June 18, 2017
1mdb Scandal–US DOJ acts for Malaysians to recover our money from Najib Razak and his Kleptocrats
June 18, 2017
Prime Minister (To be Elected) Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammad and Deputy Lim Kit Siang!–A Case of counting chickens before they are hatched
It is disheartening to note that the opposition parties are now fighting who among their respective leaders would become the Prime Minister (PM) should they win the coming general election.
Rightly or wrongly, the position of the PM has become the most important “institution” in the country today. Years of power consolidation and concentration has made this position very invincible and powerful. Hence, the endless tussle for it, even though winning the election is by no means certain yet.
I think it is time for the opposition coalition to look at the position of the PM differently.
Hanuman (Warrior-Protector) of PM Najib Razak
Right now the PM is all powerful because all the “actors” as provided for in our constitution have not played their rightful role.Instead of fighting for the post, the opposition coalition should be looking at the powers and jurisdiction of the PM within the confines of the constitution.
In other words, they shouldn’t be just looking at the powers of the PM as they exist today. They should “reconstruct” the PM the way they want the person to be. Please let me elaborate.
First, the opposition coalition must look at important positions as provided for in the constitution other than that of the PM. Second, they should share these important positions fairly among the coalition partners to ensure checks and balance.
If important positions are fairly distributed among coalition partners, it will automatically circumscribe the powers of the PM.
The idea is really to prevent abuse or the arbitrary exercise of power. To begin with, all MPs from each coalition partner must play their respective roles jealously and dutifully. The executive branch headed by the PM has become too powerful because the legislature has more or less abdicated its power. An assertive legislature would send different signals to the executive branch.
Similarly, we can look at other important positions to ensure check and balance. For example, if the PM is from PPBM, the finance and home affairs ministers should be from other coalition partners. The same goes for the speaker of the Dewan Rakyat.
I believe it is easier to agree on the post of PM if the coalition partners first work out other important positions in the government. The overarching principle is to ensure power sharing and fair play.
Don’t fight over the post of PM; fight for a PM who can only exercise power within the confines of the constitution.
T K Chua is an FMT reader.
April 5, 2017
When R Nadeswaran, the former editor of Special and Investigative Reporting at theSun, retired last December, it was not because he had called it a day, or wanted to potter around in the garden, tending to his prized orchids.
He had a bigger mission at hand, and that was to focus on, and publish his second book, called ‘Curi-Curi Malaysia’.
My friend and Fellow Malaysian, R Nadeswaran (Citizen Nades) is on a mission larger than himself. A pioneer investigative reporter, he is fearless and relentless in his pursuit of truth, but he is responsible and balanced in his expose. I admire and respect Citizen Nades for his dedication to civic duty.
Launched in January 2017, ‘Curi-Curi Malaysia’ is self-published, and as Nades points out, is not an autobiography, which he claims he has no desire to write. Nor is it a compilation of his articles, which after a distinguished career spanning over 45 years, would probably fill several volumes, like the Encyclopædia Britannica.
No! ‘Curi-Curi Malaysia’ describes the hours of hard work done by him and his team of investigative journalists. More often than not, the work would have been shared with his former partner of many years, Terence Fernandez.
People may recognise Citizen Nades as the man who broke the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) story, or the reporter with the dogged determination to prevent the culprits in the PKFZ scandal from escaping scot-free (they did, as the recent court case in March showed!).
It will come as no surprise to many Malaysians, that there are other scandals, some we know about, and many of which we are unaware.
‘Curi-Curi Malaysia’ represents the tip of this iceberg. Nades covers only the stories for which he has expert knowledge. For that reason, he avoids sensitive topics, such as religious issues, in which, he readily admits, that he is not an expert, and religious interpretations are needed.
Many people who read about an exposé in a newspaper do not realise the months of work, the money spent and dedication needed to produce a one-page-long article. They do not know about the threats to the reporters, the unanswered calls, the emails which are ignored, the sleepless nights or the frustration of trying to get a straight response from a corrupt politician who is avoiding a straight answer.
