Thread: IS NAJIB FIT TO BE PM?

   
   
       
  1. #281
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    Friday, 07 August 2015 02:35pm
    The Malaysian Bar denounces the current unrelenting onslaught against the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (“MACC”) in connection with its investigation into the flow of funds from SRC International Sdn Bhd (a former subsidiary of 1MDB), as well as funds of RM2.6 billion, into the Prime Minister’s private bank accounts.


    It cannot be denied that, since 28 July 2015, MACC personnel have been the focus of a police investigation into allegations of leaking of confidential information and involvement in a supposed conspiracy to overthrow the Government, purportedly in violation of Section 124B of the Penal Code.


    In particular, we have seen in recent days the arrest and questioning of Tan Sri Rashpal Singh, a former adviser to the MACC, and Ahmad Sazilee Abdul Khairi, a Deputy Public Prosecutor seconded to the MACC, before they were released. The latter’s office and home were raided, and documents were reportedly removed.


    The police have also questioned senior MACC officers, including Dato’ Hj Bahri Mohamad Zain (Director, Special Operations Division), Datuk Tan Kang Sai (Deputy Director, Special Operations Division), Datuk IG Chandran (Director, Forensic Division), and Tuan Roslan Tuan Mat (Officer, Special Operations Division). They reportedly arrested two officers — one of whom was the investigator looking into SRC International Sdn Bhd — who were subsequently released. In addition, the police raided the MACC’s Special Operations Division and reportedly removed documents — which may well consist of crucial evidence, particularly concerning the investigation into SRC International Sdn Bhd — from the possession of MACC personnel.


    Other recent developments include the following:



    (1) In an unprecedented move, all five panels that have oversight over the MACC issued a joint press statement on 29 July 2015 appealing for the MACC to be allowed to undertake its work as part of the Special Task Force without any interference or pressure from third parties;




    (2) On 30 July 2015, MACC issued another press statement reportedly denying that its officers were involved in a conspiracy to topple the Government, and were instead only carrying out their duties “without fear and favour, in spite of anyone involved”;



    (3) MACC Special Operations Division Director Dato’ Hj Bahri Mohamad Zain has been reported as saying he was baffled by the arrest of Deputy Public Prosecutor Ahmad Sazilee Abdul Khairi, and raised the ominous spectre of “hidden hands” at work;



    (4) On 4 August 2015, it was reported that the MACC held a special “solat hajat” session to pray for MACC staff, their families, their community and for a corruption-free country;




    (5) Datuk Hj Mustafar Ali (MACC Deputy Chief Commissioner (Prevention)) has been reported to have said on 5 August 2015 that “when action is taken on an investigating officer [during an ongoing investigation], it somewhat jeopardises the investigation”;




    (6) Senator Datuk Paul Low, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of governance and integrity, reportedly stated yesterday that the police “are showing high-handedness”, and that it “is important that [MACC] do what they need to do”; and




    (7) Also yesterday, Tan Sri Johan Jaafar (Chairman of MACC’s Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel) reportedly expressed “dismay over the spate of raids and arrests by the police”, and “reiterated the need for the agency to be allowed to execute its duties unhindered”.

    It is quite telling, and extremely disconcerting, that the beleaguered MACC as well as a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department has had to make these statements and express indignation, as well as hold special prayers. It compounds the commonly held fear that the MACC’s investigation is being seriously derailed, and that there are strong forces at work to curtail the MACC’s efforts. Astoundingly, at this critical time, MACC Chief Commissioner Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed is on leave.


    The investigation being conducted by MACC was part of the work of a Special Task Force that had been set up to look into allegations of financial impropriety involving 1MDB. It is thus shocking to learn that the Attorney General has reportedly advised that the Special Task Force should be disbanded.


    The reported incidents are wholly inconsistent with the Government’s publicly declared aim to uncover the unvarnished truth behind the alleged deposit of funds into the personal bank accounts of the Prime Minister, and to unearth dishonest dealings, if any, associated with that deposit, and other irregularities concerning 1MDB. The actions by the police, which have the appearance of an assault on the MACC, have seemingly caused irreparable harm to the standing of MACC as an agency to combat corruption.

    The launch of the investigation into the MACC, and the allegation of a plot to overthrow the Government, could be seen as a thinly-disguised attempt to block the truth from emerging. Moreover, the investigation into allegations of leaking of confidential information and the purported breach of Section 124B of the Penal Code are not carte blanche for the police to intrude into, and interfere with, the MACC’s investigation, and/or to remove or compromise vital evidence collated by MACC. It must be borne in mind that interfering with or obstructing an ongoing MACC investigation is in itself an offence under Section 48 of the MACC Act 2009.


    Thus, the announcement by the MACC on 3 August 2015 that the RM2.6 billion allegedly deposited into the personal bank accounts of the Prime Minister did not comprise monies from 1MDB but was instead a “donation”, raises more questions than provides answers. The events preceding as well as following it, as set out above, give rise to the inference that the announcement was a result of external interference, or was made to relieve the pressure faced by the MACC.


    The MACC Act 2009 provides that even if the alleged deposit into the personal bank accounts of the Prime Minister may have been a donation, it does not necessarily mean that no corrupt act had occurred. The term “gratification” in section 3 of the MACC Act 2009 includes a donation, and does not exclude a political donation. MACC should also look into section 17 (regarding the offence of giving or accepting gratification by an agent), read with section 50 (regarding a presumption in certain offences) of the MACC Act 2009.


    It is therefore still imperative that the MACC identify the purpose, if any, of the donation, the conduct and activity of the recipient in relation to the use of that donation, and the reason why the donation was deposited into a private account of the recipient. Donations of this nature are seldom made for charitable purposes.


    The Malaysian Bar demands that the MACC to be allowed to conduct its investigation independently and comprehensively, without any external threat, pressure or influence. The flagrant level of intimidation inflicted on, and the climate of fear foisted upon, the MACC must stop. The role and responsibility of the MACC must not, and cannot be, perverted to excuse or exculpate anyone — including politicians — from allegations of corruption.



    Steven Thiru
    President
    Malaysian Bar

    7 August 2015
    py

  2. #282
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    The Sharks are circling for the kill. When the RM hits 4.8 to the USD, that's when regime change will happen.

    International Traders Target Malaysia’s Ringgit

    Posted on August 4, 2015By John BerthelsenHeadline, Malaysia, Politics

    Political crisis draws currency sharks into the financial sea








    Sensing blood, global currency traders have declared war on Malaysia’s already-flagging currency, forcing Bank Negara Malaysia, the country’s central bank, to spend US$5 billion in the past month defending it. The ringgit has slumped by 21 percent against the US dollar in the past year, with the dive picking up speed. It has lost 11.98 percent of its value since May 1.


    The pressure on the ringgit is partly triggered by a slowing economy, a rumored downgrade by Fitch Ratings and the troubles facing Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is up against a series of scandals that have resulted in at least one European bank downgrading the country’s risk outlook. The messiest of the scandals tracked US$680 million from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad government fund into his personal bank accounts, according to the Wall Street Journal and UK-based Sarawak Report.


    Get Whitey


    For Najib, the attack is a mixed blessing. While it plays havoc with the economy, in the past week he has gone on the offensive against foreign interests. In an extraordinary speech in Seremban on August 1, he warned “white people” to stay out of Malaysian affairs although his chief detractor is Mahathir Mohamad, the former premier who put him in the job.


    Currency traders in Switzerland and other European countries were said to be shorting the ringgit in the expectation that the downward pressure would pick up speed. The traders are said to be position-buying British pounds against the ringgit in the expectation that the economy, stalling out because of the political crisis, will continue to fade.


    Malaysian Ringgit vs. US dollar

    Central bank reserves are healthy but they have been falling steadily for months, from US$136 billion in July 2014 to US$105 billion, although the final figure doesn’t show on the chart below. Reserves amount to 7.8 months of imports. As the reserves per months of imports continue to drop, the situation is expected to grow increasingly critical.


    “They have lost control. The forex market is betting against the ringgit and is punishing Najib with no mercy,” said Pascal Najadi, a Moscow-based financial consultant who has made a crusade of trying to find the truth behind the murder of his father, a founder of what was the Arab Malaysian Development Bank and is now called AmBank – where Najib today keeps his money.

    Zeti in the light


    As Najib defends himself, the spotlight has fallen recently on Zeti Akhtar Aziz, the long-serving central bank governor, who has come under unprecedented attack from a flock of bloggers. Some of them quote the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in attempting to tie her family to a series of secret bank accounts in the British Virgin Islands and other tax havens. Zeti is said to have records of all the 1MDB transactions and those into Najib’s bank accounts. There is no word of what she intends to do with the records.


    One of the blogs, a Hong Kong-based outfit said to be put together by foreign interests, The Recounter, identifies Zeti as one of 13 people on a “top wanted list of conspirators against the democratically elected government.” There is no indication of what Zeti did to land on the list, which includes four other members of Bank Negara, Edge Group Owner and Publisher Tong Kooi Ong and Ho Kay Tat, Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle Brown and others.


