Malaysia-The New Attorney-General


July 29, 2015

COMMENT: The appearance can be misleading. He looks like someone belonging in the same class as  Chief Secretary Hamsa Ali and Treasury Secretary Siregar–men of mixed parentage.

Malays of mixed parentage  seem to be Najib’s favorite people forDin Merican and wife, kam senior posts in his government. Another  Malay who bears my family name, Reezal Merican, is now Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.  I suspect that this is because Malays of mixed parentage going back to Nor Mohamed Yackop and the late Governor Ali Abul Hassan of Bank Negara Malaysia during the days of Mahathir Administration are apparently boss pleasers, and can be trusted to do their duty to the Prime Minister, our King and country (in that order) with fear or favour.

Of course, one’s parentage or ethnicity should have no bearing on any appointment be it in public service or in the business world. But in practice public service appointments are political decisions made by the Prime Minister, not strictly on merit.

In appointing a former UMNO man as Malaysia’s top legal man with powers under Article 145 of our Constitution, our Prime Minister is creating a dangerous precedent  and so is he in the case of the sacking of Gani Patail.

For all my criticisms of the former Attorney-General, I think Gani Patail unceremonious sacking violates the Article 145 (6). This hurried decision makes suspect me that he could be on to “something big” with regard to the 1MDB scandal that could affect Prime Minister Najib’s political future.

Even the recent Cabinet changes reflect Najib’s quest for political survival and as such, it is a strategic move to have all his 1MDB bases covered. Loyalty is the criterion. So, there is nothing to be excited about the latest Cabinet reshuffle . “Nothing is more important than the needs of Malaysia and the people – I will always put their interests above all others,”says Prime Minister Najib Razak. Trust him? Given his track record since taking over from Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2009, that statement is trite and hollow. Even the Marines (with due respects to the USMC) will not buy it.

It may be worthwhile to remind ourselves of Article 145 of the Federal Constitution which makes the Attorney-General  a powerful the principal legal adviser to the Government.

Article 145 of the Federal Constitution provides:

(1) The Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall, on the advice of the Prime Minister, appoint a person who is qualified to be a judge of the Federal Court to be the Attorney-General for the Federation.

(2) It shall be the duty of the Attorney-General to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or the Cabinet or any Minister upon such legal matters, and to perform such other duties of a legal character, as may from time to time be referred or assigned to him by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or the Cabinet, and to discharge the functions conferred on him by or under this Constitution or any other written law.

3) The Attorney-General shall have power, exercisable at his discretion, to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings for an offence, other than proceedings before a Syariah court, a native court or a court-martial.

3A) Federal law may confer on the Attorney-General power to determine the courts in which or the venue at which any proceedings which he has power under Clause (3) to institute shall be instituted or to which such proceedings shall be transferred.

(4) In the performance of his duties the Attorney-General shall have the right of audience in , and shall take precedence over any other person appearing before, any court or tribunal in the Federation.

(5) Subject to Clause (6), the Attorney-General shall hold office during the pleasure of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and may at any time resign his office and, unless he is a member of the Cabinet, shall receive such remuneration as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may determine.

6) The person holding the office of Attorney-General immediately prior to the coming into operation of this Article shall continue to hold the office on terms and conditions not less favourable than those applicable to him immediately before such coming into operation and shall not be removed from office except on the like grounds and in the like manner as a judge of the Federal Court.

The new Attorney-General has awesome power and and with it, the heavy responsibility to uphold the Rule of Law, not Rule by a desperate Prime Minister whose only desire is to remain office by all and any means. As for his predecessor, we should ensure that the Najib administration observes the letter and spirit of Article 145(6) of our Constitution. –Din Merican

Malaysia: Besieged Malaysian PM Sacks Enemies


July 28, 2015

Malaysia: Besieged Malaysian PM Sacks Enemies

by John Berthelsen

http://www.asiasentinel.com/politics/besieged-malaysia-pm-sacks-enemies/

Under fire from a spreading scandal, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak ordered a sudden, wholesale housecleaning of top officials on Tuesday, July 28. Those getting the boot include the deputy prime minister, attorney general, head of the police special branch intelligence unit and others. The move may come to be seen as either bold or reckless depending on whether Najib survives in office.

