Friday, October 21, 2016

Budget 2017 proved that the Government is not only running out of cash, but the situation will only deteriorate further, making 2017 possibly one of the worst years for ordinary Malaysians

Federal Government failed to meet 2016 revenue targets

Last year, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak announced in his budget that the Government expected to collect RM225.7 billion of revenue for 2016. However, the 2016 revenue has now been revised to RM212.6 billion based on the latest estimates.  That represents a very substantial 5.8% or RM13.1 billion shortfall for 2016.

To put things into perspective, and to highlight the severity of situation, more often than not in the past, the Government will collect more than they projected. 

The shortfall has in turn caused lower than projected operating and development expenditure.  The Government now estimates 2016 operating expenditure to drop from RM215.2 billion to RM207.1 billion, while development expenditure will drop from RM50 billion to only RM45 billion.

For example, this is the reason why we are seeing a substantial shortfall in health expenditure, resulting in shortages of reagents for conducting critical blood tests as well as increase in cost of medication for the man on the street.

The ability of the Federal Government to allocate the already limited operating expenditure budget is further constricted by Emoluments and Debt Servicing

In fact, it will only get worse in 2017 as the sins of the past catch up with the Government of the day.

The increasing size of the civil service has ensured that the “Emolument” payments for 2016 has increased by RM3.8 billion to RM73.9 billion despite the RM8 billion decline in operating expenses.  For 2017, the Government has further projected that emoluments will increase further by at least RM3.6 billion.  In the meantime, pension contributions, or “Retirement Charges” will also increase substantially from RM19.0 billion in 2016 to RM21.8 billion in 2017.

In addition, the annual “Debt Service Charges” – the instalments and repayments the Government has to pay for loans taken in the past – has increased significantly.  For 2016, it is estimated at RM26.6 billion or a RM2.36 billion hike from 2015.  For the next year in 2017, the amount would further increase to RM28.9 billion.  This is as a result of the Government’s reckless ramping up of Federal Government debt over the past decade on the back of high oil prices.

The twin increases in emoluments & retirement charges and debt service charges in the context of constricted revenue and operating expenditure would only mean less funds for other crucial expenses.

“Subsidies and social assistance” has already been reduced from RM39.7 billion in 2014 to RM27.3 billion (2015) to an estimated RM24.6 billion (2016).  It will be further reduced to RM22.4 billion in 2017.

There will also be less money for medicine supplies, housing, scholarships and other forms of educational support.

Federal Government is overly optimistic on its 2017 revenue projections

Finally, the only reason the Government was still able to project a “moderate” 3% budget deficit for 2017 was by giving an optimistic projection in its tax revenues.  Despite a significant drop in the estimated Petroleum Income Tax (PITA) from RM11.6 billion in 2015 to RM8.5 billion in 2016, the Government is assuming higher oil prices and demand for 2017 to collect RM10.6 billion.

The Government also assumes an increase in Corporate Income Tax (CITA) despite no corresponding assumption in a higher economic growth rate. CITA actually declined marginally in 2016 to RM63.2 billion from RM63.7 billion in 2015.  However in 2017, the Government has inextricably projected that it would receive RM69.2 billion.

Similarly, despite a declining trend of Goods and Services Tax (GST) collection in the recent quarters, the Government is still projecting an increase in collections of GST from RM38.5 billion in 2016 to RM40 billion in 2017.

All the above goes to prove that the Government is running out of cash very quickly and is struggling to balance its revenue and expenses.  The Government’s excesses of the past – including increasing the civil service hires to reduce graduate unemployment, excessive borrowings to finance inefficiency, corruption and wastages have severely constricted the Government’s ability to allocate expenditure today.  

Hence when the overly optimistic projections in government revenue collection fail to materialise, we can expect 2017 to be a very painful year for ordinary Malaysians. 

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Forum & Objection Townhall: Constituency Re-Delineation - How To Steal An Election?

DAP will be organising a Forum cum Objection Townhall on the Election Commission’s proposal to re-delineate the electoral constituencies in Malaysia.

The Objection Townhall will give Malaysians, especially those in the Klang Valley, the opportunity to register our protest by signing the objection forms we have prepared.

We call upon Malaysians to make your voice count as all objections to the EC Re-Delineation Proposal must be submitted by Oct 14.  Hence this event will in all likelihood be the last opportunity for you to state your stand and be part of the process to fight and reject the gerrymandering exercise.

The delineation of constituencies in Malaysia is already skewed.  That’s why in the 13th General Election, BN won only 48% of the votes but secured 60% of the Parliamentary seats.

So now, BN’s ingenious plan is to skew the electoral boundaries even further by shifting pro-BN voters from opposition strongholds into opposition and BN marginal seats.  The proposal by the Election Commission is the worst gerrymandering exercise ever seen in Malaysia’s history.

Malaysians must rise to object against the audacious attempt to now cheat us of our democratic rights to a free and fair election.  We must not let a corrupt government hang on to power via the abuse of power.

The Forum entitled “Constituency Re-Delineation – How to Steal an Election?” will feature distinguished speakers discussing various aspects of the re-delineation exercise.  They include:
  • Tony Pua, MP for Petaling Jaya Utara
  • Rafizi Ramli, MP for Pandan
  • Dr. Mohd. Hatta Ramli, MP for Kuala Krai
  • Maria Chin, Chairperson for Bersih 2.0
  • Dr Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang
  • Wong Chin Huat, Fellow, Penang Institute
  • Michelle Ng, a lawyer who also leads dedicated legal team to assist DAP with re-delineation issues with the Election Commisson

The event will be held at The Club, 1 Club Drive, Bandar Utama on Wednesday, 12 October 2016 at 8pm.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Is Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s strategy to deal with Malaysia’s entrenching reputation as a global kleptocracy to remain silent like a mouse?