    A request to Bank Negara for an explanation of the raid on the currency was not answered, nor was a request for a statement on the accusations about the bank accounts allegedly in the names of her husband and sons.


    Asia Sentinel identified Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, as being behind the pressure to drive Zeti out of the bank, to which her lawyers replied with a blistering denial and demand for a retraction. [Read her press release here.]


    Economy at risk


    The country’s economy is suffering from a steep fall in commodity prices, with Brent crude oil descending from US$105 per barrel to US$50.02 on Aug. 4. Palm oil has fallen from US$641 per tonne to US$606. Exports slid by 2.5 percent after a 0.5 percent gain in the final quarter of 2014,” reflecting mainly a decline in the growth of commodity exports and resource-based manufactured exports, amid lower commodity prices” according to Bank Negara.


    But the situation has been exacerbated by the prolonged political scandal, which has turned attention away from efforts to revitalize the economy.


    In addition to having to explain how the US$680 million ended up in his personal account at AmBank in Kuala Lumpur in 2013, Najib is also under prolonged attack for his role as the economic advisor to 1Malaysia Development Bhd, which is said to have RMB42 billion worth of debt, as much as RMB25 billion of it unfunded. There are allegations that a major portion of that was steered into the accounts of a family friend, tycoon Jho Taek Low.


    On August 3, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission said that the US$680 million in Najib’s accounts was from “donations,” a statement that raised more questions than it answered. It didn’t indicate where the “donations” came from or where they went. If the money was a personal donation, there is no indication that it was taxed. It has been suggested that the money was directed to the effort to win the 2013 general election, in which the ruling Barisan Nasional did very badly. But campaign donations are officially limited to RMB50,000 for state races and RMB200,000 for parliamentary seats. That much money washing through the electoral process would have set off alarm bells.


    Impact


    As the currency deteriorates, the price of imported goods and services, which amount to 69.9 percent of GDP, will grow sharply. There are already complaints about the rising cost of living. However, the price of exports will fall on international markets, making the country more competitive.


    The options are to continue to defend the ringgit by throwing the country’s reserves into the fight, which is a losing battle, considering the trillions of dollars that float through currency markets every day. Despite the fact that Malaysia’s reserves remain relatively healthy, the forex markets are simply too big to bet against.


    The alternative is to peg the ringgit against the US dollar, as former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad did in 1989 during the Asian Financial Crisis, which would endanger the billions the currency traders are betting. Mahathir was successful, as was the Hong Kong government in pegging the Hong Kong dollar to the US dollar during a currency crisis in the 1960s.


    There are downsides to freezing the currency against the dollar. Given the diminishing reserves, it would require the implementation of currency controls, putting additional brakes on the economy. There are few attractive alternatives at this point.
    py

  3. #283
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    Malaysians Seek Currency Havens as Crisis Grows

    Posted on August 7, 2015By Our CorrespondentEconomics/Business, Headline, Malaysia
    Falling ringgit, massive scandal and weak economy combine to cause pain for consumers







    Consumers in Malaysia are turning to money changers to trade the domestic currency for US and Singapore dollars, triggering a foreign currency shortage as a steeply falling ringgit cuts into their buying power.


    Currency traders say the run on the ringgit is causing a shortage of US dollars as people try to move their money into safer currencies. At least two local banks are said to be limiting withdrawals to RM5,000 in cash at counters due to a shortage of cash. Any amount above RM5,000 must be withdrawn by bank check.


    Under Malaysian banking regulations, retail customers are not allowed to change ringgit into foreign currencies. They must withdraw local currency and take it to domestic money traders to buy foreign currencies.


    Because of the liquidity crunch, middle-class Malaysians also are said to be moving their savings out of the country to Singapore, hoping to protect their assets and to make a quick gain by buying cheap ringgit when the currency market bottoms out at some future date. Financial advisors are said to be telling their clients to move savings out of Malaysian banks or transfer to offshore accounts in safer currencies.



    This is a fine mess you’ve got us into


    It is a further sign that the political crisis that has gripped the country for more than a year over the scandal-ridden 1Malaysia Development Berhad fund is starting to spread into the public at large. With the political crisis deepening and Prime Minister Najib Razak himself implicated over the scandal, his government has been paralyzed on economic policy. A wave of cabinet dismissals and police investigations into press leaks seem to indicate that Najib is almost wholly intent on his own survival rather than governing the country.


    The levers that might right the economy are thus being largely ignored by policymakers and consumer confidence, according to latest figures from the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research, nosedived to 72.60 in the first quarter of 2015 from 83 in the fourth quarter of 2014 after averaging 104.90 from 2005 until 2015.



    A wave of cabinet dismissals and police investigations into press leaks seem to indicate that Najib is almost wholly intent on his own survival rather than governing the country


    An already-irritated middle class is growing more frustrated as a 6 percent goods and services tax has cut into spending and savings. Although the GST is theoretically a reform designed to improve accounting, reduce tax fraud and discourage dishonest business practices, it has caused confusion about its interpretation and outraged consumers.


    “The economy is severely crimping,” said a Malaysian restaurant owner. “I have closed all six of my outlets. Businesses everywhere are closing. The GST has smashed the economy, with 1MDB and the political problems finishing it off. But the real issue affecting the whole country is the GST. We are facing a perfect storm. The GST, 1MDB, weak prime minister, weak Barisan Nasional, falling oil subsidies, the China slowdown, a possible rise in US interest rates and more.”

    Paradigm Shopping Mall in Kelana Jaya in the Kuala Lumpur suburb of Petaling Jaya was among the first to record unusually high retail outlet closings with more than 20 retail shops shutting down within the first few months of the April 1 implementation of the GST.


    Look out below


    In the past year, the currency has fallen from RM3.80 to RM3.91 to the US dollar, heading for the psychologically important level of RM4 despite attempts by Bank Negara, the country’s central bank, to stem the slide by using the country’s US dollar reserves to buy ringgit. Global currency traders, sensing the deep problems in the Malaysian economy, have gone after the currency, driving it down in the past week alone from RM3.880.


    The central bank has thrown at least US$10 billion into the latest attempt to save the ringgit. But the world’s currency markets, with trillions of dollars to throw at the assault on the currency, can easily overcome any defenses. The government faces the unappetizing choice of either turning to capital controls, which would constrict the economy, or letting the ringgit slide, which would drive up the price of imports and irritate consumers even more.


    It is not all politics, of course. The pressure on the ringgit has been triggered in large measure by a slowing macro economy hit by the global slump in crude oil, palm oil and rubber among other key commodities. Two of Malaysia’s top trading partners, China and Singapore, have also suffered slowdowns. At least one Swiss bank is said to have downgraded Malaysia’s risk profile internally because of the country’s problems.


    http://www.asiasentinel.com/wp-conte...rt-300x238.jpg

    In addition, according to the Hong Kong-based financial analysis firm Asianomics, “the investment cycle has turned sharply and decisively down ever since spending by the government sponsored but private sector led Economic Transformation Program on infrastructure surge came to an end. Real fixed investment spending is growing significantly slower than GDP and as a result the ratio of investment to GDP has fallen below trend, with residual spending in negative territory and signaling an impending recession.”


    Those economic problems have been exacerbated by the year-long political crisis triggered by 1MDB, which has the government scrambling to find funding sources to meet RM42 billion of liabilities. If Najib digs in and nothing can be done to move him aside, the crisis could drag on for years. Key institutions are already suffering, with more pain to come.


    Bank Negara’s Zeti Akhtar Aziz, the long-serving central bank governor, has come under unprecedented attack from pro-Najib bloggers over allegations that her family has secret bank accounts in the British Virgin Islands. The internationally respected official, whom many believe could have evidence linked to the suspicious movement of hundreds of millions of dollars linked to 1MDB and the prime minister, has not been seen in several days.


    She and several top officers of the bank are under suspicion of having given details of the 1MDB and other scandals to either reporters or government investigators whom Najib has now fired. The government is now said to be after Zeti’s head, a move that would deepen uncertainty and creation additional policy problems.
    py

  4. #284
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    Malaysia’s prime minister a dead man walking? – Greg Lopez

    Published: 9 August 2015 8:09 AM

    Malaysia’s prime minister broke a cardinal rule in politics.

    He inadvertently admitted "guilt" when the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) cleared him of any wrong doing in accepting a political donation. His position – vulnerable since his ascent to premiership – is no longer tenable as Malaysians question his sincerity and trustworthiness.


    On July 2, 2015, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) alleged that US$700 million had gone into a personal bank account of Malaysia’s prime minister. The prime minister offered a non-denial denial:


    "Let me be very clear: I have never taken funds for personal gain as alleged by my political opponents – whether from 1MDB, SRC International or other entities, as these companies have confirmed."


    The prime minister also labelled the report a political sabotage and threatened to sue WSJ (more than a month after the allegation was made, at time of publishing this article, the prime minister has yet to sue).


    As the noose tightened around his neck, the prime minister went for broke.


