Saturday, April 22, 2017

1MDB new auditor’s biggest challenge now is to audit and verify the purported sale of 1MDB’s Brazen Sky or its assets to a “undisclosed third party”

The Singapore Straits Times reported that 1MDB is expected to ink an agreement with Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC) to settle a dispute involving billions of dollars very soon.

In its report, the Singapore daily cited sources as saying the agreement would see 1MDB pay IPIC US$1.2 billion by year end, to settle a loan and accumulated interest from a bailout the IPIC gave 1MDB in July 2015.

It said most of the money would come from the sale of "fund units" from 1MDB subsidiary Brazen Sky to an undisclosed buyer.  Brazen Sky is of particular interest to 1MDB watchers because its account in Singapore's BSI Bank was supposed to be the account used to receive funds from 1MDB's Cayman Islands account.

If the Singapore Straits Times report is to be believed, then 1MDB’s newly appointed auditor, Parker Randall will now be faced with their biggest test to date.  Parker Randall, represented locally by the Malaysian audit firm, “Afrizan Tarmili Khairul Azhar” (aftaas) must carry out the necessary due diligence and audit to ensure that the transactions taking place are bona fide and above board.

Of interest is the fact that until today, 1MDB has failed to provide any form of clarity of these “fund units” worth US$940 million purported redeemed from a Cayman Island investment fund.

1MDB has refused, despite repeated demands from the Public Accounts Committee and the Auditor-General to provide financial statements and documents of 1MDB’s overseas bank accounts and assets, including that of Brazen Sky Limited.

Worse, these assets were purportedly parked in BSI Bank, Singapore which have already had its merchant banking license withdrawn by Monetary Authority of Singapore.  When questioned in Parliament, the Minister of Finance responded that these units were not managed by any fund manager or investment bank, while also refusing to where the “units” have been moved to.

Hence it is critical for Parker Randall or aftaas to confirm the existence and authenticity of the US$940 million worth of “units”.  Most interestingly, despite the fluctuating value of investment assets over time, these fund units appeared to have a frozen value of US$940 million since its redemption in January 2015.

In addition, should Brazen Sky or its assets be sold, Parker Randall must verify that the sale and purchase transaction is a genuine transaction and not another case of paper shuffling which have taken place earlier in 1MDB’s US$1.8 billion investment in Petrosaudi.

It is also important for Parker Randall to confirm and satisfy itself on the identity of the mysterious “undisclosed buyer” of these mysterious Brazen Sky assets as part of its audit verification. The auditors must also trace the money trail of the fund transfers from the mysterious undisclosed buyer into 1MDB before being transferred to IPIC.

The audit is all the more important given the spotlight 1MDB has, which has caused some half a dozen of banks around the world to be shutdown or penalised for facilitating money laundering transactions.

Surely, after Deloitte Malaysia disgracefully resigned from 1MDB for failing to detect any of the above illicit and money laundering activities, Parker Randall do not want to follow the same footsteps and sully its international reputation.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I stand by the video comments I have made which have purportedly defamed the honourable Prime Minister

I have received a letter of demand from the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak, served by his lawyers from Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak who brought along TV3 to my office in Petaling Jaya yesterday evening.

The letter demanded that I retract the statement, remove the video, publicly apologise to the Prime Minister and pay an amount of compensation to be agreed upon within 7 days.

I have reviewed the 5-minute video published on 6 April 2017 and I hereby state that I will standby the comments I have made.  Hence I will neither retract the statement, remove the video, publicly apologise to the Prime Minister nor offer to pay any amount of compensation to Dato’ Seri Najib Razak.

This is simply because the statements which I have made are grounded on established facts which have not been disputed.

The Sarawak Report and the Wall Street Journal first made the allegation that US$681 million originating from 1MDB, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Ministry of Finance found its way into Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s personal bank account with Ambank Malaysia.  This was subsequently confirmed in evidential documents produced by the United States Department of Justice (US DOJ).  In fact, the US DOJ pointed out in their legal filings that the total amount originating from 1MDB and surfaced in the Prime Minister’s bank account was US$731 million.

It should be noted that Dato’ Seri Najib Razak has never publicly disputed or denied the facts presented by the US DOJ since July 2016.