Malaysians have been demanding answers from Dato' Seri Najib Razak on the 1MDB-related scandal, that is the RM4 billion SRC International, which is the former subsidiary of 1MDB.  Similar to 1MDB, the money which was borrowed from KWAP has been invested in mysterious and unknown funds overseas.  No one, including anyone from the Ministry of Finance (MOF) knows where the money has disappeared to.

The Prime Minister and the Attorney-General have also stubbornly refused to respond to the clear-cut evidence which have shown that SRC International has transferred, via intermediaries, at least RM67 million into the personal bank account of Dato' Seri Najib Razak.

However, it appears that Dato' Seri Najib cannot remain silent forever as, like 1MDB, the international authorities are catching up to the SRC International laundering scams.

The Swiss Attorney-General Office (OAG) has publicly stated that investigations revealed that substantial amounts of money were allegedly misappropriated from former 1MDB subsidiary SRC International and that fraud was committed based on a form of “Ponzi” scheme to cover it up.

Dato' Seri Najib Razak can no longer choose to remain silent in the face of another international investigation over funds which he controls.  He must come forward and disclose if the allegations made by the Swiss authorities are frivolous or are they substantive, which will require an open and thorough investigation in Malaysia.

In addition, Dato' Seri Najib Razak must state if he will provide full cooperation with the Swiss authorities who are demanding and requiring information from their counterparts in Malaysia.  Or is he going to merely pay lip service and ignore the requests?

At least in 1MDB, for the longest time, there were "faces" who responded to questions and queries, like Datuk Shahrol Halmi and Arul Kanda.

The question Malaysians have is, who is or are running the show in SRC International?  As far as we are aware, the Managing Director of SRC International, Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil has disappeared off the face of Malaysia together with another fellow Director, Datuk Suboh Yassin.  And yet despite their disappearance, they have remained Directors in SRC International over the past year or more.  In fact, when asked, the Prime Minister had responded in Parliament that there is no need at all to appoint new Directors or a new management team.

It is a testament to the failure of Malaysian institutions, entrusted to safeguard the people's money as well as law and order, that nothing concrete has been done to uncover another massive embezzlement of RM4 billion of funds from a state-owned subsidiary.  What have the police, Bank Negara Malaysia, MACC or the Attorney-General's office been doing?  Have they been closing both eyes because the scandal involved the Prime Minister himself?

If Dato' Seri Najib Razak believes that the Swiss allegations are frivolous and untrue, then he should immediately demand the Auditor-General commence a new report specifically on SRC International and table the report to Parliament.  If not, there is no longer any credibility to his administration which will be etched in history as the single biggest den of thieves.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Election Commission is not only trying to steal GE14 by gerrymandering constituencies to UMNO’s advantage, it is systematically impeding the registration of new voters

We have statistically and empirically proven that there is only one “winner” in the newly proposed re-delineation of parliamentary and state constituencies by the Election Commission (EC).  Wherever possible, marginal UMNO seats are strengthened while marginal opposition-held constituencies are weakened by shifting in core BN supporters from neighbouring constituencies.

However, the EC who is also the only institution which can register new voters in the country is also proactively stalling and impeding the registration of new voters.

As at April this year, there are 17.6 million qualified voters in Malaysia.  However, only 13.4 million of them are register while 4.2 million remained disenfranchised.  This means that nearly 1 in 4 voters are not able to exercise their rights enshrined in the constitution if an election is called today.

Instead of making concrete and concerted efforts in collaboration with all parties to increase the number of voters registered, the EC is doing its utmost to slow down new registrations.

Firstly, the EC has stopped the appointment of Assistant Registration Officers (AROs) from political parties to assist with the registration exercise since 2013.  In 2011 and 2012 before the last general election, there were 5720 and 4777 appointed AROs.  Today, the numbers are negligible and they have not been replaced with any other institutions to perform the same task.

The impact and difference is telling.  In 2011 alone, 1,023,170 Malaysians were registered as new voters.  However, the 3 years from 2013 to 2015 only saw a total of 617,254 voters registered, or an average of 205,751 voters per annum.  At this rate, the number of unregistered voters will only increase exponentially as there are more than 500,000 new qualified voters every year (and increasing!).

As political parties are unable to have AROs to register voters, we have been told by the EC that they will be able to assign their officers to assist us with our voter registration campaigns.

However, such assistance comes with many conditions attached – such as no scheduled campaigns in the evenings and no “pasar malams” or open-air markets.

Despite the restrictions, the DAP cooperated and focused our joint campaigns with EC in the air-conditioned comforts of shopping malls.  However, to our disappointment and despite repeated formal and informal reminders to bring sufficient forms, the EC officials – under instruction, bring only limited number of forms.  As a result, our voter registration booths at the malls had to close early and hundreds of qualified voters were left disappointed.

Now, the EC has officially informed us to cancel all our planned voter registration campaigns after 3rd October purportedly because they now have to focus on handling the objections to the proposed re-delineation exercise.

Even when we then ask the unregistered voters to head to the nearest post office, we have often heard the inexcusable complaints of the lack of forms.

At best, the actions of the EC show that they are incompetent and abdicating their responsibilities to ensure qualified voters are able to exercise their constitutionally enshrined right to vote.  At worst, they are clearly sabotaging the electoral process by denying these voters their basic rights.