    On July 20, 2015, the Sarawak Report, a blog that had been systematically publishing reports on corruption and abuse of power in Malaysia was blocked by "the government". An arrest warrant for its founder-editor, Clare Rewcastle-Brown was subsequently issued.


    On July 24, 2015, "the government" announced that The Edge Financial Daily and The Edge Weekly that had been reporting extensively on the 1MDB issue were to be suspended for three months.


    On July 28, 2015, the prime minister sacked his deputy and four other ministers in a cabinet reshuffle in an effort to strengthen his control of the government and Umno.


    With the cabinet reshuffle, the prime minister also neutralised the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that had been vigorously investigating the 1MDB affair. He also removed the attorney-general, who as part of a high-level task force (involving the Attorney General’s Chambers, the central bank, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the police) was believed to have been preparing to charge the prime minister for corruption.


    After pulling off this brazen act skilfully, the prime minister blinked.


    On August 3, 2015, MACC announced that the US$700 million channelled into the prime minister’s personal bank account came from donors. In doing this, the prime minister inadvertently confirmed WSJ’s report and opened Pandora ’s Box .


    This admission of "guilt" has taken the toxicity of the prime minister to an all-time high. More damaging than the legality of the matter (i.e. was it corrupt for the prime minister to solicit donations on behalf of Umno; is it certain that the donations were for Umno; who donated; what were the donations for; were the donations used at the 2013 general elections; did the donation break Malaysian laws; etc) is the question of trust and legitimacy.


    Malaysians will now once again question the prime minister’s honesty and sincerity in denying all other allegations made against him, his family and his administration. After all, if WSJ’s preposterous allegation is correct, could all other preposterous allegations be true?


    Malaysians will begin to wonder if there is truth to the preposterous allegations made by the suspended The Edge Finance Daily and The Edge Weekly.


    Malaysians will begin to wonder if there is truth to the numerous preposterous allegations made by the blocked Sarawak Report.


    Malaysians will begin to wonder if there is truth to the many preposterous allegations on 1MDB by members of the opposition.


    Malaysians may also begin to wonder if there is truth to all other preposterous allegations made about the prime minister, his wife and his family.


    Malaysians will begin to wonder if there is truth to the preposterous claims being made by Bersih 2.0, namely that elections are neither free nor fair in Malaysia.


    Umno members will begin to wonder if there is truth to the sacked deputy prime minister Tan Sri Muhyddin’s preposterous premonitions about Umno’s future.


    Having realised this faux pas, the prime minister and Umno are currently engaged in rear-guard action to correct the mistake. But for an embattled prime minister already suffering serious trust and legitimacy deficit, this may be too late.


    One should not however dismiss the prime minister outright. It goes without saying that a dead man walking can be very unpredictable and dangerous.


    Note: It appears that "the government" and its "agencies" (e.g. the Attorney General’s Office, MACC, the central bank) are divided on 1MDB. It appears that some are aligned to protecting the prime minister, others intent on removing him, and some who are just doing their work. – Forbes.com, August 9, 2015.


    * Greg Lopez is research fellow at Executive Education Centre, Murdoch University, Perth.


    * This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.
    py

  5. #285
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    Reading the tea leaves of 1MDB – Meredith Weiss

    Published: 9 August 2015 7:55 AM


    The 1MDB scandal shows that Malaysia is in desperate need of political finance reform. But can the country clean up its messy "money politics"?


    By the time this piece comes out, even if it’s only a few hours from the writing, the array of known facts about Malaysia’s bewilderingly complex 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal will almost certainly have changed.


    There may well be another conspiracy theory or two making the rounds by then, and some creative new threat/spin/bombast from one or another of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s currently trusted spokesmen.


    I have no special powers to exhume the real story of where the money came from or where it went, so I will leave that archaeology to others. Instead, I will focus on what the unfolding of this drama indicates politically.


    First, a brief sketch of the 1MDB saga, for those who have been spared or have been ignoring the gory details.


    Problems with 1MDB, a state investment fund, are not new. Until recently, it was missed payments toward the fund’s USD11 billion in debt, as well as murky managerial roles and practices, that worried investors and rankled observers.


    Yet reports over the past several months, particularly by UK-based Sarawak Report, Malaysia’s The Edge Financial Daily, and The Wall Street Journal, have also unearthed the convoluted path of roughly US$700 million into accounts under Najib’s name, most of it shortly before Malaysia’s May 2013 general election.


    After initial quasi-denials and bluster, Najib’s camp has all but admitted that yes, the PM’s accounts did receive these funds, but they were perfectly legal donations from some astoundingly generous supporter(s), not from 1MDB. (By now, "1MDB" stands synecdochically for a huge mess of issues.)


    In the meantime, most of the officials investigating the saga have been early-retired, snap-promoted, detained for investigations themselves, or otherwise shunted off the task; critical activists and media have been whacked more forcefully, with threats of wilder punches yet to come.


    What does this debacle tell us about the workings of Najib’s Umno and its Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, or Malaysia’s wider political framework?


    In some ways, the saga confirms what we know: commitment to civil liberties is tenuous, for instance, and "authoritarian backsliding" is appealingly easy (and difficult to reverse), given the lack of effective checks and balances in Malaysia’s political system. Three other factors are worth highlighting.


    First, while Umno is a strongly institutionalised party, it is also deeply personalised, not least due to patronage ties within the party itself. No one should have been shocked by Najib’s acknowledgement that he "will evaluate people based on their loyalty", rather than on how ‘smart’ they are—even at a time when clear thinking would be a real help.


    Nor is this emphasis on loyalty unique to Umno; other BN as well as opposition parties, too, are known for their "warlords" and "camps", for dynastic tendencies, for entrenching leaders as symbols, and for offering little latitude to threateningly clever upstarts.


    Fault Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s long, self-aggrandising durée, the feudal sultanates of Malaysia’s past, or the structure of intraparty elections—but the point remains that if loyalty to people trumps loyalty to principles, parties will lack the political will to fix problems beyond sacrificing boat-rockers and whistle-blowers.


    At this point, Umno appears to be floundering, searching for direction. Maintain the BN’s power-sharing model, however shallow? Ally with PAS for a Malay-unity government? Rally round Najib and hope memories are short? Reshuffle the spoils by flocking to a new supreme leader—or back to Dr Mahathir (his own sullied slate wiped magically clean)?


    Second, Malaysian civil society is in a weak position to intervene. On a macro level, the rise (and decline) of the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition and its component parties has been at the expense of autonomous voices; ever more political space has become effectively partisan.


    Creative solutions are in short supply, too. Mass street protests clearly hold appeal; the organisers of Bersih 4 are hard at work as outrage mounts. Yet the impetus for participation seems to be more frustration and anger than a sense of empowerment to effect change.


    At best, street protest is a blunt tool, however elaborate the demands expressed. As one poster to an email news list quipped, beyond repression, the risk in breaking the proverbial camel’s back is that you might end up with just another camel.


    Moreover, the key problems at issue are not ones that civil societal actors are structurally positioned to address. Changing UMNO such that dissidents can unseat a party president requires action within the party.


    Disassembling patronage politics is a long-term process, requiring civic education as well as a stepped-up regulatory framework. Putting in place effective electoral reforms requires substantial legislative action; it is up to parliament, too, to call a vote of confidence or put in place a transitional government.


    On that note, lastly, Malaysia is in desperate need of political finance reform.


    Najib’s supporters are correct in insisting that even a ridiculously large, anonymous donation to a political party is not illegal in Malaysia, so long as it does not come with strings or from public funds.


    Even spending much of that money on electioneering would be above-board; what the Election Commission regulates is spending by candidates themselves, during the (very brief) official campaign period.


    Government and opposition parties alike benefit from being not required to tally up and report contributions, and able to spend fairly freely between elections (although recent efforts to pin the lack of reform on opposition parties and their shadowy supporters are risible).


    Unfortunately, Malaysia cannot readily borrow reform ideas from elsewhere; context matters. Suggestions for public funding of campaigns, for instance, are gaining traction among opposition strategists—yet such fixes may miss the point.


    "Money politics" in Malaysia refers less to desperate fundraising and the debts so incurred than to parties’ direct involvement in and ties with business, as well as cronyism and kickbacks in awarding government contracts.


    The priority instead should be such steps as establishing and enforcing more realistic limits for campaign expenditures than are currently in place; keeping track of at least large donations; enforcing open tender and transparency; establishing and empowering a competent administrative apparatus to monitor total election spending; and ensuring key agencies like the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission maintain (or regain) authority and independence.


    Without doubt, "1MDB" is a fiasco on all counts.


    We may never know the full story, particularly given the pace of efforts to stymie investigations. But Malaysia has no choice but to move forward somehow, and when the rot is at the roots, merely pruning the tree won’t suffice.


    Much depends on where the impetus comes from... but only the tea leaves can tell whether the end result will be another limping camel or a fresh new ride. – New Mandala, August 9, 2015.


    * Meredith L. Weiss is Associate Professor of Political Science at the State University of New York at Albany.