Najib is trying to evade a tightening noose related to financial irregularites involving the 1MDB state-owned investment fund. Fired Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail has been leading a government investigation into the fund.

Last week, Najib ordered the suspension of The Edge Financial Daily and its sister paper after they printed that the equivalent of U$1.83 billion was allegedly stolen by company officers and others from the troubled fund; he also ordered the suspension of the passports of some journalists and opposition figures. A report in the Wall Street Journal earlier said US$700 from 1MDB had found its way into Najib’s personal bank account.

DPM Zahid HamidiThe New Deputy Prime Minister

Although the sacking of Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had been expected after Muhyiddin broke with Najib over 1MDB on July 26, the replacement of Gani Patail, a career United Malays National Organization loyalist, was a surprise. Well-placed sources in Kuala Lumpur said he was poised to charge Najib with corruption. Akhil Bulat, the head of the Special Branch, had also grown increasingly critical of Najib in private circles.

Muhyiddin has been replaced by Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, a deep party loyalist who was once Najib’s party secretary, as Deputy Prime Minister. He is also Home Minister and is regarded by many as mercurial.

Time to sweep up

The decision to clean house was precipitated by a speech Muhyiddin gave to a suburban Kuala Lumpur UMNO branch that Najib must answer questions over 1MDB, saying. “If the parliament is dissolved tomorrow, we won’t win the general election.”

Despite the scandal, the Prime Minister maintains the loyalty of a majority of the 190-odd UMNO division chiefs and most of the cabinet through an intricate system of patronage and rent-seeking contracts. Asked to sum up Najib’s ability to act so rashly and still survive, one well-placed Malaysian political observer said, “It’s like the man says, ‘Cash is king.’”

There has been no public protest so far and the political opposition is hamstrung by internal dissension. “The guys who had to be removed have been removed,” a political analyst told Asia Sentinel. The only constituency Najib has to worry about, with elections three years away, are the UMNO cadres, 160 of whom swore loyalty to Najib earlier this year.

Opposition Democratic Action Party Leader Lim Kit Siang described the reshuffle as “not designed to produce a more competent, efficient and professional Cabinet which can save Malaysia from becoming a failed state because of rampant corruption, socio-economic inefficiencies and injustices, and the failure of good governance, but to give Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak a new lease of political life by removing from the Cabinet Ministers who threaten his  political future.”

But it’s doubtful that any other opposition statements will have any more impact.

Can’t remove everybody

Gani PatailNo Longer A-G

The announcement of Gani Patail’s ouster said he had been removed for health reasons, although he told friends in Kuala Lumpur that he had no idea it was coming. He is due for retirement on October 6 but now has been shunted into a position as judicial and legal services officer. He was replaced by a former federal court judge, Mohamed Apandi Ali, who was described by a source as an UMNO stooge despite his position on the bench of the country’s highest court.

The sackings are a vivid indication of the growing crisis over 1MDB, which according to a spate of officially unreleased investigations has looted hundreds of millions of US dollars that were said to have been diverted into accounts of financier Low Taek Jho, a close Najib family friend. Another US$680 million was traced from 1MDB-linked companies into Najib’s personal account at AmBank in Kuala Lumpur. The money was believed to have been used to fund the 2013 general election for the Barisan Nasional. As nearly as can be determined, 1MDB has the equivalent of US$11.8 billion in liabilities, an unknown amount of that unfunded. The fund, backed by Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance, is having trouble meeting its debt obligations and money has been steered from various government accounts to 1MDB to try to cover the losses.

The surpsise ouster of Gani Patail may be an indication that the official tide is turning against Najib, as is the removal of the Special Branch chief. However, along with the others who have been removed, including cabinet ministers, Najib has neutralized – for now at least – almost everybody who opposed him.