This is because, younger and newer voters as a whole have no loyalty to UMNO and BN.  A substantial majority of them have proven in past elections to be inclined to vote for the opposition.

We call upon the Election Commission to be serious about the registration of new voters since they have persistently refused the proposal for the automatic registration of voters.  If it is unable to carry out its responsibilities on its own, then it should start using its powers to appoint thousands of AROs across the country.

The EC would do well to remember its own “mission” stated on their malware-infested website, that is “mendukung sistem demokrasi berparlimen dan menjamin hak rakyat untuk memilih wakil mereka” and “mengurus, mengawal selia dan mengendalikan pilihanraya secara bebas dan adil”. Hence it should stop acting like UMNO’s henchmen to rig the electoral outcome.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

DAP Selangor will hold an emergency state committee meeting today to discuss impact of re-delineation plans on the state's Pakatan Harapan for GE14

As analysts within DAP, political parties and think tanks across the country digest the proposed re-delineation plan by the Election Commission, it has become clear that the exercise is the most brazen attempt to gerrymander a victory for UMNO in the next general elections.

Perhaps it should not come as such a surprise in the light of the fact that the Najib administration is facing the worst political crisis in the history of the country.  All surveys and studies showed Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s ratings to be the lowest ever recorded by any Prime Minister as a consequence of the 1MDB financial scandal and the impact of the GST on ordinary Malaysian’s cost of living.

If in 2013, Barisan Nasional received less than 48% of the popular vote then the only logical conclusion will be that the ruling coalition will receive lesser votes in the 14th General Election.

Hence the trump card for BN was to redraw the election constituency boundaries to the extent that BN will be assured of a thumping victory even if their popular votes continue to decline.

The simplest way of doing so would be to bundle opposition inclined voters into super-constituencies with more than 100,000 voters while breaking up hard-core pro-ruling party supporters into smaller multiple constituencies.

The clearest example was in the seat of Petaling Jaya Utara which was enlarged from 85,401 voters to 150,439 voters.  The newly enlarged constituency, renamed “Damansara” is projected to achieve a super-majority of 73,533 based on the 2013 voting records, as opposed to the actual majority of 44,672.

As a result, the neighbouring constituency of Subang (renamed “Sungai Buloh”) becomes a very marginal seat with only a projected 3,037 majority as opposed on 26,719 achieved in 2013.

What we have since discovered to be even more audacious however, is the plans by the Election Commission to return the Selangor state government to BN via aggressive gerrymandering.

Based on 2013 voting patterns alone, at least seven state assembly seats will be won back outright by BN in the next election.  They are Sabak, Hulu Kelang, Sementa, Selat Kelang, Pelabuhan Kelang, Sijangkang and Morib.

At the same time, at least another ten seats had their majorities vastly reduced to place them within reach of the BN candidates.

With brazen gerrymandering coupled with an aggressive campaign based on race and religious rhetoric, there is now a very real possibility that Selangor will indeed fall to BN.

The DAP Selangor state committee will meet later today discuss the findings of our studies and formulate our position as well as the next steps which we need to take to ensure that the people of Selangor will not be robbed of their mandate in the next general elections.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Election Commission conducts single-biggest gerrymandering exercise in the history of Malaysia to steal victory in the next General Election for Barisan Nasional

The Election Commission (EC) has officially published its proposed redelineation of electoral boundaries today.  As highlighted previously, there will be no increase in parliamentary seats for the whole country, and no increase in state seats for Peninsula Malaysia.

A simple cursory review of the proposals will confirm the fears of all Malaysians that the EC has made it its primary objective to ensure Barisan Nasional (BN) victory for the Federal Government.

In the proposal, my constituency, “Petaling Jaya Utara (PJU)”, to be renamed as “Damansara”, will become the single largest constituency in Malaysia with 150,439 voters, an increase of 76.2% from the 85,401 registered voters as at the 2013 General Election.

Damansara will displace Kapar as the single largest constituency, with the latter’s number of voters reduced from 144,159 to 100,456, a reduction of 30.3%.

The discretionary treatment in the two seats epitomises the completely arbitrary and brazen gerrymandering exercise the EC is carrying out to the advantage of BN.

How can the EC justify or rationalise the increase of 76.2% of voters in my constituency, making it the largest in the country while at the same time reducing the existing largest constituency by 30%?

EC has increased the size of Damansara mainly by appending 54,902 voters from Bukit Lanjan state assembly seat, previously part of Subang (now renamed “Sungai Buloh”) parliament.  As a result, the number of voters in Subang/Sungai Buloh is also reduced from 128,543 (2013) to 73,448.

There is only one reason one can deduce from the EC actions. It was to add to the majority in the seats BN is deemed unlikely to win, while reducing the majorities for seats where BN sees the opportunity to re-capture.

PJU had the 2nd highest majority of 44,672 in the 2013 general election and is in all probability deemed unwinnable by BN.

Bukit Lanjan on the other hand contributed a 17,200 vote majority to the Subang parliament overall winning majority of 26,719 by Sivarasa Rasiah of PKR in 2013.

With the proposed redelineation, Subang/Sungai Buloh will be left with a much reduced estimated majority of only 9,519 votes.

By shifting Bukit Lanjan to Damansara, the EC has made Subang a much more winnable seat for BN, despite increasing the potential majority for Damansara to a whopping 61,872 (based on 2013 results)!