    * This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.
    py

  6. #286
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    Such colourful descriptions for Malaysia: Police State, Failed State, Dictatorship,....


    Has Malaysia become a police state?



    By John R Malott
    Malaysiakini
    Aug 9, 2015

    COMMENT
    How ironic it is that many Malaysians are now being threatened for taking actions that are “detrimental to parliamentary democracy.” Actually, they are the very people who are struggling for democracy and political freedom.

    As someone who follows developments in Malaysia closely, I believe that the greatest threat to parliamentary democracy in Malaysia today is Prime Minister Najib Razak, and the head of the national police force that he controls, Khalid Abu Bakar.

    It is Najib and Khalid who actually should be investigated for violating Section 124B of the Penal Code.

    Najib wants to stay in power, no matter what. For any politician, that is understandable.

    For whatever reason, Khalid has chosen to be Najib’s lackey. He is ready to do Najib’s bidding and deploy his police force in wilful violation of the law and the fundamental guarantees of Malaysia’s constitution.



    Najib as Macbeth


    A good friend who also follows developments in Malaysia closely recently compared the situation in Malaysia to Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, “Macbeth.”

    Macbeth, pushed by his evil wife’s ambition, would stop at nothing – even murder – to gain power. And to accomplish his ends, Macbeth would depict evil as good, and good as evil.

    So it is in Malaysia today. Those who seek democracy are called the enemies of democracy.

    Meanwhile, those who really are the enemies of democracy – the people who close newspapers, charge opposition politicians with sedition, round up the leaders of peaceful protests, and arrest government officials who are investigating corruption at the highest levels – call themselves the “patriots” of the nation and the defenders of parliamentary democracy.

    How perverse it all has become under Najib.

    Reluctantly, I have come to the conclusion that Malaysia has now become a police state.

    One should not use words like “police state” carelessly. So I consulted the definitions that political scientists and academics use.

    A police state is when police power is used to suppress any action that opposes the government, and to suppress any person who dares to criticise the government.

    That sounds like Malaysia today. Najib is turning Malaysia into an authoritarian government and a police state. And Khalid is his willing accomplice, a law unto himself, a man who renders justice through Twitter.


    Who will save Malaysia?


    Because of Najib’s actions, Malaysia can no longer claim to be a democracy.

    Democracy means freedom of speech, freedom of press, and freedom of assembly. It means that there are checks and balances – that the judiciary, the press, the parliament, and so on, can comment and criticise what the government is doing.

    But today in Malaysia, none of that exists. There is no check on Najib’s power. There is no institution that can balance his power, especially when the police are so ready to arrest anyone who dares to criticise Najib, including government officials who are investigating the many allegations of corruption against him and his wife.

    Dr Mahathir Mohamad already destroyed most of Malaysia’s checks and balances against the abuse of power, and Najib has now finished it off for good.

    Will Najib get away with this? It seems that no one stands in Najib’s way.

    Malaysia’s elder statesmen – Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Musa Hitam, and so on are curiously silent. They claim that they care about Malaysia and its people, yet they do nothing about Najib’s abuses.

    Only Mahathir has spoken out. But Mahathir is the man who corrupted the entire system that Najib has used to his advantage.

    And now even Mahathir has become silent.

    Where are the sultans? They also are supposed to be the defenders of the nation. Yet we only know, indirectly, the views of the Sultan of Johor and his son. The others are silent as Najib destroys Malaysia’s future, the great country that the Sultans have pledged to defend.


    We know what Najib wants


    Najib has decided that his personal survival is more important than the fate of his country. He and his wife care only about themselves, not Malaysia.

    So the stock market tumbles, and the ringgit falls to its lowest point in almost 20 years. Malaysia’s bank reserves have dropped by over US$40 billion in just one year. Foreign investors are shunning Malaysia, and Malaysians themselves are sending their money overseas. It is the worst situation for Malaysia’s economy in 20 years.

    But Najib doesn’t care. His personal survival is more important than his country’s economic fate.

    Najib is now a desperate man. He will continue his relentless quest to stay in power, utilising every means possible, both within and outside his party.

    The leaders of Bersih 4.0 and others who think that street demonstrations will force him to resign are naVve. He already has shown that he has no hesitation to turn tear gas and billy clubs on his own people. That is what they will face on Aug 29.


    As things now stand, I cannot think of a good outcome. It is only going to get worse.


    Cry, the beloved country. I can only weep when I think of Malaysia’s future, when one man is able to subvert the institutions of government and thwart the will of the people. And when the great majority of the Malaysian people, from former leaders to the man in the street, stand by silently, and let him do it.


    JOHN R MALOTT is former United States ambassador to Malaysia


    py

  7. #287
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    13,391
    10 Aug 2015 | 1MDB, by Dr Mahathir

    Akaun Peribadi

    1. I used to enjoy being asked about Malaysia when I am abroad. But not now.

    2. The foreigners and Malaysians living abroad ask, “What is happening
    to Malaysia?”

    3. “It seems to be like one of those African or Arab countries.”

    4. “It is totally corrupt. The currency has depreciated”.


    5. I cannot answer truthfully. I cannot lie either. It is embarrassing. And all this is because of the 1MDB and Najib.

    6. I began to feel there was something wrong with the 1MDB when The Edge published that it had bought power plants above market price and borrowed money paying commissions of 10% and interest rate of 5.9%.

    7. I waited for the Government to deny that what was published by The Edge was correct. The Government did not. Then I know there was something very wrong.

    8. Subsequently came the stories about a JV with Petrosaudi. It was too quick. Obviously no due diligence was done. Yet 1MDB paid 1 billion U.S. (3.8billion Ringgit) for its 40% share.

    9. Then 1MDB paid another US 700 million to settle debts incurred by Petro-Saudi to Petro Saudi International. Why should 1MDB pay. The JV should pay.

    10. But within 6 months of setting up the JV, it was dissolved. Had a good due diligence been done, this JV would not have been set up. Clearly it was not a viable proposition!

    11. The 1.7 billion US should now be returned to 1MDB. But No! It was converted into a loan (Murabahah) to Petrosaudi. This is extremely unusual. If you could not work with Petrosaudi as a JV partner how could you give it such a huge loan.

    12. Then the money seems to have disappeared. It was previously reported to be deposited in banks in Hong Kong and Seychelles, invested in something or other and was supposed to end up in the Cayman Islands.

    13. Concerned Malaysians demanded that the money be returned to Malaysia. An announcement was made that a portion had been returned to Malaysia but was used to pay debts and other expenses. Malaysia wanted more information especially as a 2 billion Ringgit interest on loans could not be paid. 1MDB just had no money. So where is the money from the Caymans. Why should Ananda Krishnan offer 2 billion Ringgit to help pay the interest. Government had to provide a stand-by loan of RM900 million.

    14. Things did not look right. Then 1MDB announced that the rest of the money from Cayman Islands had been received in cash. Arul, the CEO, claimed he saw the money. The PM said the money was deposited in a Singapore Bank. It was not brought back to Malaysia because Bank Negara would ask too many questions.

    15. That seems to be an admission that something was not right with the money.

    16. But Singapore is a financial centre. As such it must be even more careful that money brought in and deposited in its banks should be investigated, especially if the sum is large, running into billions.

    17. And sure enough the Monetary Authority of Singapore stated publicly that no 1MDB Malaysian money came into the country. The Swiss Bank which was named as the bank where the money was deposited denied 1MDB had deposited money with it.

    18. So where were the billions of Ringgits or Dollars that 1MDB claimed it had brought back from the Caymans. Arul Kandasamy had openly claimed he saw the money.

    19. Now the PM declared that it was not money. It was units. The bank where it was deposited was not named.

    20. What units were these. Not units in Unit Trust Funds certainly. No explanation is forth coming. The billions of dollars have again disappeared.

    21. Then the Wall Street Journal reported that Dato Sri Najib has USD700 million in his account in the Arab Malaysian Bank in Kuala Lumpur. That is about 2.6 billion Ringgit. How did this huge sum of money get into Najib’s Private Account. Where did the money come from!! How can the PM of Malaysia whose pay is only RM20,000 per month have so much money in his private account?

    22. Unable to deny the Wall Street Journal report which included the account number and other details, Najib claimed that it was a donation.

    23. Who in the world would donate USD700 million to the Malaysian Prime Minister? Even Obama could not raise this amount for his Presidential bid. It was suggested it was an Arab.

    24. Arabs are generous, but not that generous. I could not raise even a single dollar from them for the Malaysian International Islamic University or for the Oxford Islamic Centre. This claim that Arabs donated billions is what people describe as hogwash or bullshit. Certainly I don’t believe it and neither can the majority of Malaysians if we go by the comments on the social media. The world had a good laugh.

    25. When asked, the PM said wait for the report on 1MDB by the Auditor–General and the Public Accounts Committee.

    26. To the UMNO divisional leaders and assorted bedfellows the PM in close-door meetings, claimed the billions were for the elections.