Zeti

Najib also has sought to remove Zeti Akhtar Aziz, the long-serving Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, the country’s central bank, since 2000. The widely respected Zeti is said to be a special target of Rosmah Mansor, Najib’s wife, who has been trying to forestall a Bank Negara-ordered probe into 1MDB. The central bank governorship by law is an independent position and not subject to disciplinary action by the government.

Gani Patail has been a strong UMNO loyalist since 1998, when he was the lead prosecutor in the corruption and sodomy trial of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, a trial widely criticized by human rights organizations across the world. He joined the government as a deputy public prosecutor in 1979 and he has been accused of short-stopping a long string of legal cases ever since.

As chief public prosecutor, he was also responsible for a sudden change of the prosecution during the trial of Sirul Azhar and Azilah Hadri, two of Najib’s bodyguards, for the murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu in 2006. The lengthy trial seemed designed to make sure that no speculation would emerge on who ordered the killing of the high-flying party girl.

DPM Muhyiddin sacked and Gani Patail’s services uncermoniously terminated


July 28, 2015

Malaysia: DPM Muhyiddin sacked from Najib’s Cabinet and Gani Patail’s services terminated unceremoniously

by Mark Clements@www.freemalaysiatoday.com

MuhyiddinDeputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin today followed the same path out of cabinet as Anwar Ibrahim almost seventeen years ago. Both were removed by the sitting Prime Minister, this time by a weak and besieged leader.

September 2, 1998 saw Anwar dismissed by former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed, arrested under the Internal Security Act, assaulted in custody and eventually charged in court and convicted for various offences ranging from corruption to engaging in homosexual acts. His dream of supplanting Umno and taking over as prime minister has long since disappeared.

Today, on the other hand, saw the sacking of Muhyddin for breaching the principle of the collective responsibility of cabinet after publicly questioning embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak during a speech delivered at the annual general meeting of UMNO’s Cheras division.

Taking Najib to task for failing to clear the air for the ever-growing 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal and also for refusing to directly confront allegations made by Wall Street Journal earlier this month that some US$700 million had flowed into his personal accounts, Muhyiddin was earlier today accused by his successor, Home Minister Zahid Hamidi of having turned against Najib and attempting to engineer a rift within the party.

“How can I approve (of his statement),” Zahid was reported by Sin Chew Daily to have asked. “He should have stood by the leader and the party.”Himself toeing the Prime Minister’s line, Zahid was reported to have advised that the public should await the outcome of on-going investigations into 1MDB’s affairs.

ganipatailThose investigations, however, may have suffered a setback in the aftermath of another scandal which suddenly began to brew today after the sudden and unceremonious termination of the services of Attorney- General Abdul Gani Patail was announced. Gani had been leading a multi-agency task force investigating allegations of impropriety involving 1MDB which became a full-blown scandal after the Wall Street Journal exposed it earlier this month.

Holding office at the pleasure of the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong under Article 145(5) of the Federal Constitution, Gani appeared to have been removed with effect from yesterday with Chief Secretary Ali Hamsa saying that it was on account of ill health, a suggestion which Gani has since contradicted.

That aside, Muhiyddin’s own immediate political future appears to be in the balance. Perceived as an ally of Mahathir, a link up between the two may be his best avenue for political rehabilitation. It is, however, likely that he may face some form of party disciplinary action in an effort to rein in any potential damage which he and Mahathir may cause together. Whether that action will also involve him being stripped of UMNO’s Deputy Presidency and even dismissed from the party altogether remains to be seen.

If dismissed, his other likely options appear limited, with the opposition offering no particular synergies which he can leverage on. Member of Parliament for the constituency of Pagoh, Muhyddin served as Minister for Education between 2009 and today, although his record is perceived by many as less than impressive having presided over what appears to be an ever-declining standard of education.

As Education Minister, he was also responsible for the 1BestariNet programme, which he approved, and which reportedly cost some RM663 million. That project according to a report in Astro Awani today is the subject matter of an investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

Malaysia: Najib’s Nixon Moment–Resign?