The similar situation applies to Kapar, when its state seat with the largest majority, Sg Pinang (renamed “Bandar Baru Klang”) is shifted to the Klang parliamentary seat which faced an increase of voters from 97,073 (2013) to 141,025.

In doing so, Kapar, which is currently held by Manivanan Gowin of PKR becomes much more vulnerable.  It’s 2013 winning majority of 23,790 is approximately halved as a result of the proposed redelineation.

The absurdity of creating a monster Damansara seat with more than 150,000 voters is even more outrageous when contrasted with other seats in Peninsula Malaysia with only a fraction of the voters.

Putrajaya remained the smallest constituency in the country with only 17,627 voters (11.7% of Damansara).  Perak remains the state with the highest number of low voter seats with Lenggong at 28,078 (18.7% of Damansara), Padang Rengas at 28,727 (19.1%), Kuala Kangsar at 33,113 (22.0%), Parit at 33,638 (22.4%) and Gerik at 33,832 (22.5%).

Even within Selangor, which has 2.08 million voters and 22 parliamentary seats, the disparity is unjustifiably huge, with the smallest constituency of Sabak Bernam having only 37,126 voters (24.7% of Damansara).  The discrepancy in the number of voters for constituencies within Selangor itself is repugnant, when the average number of voters per seat should be approximately 94,500.

Effectively, a vote in the redelineated Damanasara is not worth even a quarter of a vote in the above gerrymandered seats designed to give the advantage to BN.

We call upon all voters in Damansara, as well as all other affected voters in Malaysia to protest vehemently at the proposed election rigging exercise by the EC which deny them of their equal rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

Friday, September 09, 2016

The Royal Malaysian Police and Bank Negara must investigate latest allegations that Ambank officials actively conspired with Jho Low to launder funds into Dato’ Seri Najib Razak's personal bank accounts

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) had on 6 September 2016 made very specific allegations against Ambank Malaysia and its officials of facilitating and abetting money-laundering when billions of ringgit was transferred into the bank accounts of Dato’ Seri Najib Razak.

In making the allegations, the prestigious financial paper substantiated the claims with private conversations between senior Ambank officials with Low Taek Jho, who was carrying out the transactions on behalf of the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister gave Low access to his accounts, according to investigative documents sighted by WSJ. His primary contact at AmBank was Joanna Yu, the banker he had warned via BlackBerry to communicate discreetly. Cheah Tek Kuang, a senior AmBank executive and adviser to the bank’s chairman, handled the account personally, the BlackBerry messages indicate.

On the assumption that the messages were genuine, they clearly indicated a conspiracy by the above parties to at best hide the transactions from scrutiny, and at worst, blatant masking of the illicit transactions as legitimate ones.

According to WSJ, Low sent hampers of food to Yu and lunched with her at noodle shops, according to the phone messages. He kept reinforcing the need for secrecy: “v v important no one should know in ambank besides u or cheah or get hold of statement,” one message said. “Cause if it gets on internet where funds were from then headache.”

Yu even made recommendations on which US correspondent bank will raise less questions involving the transfers.  They discussed whether to use Wells Fargo & Co. or J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

“Can do JP, but may raise ques too…suspect better keep to wachovia,” Ms. Yu wrote, referring to a unit of Wells Fargo.

“Okay, wachovia then,” he replied. The transfer went through the Wells Fargo unit.

The above conversations raises major concerns of a high-level conspiracy to enable the money-laundering transactions to take place without being questioned or detected.

As the parties responsible for Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism Act (AMLA), the Royal Malaysian Police and particularly, Bank Negara must take immediate actions to investigate the above very serious allegations.

They must be investigated, and if found true, concrete actions must be taken to protect the integrity of our banking institutions and financial system.  Otherwise, the hard-earned reputation of Bank Negara and Malaysia will take a severe beating.

Instead, Malaysia may become an infamous haven for the rich and powerful criminals to abuse our banking institutions to hide and launder their ill-gotten wealth.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar proven as the most incompetent and irresponsible Inspector-General of Police in Malaysian history

The Minister of the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan has now officially confirmed that the “Malaysian Official One” (MO1) named in the United States Department of Justice suit to seize more than US$1 billion of 1MDB-funded assets, is none other than Dato’ Seri Najib Razak.

MO1 has been identified as the party who has received proceeds amounting to US$731 million between 2011 and 2013 which were laundered by parties who have defrauded 1MDB.

With the confirmation by Datuk Seri Rahman Dahlan, Malaysians who have just celebrated our 59th Merdeka anniversary in the most subdued manner, would have hoped that the relevant authorities will finally commence actions against the Prime Minister, albeit belatedly.

However, all such hopes were immediately extinguished by Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, who gave the most incredulous and most unacceptable excuse as to why there will be no action against Dato’ Seri Najib Razak.  This is inspite of the irrefutable and unrefuted evidence which has been presented by the US DOJ to the whole wide world.

“I've said this before: that whatever action taken in the US is a civil action. We don't get involved in civil suits.  I don’t want to meddle in political matters. Don't drag us into politics,” he said.

How in the world is it “politics” when Malaysians ask Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar to investigate the “world’s largest financial scandal” which has enriched Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s bank account by a mind-boggling US$731 million or nearly RM3 billion based on today’s exchange rates?

In fact, if there is anyone indulging in politics, it is the IGP himself, who is clearly acting to protect the Prime Minister incriminated of grand larceny and support the Barisan Nasional ruling party.  The IGP is failing Malaysians by failing to act without fear or favour against all criminals, regardless of their status and positions.