In addition, the US DOJ has labelled Malaysia as a kleptocracy.  The Dictionary.com definition of “kleptocracy” is “a government or state in which those in power exploit national resources and steal; rule by a thief or thieves”.

Despite the reputational damage inflicted on Malaysia as a result of US DOJ’s suit to seize assets worth approximately US$1 billion acquired with laundered funds originating from 1MDB, the Prime Minister and his Government has refused respond to the highly detrimental allegations.

In fact, the Prime Minister has steadfastly refused to clarify and respond to the matter in Parliament, despite repeated request by Members of Parliament to do so.

What’s more, I have also outlined all the facts and evidence of the above misconduct and more, in my civil suit against the Prime Minister for public misfeasance filed in January this year.  Dato’ Seri Najib Razak doesn’t even have to sue me a second time, he just needs to answer to the charges I have made in my suit to debunk any “fake news” which have purportedly damaged his reputation.  Instead, he has chosen to try to strike out my suit with a mind-boggling defense that he “is not a public officer” and hence cannot be subjected to a public misfeasance suit.

Hence, I can only interpret the Prime Minister’s latest letter of demand, the second I have received from him, is an attempt not to right a wrong, but to silence the truth.

Just as I never stopped exposing, highlighting and questioning the RM50 billion ringgit 1MDB scandal despite being sued for defamation the first time round in March 2015, I will not be intimidated or frightened from continuing to do the same.

It is my fervent believe that not only my voters who voted me into office, but an overwhelming majority of Malaysians cannot accept a kleptocratic administration or a Prime Minister who stole billions from the rakyat.  Therefore, I will doggedly persist and persevere in fighting the democratic cause to free Malaysia from such evils and disease.

Monday, April 10, 2017

There is no need for Senior State Executive Councillor, Teng Chang Khim to resign as to err is only human, and the errors upon discovery are rectified

The DAP Selangor State Committee met in an emergency meeting this afternoon to discuss the public concerns over the guidelines and planning restrictions over non-Muslim places of worship.

The DAP Selangor State Committee unanimously agreed that the recommendation that non-Muslim places of worship should not be built within 50m of a home owned by Muslims, as well as several other guidelines are not appropriate for a multi-racial, multi-religious society which encourages mutual respect and tolerance.

It should be noted that such guidelines are the status quo for other BN-led states like Johor and Negeri Sembilan.  

The State Committee heard the explanation provided by Selangor Vice-Chairman and Senior State Executive Councillor, Teng Chang Khim, that despite having requested state government officials to make the necessary changes, the changes were not incorporated into the final version of the guidelines. 

As reported during his press conference in the morning, Teng has apologised for the unintended error and even offered to resign from his position.

The State Committee found that the question of Teng resigning from his government office does not even arise as he has committed no crime.  He has neither stolen money from the state government coffers, nor abused his powers to benefit vested interest parties like developers.

Instead, DAP Selangor would like to commend Teng for stepping forward to take full responsibility over the unintended error and omission, despite the fact that the guidelines manual was approved by the Selangor State Planning Committee.

To err is certainly human, but what is most important is the fact that immediate steps are being taken to ensure that these errors are corrected upon discovery.  No one has yet suffered or been penalised by the guidelines for new non-Muslims places of worship.  

Hence, DAP Selangor state committee supports Teng’s decision to seek the State Executive Council’s (Exco) approval on Wednesday for immediate suspension of the guidelines implementation pending revision.

At the same time, in the light of the gravity and sensitivity of the matter, the Selangor State Committee also resolved to set up a special sub-committee to assist Teng.  This will ensure that no stones are left unturned in the revision process.  The sub-committee will be led by Vice-Chairperson, Hannah Yeoh and four other members, Rajiv Rishyakaran, Dr Abdul Aziz Bari, Yeo Bee Yin and Ng Sze Han.

DAP Selangor would like to reiterate that the constitutional provisions providing for Islam as the religion of the Federation and guaranteeing the freedom of religion would be defended at all cost.  We firmly believe that such provisions can only be achieved with tolerance, respect and acceptance of such freedoms by all Malaysians.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Dato’ Seri Nazri Aziz must prove that Malaysia is not a Police State

After great expectations were set for the Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz debate on 1MDB, for the second time, the Police stepped in to stop the debate by refusing to grant a “permit”.