July 27, 2015

Malaysia: Najib’s Nixon Moment

by Dr. M.Bakri Musa, Morgan-Hill, California

1MDB-Najib-Bank-Special-Task-ForceTask Force for Cover-Up

The Special Task Force and Parliamentary Committee investigating 1MDB (Najib Administration’s business entity) are missing the crux of the matter. They are distracted by and consumed with extraneous and irrelevant issues, either through incompetence or on purpose, as being directed to do so.

The consequence is that what was initially a problem of corporate cash-flow squeeze has now degenerated into a full-blown scandal engulfing not only Najib’s leadership but also the national governance. The only redeeming feature is that for once a national crisis does not parallel the country’s volatile racial divide, despite attempts by many to make it so.

Torrent of ink has been expended on that tattooed Swiss national now in a Thai jail (Xavier Justo), the suspension of The Edge Magazine and The Edge Financial Daily, the threatened lawsuit against the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), and the blocking of the Sarawak Report website. These are but distracting sideshows. Even veteran and hard-nosed observers and commentators are taken in by these distractions.

WSJ Najib

The central and very simple issue is this: Did Prime Minister Najib divert funds from 1MDB to his private account as alleged by WSJ and others? The issue is simple because it requires only a brief “Yes” or “No” response. If the answer is “Yes,” then all else pales in comparison.

If the answer is “No,” then we could proceed to such secondary issues as how much debt 1MDB has incurred, the extent of the government’s exposure, and whether the company could service its loans or even generate any revenue, as well as the related question of who leaked confidential bank and other sensitive financial information.

Woodward on NixonWhat will Najib’s Legacy be?

Thus all, whether pro or anti-Najib, should be asking him to answer that simple central question whether public funds were diverted to Najib’s account. That is the Malaysian Nixonian equivalent of “What did the Pesident know and when did he know it?” of the infamous Watergate scandal of the 1970s.

Queries that do not confront this central issue serve only to distract matters. Likewise the commentaries; they succeed only in exposing the biases and political leanings of their writers. We all can be spared of that, as well as the obvious sucking-up gestures by Najib’s flatterers.

If Najib chooses to remain silent, then the parliamentary committee and special task force must focus their investigations to answering that basic question. They do not need the cooperation of the Monetary Authority of Singapore to do that. Nor do they have to travel to Thailand and interview that tattooed character, or subpoena that moon-faced chubby fellow who is so taken in with Paris Hilton.

Arresting low-level employees like the company dispatcher would only divert resources and distract the staff. Instead there should be laser-like focus on ascertaining the central truth. All other matters as who leaked the incriminating information are secondary.

This allegation of illegal diversion of public funds is made not by some kucing kurap anti-government blogger or a disgruntled UMNO operative deprived of his lucrative government contracts but by WSJ, a world renown tabliod. The only way to rebut the damning allegation is to show that the documents laid out were false by producing your own evidence to the contrary.

Tengku Li

Alternatively, sue the publication. When the Financial Times alleged impropriety on the part of Tengku Razaleigh regarding the Bank Bumiputra fiasco of yore, he sued. And won; the rare occasion when that influential publication was humbled!

If Najib were to sue WSJ, the ensuing depositions would uncover the truth. Lawsuits, however, are expensive and protracted. All these hullabaloos would go away and confidence restored fast if Najib were to answer with a simple “No” to the central question, and if his answer were indeed the truth and could be substantiated as such. Then he can sue WSJ and everyone else.

Tengku Razaleigh called upon those Malaysians who know the truth on this matter to come forward. There are only a few who are so privileged. They owe it to their fellow citizens to do so. As he so wisely put it, “Not telling the truth is not an option.”

Malaysia however should not be held hostage to their honesty and integrity, or lack of either. We all must do our part to make sure that the truth be exposed.

Nazir Razak2

I am heartened by the reactions of our corporate leaders. Nazir Razak and Tony Fernandes, both widely admired and highly accomplished, have condemned the suspension of The Edge. They have done more; they praised the paper!

I applaud Nazir for another reason. What he did was another not-so-subtle rebuke to his oldest brother. He did it earlier as when he and his other brothers (minus Najib of course) reminded everyone that their father died leaving only a modest estate. In our culture, Nazir’s action took great courage. He did it in the finest Jebat tradition of fidelity to principle and country, over kin and leaders.

