secretary has sent out notice for the Parliamentary budget meeting beginning on October 19, Malaysians and the world cannot wait for six weeks for parliamentary action to be taken to address the corruption crisis in Malaysia.

For this reason, I call on Najib to convene an Emergency Parliament within the next fortnight, which should meet for at least two days, to continue from where the 16th IACC left off to find answers to the corruption crisis in Malaysia – and which can, among other things, end the sabotage of parliamentary investigations on 1MDB by filling the vacancy of Public Accounts Committee chairperson and three other PAC members as well as to resolve on the immediate public release of the Auditor-General’s interim report on 1MDB.

Justice for Hussain Ahmad Najadi

July 20, 2015

COMMENT: The Late Hussain Najadi was a pioneer merchant banker when I first met him. I had just left the service of Bank Negara Malaysia in the early 1970s. I kept in touch with him on fairly regular basis till his passing under mysterious circumstances. Why should a banker who was promoting foreign investment into our country be brutally murdered right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, I asked myself.

Hussain Najadi murderI also wondered why the Police were unable to bring the mastermind behind this despicable act to book, although his identity is known to our Inspector-General of Police and his men. With recent  revelations by his devoted son, Pascal Najadi, I came to know that Hussain’s murder is linked to !MDB and the transfer of  its funds to our Prime Minister’s personal accounts at AMBank (in excess of RM2 billion) just before the 2013 General Elections.

Anything with possible connection to the Prime Minister will remain unsolved, just like the case of the Mongolian model Altantuya C4 murder. We can be certain that the WSJ investigation quartet will probably not look into the  Hussain matter since their job  is not to establish the facts on 1MDB scandal, but to protect the Prime Minister from prosecution. Najib Razak will be not touched since it is their self interest that he remains in power.. I agree with Pascal that:

Malaysia today is without governance, without leadership without self controlling processes to ensure best practice best service government to its people, foreigners and foreign investors. In any other nation the suspects would be picked up by blue light and put in to jail by order of the office of the respective Attorney General. In Malaysia such duties are enshrined in article 145 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.

“In Africa there are nations where we say, no surprise. But Malaysia, today, is a failed state that shocks not only all its citizens but the entire world that has eyes on Malaysia and her future, if there is one left. This is not the sorry state of affairs the founding fathers, my late father and people of Malaysia dreamt about, in fact it is a nightmare and a shame, the current corrupt and defunct situation.”

We must now move aggressively to bring about change in the way we manage our affairs. Malaysia must be founded on the Rule of Law and Justice for all who wish to live and work here. No one can act with impunity. Let us fight  for Justice and for the Late Hussain Ahmad Najadi.– Din Merican

Justice for Hussain Ahmad Najadi

Written by Malaysia Chronicle

Swiss banker Pascal Najadi’s bid to get justice for his father murdered in the heart of Kuala Lumpur appears to have gone viral, with the Justice for Najadi – Ambank Facebook page reaching out to more than 330,000 people after just four days in operation.

“We are now a movement for Justice. Please follow for the noble cause to wipe out corruption from the top to down in Malaysia. Together we can do it,” wrote an exuberant Pascal in the frequently updated page.

“I want to thank all of you wholeheartedly for your unrelenting amazing support in growing numbers. Our people reach after only 4 days in operation has now reached over 330’000, that is a third of a million Malaysians being with our cause. Please maintain your strength to bring about Justice, it is about the brutal assassination of my late father Hussain Najadi that occurred in the middle of KL amidst a lot of other innocent people on Monday July 29, 2013.

“Malaysia today is without governance, without leadership without self controlling processes to ensure best practice best service government to its people, foreigners and foreign investors. In any other nation the suspects would be picked up by blue light and put in to jail by order of the office of the respective Attorney General. In Malaysia such duties are enshrined in article 145 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.

Hussain Najadi“In Africa there are nations where we say, no surprise. But Malaysia, today, is a failed state that shocks not only all its citizens but the entire world that has her eyes in Malaysia and her future, if there is one left. This is not the sorry state of affairs the founding fathers, my late father and people of Malaysia dreamt about, in fact it is a nightmare and a shame, the current corrupt and defunct situation.”

‘I told those ba#%$rd&  to go fly a kite’ – Hussain was very ‘cynical’ about Najib

Pascal also posted a recent interview with Berita Daily, where he spoke of how his father Hussain Najadi had spurned “huge multi billion ringgit transactions involving KLCC land”.

One of the conversations Pascal had with his dad took place just 4 days before Hussain was gunned down and Pascal believes the people behind the corrupt deal may have wanted to silence his father.

“I remember there were two such cases. The first one was sometime in June 2013, when my father told me and my mother in a proud manner that he had dismissed a senior UMNO big wig.

“He (my father) said those ba#%$rd& came to my office and proposed a huge multi billion ringgit transactions involving KLCC land, but my father told them to fly a kite. He was very vocal about this as he was against the corruption that they’re proposing,” Pascal had told Berita Daily in a Skype call.

“Unfortunately I could not recall the names, he did mention it then. I wish I could go back in time and put a tape recorder on the table,” said Pascal.

“The second one was four days before the shooting, on July 25, 2013.It was during our family lunch, we had a conversation where he at one point was being very cynical about (Prime Minister) Najib (Razak) and the current government. He had expressed how heavy the corruption within the government was, so heavy that its unbelievable.

“I left Malaysia that day when I flew off to Moscow, Russia,” said Pascal, adding that little did he know that would be his last meeting with his father.

WSJ reported a money trail of US$700 million into Najib’s personal accounts at AmBank

Recently, Wall Street Journal alleged that money from debt laden government strategic investment arm 1Malaysia Development Bhd through several transactions was transferred into Najib’s personal account in Am Private Banking in 2013.

This lead to speculations that Hussain’s untimely death may have something to do with 1MDB and was not caused by him being a mediator of a property deal on a temple land as concluded three years ago. This was however denied by the police.

Hussain founded the Arab-Malaysian bank way back in 1975 and made the bank public in 1981 when he introduced it to now Bursa Malaysia, formerly known as Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange.

“He did not hold any position at all. It was during the mid-80’s that he had sold all his stake to Azman Hashim.But he always stayed in touch with the old boys club. In the circle, he had important friends like Azman Hashim,Tun Mahathir, Zeti Akhtar Aziz, and several royalties as well,” he said.

The Switzerland-born founding President of banking advisory firm, Najadi & Partners Ltd mentioned that his father first resided in Singapore in the late 60’s and later moved to Malaysia in 1974.

Hussain had direct line to the top banking circles

Pascal frequently flew to Malaysia with his Swiss mother during holidays to spend time with his father. He remembered how different things were back then.

“I remembered when we used to have the first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman as guest, and other friends of different races all the time. It was a free society then.

“My father despite his busy schedule, he always manage to spend time with me and my Swiss mother. We always met up with each other in different parts of the world.

“He was the most caring father in the world. We shared great love for each other as he had thought me so many things especially in business. He is an inspiration to my whole life,” he said.

The only child in the family said that even though he is going through a struggle to seek justice, he added that its not just justice for his father, but its also for Malaysians and Malaysia.

“It can’t keep going on like this. Malaysia could be paradise but unfortunately, corruptions have sucked out money from the people. Malaysians who are paying taxes but don’t get much out of it in return,” he said.  – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Justice-For-Najadi-AmBank/1460541000930606