Tan Sri Khalid had further added that “Let them (the US) solve the civil action. Why are you so nosy wanting the police to investigate this and that,” at a press conference at the Bukit Aman police headquarters today.

The IGP should be thoroughly ashamed of himself for dismissing the US action as a mere “civil action”.  It is disgraceful that Malaysians now have to rely on the impartiality of foreign jurisdictions to recover billions of dollars stolen and laundered from Malaysians via fraudulent means in 1MDB.

Instead of springing belatedly into action to salvage Malaysia’s pride and honour, the IGP appears to be conspiring with the alleged crooks by feigning ignorance.

The US DOJ suit might be civil in nature as they were attempting to seize the laundered assets, but the allegations contained in the suit are completely criminal in nature.

Why is the police completely disinterested in investigating the fact that more than US$4 billion has been misappropriated by 1MDB and the fact that US$731 million has been pocketed by the Prime Minister?  The IGP must answer as to how is such misappropriation and grand larceny not a crime under Malaysian laws?

Is not being “nosy” the job of the Malaysian police when it comes to criminal activities?

Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar’s clear cut abdication of his duties has marked himself as the most irresponsible and most incompetent in the history of Malaysia.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Police’s ring-fenced investigations into 1MDB points to scapegoating former Director and CEO Datuk Shahrol Halmi for the multi-billion dollar scandal

The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar disclosed on Friday that the police have completed the first phase of their investigation into 1MDB, which is restricted to the five recommendations by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) as ordered by the cabinet.

As pointed by DAP Parliamentary Leader, the “five recommendations” by the PAC has nothing to do with police investigations as they relate to corporate reorganisation of the heavily indebted company.  For example, the PAC recommended that the 1MDB Board of Advisors be dissolved, that the Ministry of Finance assumes ownership of the property assets under the company and that 1MDB “should avoid excessive debt”.

The only request by the PAC in its report, which was not part of the five recommendations, was for 1MDB’s former Director and Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Shahrol Halmi and others who were involved to be investigated by the authorities.

This leads Malaysians to believe that the ring-fence imposed by the Cabinet and willingly accepted by the IGP, is nothing more than a strategy to place the entire blame for the multi-billion dollar scam on the shoulders of Datuk Shahrol Halmi.

It clearly appears that Datuk Shahrol will be made a scapegoat to ease the pressure on the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak who has failed to take any concrete action at all against any party for the losses suffered in what the UK Guardian named as the “world’s largest financial scandal”.

The powers that be would certainly hope that with Datuk Shahrol’s incarceration, a mere pawn in the wider scheme of things, they would be able to wash their hands off the scandal and close the lid on the ugliest chapter of Malaysia’s history.

However, by doing so, the Police would once again make complete fools of themselves, no different from the Altantuya murder scandal in 2006.  Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar who were members of the elite Unit Tindakan Khas assigned to the office of the then Deputy Prime Minister Dato’ Najib Razak, were found guilty of murdering the Mongolian woman.  However, no motive was ever presented by the police and the prosecution, or found by the Malaysian Courts when they were condemned to death sentences.

In 1MDB’s case, if only Datuk Shahrol were to be charged and found guilty, the similar question could be asked – what motive is there for Datuk Shahrol to carry out the multi-billion dollar global embezzlement exercise?

Datuk Shahrol, who was referred to as “1MDB Officer 2” in the US Department of Justice suit to seize US$1 billion of laundered 1MDB assets, was never disclosed as an individual beneficiary of the stolen funds.

The beneficiaries of the loot were Low Taek Jho, Riza Aziz, Khadem Al-Qubaisi and Mohammad Badawy Al-Husseiny.  In addition, a “Malaysian Official 1” who could only refer to Dato’ Seri Najib Razak, received a whopping US$731 million from the embezzled proceeds.

I have no doubt that Datuk Shahrol is guilty of participating and facilitating in the massive scam to defraud ordinary Malaysians and should be charged for abetting the heinous crime.  However, he is but a cog in the wheel of the 1MDB scandal.  It will be the greatest travesty of justice, similar to the Altantuya murder, where the real conspirators and crooks who had benefited immensely from the crimes are let of scot free.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Shocking: the Malaysian Police limits 1MDB investigations to Public Accounts Committee (PAC) “recommendations” under Cabinet instructions

The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar disclosed yesterday that the police have completed the first phase of their investigation into 1MDB, which is restricted to the five recommendations by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) as ordered by the cabinet.

"I have said it before: the five recommendations from the PAC are our focus, so I do not want the police to be distracted from what was ordered for us to do, or else the focus of the investigation will deviate," he said.

First, how can the Cabinet give specific instructions to the Royal Malaysian Police on what crimes to investigate and what crimes not to investigate?  Isn’t this tantamount to a clear cut case of obstruction of justice?

Secondly, how can the IGP limit police investigations to merely the 5 “recommendations” by the PAC?

Members of the PAC, especially those from Barisan Nasional will often insist in PAC meetings that the PAC is not a criminal investigation body and such investigations should be left to the relevant authorities, including the Police.  Now, the Police has apparently be instructed to limit its investigations to the “recommendations” of the PAC, which was not based on a “criminal” investigation in the first place.

In fact, the Police should take cognizance that 1MDB has failed, despite repeated requests by both the PAC and the Auditor-General, to hand over its crucial overseas bank statements and verification documents.  As a result, the PAC is unable to investigate the existence of wrongdoings in the state-owned investment company.