The original intent was for the debate to be held in a townhall in the Tourism Minister’s own constituency, Padang Rengas.  The Police put a stop to that, forcing a change in venue to the premises of Karangkraf Media Group, the publisher for local daily, Sinar Harian in Shah Alam.

Despite an earlier approval by the Selangor police with conditions which were accepted by the organisers, the Police has now rescinded the approval.

Apparently, “the Shah Alam district police headquarters had received objections from residents in the surrounding area”.  Hence, “after studying and considering the matter based on public order, the peaceful assembly permit reference 4/17 dated March 31 is cancelled,” the Police said.

The denial of a permit for a political debate or dialogue is ridiculous at so many levels.

For one, Karangkraf is located at an industrial area, a good distance from the nearest residential zones.

Secondly, it is the role of the Police to facilitate and ensure that the dialogue or debate takes place in a peaceful manner by providing the necessary support and security.  The constitutionally-guaranteed rights to freedom of assembly and speech should not be denied by those who are threatening those very freedoms.

However, most importantly, it is not at all within the powers of the Police to deny approval for the event to take place.  Based on the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) 2012, all the organisers are required to do under the law is to give a 10-day “notice”.  The Act does not provide for the police to say yay or nay to an assembly, what more an indoor function at private premises.  A police permit is no longer required.

The clear cut abuse of power by the Police in this case shows without a doubt, the fear by the Najib administration for the debate on 1MDB to take place. The debate will only serve to confirm in the minds of Malaysians – the fact that billions of ringgit of 1MDB funds surfaced in the personal bank accounts of the Prime Minister.

It would have been a debate so lopsided that even Dato’ Seri Nazri Aziz, arguably one of the sharpest debaters on the frontbench, could not possibly win.  However, with the Tourism Minister demonstrating unbounded bravado, the Police was called to step in to stop the debate to save Dato’ Seri Najib Razak the blushes.

Dato’ Seri Nazri has previously told reporters that “Malaysia is not a Police State”, after the original debate was denied by the Police, hence the subsequent alternative arrangement was made.

Hence, we call upon the Senior UMNO Minister to prove that Malaysia is indeed “not a Police State” by insisting and proceeding with the debate with Tun Dr Mahathir, regardless of the ruling made by the Police.

The Minister’s failure to do so will not only confirm, by his own benchmark, that Malaysia has indeed degenerated into a Police State. It will also confirm that he is not a man of his words and has conveniently found a face-saving way out of proceeding with the much anticipated debate.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Dato’ Seri Najib Razak undisputed King of Obfuscation, carefully wording parliamentary replies with selected choice facts

Meanwhile, crucial details are deliberately omitted, calculated to present an alternate reality for the media and the rakyat.

At first, I was both amused and bemused by yesterday’s headline on Malaysiakini story, “PM: 1MDB has cleared its bank debts, short-term debts”.  The headline is factually correct, although it needs an alert and informed reader to read between the lines.

Later however, I was stumped and stupefied by the headlines of The Star and The New Straits Times (NST), screaming “Najib: 1MDB is now debt free” and “1MDB now debt free: Finance Ministry”.

I immediately sought out my colleague, Member of Parliament for Bakri, Er Teck Hwa for a copy of Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s parliamentary reply to his question, which was the basis for the above news stories.

He had asked the Finance Minister to state, among other things, “debts and assets of 1MDB in and out of Malaysia for the years, 2015 and 2016”.

Dato’ Seri Najib Razak responded that 1MDB made full settlement amounting to RM229.5mil for a revolving credit facility to Affin Bank in November, 2015.

Last year, 1MDB has also successfully repaid a RM950mil in a standby credit facility from the Federal Government, a RM2bil term-loan facility from Marstan Investments N.V and a US$150mil term financing facility from Exim Bank.

With the RM3.8 billion worth of debts repaid, the Finance Minister further added that 1MDB no longer have any borrowings with banks, nor any other short-term debts.

As if on cue, knowingly or unknowingly, The Star and The NST fell for it hook, line and sinker by declaring that “1MDB is now debt free”, painting most beautiful alternate reality which the Prime Minister would like you to believe.