Nor would the reader know about the angst of having to deal with a civil servant who is petrified of telling the truth, for fear of losing his job.
Work of journalists more challenging and frustrating
Equally important, says Nades, is having an editor, or a newspaper owner, who allows free rein over the piece, so that he, as a responsible journalist, need not look over his shoulder all the time.
In today’s climate, with newspaper ownership in the hands of the powerful, who have strong links to the ruling politicians, Nades knows that the work of many journalists is more challenging and frustrating than ever.
Nades, once referred to as “the scariest man in Malaysia”, is also a reporter of whom the politicians are wary. If an email from Nades were to land on the desk of a junior member of a government department, it would soon find its way to the minister. An example of a minister who is micro-managing, perhaps?
Ministers and civil servants treat Nades with kid gloves. One wrong slip and he may have a major story on his hands.
In the northern hemisphere, spring is in the air, and in England, the Chelsea Flower Show (CFS) will be open to the public and the Queen. In 2011, Tourism Malaysia tried to pull the wool over the eyes of the horticultural world.
As Nades pointed out, Tourism Malaysia opened a tender exercise, in which people were invited to pay for tender documents, despite having already awarded the contract to represent Malaysia at the prestigious show.
Nades was most interested in transparency and accountability, but it is doubtful if the respective Malaysian departments were willing to help him.
He managed to expose the cheating, and exorbitant expenses claimed by Malaysian officials, who stayed in London, to attend the CFS. More importantly, he discovered the Malaysian CFS garden exhibit did not have any Malaysian plant species, because quarantine laws had to be respected.
In fact, the award-winning Malaysian garden contained plants which, although native to Malaysia, were sourced and cultivated in Holland. Another wayang!
Ng Yen Yen–Ex Tourism
The behind-the-scenes exchanges, of many other eye-watering cases of abuse of the Malaysian taxpayers’ money are highlighted in ‘Curi-Curi Malaysia’, the book that has taken Nades on a personal quest, throughout Peninsular Malaysia, Australia, England and Europe.
Former Minister of Tourism Azalina Othman Said before she became Macho Minister in Najib Razak’s Cabinet (pic below)
These scandals include the Awana Chelsea restaurant, the Brickendonbury sports centre, jet-setting VIP wives, the Paya Indah Wetlands, the palatial mansion in Port Klang and ministers Ng Yen Yen and Azalina Othman Said (both were Tourism Ministers).
At his book launch, Nades reminded his audience to make others aware of the controversies, the corruption and the injustice. He told us to do the right thing in GE-14. So, grab a copy, before ‘Curi-Curi Malaysia’ is banned.
February 9, 2017
by John Berthelsen@www.asiasentinel.com
Tan Sri Syed Azman, Malaysia’s AP King
At 2:30 a.m. one day in mid-November, after the election of Donald J. Trump to the presidency of the United States, the telephone rang in the official residence of Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia.
Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor answered the telephone. On the other end was businessman Syed Azman of Weststar Group, a sprawling Malaysia-based conglomerate with interests in cars, aviation, construction, defense and engineering. Azman’s 40 helicopters shuttle people and goods to offshore oil platforms.
Known as the “AP king” for his ability to acquire scarce government-issued Approved Permits to import luxury cars into Malaysia, Azman, a Tan Sri – one of the highest of Malaysia’s arcane honorifics – had good news. The President-elect wanted to talk to her husband and told him to call two hours later, at 4:30 a.m. Azman arranged the call between Najib and Trump.
Azman is not just a rich Malaysian businessman. He knows Donald Trump relatively well and, according to a public statement by Rosmah, plays golf with the President, a real estate tycoon before his election. Some years ago Azman bought two of Trump’s ornate branded jets for use by his own businesses. During the presidential campaign, he re-loaned one of the jets back for use by Trump’s aides. It was repainted in the Trump livery and used during the campaign, a source in Kuala Lumpur told Asia Sentinel.