For example, the PAC could not verify the ownership of Good Star Limited which received US$1.03 billion from 1MDB as 1MDB could not provide any conclusive ownership documentation to the PAC.  Furthermore, the PAC Chairman hid a Bank Negara Malaysia letter to the Committee which had disclosed that Good Star Limited was owned by none other than Low Taek Jho, or better known as Jho Low.

However, the expose by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) on the multi-billion dollar embezzlement of 1MDB’s funds overseas should prompt the Police to obtain all relevant documents to ensure an unhindered and thorough criminal probe on the matter.

Hence Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar must explain to the Rakyat as to why he has refused to investigate the multi-billion dollar 1MDB embezzlement scandal which has taken the world by storm, by restricting itself to the limited findings of the PAC, purportedly under the instructions of the Cabinet?

Isn’t the Police supposed to investigate without fear or favour, even if it were to involve the highest officials of the land?  Doesn’t Tan Sri Khalid realise that there is a severe conflict of interest in the purported Cabinet instruction to restrict the Police investigations because Cabinet members might be involved in the laundered funds?

For example, the DOJ has already cited that a “Malaysian Official 1”, whom even the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Rahman Dahlan admitted is Dato’ Seri Najib Razak, has received US$731 million of the laundered funds in his personal bank account in Malaysia.  Who else has benefitted from these funds?

The failure of the IGP to conduct a no-stones-unturned investigations into the “world’s largest financial scandal” which has brought shame to Malaysia only serves to confirm the suspicions of ordinary Malaysians that Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar is colluding with the Prime Minister and his Cabinet colleagues to cover up the heinous scam which has defrauded the people of tens of billions of ringgit.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Who is Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani trying to fool when he said the Government would act against those found guilty of wrongdoing in the US Department of Justice's 1MDB suit?

Finance Minister II Johari Abdul Ghani said the government will take legal action against the individuals named in the US Department of Justice's (DOJ) civil suit related to 1MDB, if they were found guilty of wrongdoing.

He even stressed that “there will be no two ways in dealing with this matter.”

The Finance Minister’s assertion must have been joking because the statement lacked any iota of credibility.

How is Datuk Johari expecting Malaysians and the international community to believe him when there has been a complete absence of outrage from the Najib administration on the DOJ suit which the Federal Bureau of Investigations claimed “the Malaysian people were defrauded on an enormous scale”.

The DOJ claimed that 1MDB officials and their associates stole more than $3.5 billion from the fund between 2009 and 2015 and laundered at least $1 billion through the US. The fund's officials tried to conceal the fund's origins through complex transactions that involved shell companies and bank accounts located in various countries.

Despite the enormity of the scam and scandal, the Malaysian Government has shown shocking indifference to the exposé. The Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak only took pains to emphasise that it is only a civil suit and it didn’t involve him.

This was despite the fact that the DOJ suit has highlighted that a “Malaysian Official 1” had received USD731 million from the embezzled funds.  The “MO1” undeniably referred to Dato’ Seri Najib Razak.  In fact, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Dato Seri Rahman Dahlan even said that “only an idiot don't know who MO1 is”.

Despite all of the above substantiated allegations made by the DOJ, there have been no concrete actions taken by Malaysian authorities.  There have been no developments from the Police who has purportedly been investigating the scandal for nearly two years already.  We certainly didn’t hear of an arrest warrant for Low Taek Jho or Riza Aziz to answer questions, despite their being named as the parties who laundered 1MDB’s funds in the United States.

In addition, the new Bank Negara Governor, Datuk Mohammad Ibrahim has publicly washed his hands off the 1MDB scandal by declaring the 1MDB case closed despite the money laundering allegations. Former MACC Deputy Chief Commissioner, Datuk Zakaria Jaffar have even declared that the 1MDB scandal isn't MACC’s jurisdiction.

Hence who is the Second Finance Minister Datuk Johari Abdul kidding when he told reporters that action will be taken?  He didn’t even have the courage as the Finance Minister II to direct Bank Negara to open money laundering allegations against all of the above implicated officials, including MO1.

In fact, why should the Malaysian Government be waiting for the DOJ suit to concluded in the US before we follow up with the necessary actions?

Given that it is Malaysian money which is stolen, shouldn’t Datuk Johari be jumping up and down demanding immediate action by our own Malaysian authorities, instead of being shamed by a foreign country?

It cannot be clearer that Datuk Johari had been quickly promoted to the Finance Minister II position to help cover up the entire shocking and shameful scandal, and to ensure that his master, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak remained unshaken by the entire global exposé.

Did Datuk Mohammad Ibrahim cut a deal not to investigate Dato’ Seri Najib Razak for money-laundering offences to secure his appointment as the new Bank Negara Governor?

New Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) Governor, Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim announced yesterday that there would be no reopening of investigations on 1MDB despite the spate of new evidence disclosed by United States Department of Justice (DOJ). He said that the central bank has already taken all necessary action against 1MDB.

"We have completed our investigations into 1MDB based on the information and investigation papers. We have imposed a penalty on the company. We have taken all necessary action entrusted on us by the law and we have closed the investigation," Muhammad said at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur.

This single announcement has in one swift blow, destroyed all the credibility BNM has painstakingly accumulated over the past 2 decades.  The international financial community and government authorities will only laugh with incredulity how 1MDB was slapped on the wrist with an undisclosed administrative penalty when the DOJ charges that 1MDB and Malaysian officials have colluded to scam and launder more than USD3.5 billion from the company.

The Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing (Amendment) Act 2013 (“AMLA”) states that any person is deemed to have committed an offence if he or she “acquires, receives, possesses, disguises, transfers, converts, exchanges, carries, disposes of or uses proceeds of an unlawful activity” or “removes from or brings into Malaysia, proceeds of an unlawful activity”.

Bank Negara Malaysia, as the competent authority under the AMLA, must hence not abdicate from its responsibility to commence investigations into the above highly suspicious transactions for all relevant offences under the Act.

Worst, the DOJ specified that a significant part of the laundered funds found its way into the Malaysian banking system.  In particular, the charges established that USD731 million was deposited into the personal bank account of a “Malaysian Official One” (MO1) between 2011 and 2013. And the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Dato’ Seri Rahman Dahlan acknowledged that only an idiot would not know that MO1 refers to Dato’ Seri Najib Razak.

In addition, it is also an offence when one “conceals, disguises or impedes the establishment of the true nature, origin, location, movement, disposition, title of, rights with respect to, or ownership of, proceeds of an unlawful activity”.

Dato’ Seri Najib Razak has not only received the illicit funds, he had tried to conceal the transfers by pretending that it is a “donation” from some mysterious unnamed Arab donor, which has now proven to be a complete lie.

The question for the Bank Negara Governor is very simple - has Dato’ Seri Najib Razak been investigated for multi-billion ringgit money laundering scam which has been highlighted by the US DOJ?

As far as we are aware, based on public announcements by BNM, 1MDB has only been investigated for improper disclosure to the central bank for its fund transfers overseas.  The elements of a money laundering conspiracy involving top 1MDB officials and the Prime Minister has never been carried out.

Why is Dato’ Seri Najib Razak immune to money laundering investigations by BNM?  Why is Datuk Mohammad Ibrahim failing to restore the integrity and protect the sanctity of our financial system from money laundering activities aggressively like other jurisdictions?

The Rakyat are now asking if this is because the newly appointed Governor has struck a secret deal with the Prime Minister to secure his appointment?

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Has Deloitte filed reports against 1MDB to the authorities on the potential fraud which led them to disown 1MDB’s audited accounts for FY2013 and FY2014?

In May 2015, I have filed a complaint against 1MDB auditors, Deloitte Malaysia for failing to carry out its auditing duties professionally.

One of the key accusations I had made was that Deloitte Malaysia has “intentionally and/or negligently failed to report the highly dubious and potentially fraudulent transactions in 1MDB to alert the relevant authorities.”

Under the International Standards on Auditing (ISA) 240 adopted by the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) in 2010, it is the responsibility of the Auditors “to maintain professional skepticism throughout the audit” and to identify and assess “the risks of material misstatement due to fraud”.

The ISA clearly states, “for significant transactions that are outside the normal course of business for the entity… the auditor shall evaluate whether the business rationale (or the lack thereof) of the transactions suggests that they may have been entered into to engage in fraudulent financial reporting or to conceal misappropriation of assets.”

When Deloitte testified with the Public Accounts Committee in June last year, they had insisted that they had carried out their duties professionally and fervently stood by the signed off accounts as true and correct.  This was despite the various doubts and controversies which has arisen, including the fact that 1MDB could not repay a mere RM2 billon loan less than a month after Deloitte declared 1MDB was fully able to meet its debt and obligations in November 2014.

However, on 27 July this year, a week after the US Department of Justice laid out the charges against Jho Low and Riza Aziz which showed more than US$3.5 billion misappropriated from 1MDB, Deloitte has finally officially disowned the accounts it signed for 2013 and 2014.

Deloitte however, should not be able to wash its hands off 1MDB’s accounts just by announcing that they “could not be relied upon”.  Under the Company’s Act, if an auditor, in the course of the performance of his duties as auditor of a company, discovers that there has been a breach or non-observance of any of the provisions of the Companies Act which are not “adequately dealt” with by the company’s directors and management, he must “report the matter in writing to the Registrar (of Companies)”.  Such a “breach or non-observance” would include fraud and dishonesty.

The penalty for failing to do so is “imprisonment for two years or thirty thousand ringgit or both.”

Hence the simple question to Deloitte Malaysia is, now that you have finally decided that you may have been defrauded by 1MDB, will you do the necessary, are required by the law to submit the report and complaint to the Registrar of Companies for further action? The failure to do so will certainly damage the trust shareholders of companies would have for Deloitte to carry out audits diligently and professionally to protect their interest, especially in the light of fraud and embezzlement by company officials.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Datuk Hasan Arifin clearly a “cari makan” PAC Chairman when he refused to reopen 1MDB investigations and initiate new investigations into SRC International

The UK Guardian has labelled the 1MDB imbroglio as the “world’s largest financial scandal”.  This was after the US Attorney-General filed a suit to seize US$1 billion of assets laundered from 1MDB, the single largest action under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) laid out the charges in full, which showed more than US$3.5 billion have been misappropriated from Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, 1MDB.

Most importantly, the US DOJ detailed the exact transactions showing how US$731 million of the misappropriated funds ended up in the personal bank account of a “Malaysian Official 1” (MO1).  As the Minister in Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Rahman Dahlan rightly pointed out, only an idiot would not know that MO1 refers specifically to Dato’ Seri Najib Razak.

I have at the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meeting yesterday demanded that the PAC re-open investigations into 1MDB.  I said that the Malaysian Parliament will be failing to fulfil the grave responsibilities the people have entrusted us with if we fail to react and follow up with the single biggest scandal which has possibly irreparably damaged the nation’s reputation.