    27. The 2 billion Ringgit plus for elections is absurd. I needed less than 10 million for each of the five elections I presided over and I won them all with more than 2/3 majority. Why do you need 2.6 billion plus or 2600 million Ringgit. Is it to bribe politicians and civil servants, or to rig the elections. That would not be right , much less legal.

    28. Whatever, to me 2 billion plus for elections in Malaysia by any party is wrong even if no limit is put on election expenses.

    29. Then there is this lavish life-style which no Malaysian Prime Minister would be able to afford on the RM20,000 per month he receives. Engagement and weddings lavishness far surpassed those of the Rulers even. Several ceremonies were held in Malaysia and also in Kazakhstan. Guests were loaded with gifts from the host. Clearly millions, tens of millions were spent, far beyond what a Malaysian PM can afford.

    30. Then there is the son’s investment of hundreds of millions in producing the film The Wolf of Wall Street. It is so pornographic that it cannot be shown in Malaysia. Where did the money come from!

    31. The shopping in London, Paris and elsewhere is known to be enormous.

    32. Clearly the PM and his wife have more money than the salaries and allowances paid to the PM.

    33. After the Wall Street Journal reported on Najib’s 2.6 billion Ringgit in his private account, it was closed. You cannot take all that money to keep with you. It had to be transferred. Apparently it was transferred to a Singapore bank. Then the Singapore authorities froze it.

    34. Public clamour about the origin of the money in Najib’s account was so loud that a task force comprising the head of four government institutions was set up. The Attorney General headed this task force and the members were the IGP, the Head of Bank Negara and the Head of MACC, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

    35. Najib was clearly uncomfortable with the investigations carried out by the task force. The members seemed to be too independent. Najib could not control them. The task force was apparently determined to seek the truth about the 1MDB and the 2.6 billion Ringgit in Najib’s account. Najib’s claim that it was a donation was not convincing.

    36. Then Najib decided to take action to stop all the investigations on 1MDB and his private account.

    37. First he announced that people should stop talking about 1MDB. It was not just a hint but an open statement that such talk would be regarded as undermining democracy and an attempt to overthrow an elected leader. This would attract police attention and investigation.

    38. Immediately following that the A.G. was sacked. In Malaysia’s legal system the A.G. determines whether a case would be heard in a court or not. The A.G. who seemed to be heading the task force would be in a position to take to the courts if there was evidence of criminality in Najib’s possession of the billions in his account.

    39. The A.G’s removal means that he could no longer make any decision over the unprecedented wealth of Najib. A judge was made A.G. and clearly he is not interested in the task force and its investigations. He seemed determined to clear Najib.

    40. Then the DPM was dismissed and replaced by the Minister of Home Affairs who unlike Muhyiddin, had never questioned Najib about 1MDB.

    41. In the cabinet reshuffle four members of the Public Accounts Committee including its chairman were made deputy ministers. Effectively, the PAC was paralysed and the work of investigating 1MDB stopped.


    42. Then the chief and deputy chief of MACC, a member of the task force of four were asked to go on leave. When some members of the staff of MACC continued their investigations and wanted to query Najib on the source of the money in his account, they were harassed by the police who accused them of leaking information. Then they were transferred to the PM’s department. That shut them up.

    43. The Governor of the Central Bank, a member of the four-strong Task Force is now rumoured to be investigated for corruption.

    44. With the PAC, and the Task Force paralysed and the A.G. sacked, investigation work on the 1MDB and the 2.6 billion in Najib’s private account grounds to a complete halt.

    45. Najib is now safe from being charged with illegally amassing funds. His claim that it is to be used for the coming elections is half-true. He had always said that cash is king. With the huge funds at his disposal he would be in a position to bribe his way to victory. He may also use the money to rig the election.

    46. What Najib is doing is unprecedented in Malaysia. The people are at a loss as to what to do. The prospect of Najib continuing to rule this country is utterly depressing. The Malaysia where elections can even see opposition parties winning whole states will be no more.

    47. Democracy is dead. It is dead because an elected leader chooses to subvert the institutions of Government and make them his instruments for sustaining himself. There is no more democracy for anyone to undermine. Certainly talking about 1MDB will not undermine something that no longer exist. If anyone should be questioned by the police, it is Najib.


    VERSI BM:
    MALAYSIA

    1. Saya selalu berasa gembira apabila ditanya mengenai Malaysia semasa saya berada di luar negera. Tetapi bukan lagi sekarang.

    2. Warga asing dan rakyat Malaysia yang tinggal di luar negara bertanya, “Apa yang berlaku kepada Malaysia? ”

    3. “Ia seolah-olah telah menjadi seperti salah satu daripada negara-negara Afrika atau Arab.”

    4. “Ia benar-benar korup. Nilai wangnya telah susut”, dan lain-lain lagi.

    5. Saya tidak dapat menjawab dengan sebenarnya. Saya juga tidak boleh berbohong. Ini adalah memalukan. Dan semua ini adalah kerana 1MDB dan Najib.

    6. Saya mula merasai ada sesuatu yang tidak betul dengan 1MDB ketika The Edge terbitkan bahawa ia telah membeli loji-loji jana kuasa dengan harta atas paras harga pasaran dan meminjam wang dengan membayar komisen sebanyak 10% dan kadar faedah sebanyak 5.9%.

    7. Saya menunggu Kerajaan untuk menafikan bahawa apa yang disiarkan oleh The Edge itu betul. Kerajaan tidak. Ketika itu saya tahu bahawa ada sesuatu yang tidak betul.

    8. Kemudiannya timbul pula cerita tentang JV dengan PetroSaudi. Ianya terlalu pantas. Jelas ketelitian sewajarnya (due diligence) tidak dilakukan. Namun 1MDB membayar 1 billion Dollar Amerika Syarikat (3.8 billion Ringgit) bagi saham 40% itu.

    9. Kemudiannya 1MDB membayar sejumlah AS 700 juta lagi untuk menyelesaikan hutang yang ditanggung oleh Petro-Arab kepada Petro Saudi International. Mengapa harus 1MDB membayarnya. JV yang patut membayarnya.

    10. Tetapi dalam jangka masa 6 bulan ditubuhkan usaha sama itu, ia telah dibubarkan. Jika sekiranya suatu ketelitian sewajar yang baik telah dilakukan, JV ini tidak akan diwujudkan. Jelas sekali ia bukan suatu cadangan yang berdaya maju!

    11. 1.7 bilion AS kini patut dikembalikan kepada 1MDB. Tetapi Tidak! Ianya telah ditukar kepada pinjaman (Murabahah) kepada PetroSaudi. Ini adalah amat luar biasa. Jika anda tidak boleh bekerja dengan PetroSaudi sebagai rakan JV bagaimana pula anda boleh memberinya satu pinjaman yang begitu besar.

    12. Selepas itu wang ini nampaknya telah lesap. Sebelum ini dilaporkan ianya disimpan di bank-bank di Hong Kong dan Seychelles, dilabur dalam sesuatu atau lain-lainnya dan sepatut kesudahannya di Kepulauan Cayman.

    13. Rakyat Malaysia yang prihatin menuntut supaya wang itu dikembalikan ke Malaysia. Satu pengumuman telah dibuat bahawa sebahagiannya telah dikembalikan ke Malaysia tetapi telah digunakan untuk membayar hutang dan perbelanjaan lain. Malaysia mahu maklumat lanjut terutama sekali apabila faedah RM2 billion atas pinjaman tidak dapat dibayar. 1MDB memang tidak mempunyai wang. Jadi dimanakah wang dari Caymans itu. Mengapa Ananda Krishnan harus menawarkan RM2 billion untuk membantu bayar faedah. Kerajaan terpaksa mengadakan pinjaman stand-by sebanyak RM900 juta.

    14. Hal tidak kelihatan betul. Kemudian 1MDB mengumumkan bahawa keseluruhan baki daripada wang dari Kepulauan Cayman telah diterima dalam bentuk wang tunai. Arul, Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif, mendakwa dia melihat wang itu. PM berkata wang itu yang disimpan di suatu bank Singapura. Ia tidak dibawa balik ke Malaysia kerana Bank Negara akan bertanya terlalu banyak soalan.

    15. Itu semacam satu pengakuan bahawa ada sesuatu yang tidak kena dengan wang itu.

    16. Tetapi Singapura ialah pusat kewangan. Oleh itu pasti ia lebih berhati-hati agar wang yang dibawa dan disimpan di bank-banknya disiasat, terutamanya jika melibatkan jumlah wang yang besar, berjumlah berbilion-bilion.

    17. Dan sebagai dijangka Pihak Berkuasa Kewangan Singapura dengan terbuka menyatakan bahawa tidak ada 1MDB wang Malaysia masuk ke negara itu. Swiss Bank yang dinamakan sebagai bank di mana wang itu didepositkan menafikan 1MDB telah mendepositkan wang dengannya.

    18. Jadi di mana adanya berbilion-bilion Ringgit atau Dolar yang 1MDB mendakwa ia telah membawa kembali dari Caymans. Arul Kandasamy dengan secara terbuka mendakwa dia melihat wang itu.