A Fleet of Helicopters owned by Weststar Group
An email to White House press representative Michael C. Short, asking for details of the conversation, went unanswered. But a thrilled Rosmah, in a video recording released on Nov. 28 from a public function she had attended, described the call, saying Najib called Trump at the fixed time, and Trump answered himself. Rosmah said Trump and her husband discussed various things, and that the US President-Elect commended Malaysia’s economic growth rate. Trump, she added, also asked Najib when the latter planned to visit the US, to which the prime minister replied, “Wait until you settle in and I will come. I would like to discuss a few things with you.”
Apparently Trump’s famed “extreme vetting” of Muslims didn’t extend to Najib. The Malaysian Premier is the subject of an investigation by the US Justice Department’s kleptocracy unit (part of its Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section) for the theft of up to US$1 billion from the Malaysian government-backed 1Malaysia Development Bhd. investment fund.
Barack Obama’s beleaguered Golf Buddy –Malaysia’s Najib Razak
Earlier, during the administration of Barack Obama, Najib was a presidential favorite under the perception that he was a moderate Muslim leader and a regional powerhouse. The Malaysian Prime Minister was invited to play golf in Hawaii with Obama before word filtered up about the fact that he was involved in what appears to be the biggest scandal in Malaysian history. That ended Najib’s cozy relationship with the then President.
Trump’s “Extreme Vetting” for Muslims: Najib Exempt?In addition to the theft, at least two people have died violently in acts tied to Najib’s administration.
In October 2006, a Mongolian translator and international party girl, Altantuya Shaaribuu, was shot in the head twice and her body was blown up with military explosives in a patch of jungle outside of Kuala Lumpur by two of Najib’s bodyguards. She had played a minor role in the purchase of French submarines by the Malaysian government when Najib was defense minister. French officials have charged that €114 million (now US$123 million) in bribes was channeled through Najib to the United Malays National Organization and another €36 million went into a mysterious company in Hong Kong that was established by Najib’s best friend, Abdul Razak Baginda, who was instrumental in the submarine transaction.
In the other incident, Anthony Kevin Morais, a prosecutor for Malaysia’s Anti-Corruption Commission who was investigating the 1MDB scandal disappeared in November of 2015. His body was later found encased in cement in an oil drum that had been rolled into a river outside Kuala Lumpur. His brother, Charles Morais, an Atlanta businessman, later charged that Kevin Morais had been investigating Najib and his wife when he disappeared. Kevin Morais was believed to be channeling vital information about the scandal to the Sarawak Report, which has been instrumental in uncovering the details.
A half-dozen global jurisdictions including Switzerland, Singapore, the United Kingdom and others are awaiting the continuing US investigation, which involves allegations of the theft of at least US$2.5 billion and perhaps as much as US$4 billion from 1MDB, which was so disastrously overseen that it is believed to have lost as much as US$11.3 billion through theft and mismanagement.
Like President Trump, flamboyant Jho Taek Low was educated at The Wharton School of Finance, The University of Pennsylvania
Steered by a flamboyant young friend of the Najib family named Jho Taek Low, an unknown amount of that money allegedly went to finance Red Granite Pictures, the Hollywood entity that produced the blockbuster movie “Wolf of Wall Street.” Riza Aziz, Rosmah’s son by a previous marriage, was a co-producer of the picture. Considerably more has ended up in California and New York, in real estate owned by nominees, particularly Jho Low, as he is known, who are believed to represent the Najib family.
Najib’s Next Golfing Buddy?–Trump, however, cannot intercede on his behalf on 1MDB
In July 2016 US Federal prosecutors issued a 136-page document alleging that “over the course of an approximately four year period, between approximately 2009 and at least 2013, multiple individuals, including public officials and their associates, conspired to fraudulently divert billions of dollars from 1MDB through various means, including by defrauding foreign banks and by sending foreign wire communications in furtherance of the scheme, and thereafter, to launder the proceeds of that criminal conduct, including and through US financial institutions.