TM Tunku Ismail of Johor

We need others to do likewise. The Bar Council has taken an exemplary lead; likewise the Tengku Mahkota (Crown Prince) of Johor and a former Mufti of Perlis. When exposing a crime is treated as a crime, the former Mufti reminded us, then we are ruled by criminals. The young prince upbraided politicians who are more loyal to their party than their fellow citizens.

This 1MDB scandal threatens to not only bring down Najib but also damage Malaysia’s credibility, much like Nixon’s Watergate was to him and to America. It took the courage of Nixon’s closest allies in his own Republican Party to convince him to do the honorable thing. As a result, America was spared an unnecessary crisis, and a generous nation later forgave Nixon. With that, his monumental legacies, as with his engagement with China, remain intact.

Najib does not have any positive legacy despite his over six years as Prime Minister, longer than Nixon was as President. Nonetheless Najib could still save his skin if he were to do the honorable thing – tell the truth.

If he does not, then it is up to those closest to him to do the honorable thing – tell him the truth. The chance of that happening however, is remote as UMNO is bereft of courageous individuals who could see beyond their party (and its lucrative patronage) and tell it straight to Najib’s face.

DPM

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyyiddin’s belated protest is too little, too late. It is also self-serving. Now if he were to resign in protest, that would mean something. Meanwhile as a member of Najib’s cabinet, he and the other ministers are collectively responsible and should be held jointly accountable.

The only person who could force Najib would be Barisan’s Sarawak leaders, in particular Chief Minister Adenan Satem. His support is critical to Najib. Thus far Adenan is satisfied with squeezing the maximum out of Najib in his hour of crisis to benefit Sarawak. In the long term however, Adenan should remember that Sarawak, like the rest of the country, would progress only if the central government is competent and honest. An inept, corrupt and distracted central government would be detrimental to all, Sarawak included.

It is time for Najib to do or made to do a Nixon. If Najib were to do it voluntarily then he could control the timing and to some extent, subsequent developments. Specifically he could choose his successor. Nothing in the constitution mandates that his current Deputy be the one.

If he were to pick Tengku Razaleigh, a man of proven leadership and impeccable integrity, not only would that meet widespread approval including within Parliament, he would have secured for himself a significant legacy. He would also better his nemesis, Tun Mahathir, in one respect. The Tun chose two duds as his successors and in the process wasted a precious decade for Malaysia.

Najib’s personal fate does not interest me. He could suffer a Marcos for all I care, but if Malaysia were to degenerate into another Philippines because of Najib, then those who remain silent or don’t take a stand now must bear some responsibility. How would they answer their grandchildren’s lament?

May God bless those many brave and righteous Malaysians who have done and continue to do their part, and at great risks. I salute them! We must remain focused on the central issue: Did Najib embezzle those funds?

Malaysia: A rich history of Media Suspension


July 27, 2015

Malaysia: A rich history of Media Suspension

by Anisah Shukry@www.themalaysianinsider.com

edge-financial-daily-suspended

The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily’s three-month suspension starting today marks the government’s continued tradition of clamping down on print media, a practice which began nearly three decades ago with the infamous Ops Lalang of 1987.

The Edge joins The Star, The Sunday Star, Sin Chew Jit Poh, Watan, Sarawak Tribune, Guang Ming Daily, Berita Petang Sarawak, The Weekend Mail, Makkal Ossai, The Heat and Thina Kural, which had their publishing permits revoked for reasons ranging from national security to technical issues.

Most papers survived their suspension, even as it dragged on for months, with journalists reportedly taking up part-time jobs to support their families until the newsrooms reopened. But some newspapers never recovered, while others never saw their suspensions lifted.

The Edge, however, which is being punished for its reportage on debt-ridden state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), is fighting this. This morning, The Edge will file a leave application for a judicial review.