Except the reality is so exceedingly different, that you can only conclude that Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s reply was deliberately designed to obfuscate the truth to achieve the effect convincing Malaysians of the biggest lie of them all, that “1MDB is debt free”.

Dato’ Seri Najib has conveniently and mischievously failed to disclose the multiple elephants squeezed into the room -  that 1MDB still have outstanding

(i)             a 30-year RM5 billion bond which is guaranteed by the Federal Government

(ii)           two 10-year US$1.75 billion bonds which was guaranteed by Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC) but have since been indemnified by the Ministry of Finance, Incorporated (MoF Inc)

(iii)          a 10-year US$3.0 billion bond, guaranteed with a “Letter of Support” issued by the Minister of Finance

(iv)          a US$1.0 billion advance by IPIC, indemnified by MOF Inc

(v)            at least US$230 million worth of interest payments by IPIC on behalf of 1MDB, indemnified by MOF Inc.

Hence, the total amount of 1MDB debt still outstanding, and directly or indirectly guaranteed by the Federal Government are RM5.0 billion and at least US$7.73 billion, or a total of more than RM39 billion!

This is despite the fact that the Federal Government has already bailed out 1MDB’s real estate division by assuming 1MDB’s RM2.4 billion worth of sukuk and another RM800 million borrowed from SOCSO.

In addition, the RM39 billion is still outstanding despite the fact that 1MDB has already disposed of its power plant assets for a total of RM9.83 billion.

Hence it complete defies belief that Dato’ Seri Najib Razak was less than truthful with the material omission of more than RM39 billion worth debt in his reply to my Bakri colleague.  Instead, the Prime Minister chose to extol 1MDB’s RM3.8 billion repayments, barely a-tenth of the scandal-ridden fund’s total debts.

He even carefully worded his happy conclusion, that 1MDB no longer owes any bank any money or any other short term debts, to skew the impression and perception of those who are not alert or informed.  If this does not crown Dato’ Seri Najib the devious King of Obfuscation in Malaysia, then I certainly don’t know what would.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Is our national interest now subjected to foreign terms and conditions?

Last week, I had asked the Finance Minister to justify the award of the RM55 billion East Coast Rail Link project to China Communications and Construction Company (CCCC) and why Malaysian companies were not given the opportunity to tender for the project.

In the Finance Ministry’s reply, it said "to qualify for this financing offered by China Exim Bank, the project had to be executed by CCCC".

The Minister said that the Export Import Bank of China (China Exim Bank) offered a soft loan to Malaysia for the project at low interest rates.  He added that the loan, for a period of 20 years, also allows for a grace period of seven years where the government does not need to repay the principal.

In addition, "the government has, in principle, agreed at least 30 percent of the infrastructure work will involve local companies and contractors".

If studied carefully, the reply carried very sinister undertones.

Malaysia now appears so desperate for foreign financing for its so-called national interest projects that it is willing to subject itself to terms and conditions of foreign powers.

Just because somebody is willing to lend you the money at seemingly favourable terms does not mean that you should accept the condition to select the product that will cost nearly double the estimated price.

This is no different from unscrupulous retailers to duped Malaysian shoppers into “zero-interest” financing schemes on products costing significantly higher than if you have paid for it in cash.  Any financial consultant will educate you that the real cost of financing is already built into the jacked-up price of the product.

Worse, the real cost of funds for the project is now opaque because we do not know the real cost of the project as it was awarded without any open and competitive tender.  We do know however, that the Government’s own appointed consultants, HSS Integrated has estimated that the cost of the 600km railway project will cost less than RM30 billion.

Therefore, to pay for the project at RM55 billion just because China Exim Bank offered an “attractive financing package” is absolutely scandalous!

Worse, only 30% of the project will involve local companies and contractors, despite an abundance of experience and expertise which are already widely available in Malaysia.  We have now got many companies who have built double tracking railway projects, dug award-winning tunnels systems and constructed the MRT.  And yet, the Government is awarding a standard rail link project at substantially higher cost to a foreign company with minimal local participation.

The irony is, the Finance Ministry has advised or even instructed our Government-Link Companies to halt their investments abroad and repartriate its foreign funds from overseas to check the drastic decline of the ringgit.  Bank Negara even put in harsh measures to force private companies to convert their foreign currency receipts into ringgit.  However, the Government clearly doesn’t practise what it preaches because the overwhelming bulk of the inflated RM55 billion cost will be paid to China despite available local options.