“The funds diverted from 1MDB were used for the personal benefit of the co-conspirators and their relatives and associates, including to purchase luxury real estate in the United States, pay gambling expenses in Las Vegas casinos, acquire more than US$100 million in artwork, invest in a major New York development project, and fund the production of major Hollywood films. 1MDB maintained no interest in these assets and saw no returns on these investments.”
As is customary, the US Justice Department had no comment on the progress of its continuing investigation into assets believed to have been stolen by the family or their associates.
Despite that, Najib and his cronies in the United Malays National Organization (UMNO0, the country’s biggest political party, have insulated themselves from the loss of leadership of the country primarily by bribing the 190-odd cadres who determine the leadership of UMNO to keep him in power. UMNO leadership confers automatic status as Prime Minister.
The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Sarawak Report, Asia Sentinel and other publications have provided voluminous proof that Najib allegedly diverted at least US$681 million – he has acknowledged the deposit in his personal accounts in Kuala Lumpur but given no reason for the deposit. Other sources have put the amount as high as US$1 billion.
“Come over with your family, we can have lunch or dinner,” Trump told Najib in the phone call, according to Rosmah. It remains to be seen if the invitation will continue to be extended.
November 13, 2016
My friend Hussein,
Malaysia’s First Lady Rosmah Mansor and her counterpart Michelle Obama
It does not take a hot shot rocket scientist to answer your question why you are not Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib is. Allow me, an Average Awang ( or Average Joe ), answer you.
You are not the corrupt, lying, dishonest eldest and spoilt son of Tun Razak Hussein who is under queen control of that despicable and greedy Rosmah Mansor with an inferiority complex.
You, I and other Malaysians of the masculine gender are embarrassed to have this henpecked Najib Razak as the leader of the country we love. We have to blame Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad for creating UMNO Baru to enable a character like Najib to become and remain Prime Minister.
It is tough for someone like me teaching in foreign country to explain the Najib phenomenon to my graduate students. It is even tougher for a career Ambassador to do so. But Najib is able to appoint his UMNO crony and a serving MP from Pahang as Ambassador to the country where I now reside. –Din Merican
by Hussein Abdul Hamid aka Steadyaku47aku
So please….can someone tell me why I am not the Prime Minister and Najib Razak is?
October 9, 2016
by P Gunasegaram
QUESTION TIME: After all his failings and lies over his brainchild, 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), and at least US$3.5 billion (RM14 billion) embezzled from it, and as much as US$7 billion (US$28 billion) unaccounted for, why is it that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak remains in power?
Tenacious Rosmah Mansor is the real reason why Najib Razak is in Power
How could a nation keep a Prime Minister who is directly and indirectly responsible for the biggest fraud in Malaysian history and perhaps the biggest fraud ever in the world in power? The Minister of Finance Inc (Najib is Finance Minister, too) owns all of 1MDB, he was chairperson of the advisory board and the memorandum and articles of association of 1MDB required him to sign off on all major deals.
In other countries that practice true parliamentary democracy, that would have been enough to nail him and kick him out hard if he had not already resigned by then, but not here. Why?
Just because he was head of UMNO and Barisan Nasional or BN when the coalition won the last elections in 2013, it does not convey on him an automatic right to remain Prime Minister until the next elections.
A Prime Minister can be removed if he does wrong under the law but for that to work you need independence of both investigating and prosecuting authorities. Najib circumvented that by removing the previous Attorney-General (Gani Patail) under highly suspicious circumstances. At the same time, the country’s corruption-fighting body saw wrenching changes while central bank officials were questioned by the police for possible leaks of information over that US$681 million “donation” that went into the accounts of Najib at AmBank.
When dissent within his party began to surface, he took action against senior party officials culminating in the expulsion of his Deputy Muhyiddin Yassin who, together with former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, has now formed a new party.
That served as an example for any others who might want to challenge Najib’s leadership of UMNO and resulted in UMNO top guns and other heads of political parties within the BN coalition keeping mum and voicing their support for Najib.