    19. Kini PM mengisytiharkan bahawa ia bukan wang. Ia adalah unit. Bank di mana unit ini disimpan tidak dinamakan.

    20. Unit apakah ini? Sudah pasti bukan unit dalam Unit Dana Amanah. Tiada penjelasan dikemukakan. Sekali lagi berbillion-bilion dolar lesap.

    21. Kemudian Wall Street Journal melaporkan bahawa Dato Sri Najib mempunyai USD700 juta di dalam akaunnya di Arab Bank Malaysia di Kuala Lumpur. Itu kira-kira 2.6 bilion Ringgit. Bagaimanakah wang sejumlah besar ini masuk ke dalam Akaun Peribadi Najib. Dari mana wang ini datang !! Bagaimana boleh PM Malaysia yang gajinya hanya RM20,000 sebulan mempunyai begitu banyak wang di dalam akaun peribadinya?

    22. Tidak dapat menafikan laporan Wall Street Journal yang mengandungi juga nombor akaun dan butiran-butiran lain, Najib mendakwa ia adalah sumbangan.

    23. Siapa di dunia akan mendermakan USD700 juta kepada Perdana Menteri Malaysia? Obama sendiri pun tidak dapat mengumpul wang sejumlah ini untuk kempen menjadi presidennya. Telah dinyatakan bahawa penderma itu adalah seorang Arab.

    24. Arab adalah murah hati, tetapi tidak semurah hati sebegini. Saya tidak dapat mengutip sedolar pun daripada mereka untuk Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia atau untuk Pusat Islam Oxford. Dakwaan bahawa orang-orang Arab menderma berbilion boleh disifat sebagai sangat mengarut (hogwash and bullshit). Sudah semestinya saya tidak mempercayainya dan juga majoriti rakyat Malaysia, jika dilihat dari komen-komen dalam media sosial. Dunia ketawa kuat.

    25. Apabila ditanya, PM berkata tunggulah laporan mengenai 1MDB oleh Ketua Audit Negara dan Jawatankuasa Kira-Kira Awam.

    26. Kepada pemimpin bahagian UMNO dan pelbagai kuncu-kuncu, PM, dalam mesyuarat tertutup, mendakwa berbilion-bilion ini adalah untuk pilihan raya.

    27. RM2 bilion untuk pilihan raya adalah tidak munasabah. Saya memerlukan kurang daripada 10 juta untuk setiap satu daripada lima pilihan raya yang saya mempengerusikan dan saya memenangi semua dengan lebih daripada 2/3 majoriti. Mengapa anda perlu 2.6 bilion lebih atau 2600 juta Ringgit. Adakah ia untuk merasuah ahli-ahli politik dan kakitangan awam, atau untuk memanupulasi pilihan raya. Ini tidak betul, apatah lagi dari segi undang-undang.

    28. Apa pun, bagi saya 2 bilion lebih untuk pilihan raya di Malaysia oleh mana-mana pihak adalah salah walaupun tiada had diletakkan ke atas perbelanjaan pilihan raya.

    29. Kemudiannya, terdapat gaya hidup mewah yang tidak ada Perdana Menteri Malaysia mampu dengan RM20,000 yang diterima setiap bulan. Kemewahan pertunangan dan perkahwinan jauh melebihi Raja-Raja. Beberapa majlis telah diadakan di Malaysia dan juga di Kazakhstan. Para tetamu dimuatkan dengan hadiah dari tuan rumah. Jelas berjuta-juta, berpuluh juta telah dibelanjakan, lebih daripada apa yang PM Malaysia mampu.

    30. Kemudiannya, terdapat pelaburan anak yang beratus-ratus juta dalam menghasilkan filem The Wolf of Wall Street. Ianya begitu lucah sehingga tidak boleh ditayangkan di Malaysia. Dari mana wang itu datang !

    31. Membeli-belah di London, Paris dan di tempat-tempat lain diketahui sebagai sangat besar.

    32. Sangat jelas PM dan isteri mempunyai lebih banyak wang daripada gaji dan elaun yang dibayar kepada PM.

    33. Selepas Wall Street Journal melaporkan 2.6 bilion Ringgit kepunyaan Najib di dalam akaun peribadinya, ia ditutup. Anda tidak boleh mengambil semua wang itu untuk disimpan dengan anda. Ia perlu dipindahkan. Rupa-rupanya ia telah dipindahkan ke bank di Singapura. Kemudian pihak berkuasa Singapura membekunya.

    34. Suara desakan ramai tentang asal-usul wang dalam akaun Najib adalah begitu kuat sehingga satu pasukan petugas yang terdiri daripada ketua empat institusi Kerajaan telah ditubuhkan. Peguam Negara mengetuai pasukan petugas ini dan ahli-ahlinya ialah Ketua Polis Negara, Ketua Bank Negara dan Ketua SPRM, Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia.

    35. Najib jelas tidak selesa dengan siasatan yang dijalankan oleh pasukan petugas. Ahli-ahli nampaknya terlalu bebas. Najib tidak boleh mengawal mereka. Pasukan petugas nampaknya bertekad untuk mencari kebenaran tentang 1MDB dan 2.6 bilion ringgit dalam akaun Najib. Dakwaan Najib bahawa ia adalah derma tidak meyakinkan.

    36. Najib kemudian memutus untuk mengambil tindakan menghentikan semua siasatan ke atas 1MDB dan akaun peribadinya.

    37. Pertama, beliau mengumumkan bahawa rakyat harus berhenti bercakap mengenai 1MDB. Ia bukan hanya satu bayangan tetapi kenyataan terbuka bahawa percakapan mengenainya akan dianggap sebagai usaha melemahkan demokrasi dan satu percubaan untuk menggulingkan seorang pemimpin yang dipilih. Ini akan menarik perhatian polis dan penyiasatan.

    38. Selepas ini sahaja Peguam Negara dipecat. Dalam sistem undang-undang Malaysia Peguam Negara menentukan sama ada sesuatu kes itu akan didengar di mahkamah atau tidak. Peguam Negara, yang kelihatan menarajui pasukan petugas itu, berada dalam kedudukan untuk membawa ke mahkamah jika terdapat bukti jenayah dalam Najib memiliki berbilion-bilion dalam akaunnya.

    39. Penyingkiran Peguam Negara bermakna bahawa dia tidak lagi boleh membuat apa-apa keputusan atas kekayaan Najib yang luar kebiasaan ini. Seorang hakim telah lantik Peguam Negara dan jelas dia tidak berminat dengan pasukan petugas dan siasatannya. Beliau nampaknya lebih berazam untuk membersihkan Najib.

    40. Kemudian TPM telah disingkir dan digantikan oleh Menteri Dalam Negeri yang, tidak seperti Muhyiddin, tidak pernah mempersoalkan Najib mengenai 1MDB.

    41. Dalam rombakan kabinet empat anggota Jawatankuasa Kira-Kira Awam termasuk pengerusinya dilantik timbalan menteri. Pada hakikatnya, Jawatankuasa Kira-Kira Awam telah lumpuh dan kerja-kerja menyiasat 1MDB dihentikan.

    42. Kemudian ketua dan timbalan ketua SPRM, seorang ahli pasukan daripada empat ahli pasukan petugas diminta pergi bercuti. Apabila beberapa anggota kakitangan SPRM meneruskan siasatan mereka dan mahu menyoal Najib mengenai sumber wang dalam akaunnya mereka telah diganggu oleh pihak polis yang menuduh mereka bocor maklumat. Kemudian mereka telah dipindahkan kepada Jabatan Perdana Menteri. Itu menutup mulut mereka.

    43. Gabenor Bank Negara, seorang ahli Empat-Petugas kini dikhabarkan akan disiasat kerana rasuah.

    44. Dengan Jawatankuasa Kira-Kira Awam dan Pasukan Petugas lumpuh dan Peguam Negara dipecat, kerja siasatan ke atas 1MDB dan 2.6 bilion dalam akaun peribadi Najib terhenti sama sekali.

    45. Najib kini selamat daripada tuduhan mengumpul dana secara haram. Dakwaannya bahawa ia adalah untuk digunakan untuk pilihan raya akan datang adalah separuh benar. Dia selalu berkata bahawa wang tunai adalah raja. Dengan dana yang besar dalam kawalannya, dia berada dalam kedudukan untuk memberi rasuah untuk mencapai kemenangan. Beliau juga boleh menggunakan wang itu untuk manipulasi pilihan raya.

    46. ​​Apa yang Najib lakukan adalah belum pernah terjadi sebelum ini (unprecedented) di Malaysia. Orang ramai buntu tentang apa yang perlu dilakukan. Prospek Najib terus memerintah negara ini adalah benar-benar menyedihkan. Malaysia, di mana pilihan raya boleh juga melihat parti-parti pembangkang memenangi negeri-negeri seluruhnya itu tidak ada lagi.