There can be no better example of the English saying, “penny wise but pound foolish”.  What boggles the mind is, the Finance Ministry doesn’t comprise of idiots – they should know that we are paying well above what is a fair price for the project.  What is the ‘real’ reason why the project has been awarded to CCCC – is the real ‘quid pro quo’ the fact that CCCC will help launder part of the astronomical profits to pay off 1MDB debts as widely speculated?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Did the Second Finance Minister even bother asking the Finance Minister if the latter took money, directly or indirectly from 1MDB and SRC International?

I am disappointed, although not surprised by Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani’s immediate decline of my invite to speak at my fund-raising dinner.  It would have been perfect opportunity for the Second Finance Minister to convince and implore the voters of Petaling Jaya Utara to not only give 1MDB “a rest”, but even give me “a rest”.

After all, he could have demonstrated his conviction that “the folks of Petaling Jaya Utara elected you as their MP to do better things than just being obsessed with 1MDB”.

He justified his decision to turn down the invite by claiming that "I have to do my job as a minister and I would do the best for the country".

"Even if I had lunch or dinner (with Pua), it would not solve the problem the way he wants, because I am not the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), police and investigation agencies. So, let these agencies do their work.  Nowhere in my letter did I mention I want these agencies to stop their investigation," he told Malaysiakini.

Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani cannot have his cake and eat it too.

He wants to escape the challenge by taking the moral high ground.  He says he wants “to do his job as a minister” and he “would do the best for the country”.

If that is so, now that he is the Second Finance Minister, with all the necessary access to all the documents and transactions within the Finance Ministry subsidiaries – has he figured out why and how 1MDB and its sister company, SRC International lost tens of billions of ringgit?

Has Dato’ Seri Johari even bothered asking the Finance Minister, who also happens to be the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak, whether he did indeed receive US$731 million in his personal bank account which originated from 1MDB?

Or did Dato’ Seri Johari question Dato’ Seri Najib if he received the RM69 million in his personal bank account which originated from SRC Interntional, as inadvertently exposed by none other than the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Apandi Ali himself?  At the very least, did the Second Finance Minister, in dutifully carrying out his responsibility ask if Dato’ Seri Najib intends to return the RM69 million back to SRC International?

Why should a Second Finance Minister trying to shift his responsibility to “Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), police and investigation agencies”, when it is also his sworn duty to administer his own Ministry’s subsidiaries?

Isn’t uncovering multi-billion ringgit hanky-panky within his Ministry part of his Minister’s scope of work? Is it because Dato’ Seri Johari not dare to ask because he already knows the answer, but don’t want to rock the boat?

Or is Dato’ Seri Johari taking the position that what has happened in the past, even if it involved billions of ringgit of stolen funds, should be left alone, and his blinkered role is just focus on how to cover up the massive hole which has been created?

Whether the Minister attends my dinner to espouse his position is immaterial.  However, Dato’ Seri Johari’s deeds and actions only goes to show the hypocrisy of his moral high ground and his claims of “doing the best for this country”.  In fact, in his attempt to cover up the stolen funds and keeping the kleptocrats in power without answering for their crimes, he is betraying the country and sacrificing the interest of our future generations.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Open Invitation to Second Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani on Monday, 27 March 2017


A week ago, Second Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani wrote an open letter to me asking me to give the 1MDB issue “a rest”.  I had responded the next day with an open letter outlining some of the many reasons why I won’t “give it a rest”.  This includes the fact that the Minister has not only failed to answer the questions which have been posed, and the multiple attempts to obfuscate the truth for the Malaysian public.

However, a week later, the Minister has unfortunately chosen to maintain an elegant silence.  Perhaps Dato’ Seri Johari is just hoping that I would have no choice but to then “give it a rest”.

If so, the Minister must be daydreaming.  Instead, I would like to offer Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani the perfect opportunity to not only give the 1MDB issue a rest, but to give me “a rest”.

I would like to extend an open invitation to the Second Finance Minister to come to my fund-raising dinner on Saturday, 6 May 2017 to be held in the heart of the Petaling Jaya Utara (PJU) constitueny, at the SS2 open air carpark.

Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani will be given a full hour to speak uninterrupted to my voters to tell them about why they should not only give the 1MDB issue arest, but why they give me a rest by voting me out of office.  There would be no better opportunity for the Minister to do so than in front of an expected sell-out crowd of 300 tables.

Dato’ Seri Johari can explain to the 3,000 best-behaved audience why my “behaviour in respect of the entire affair does not fit that of a lawmaker”.

The Minister is free to put forth his argument, per his open letter, that “the spectacle of name-calling, not only towards me but towards other members of the administration as well, is nothing less than embarrassing and demeaning to your standing as a Member of Parliament.”

Then the Minister can ask the voters of PJU directly, whether “the folks of Petaling Jaya Utara elected you as their MP to do better things than just being obsessed with 1MDB”.

In fact, the other speakers who are attending the dinner are DAP Parliamentary Leader, Lim Kit Siang; former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad; Amanah President Mat Sabu and PKR Vice-President, Rafizi Ramli.  The Minister has a chance to put all of us ‘out of business’.

No BN Ministers would offer me such an opportunity to attend their official events and get even 15 minutes to explain how the Najib administration has stolen and misappropriated some RM25 billion of funds raised by 1MDB.

However, perhaps in my foolishness, I am giving UMNO-BN an excellent chance to sign my political death warrant.  The question is, will Dato’ Seri Johari have the courage and conviction in his defense of 1MDB to pick up the gauntlet?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Malaysians are massively dissappointed that the Government has sided to protect the profits of oil and gas companies, at the expense of the man-on-the-street

Malaysians are hugely disappointed that the Government has made a complete U-turn on the previously announced proposal for fuel retailers to compete freely at prices below a government-set ceiling price.

"After joint discussions with oil companies, we have agreed to announce the weekly price of petrol and diesel every Wednesday and the price (for the first week under the new system) will be effective March 30," the Minister of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism (KPDNKK) said in a live announcement on RTM1.

Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin said any companies that wished to sell below the weekly ceiling price must seek approval from his ministry.  "Petrol dealers that wish to hold promotions and provide discounts on the set price can do so by first seeking approval from KPDNKK.

"All oil companies and petrol dealers are reminded to abide by the new pricing. Stern action will be taken against dealers that sell petrol or diesel at prices other than what is set by the government," he said.

This announcement reversed the earlier announcement by the Second Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani and Datuk Hamzah himself.

Bernama has reported on 16 March that the Second Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani has said that “although the ceiling price was determined by the government, it was up to the oil companies to sell the petrol and diesel below it”.

This was further to the announcement made by the Minister of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism, Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin on 4 March.

The first sign of a U-turn was when I received a parliamentary reply from the Minister of Finance earlier this week who said that “with regards to the proposal to fix ceiling prices for petroleum products, it is still in the study and evaluation stage which will directly involve several relevant agencies such as the Ministry of Finance and the Minstry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism”.

The sequence of events clearly showed that the Government came under pressure from the oil companies who protested against the policy which allowed them to compete freely.

Although the Minister will claim that on paper, those companies who were interested to sell at a lower price or hold promotions will still be able to do so after obtaining “approval” from KPDNKK, this process will be cumbersome and any applications will be subjected to protests from other oil companies.

Why should these oil companies remain ‘protected’ by the Government when petrol and diesel are no longer subsidised by the tax-payers?  What makes these oil and gas companies so special that the deserve special protection compared to other goods and services?

I had previously issued a statement in support of the ‘free competition below ceiling price’ policy because the ultimate beneficiaries of the policy will be the man-on-the-street who are burdened with high fuel prices and that of other essential goods and services.  Competition will allow more efficient petrol companies to offer lower prices to consumers.

The biggest winners to the Government’s policy now are Petronas, Shell, BHP, Petron and Caltex – as they effectively form a cartel to control petrol prices via a Government’s fixed price.

Such a policy will contradict the spirit and intent of the Competition Act which forbids price-fixing and monopolistic practices in nearly all of the other industries.  Even trade associations such as the Coffee Shop Association have been told that “fixing” coffee or tea prices – which have been their practice for decades – is now illegal under the Act.

