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Thread: SPR: WSJ: Najib ued 1MDB'S funds for GE13

   
   
       
  1. #1
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    SPR: WSJ: Najib ued 1MDB'S funds for GE13

    4:15PM Jun 19, 2015
    Malaysiakini
    WSJ: Najib used 1MDB's funds for GE13

    257

    A Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report today claimed that 1MDB's funds were used to bankroll Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's campaign in the 13th general election.


    The report said this was achieved by having 1MDB make overpriced purchase of power assets from Genting Group in 2012.


    Genting then made a donation to a foundation controlled by Najib before the 13th general election and it claimed the funds were used for campaigning.


    "The 1MDB fund in October 2012 acquired a Genting unit that owned a 75 percent stake in a 720-megawatt gas-fired power plant near Kuala Lumpur.


    "The price, which was equivalent to about US$740 million at the time, came to RM2.3 billion.


    "A few months after the sale, a unit of Genting called Genting Plantations Bhd made a donation of about US$10 million to a Najib-linked charity, according to a spokesperson for Genting Plantations," said the report.


    The foundation, WSJ said, was Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia, which lists Najib as chairperson on its website.


    "Though set up to help underprivileged Malaysians through education and sport, this charity soon got involved in spending that appeared designed to help Najib retain power in the May 2013 election," it said.


    1MDB, which has accumulated RM41.8 billion in debt, is owned by the Finance Ministry, a portfolio held by Najib.



    'Spent millions'


    WSJ said 1MDB's purchase of Genting's stake in the power asset was around five times what it was then worth.


    "The price, which was equivalent to about US$740 million at the time, came to RM2.3 billion.


    "Genting later reported it had a 1.9 billion ringgit extraordinary gain on this sale, implying a value for its stake in the power plant of just 400 million ringgit - or less than one-fifth what 1MDB paid for it.


    "In a second sign that 1MDB paid a high price, the fund’s financial statement for the fiscal year ended in March 2013 said the power unit’s property, plant and equipment were worth a little under RM500 million at the time of acquisition," it said.



    WSJ said the "donations" to Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia were then poured into the election campaign in Penang for BN's bid to recapture the state.


    "It and other charities linked to the government spent millions of dollars before the voting in Penang, a northern state that was an important election battleground.


    "Najib visited Penang during the campaign and announced that Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia would donate RM2 million to two local schools.


    "These schools serve Chinese communities that are not a poor demographic but whose support would be crucial to win votes in the area," it said.




    'Goldman pushed to raise money before GE13'


    It said regulators found the charity had failed to file its required financial status since 2013.


    WSJ added that Goldman Sachs, which received a handsome commission for raising US$3 billion (RM11.22 billion) in bonds for 1MDB, was pressed to do so quickly shortly before the general election.


    "Goldman Sachs Group Inc arranged the bond sale and took on extra risk to get the deal done quickly at 1MDB’s request, according to a person familiar with the matter, earning unusually high profits as a result," it said.


    Shortly after the general election, Kinibiz reported that Genting made an unexpected RM190 million in donations, believed to be related to the election.


    "Analysts were puzzled that the Genting group made such a huge donation, and that too spread out over several companies, in just one quarter, significantly impacting its bottom line.


    "They speculated that the so-called donations could be election-related, using charities as fronts. It is normally unthinkable that such large contributions were made to charities, Kinibiz quoted an analyst as saying.


    The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) did not directly address the allegation in the WSJ report.


    “Unfortunately, the prime minister’s political opponents, unwilling to accept his record or the facts, continue to try to undermine him with baseless smears and rumours for pure political gain," the PMO told WSJ.


    WSJ said it was told by 1MDB to refer the matter to Genting. Genting Group declined to comment.


    Malaysiakini has contacted the PMO, 1MDB and Genting Group on the WSJ report and is awaiting their responses.



    py

  2. #2
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    Which animal does our polls body remind you of?

    Rama Ramanathan

    Rama Ramanathan trained to be an engineer, retired as a global quality leader and now works to catalyse change in society. He blogs at write2rest.blogspot.com.

    Published: 2 July 2015


    Last week the Wall Street Journal reported a dramatic story about the use of money from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) to influence the results of Malaysia’s 13thgeneral election. According to the WSJ, key players in the abominable tale include 1MDB, Genting group and a charity whose chairman is our Prime Minister.


    The WSJ, a global opinion-shaper, essentially said companies in the Genting group collaborated with 1MDB in activities designed to unfairly persuade voters to favour Barisan Nasional in GE13: 1MDB, Genting, Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia (YR1M) and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak abused the trust placed in them by shareholders, donors and the public.


    In the language of election offences, Najib was accused of campaign finance misdemeanours. In the language of accounting and ethics, 1MDB and Genting were accused of malappropriation and gratification, while YR1M was accused of engaging in activities beyond its scope.


    Bersih 2.0, Malaysia’s publicly endorsed election watchdog, brought the WSJ report to the attention of the prime minister and asked Najib to either rebut the WSJ article or sue the WSJ. Bersih also called upon the Election Commission to respond to the WSJ report by initiating an investigation.


    Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, the EC chairman, ticked off Bersih. He told Bersih to “collect full and complete evidence and lodge a
    report with the police or the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) so that they [not EC] can investigate.”


    Was the EC chairman’s response to the WSJ and to Bersih appropriate? What does the EC chairman’s response indicate about the EC?


    To answer, we must recall why there’s an EC.


    The EC is a creature formed and imbued with a spirit by the Constitution of Malaysia. The Constitution created the EC as the guardian of democracy in the nation. Article 113 of the Constitution is titled “Conduct of Elections.”


    Article 113 establishes four functions for the EC: (1) conduct elections to the Federal and state legislatures and other elections authorised by Federal or state law; (2) prepare and revise electoral rolls; (3) review the delineation of constituencies at least every eight years and (4) make rules necessary for the purpose of its functions.


    Article 114 requires the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, in consort with the Conference of Rulers, to appoint a chairman, a deputy chairman and five other members; the appointees are required to be persons who will not cause the public to lose confidence in the EC.


    Article 114 also establishes the honour of the EC by stipulating that an election commissioner may only be removed from office “in like manner as a judge of the Federal Court.”


    Article 115 invests the EC with immense power through this simple command: “All public authorities shall on the request of the Commission give the Commission such assistance in the discharge of its duties as may be practicable . . .”


    We may summarise the constitutional specification for the EC by saying that the EC should be diligent, powerful, active and honourable.


    Now that you know the constitutional specifications, consider this: if the framers of the constitution were asked to describe what creature the EC should most resemble, what creature do you think they would choose?


    Now that you know how the EC chairman responded to the WSJ article and Bersih, consider this: what creature’s characteristics did the EC display?


    Next, consider this: on Monday, Bersih 2.0 and the Centre to Combat Cronyism and Corruption (C4) lodged four complaints with the MACC, all based upon the tale reported by the WSJ. Transparency International also urged an investigation.


    Does Bersih 2.0 deserve to be called an election watchdog? Why is it barking at the EC? What does the present EC deserve to be called? – July 2, 2015.


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

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