    47. Demokrasi sudah mati. Ia mati kerana seorang pemimpin yang dipilih memilih untuk subvert institusi-institusi Kerajaan dan menjadikan mereka alat bagi mengekalkan dirinya. Tidak ada lagi demokrasi untuk sesiapa melemahkan. Sudah tentu bercakap tentang 1MDB tidak akan menjejaskan sesuatu yang tidak lagi wujud. Jika sesiapa perlu dipersoalkan oleh pihak polis, ia adalah Najib.

    py

  8. #288
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    13,391
    Wednesday, August 12, 2015

    The Dismissal of the Attorney General – negotiating the Constitutional minefield





    The dismissal of the Attorney General by the Prime Minister recently raises serious Constitutional issues affecting the legality and hence, validity, of the dismissal.


    Not much detail is known publicly on how the dismissal was orchestrated and effected.


    However, from various reports, we know that on the 28th July 2015, the Attorney General was relieved of his office with effect from the 27th July 2015. The Attorney General reportedly said that he did not know of the dismissal until he was informed of it on the 28th. He refused further comment and has since then remained silent.


    Let us now visit the relevant Constitutional provisions affecting the office of the Attorney General.



    Who appoints the Attorney General?


    Article 145 (1) provides that the King shall appoint the Attorney General. In appointing him, the King acts on the advice of the Prime Minister. In this respect the King does not have any discretion but to follow the advice of the Prime Minister.


    Upon his appointment, the Attorney General holds office “during the pleasure of” the King. This is provided by article 145 (5).


    During the pleasure of the King – the meaning


    Holding office during the pleasure of the Crown is a Common Law rule. It is the prerogative of the Crown where all servants of the Crown will hold office during the pleasure of the Crown. They can therefore be dismissed at will by the Crown. This is otherwise known as “at pleasure doctrine”.


    Upon the advent of the British colonialism, this concept found its way into the Constitution of many Commonwealth countries. In India, for example, members of certain services, including the Governors and the Attorney General, hold office during the pleasure of the President.
    Although the doctrine sounds as if the King or President, as the case may be, holds an absolute power to hire and fire, the Constitutional make up does not, in reality, afford the King or the President such absolute power.


    In India, for example, article 74 of the Constitution provides that the President, being only a nominal head, must always act in accordance with the “aid and advice” of the Council of Ministers.


    In addition, case laws in India, such as B.P. Singhal v. Union of India & Another Writ Petition (Civil) No. 296 of 2004 established that the doctrine in its absolute unrestricted application does not exist in India. That decision put paid to the theory that the doctrine grants unfettered discretion to act arbitrarily or whimsically to the President.


    It is further said that while the doctrine enables the removal of a servant at the pleasure of the appointing authority, even summarily and without notice, such removal can only be good for valid reason(s).


    In Canada for example, in the case of Wells v. Newfoundland 1999 (177) DL (4th) 73(SCC), the Court held that the “at pleasure” doctrine is no longer justifiable in the context of modern employment concept.


    In Malaysia, within the Constitutional framework of the country, it therefore remains to be seen whether Article 145 (1) would be interpreted by our Courts in a way that gives an unfettered discretion to the King to dismiss the Attorney General at will and without valid reason.


    The argument that such unfettered discretion does not exist, considering the Constitution being modelled after the concept of democracy governed by rule of law, would however be difficult to resist. Any pronouncement that the discretion to dismiss the Attorney General based on “at pleasure” doctrine is unfettered and absolute would make a mockery of the doctrine of separation of powers and open the provision to abuse and misuse.



    How does the King exercise his powers?


    This is not the first time this question has arisen. During the Perak power snatch, questions also arose as to how the Sultan exercised his powers under the State Constitution.


    We have to go back to the basic.


    The King in Malaysia is a Constitutional Monarch. That means his powers, duties and functions are specified and defined by the Federal Constitution. He must therefore only acts in accordance with the Constitution.


    There are generally two types of powers that the King is possessed of in the Constitution. Firstly, the discretionary powers. These are the powers that the King may exercise on his own and without the advice of any party. There are only three discretionary powers that the King has:


    i) The power to appoint the Prime Minister;






    ii) The power to withhold his consent to a request for the dissolution of parliament;






    iii) The power to requisition a meeting of the Conference of Rulers concerned solely with the privileges, position, honours and dignities of their Royal highnesses, and any action at such a meeting.








    Secondly, the non-discretionary powers. These are the powers that the King may only exercise on advice.



    The power to dismiss the Attorney General


    As stated above, the King appoints the Attorney General on the advice of the Prime Minister. The Attorney General than holds office during his pleasure. The King may therefore dismiss the Attorney General (it is arguable that he can only do so for valid reasons).


    The question than is – how does the King dismiss the Attorney General? Can he do it on his own and without advice? If not, whose advice must he follow?


    The power to dismiss the Attorney General is not a discretionary power. The King must therefore act only on advice.


    Article 40 (1) is relevant in this respect. Essentially, this article provides that, whenever the Constitution does not expressly provide otherwise, the King shall only act:


    i) on the advice of the Cabinet; or,






    ii) on the advice of a Minister acting under the general authority of the Cabinet.






    In taking the advice, the King is also entitled to any information concerning the government which is available to the Cabinet.


    As there is no express provision that says otherwise in the Constitution, it is clear that the in dismissing the Attorney General, the King must only act on the advice of the cabinet or a Minister acting under the general authority of the Cabinet.


    Was there a cabinet meeting?


    An important question than arises.


    Did the cabinet meet and make a collective decision to dismiss the Attorney General? If so, when? Who attended? Were the reasons for the dismissal proffered, discussed and deliberated upon?


    In other words, was there a meeting of the cabinet convened to discuss the dismissal of the Attorney General and a resolution for his dismissal duly passed at that meeting?


    If there was no such meeting, the next question would be was there a Minister (the Prime Minister included) who was acting under the general authority of the cabinet who advised the King to dismiss the Attorney General? By convention, we can assume that the Prime Minister is the Minister who has the general authority of the cabinet.


    However, is that really the case?


    Even if the Prime Minister was the Minister who was under the general authority of the Cabinet to advise the King, two more important questions arise.


    Firstly, can a Minister (or the Prime Minister) acting under a general authority of the cabinet act on his own and without consulting or at least, informing the cabinet, in advising the King to dismiss the Attorney General?


    In this respect, it must be noted that under article 40 (1) cited above, the first option is for the cabinet to advise the King. For the cabinet to than properly and legally advise the King, the cabinet would have to meet and deliberate upon the matter and after addressing its collective mind to the issue at hand, the cabinet would then have to resolve to undertake such act.


    Surely then, the Minister acting under the general authority of the cabinet would have to at least inform the cabinet of his or her decision to advise the King in any matter, more so, when the matter involves the removal from office of a person occupying a Constitutional position, such as the Attorney General.


    Was the Prime Minister in a position of conflict?


    Assuming the Prime Minister was acting under the general authority of the cabinet while advising the King to dismiss the Attorney General, another question arises.


    This goes to the propriety of the advice and hence, its validity.


    The question is – was the Prime Minister in a position of conflict to advise the King on the dismissal of the Attorney General?


    It is common knowledge that the former Attorney General had established a special taskforce consisting of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency; the police and the Bank Negara to investigate into allegations of wrongdoings in 1MDB and SRC. In fact, he was the head of that special taskforce.


    That investigation was to look into any wrongdoings in 1MDB and SRC. In the weeks preceding the investigation, we know that there were expose by the Wall Street Journal and other publications about the sum of USD 681 million being transferred into bank accounts believed to be the Prime Minister’s account. (The Prime Minister has since admitted that there were “political donations” in his account.)


    It is without doubt that the Honourable Prime Minister may be implicated in the investigations by the said special taskforce. Being so, it is respectfully submitted that the Prime Minister was in a position of conflict or potential conflict. That conflict of interest would surely, under the law, disqualify him from advising the King to dismiss the Attorney General.


    In those circumstances, the Prime Minister ought to have relinquished his power to advise the King. Arguably, the proper person to advise the King would then be the Deputy Prime Minister. This could be formalised by a cabinet resolution giving the Deputy Prime Minister authority to do so.


    More so in a case where no acceptable reason was given for the dismissal. In this respect, it is noted that the official reason was one of health. Apparently the former Attorney General has health problems. However, it is a known fact among the legal circle that the former Attorney General has had the health problems for some time and he did not find the necessity to resign from the problems. In any event, his term would lapse in the month of October this year.


    The Prime Minister’s failure to disqualify himself from advising the King due to his conflict of interest renders his advice invalid and unconstitutional. The King had in fact and in law acted on a non-advice.



    Conclusion


    There is quite obviously a strong arguable case that the dismissal of the Attorney General was unconstitutional. Added to the issues here are also the issues raised by the President of the Bar Council on July 28th this year.


    The general public is of course not appraised of all the facts leading to the dismissal of the Attorney General. Utmost in the mind of the general populace is whether there were valid reasons for the dismissal and whether the dismissal was done in a proper manner.