Datuk Hasan Arifin refused to allow the PAC to allow the investigations to be re-opened and confirmed his decision with a statement after the meeting.  The Chairman insisted that the PAC has already completed its report tabled to the Parliament in April 2016 and there was no necessity to re-visit the scandal.  He was supported by the Gerakan Member of Parliament for Simpang Renggam, Liang Teck Meng who dismissed the DOJ suit as mere “speculation”.

Datuk Hasan Arifin’s excuse is completely unacceptable.

Previously, the PAC never had the opportunity to call upon the Prime Minister to testify before the Committee because evidence relating to the embezzlement by Dato’ Seri Najib Razak was withheld by 1MDB.  Despite repeated requests by the Auditor-General for nearly a year, 1MDB had refused to supply documents, particularly bank statements of its overseas subsidiaries and accounts.

Datuk Hasan Arifin and the Najib administration had even twisted the PAC Report as “clearing Najib” despite the fact that Najib was never investigated as a result of the withheld evidence.

Hence with the DOJ suit, I told the PAC meeting that there is now concrete evidence to demand that the Prime Minister testify before the PAC.  It is the perfect opportunity for Dato’ Seri Najib Razak to confirm or deny the allegations.  I even said that if Najib was able to demonstrate concrete evidence which showed that he has been maligned by the DOJ, and that the monies obtained were indeed from Arab “donors”, I will be the first to stand up to defend and redeem his honour.

Datuk Hasan Arifin has also refused, without even providing any reason for my additional request to initiate investigations against another related Ministry of Finance subsidiary, SRC International Sdn Bhd.  This is despite the fact that the Attorney-General Tan Sri Apandi Ali himself has provided evidence of RM27 million being transferred from the company to Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s accounts via intermediaries in 2014, as well as the fact that SRC International has failed to table its financial audit since March 2014.

The PAC Chairman's obstinate refusal to accede to the all-important requests led me to believe that he sole purpose is to be a “macai” to obstruct and cover up all allegations on Dato’ Seri Najib Razak.  He has confirmed that he is indeed a “cari makan” Chairman and disgraced the honour and integrity of Malaysia’s supreme legislative body.

I had walked out of the meeting yesterday and will not be attending the meetings scheduled for this week as a mark of protest against the total farce the PAC has become.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Khairy, you are wrong – the United States Department of Justice did not paint Putrajaya guilty, they merely laid out the facts

It appears that the undoubtedly intelligent UMNO Youth Chief, Khairy Jamaluddin is more than prepared to walk the talk, to become Najib’s number one “macai”, even if it destroys all the street cred he has built for himself over the years.

He has urged UMNO Youth members to “stand by our leader”, “even at the cost being labelled as ‘macai’ or ‘balachi’” on Tuesday’s Putrajaya UMNO Wanita, Youth and Puteri meet. 

He followed up last night by ticking off the United States (US) Department of Justice (DOJ) for painting Putrajaya as guilty.

"The way they announced (their findings) is as though it was a conviction, as though (those named) are already guilty and to be punished… The words used showed as though Malaysia and the government are guilty," Khairy said at the Sepang Puteri and Umno Youth annual assembly.

It is all a very clever play of words, to first discredit the prosecution, taint the people’s perception of the case and tug the members’ heartstrings for sympathy for pretend innocence.

Yes, the DOJ did indeed accuse “Malaysian Official One” of embezzling US$731 million of Malaysian tax-payers’ money via 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).  But what is wrong with that?  Isn’t the role of any public prosecutor, including those in Malaysia, to lay out the charges by accusing the suspects of criminal wrongdoings?

The DOJ did not pronounce the “Malaysian Official One” “guilty”.  They merely laid out the detailed facts and figures which backed their very serious and convincing charge of money laundering and grand larceny.

Hence when Khairy demanded that the troops “defend the truth”, Malaysians would like to know what exactly is the truth that the UMNO Youth and Sports Minister is talking about? 

In fact, the DOJ charges are all the more convincing because the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak, Khairy and all the other BN leaders have failed to come up with an iota of evidence or alibi to deny the charges put forward by the DOJ.

For example, why hasn’t Dato’ Seri Najib Razak denied that US$681 million of funds borrowed by 1MDB Global Investment Limited on 19 March 2013 found its way into the personal bank account of “Malaysian Official One” on 21 and 25 March 2013 via intermediary companies?

In fact, we would like to further ask the Prime Minister if he is still standing by his earlier alibi that the funds came from an unnamed ultra-generous donor from the Middle East?  It could not be easier for the Prime Minister to prove the DOJ wrong by showing up the mysterious Arab donor with the relevant transaction documents.

Instead, the Arab sheikh seems to have vanished altogether into thin air after DOJ laid out its facts. 

All that Dato’ Seri Najib Razak is doing now is making all Malaysians cringe with shame and embarrassment, by insisting “that what was done by the DOJ recently does not involve me, or the Malaysian government, or 1MDB directly,” as he did on Indonesian television yesterday.

How can anyone who is apparently “innocent” claim that the DOJ suit does not involve the Prime Minister, the Malaysian government or 1MDB directly, when the whole world saw how the US Attorney General detailed how Malaysia has become a kleptocratic nation, led by “Malaysian Official One” whose brainchild 1MDB misappropriated more than US$3.5 billion of funds to be laundered around the world.

Khairy Jamaluddin has insulted his own intelligence and brought shame to his alma mater by choosing to be a Najib “macai”, not to “defend the truth” as claimed, but to do the exact opposite of covering up the most corrupt regime in the history of Malaysia.  His transformation to the Dark Side is clearly complete.