Speaking to reporters after briefing The Edge’s staff, hours after the suspensions were announced on Friday, The Edge Media Group publisher and group CEO Ho Kay Tat said: “We will be filing it on Monday and we hope to get a speedy hearing.”We must file a judicial review as a matter of principle because we don’t think the suspension is justified,” Ho also said The Edge would continue reporting on 1MDB through its online platforms despite the suspension of the two papers.

“We will not apologise as we have not done anything wrong.” The Malaysian Insider looks at the brief, yet colourful, history of media suspensions in Malaysia.

Dr M and the Media

1987: The Star, Sin Chew Jit Poh, The Sunday Star and Watan

Within three years of the enforcement of the heavily criticised Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) 1984, Malaysia witnessed what is often described as the worst attack on media freedom in the country.

In October 1987, The Star along with its weekend edition The Sunday Star, Sin Chew Jit Poh, and weekly paper Watan had their publishing permits revoked, just days after the government embarked on Ops Lalang, a crackdown that saw more than 100 political leaders and activists arrested and detained.

A day earlier, the front page of The Star featured mug shots of prominent leaders nabbed in then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Ops Lalang swoop.

The headline screamed a single word: Detained. The next day, The Star was no longer available on newsstands. After nearly six months, the papers were allowed to resume publications, but not without a price – for the newspapers affected, as well as the entire industry. Journalists spoke of self-censorship to avoid facing similar action, while Watan shut down in 1996.

2006: Prophet Muhammad caricatures in 3 papers

In 2006, the controversial caricatures of Prophet Muhammad from a Danish newspaper were carried by several newspapers and TV channels, including Berita Petang Sarawak, Guang Ming Daily, Sarawak Tribune and The New Straits Times.

Sarawak Tribune, an English-language newspaper published in Kuching, Sibu and Bintulu, in Sarawak, was indefinitely suspended that year for publishing the caricature in an article titled “Cartoon not much impact here” on February 4, 2006. The newspaper, which was established in 1945, reappeared in 2010 as the New Sarawak Tribune.

Chinese-language newspapers Guang Ming Daily and Berita Petang Sarawak were suspended for two weeks for carrying the caricatures in their newspapers.

Guang Ming Daily’s article was titled “European media republish caricature to heighten controversy; Denmark paper insults Islam, apology sought” while Berita Petang Sarawak’s was “We are prepared to launch a holy war”.

Tun-Abdullah-Ahmad-badawi

Then Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who was also the internal security minister, suspended the permits under sub-section 6(2) of the PPPA 1984, Bernama had reported. However, no action was taken against the NST because it had published an open apology for publishing the comic, Abdullah had said.

2006: The Weekend Mail discusses Malaysians’ sex lives

The Weekend Mail – the short-lived weekend issue of The Malay Mail – courted outrage among lawmakers when it published a series focusing on the sexual lifestyle of Kuala Lumpur residents in its November 4-5 issue.

According to The Straits Times in Singapore, the English-language tabloid had surveyed 100 people in the capital city to write the “unusually frank articles”, and published it alongside pictures of pregnant women in bikinis, a woman performing an erotic dance and a couple kissing.

Then Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had said he received endless angry calls over the article, and said such stories could hurt the fabric of Malaysian society, the NST reported.

“The media going overboard in exploiting sex will only worsen our social problems,” Najib reportedly said.

“The feature spoke of this and that position and I am not talking about positions during a football game or the Middle East position.”

Home Ministry Secretary-general Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said the reports and photographs were contrary to the values practised by Malaysians, according to The Star.

The New Straits Times Press’ then Chief Executive Officer Datuk Syed Faisal Albar apologised to the papers’ readers for the distress caused the following Monday, while The Malay Mail editor Zulkifli Jalil was suspended.

But the government suspended the Weekend Mail anyway, for breaching guidelines and conditions in the PPPA 1984.

2007: Jesus caricature in Makkal Osai

Tamil daily Makkal Osai, or “The People’s Voice” was slapped with a one-month suspension three days after it published an image of Jesus holding a cigarette and a beer can on the front page of its August 21, 2007 edition.

The caricature was published under its “Quote of the Day” column, with a caption quoting Jesus as saying that those who repent for their mistakes would enter heaven, according to Bernama.