We call upon the Government to prioritise the interest of the rakyat who are burdened with increasing prices of essential goods and services, and not that of big corporates like oil and gas companies.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Open Letter by Tony Pua, DAP National Publicity Secretary and Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara to Second Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani on Tuesday, 20 March 2017

Dear Minister,

Thank you so much for your Open Letter addressed to me which was issued yesterday.  I am not sure whether I should be honoured to have received such a letter from a Minister for the very first time in my 9 years as a Member of Parliament.

Dato’,

You are extremely unhappy apparently because I called you a “liar” and accused you of “covering up for the Prime Minister”.  I checked my facts again and I’m more than happy to stand by my accusations.

Earlier this year, you told the media repeatedly that the Finance Ministry (MOF) would not take over any of the 1MDB’s debts.  This was a specific response to my question raised in mid-January as to whether the MOF took over 1MDB’s RM800 million loan from SOCSO and RM2.4 billion sukuk.

It was only when I received the convoluted parliamentary reply in the current sitting, I could conclude that MOF did indeed take over these debts.  The sad thing about the reply from the Minister of Finance was that it was clearly written in a way to obfuscate the truth.

You then dug a deeper hole for yourself by arguing that the RM3.2 billion of debt was an “operating debt” belonging to 1MDB’s wholly-owned subsidiary, 1MDB Real Estate (1MDB RE) and hence was not considered as 1MDB’s debt.  I then said that “no Finance Minister worth his salt would argue that the ‘operating debts’ of a wholly-owned subsidiary does not belong to the parent company’s accounting books”.

I also proved with facts published in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Report, extracted from the Auditor-General’s (AG) report that more than 87% or RM2.8 billion of the RM3.2 billion of 1MDB RE borrowings never went towards the development of 1MDB’s real estate properties.  Hence I asked why did the MOF not insist that these advances to 1MDB be repaid?

Dato’,

You then went on to tell an audience at a MIDF lunch talk that the Malaysian government couldn’t press charges against 1MDB personalities “without complete information”.  You supported your claim by saying the the Auditor-General and the PAC could not point to anything specifically wrong with 1MDB.

Again, I pointed to specific sections of the PAC Report which clearly concluded that the 1MDB top management has on dozens of occasions – lied and misled the Board of Directors, defied the decisions of the Board or worse, acted without the Board’s authority, all of which are legal offences.  The PAC even asked the authorities to investigate the CEO, Datuk Shahrol Halmi and other officers involved for the above wrongdoings.  However, a year later, Datuk Shahrol Halmi remains comfortably as of today, a Director of PEMANDU agency in the Prime Minister’s Department.

You added in your letter that, “as far as the government is concerned, there is nothing to hide and nothing to cover up.” Then, I ask you, if so, why do you not propose for the Cabinet refusing to declassify the ‘harmless’ Auditor-General’s Report?

However, instead of answering all of the above questions, you ask me to “give it a rest”.

You opined that 1MDB is the most scrutinised entity by all enforcement agencies in Malaysia. However, you fail to also disclose that every single investigating agency was hampered and disrupted.

When the PAC announced that we were summoning Jho Low for questioning, the PAC Chairman was soon replaced by Datuk Hasan Arifin who promptly reversed the decision.  Datuk Hasan, even responded that he has to “cari makan” when asked by the media if the Prime Minister would be summoned.

Despite the diligence of the Auditor-General’s Office, key documents such as 1MDB’s bank statements for its overseas subsidiaries were not handed over to the AG.  Neither did Arul Kanda or Datuk Shahrol hand over many other documents they promised when requested by the PAC.

The biggest farce must be the “Super-Taskforce” investigating 1MDB comprising of the Attorney-General, the Inspector-General of Police, the MACC Chief Commissioner and the Bank Negara Governor  set up by the Prime Minister himself.  Did you forget that just as the then Attorney-General discovered shenanigans relating to the Prime Minister, he was promptly “retired” on spurious ‘health’ reasons?  As if on queue, the new Attorney-General effectively dissolved the “Super-Taskforce” and even went to the extent of instructing the MACC to stop any further investigations on the matter.

Dato’,

You started your letter whining that you are merely working “serve the nation” by taking “positive and proactive” steps.

Perhaps let me gently remind you that there is a difference between ‘serving the nation’ and ‘serving the Prime Minister’, by covering up the scandal so that the truth gets swept under the carpet and the crooks get away scot-free.