UMNO party elections have been postponed to after the next general elections, preventing would-be contestants from ousting him. It looks like no one within UMNO is capable of organising a revolt or rebellion and to force an extraordinary general assembly which could remove him as party chief and hence Prime Minister.
That Najib remains PM, and UMNO President, is first and foremost a reflection of the poor leadership at the top of UMNO. Except for Muhyiddin, Shafie Apdal and Mukhriz Mahathir, no significant UMNO leader has opposed Najib over 1MDB and other matters. If enough UMNO top leaders join in the clamour against Najib, Najib will have to go – you don’t even have to wait for a grassroots revolt.
Zahid Hamidi is still saluting Najib Razak
Let’s take it from the top. Najib’s current deputy, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, continues to make noises of support for Najib. This one-time solid Anwar Ibrahim supporter, jailed under the Internal Security Act (ISA) with Anwar in 1998 under Mahathir’s rule, must know that if Umno goes into the polls with Najib at the top, its chances of winning would be much eroded. But he does not want to make the mistake his former boss did of moving too hastily.
And then, with the exit of Shafie Apdal, comes Hishammuddin Hussein, Najib’s cousin and son of the third Prime Minister, Hussein Onn. Najib was son of the second. If Hishammuddin had his father’s guts, principles and integrity he would have no choice but to voice his opposition to Najib. But no, he does not but condones Najib.
The Joker Hishamuddin Tun Hussein
And then there is UMNO Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin – suave, dapper and Oxford educated. A man in so much of a hurry to get to the top that one can’t expect him to be steadfast and upholding and give up what may, yes, get him to the top.
No ‘scrotal gumption’
For all three of them, does good politics dictate that they must support Najib no matter what, even if he allows Malaysia to be turned into a kleptocracy? Do they all not have the “scrotal gumption” – to borrow two words from former Court of Appeal judge Mahadev Shankar – to at least this once put nation and people above their own personal ambitions, and do what’s right even if it is risky?
The Impatient Opportunist in UMNO
Who knows, their political ambitions may be furthered if they do that because a majority of Malays themselves are likely to support their actions. Polls indicate Najib’s support among Malays is at an all-time low of 25 percent.
Remember Mahathir’s meteoric rise after he lost his parliamentary seat way back in 1969, criticised then-prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, got expelled from UMNO and then became education minister in 1974 after he was given a seat to contest by Tunku’s successor, Abdul Razak Hussein, Najib’s father?
Clearly they don’t make young UNO leaders like they did before. And clearly too UMNO politics were rather devious even then.
And MCA and MIC, what say you? Does Liow Tiong Lai for a moment think that the ordinary Chinese think his support for Najib is justified? What about the Indians, Dr S Subramaniam, do you think they support Najib right now?
Over in Sabah and Sarawak, do Kadazans and Dusuns and others actually support Najib? And shouldn’t leaders of parties like PBS and PBB be more circumspect of their support for Najib as leader of the coalition? How about it, Joseph Pairin Kitingan and Adenan Satem? Is it not time to make your views felt?
UMNO after all had only 88 seats out of 133 seats at the end of the last elections in 2013 in the 222-seat Parliament. UMNO cannot rule without its partners no matter what some of their leaders say.
The combined opposition had one more than UMNO with 89 seats. If all of UMNO’s partners moved over to opposition, the government is toppled. In fact, if only 23 out of 44 defect, down comes Najib’s government. Surely they are collectively in a position to make some threats but why don’t they? Lack of scrotal gumption again?
He could be removed by Parliament – by a vote of no-confidence which will precipitate general elections if enough people vote with their conscience and not along party lines.
Najib stays in power because not enough elected representatives from the ruling coalition will say a word against him, let alone vote against him. UMNO has failed the people, MCA has failed the people, MIC has, and likewise Gerakan. The East Malaysian parties have also failed the people.
Ultimately, Malaysia’s elected representatives in Parliament collectively failed the people – they let a terribly tainted prime minister continue in office. Now all that is left is for the people to pressure the representatives to do their job and if they do not, kick them out unceremoniously when the time comes.
That will teach them to do the right thing the next time around.