    Of course, had there been a cabinet decision on the matter, the chorus of objection and ridicule would be less strident.


    Even then questions would still remain on whether the dismissal was politically motivated or worse still, whether it was a part of a series of acts that were designed to stultify investigations into alleged wrongdoings.


    The people cannot be blamed for speculating.


    Especially in a climate where transparency is at a premium.
    py

  9. #289
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    Oct 2008
    Posts
    13,391
    Malaysia’s Mahathir & Razaleigh Teaming Up to Sink Najib

    Posted on August 12, 2015By John BertthelsenBlog, Headline, Malaysia, Politics
    Once-bitter rivals seek nonpartisan unity government as a way out of crisis







    Malaysia’s deteriorating political situation has driven two once-implacable foes – former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and his onetime rival for UMNO party leadership Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah – together to try to form a unity government to remove current Prime Minister Najib Razak.

    “There is a leadership crisis in Malaysia and the consensus is that only one candidate can end it,” said a longtime friend of Razaleigh who played a role in setting up a meeting between the two figures. “That is Ku Li [Razaleigh’s nickname], the only solution. The question is how to put together the mechanics of how it is to be done.”


    Sources in Kuala Lumpur say Najib has dug in his heels and refuses to entertain the idea of stepping down voluntarily. It is believed he has threatened to bring down other politicians and officials with him if he is forced out.


    Friends and associates of Razaleigh have been trying for weeks to persuade him to join the effort to oust Najib. But the fact that the former enemies within the United Malays National Organization would seek common cause is an indication of how deep Malaysia’s political and economic crisis has become.


    Mahathir and Razaleigh met Tuesday, August 11, the source said, adding that the biggest hurdle with be forcing a vote of no-confidence in the parliament.


    The two believe they would have unanimous support from the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition, which holds 89 of the 222 parliamentary seats although some Parti Islam se-Malaysia votes would be questionable after the fundamentalist Islamic party split earlier this year. Attempts to reach Pakatan officials were unsuccessful.



    Parliamentary dysfunction


    The ruling Barisan Nasional holds 132 seats, but UMNO has only 88 of them. A general election is not due until April 2018 – unless events overtake Najib’s defenses.


    “The parliament is dysfunctional in that the speaker [Pandikar Amin Mulia] is not a democratic speaker,” said the source, a constitutional lawyer. “He controls parliament on behalf of the ruling coalition instead of being a neutral speaker. He won’t allow a vote of confidence on an incumbent prime minister who has lost the confidence of the people.”


    However, with rank-and-file sentiment growing restive in the face of a financial scandal linking Najib to irregularities in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad investment fund, some of the component parties in the BN could be open to changing horses. The Malaysian Chinese Association, for instance, has grown disenchanted with UMNO’s increasing embrace of fundamentalist Islamic views and Malay-first rhetoric. Christian parties in East Malaysia could also be up for grabs.


    How much real clout the two elderly politicians have is unknown. Although Razaleigh, 78, has retained his seat in parliament, he has been out of a leadership position since 1987, when he challenged Mahathir for the premiership and lost in a battle that split UMNO and guaranteed their enmity. Mahathir, 90, remains a more potent force, but he has been attempting to bring down Najib for more than a year, largely without traction.



    Declining
    fortunes


    However, the economic situation may play as much of a role as politics in forcing the issue. Global Risk Insights, the international risk rating agency, warned on August 12 that the 1MDB scandal has “shattered business confidence in Malaysia” and that the government has been distracted as a result from dealing with economic issues like the impact of falling global oil prices on oil-dependent Malaysia’s government debt. Household debt is climbing.


    The ringgit, having fallen through the psychologically important RM4:US$1 barrier, is one of the globe’s worst performing currencies. The raid on the currency from global traders appears to be picking up speed, with the ringgit weakening to RM4.25 to the US dollar before the central bank used enough reserves to drive it back down to RM4:03. Banks have begun to limit retail withdrawals to RM3,000 and currency traders say there is a shortage of foreign currencies as people seek safer havens in the dollar.


    In the meantime, Najib may be losing his grip on UMNO. He still has the loyalty of a large number of the 191 divisional cadres, mostly through vast payments that provide them with electoral resources and jobs between elections, but the grass roots are another matter.


    An extraordinary video went viral earlier this week, for example, of a young woman going postal on Najib during an UMNO women’s wing gathering in Langkawi, accusing Najib in a screeching voice of having “urinated on the 3 million UMNO members. He needs to be sent for medical treatment.” The video has been seen by hundreds of thousands of people.


    Sleazy trail


    Bersih, the reform NGO, has ordered what it hopes will be a massive rally for August 29. Mahathir is urging people to attend and has suggested they bring water bottles to mop up the tear gas. The police have threatened to block the rally.


    The focal point of the whole mess is 1MDB, which was set up as a state-backed investment fund in 2009 with the advice of Jho Taek Low, the young Penang-born tycoon and friend of the Najib family. In the intervening years, the fund, as a result of what appears to be extraordinarily bad management, has run up debts that by some estimates have reached RM50 billion, an unknown amount of that unfunded.


    In early July, the Sarawak Report and the Wall Street Journal reported that US$680 million was transferred from unknown sources through a complex web of transactions to Najib’s personal bank account at AmBank in Kuala Lumpur prior to the 2013 general election. Sarawak Report has released graphic details on the flow of millions of ringgit through banks, companies and government agencies linked to 1MDB into accounts held by Jho Low, as he is known, and other accounts.


    Najib has said the money was not for his personal use, leaving others to hint that it came from Middle Eastern sources to be used in the 2013 election. But sources have told Asia Sentinel that at least RM1billion flowed out from Najib’s accounts overseas. Neither the source of the money nor its final destination is clear. Certainly, given the relatively small amounts needed to fund electoral races in Malaysia, it would seem impossible to spend such a huge amount


    On his blog, Che Det, Mahathir ridiculed the idea that the money came from unknown Arab sources, saying “his claim that Arabs donated billions is what people describe as hogwash or bullshit. Certainly I don’t believe it and neither can the majority of Malaysians if we go by the comments on the social media. The world had a good laugh.”
    py

  10. #290
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    Oct 2008
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    13,391
    Malaysia’s Ringgit in a Tailspin

    Currency falls more than 3% Friday to a fresh 17-year low


    ENLARGE




    By ANJANI TRIVEDI and
    EWEN CHEW

    Aug. 14, 2015 2:27 a.m. ET
    Malaysia’s ringgit suffered its largest one-day loss in almost two decades, with investors pulling cash out of stocks and bonds, as the nation’s list of challenges appears to be getting longer.


    The ringgit shed more than 3% against the U.S. dollar Friday, leading the losses in global currency markets and falling to a fresh 17-year low.


    Malaysia’s benchmark index was down 5.4% for the week, the region’s worst-performing stock market. Yields, which move inversely to prices, on five-year Malaysian government bonds rose 0.20 percentage point this week to their highest level since the global financial crisis.


    Earlier this week, a number of currencies in the region tumbled after China’s surprise move to devalue its currency, which many saw as a threat to its export-dependent neighbors. But the ringgit has a set of issues all its own.



    From South Korea to Malaysia, China’s neighbors have seen their currencies slide since the yuan was devalued. WSJ market reporters Chao Deng and Anjani Trivedi discuss whether these countries should be worried.



    The most immediate challenge is the limited scope of Malaysia’s central bank to step in. For weeks, it tried to stem the currency’s slide, digging into its foreign-exchange reserves to prop up the ringgit and warning banks from aggressively trading against its currency. Now, reserves are dwindling, down more than $19 billion so far this year.


    Malaysia also faces mounting pressure amid an investigation into its debt-saddled state investment fund, 1Malaysia Development Bhd., casting a shadow on the nation’s governance and unnerving investors.


    Like many emerging markets, Malaysia’s woes are exacerbated by falling oil prices and a strong U.S. dollar on the back of potentially higher rates in the U.S. That could lead to further capital flight.


    At a press conference this week, Malaysia’s central bank governor said that foreign-exchange reserves are adequate and that imposition of capital controls to stem outflows is not an option. Analysts note that outflows of Malaysian residents also have picked up.

    ENLARGE
    Malaysia’s ringgit fell to a fresh 17-year low Friday. PHOTO: REUTERS



    Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch now say the central bank may be forced to raise interest rates in Malaysia to help tighten monetary conditions as a last resort.


    Meanwhile, the central bank has said the currency doesn’t reflect the state of the economy.


    To be sure, in the second quarter of this year, gross domestic product growth in Malaysia ticked up at 4.9% year-on-year. While that was better than expected, it was still close to the slowest pace in two years.


    On Friday, traders say the central bank was seen selling U.S. dollars briefly in the onshore market after bouts of frenzied trading activity sent the ringgit as far as 4.15 against the U.S. dollar in early trade. The Malaysian ringgit last traded at 4.05.


    Write to Anjani Trivedi at anjani.trivedi@wsj.com and Ewen Chew atewen.chew@wsj.com



    py

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