The suspension came after Makkal Osai apologised for what it said was an oversight, the paper’s general manager had reportedly said the picture was mistakenly inserted by a graphic artist.

2013: Putrajaya takes down The Heat

On December 19, 2013, the Heat became the first newspaper suspended under Prime Minister Najib’s administration.

The official reason for the indefinite suspension was that the weekly had not informed the Home Ministry of changes in its ownership and refusal to respond to two show-cause letters.

But speculation was rife that the Ministry clamped down on The Heat over its front-page article on Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s allegedly lavish lifestyle.

The suspension was lifted on January 27 the following year, but the weekly’s return to the newsstands was short-lived. It was soon pulled off the streets and now remains a digital publication.

2014: Thina Kural fails to notify government of printer change

Failure to notify the Home Ministry that it had changed printers led to Tamil daily Thina Kural’s three-month suspension starting on March 27, The Malaysian Times reported.

The suspension was also a result of the daily’s error in publishing two different versions of the paper on January 24, causing confusion among readers.

Thina Kural editor-n-chief D.R. Rajan told The Malaysian Times that 63 families were affected by the suspension, and that the editorial team would continue to operate under a new publication called Tamil Puthiya Paarva.

2015: The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily

najib and rosmah

The Home Ministry on Friday suspended the publishing permits of The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily for three months beginning today.

A letter from the Ministry stated that the publications’ coverage of 1MDB was “prejudicial or likely to be prejudicial to public order, security or likely to alarm public opinion or is likely to be prejudicial to public and national interests”.

Earlier this month, The Edge received a show-cause letter in which the ministry gave it seven days to explain why action should not be taken under the PPPA 1984.

The Edge was accused of publishing articles on the controversial state fund which were said to have created confusion and doubt about the Malaysian government and financial institutions.

Last week, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has admitted to instructing local Internet service providers to block access to whistle-blower site Sarawak Report, claiming that the site was disrupting “national stability”.

The site was blocked under Section 211 and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, it said.

Malaysia: Get at the truth on 1MDB Scandal, says DPM Muhyiddin


July 27, 2015

Malaysia: Get at the truth on 1MDB Scandal, says DPM Muhyiddin

by Radzi Razak@www.malaysiakini.com

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said the there was no one who could truly explain the 1MDB issue, even in cabinet. He said he had to get information from the media including the suspended business weekly The Edge Financial Daily, but was rebuked by fellow cabinet members.
education minister muhyiddin_yassin

“I even had to ask the economists and businessmen to understand. I read The Edge as well to understand the issue.I was rebuked in the cabinet: ‘Oh that (information) came from The Edge. It is not true.’ But I was never told what is the truth,” he said during his hour-long speech for the closing ceremony of the Cheras UMNO division annual general meeting last night.

Muhyiddin said that his criticisms on the 1MDB issue was not an attempt at seizing power but a genuine attempt to resolve the party’s problems.

He said even those who talk about 1MDB did not even understand what is the problem faced by the debt ridden company and said Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is the only person who could clarify the matter to the public.

Husni and Rahman Dahlan not helping

Citing his cabinet colleagues Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah and Abdul Rahman Dahlan as examples, Muhyiddin said the duo’s repeated statements on the issue had not been able to ease public concerns. “Malaysians are not stupid. When the second Finance Minister and the Housing Minister talks to the public, their points are debunked.

Who should tell you the truth? It is the Prime Minister. But he said wait for the PAC and audit report. So wait, wait and wait. I have yet to even read the (auditor-general’s) interim report,” he said.

Regarding the matter Muhyiddin said it is better for all the reports regarding 1MDB to be made public, as it will help to regain the people’s trust. “The PAC and audit report on 1MDB should be made available as soon as possible. I have no qualms if it were made publicly. In fact it is good as people wanted to know.

In that sense he said he is happy that Najib had agree that the special task force were form to independently investigate the issue.”The task force is not to find the blame but as the investigation is ongoing, we will surely find the culprit and punish them.

“The sooner it is done, the better for the party and the government,” he said.

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