Do you not realise that we are now a renown kleptocracy and how damaging that is for our country?  Everyone who has taken an interest in the affairs of Malaysia knows from the documents presented by the United States Department of Justice and the Singapore Courts that US$731 million from 1MDB, found its way through dodgy investment funds and deceptive offshore companies into the personal bank account of Dato’ Seri Najib Razak.

Do you not think that to “serve the nation”, we must work to revive our heavily-tarnished global reputation?  And do you not think that the only way we can remove the kleptocracy label from Malaysia is not by sweeping the truth under the carpet but instead ensure that the kleptocrats are charged and appropriately punished?

In fact, if you really want to take “positive and proactive steps” to help the nation, why haven’t you made a claim for the US$1 billion worth of assets being seized by the United States which were acquired with funds laundered and stolen from 1MDB?  Why is the Government still keeping up the pretences that 1MDB did not lose these billions of dollars?

Dear Minister,

The above are just some of the many reasons why I won’t give the 1MDB issue a rest.  The issue doesn’t deserve to be rested because you and your fellow Ministers have refused to answer simple questions and more importantly, the crooks who audaciously misappropriated more than US$5 billion are still at large.

Any elected representative with any sense of morality and integrity, who believes in protecting the interest of the man-on-the-street and who wants justice meted out to criminals who rob the country will never let the matter rest until the truth is found.

I am sure that my voters in Petaling Jaya Utara and all right-thinking Malaysians would overwhelmingly back my dogged persistence and relentless pursuit to ensure that Malaysia’s corrupt leaders and its kleptocratic government are made accountable for their crimes.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani must prove that the Auditor-General (AG) couldn’t find specifically what went wrong with 1MDB by seeking declassification of the AG’s Report on 1MDB

Last week, the Second Finance Minister Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani told an audience of the investment community at a luncheon organised by the Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd (MIDF) that the Government “can’t press charges on 1MDB without a full picture”.

He argued that "even the PAC (Public Accounts Committee) and AG (Auditor-General) were unable to specifically tell what went wrong”.

Dato’ Seri Johari must prove to Malaysians that he has not become a big liar defending a kleptocratic administration by demanding that the Cabinet declassify the Auditor-General’s Report immediately.

How can the Second Finance Minister expect Malaysians to believe him that the AG could not anything specifically wrong with 1MDB when the Najib administration has classified the AG’s Report under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) since its publication in February 2016?

Even the then Auditor-General, Tan Sri Ambrin Buang has emphasised that the intent of the OSA classification was only for the purpose of the PAC to complete its own report without unnecessary leaks.  He has stated clearly that there was no need for the AG’s Report to be classified after the PAC Report has been completed and left it to the discretion of the Government to declassify the document.

Can Dato’ Seri Johari tell us why the the AG’s Report remains classified?


Is it because even the ‘sanitised’ PAC Report itself has hinted at a whole lot of shenanigans discovered by the AG, if further exposed, would make life difficult for the Barisan Nasional Government?

For example, the PAC found that the 1MDB’s multi-billion dollar investments in Petrosaudi and other funds were carried out without any proper study or due diligence.  For that matter, the PAC and the AG found that 1MDB decided to invest a total of US$1 billion in a joint venture with Petrosaudi International Limited within just 8 days.

We have also since discovered with corroborating evidence from Bank Negara as well as court cases in the United States and Singapore, that US$700 million of that sum was siphoned to Good Star Limited, a company owned by the flamboyant Jho Low.

The PAC and the AG also found that 1MDB’s management executed multiple multi-billion dollar transactions without the approval of the 1MDB Board of Directors.  The PAC and AG also concluded that the top management had provided false information to the Board of Directors on multiple occassions.  Worse, the top management was found to have acted in defiance of decisions made by the Board of Directors.

The PAC and AG’s Reports were very specific in these allegations.

It true that the PAC and AG’s report were not sufficiently comprehensive. The PAC and AG could not investigate the US$731 million of funds originating from 1MDB which were deposited into the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s personal bank account because 1MDB refused to supply its overseas banking documents.

However, there are already sufficient instances of criminal wrong-doings and negligence by the top management highlighted by both the AG and the PAC in their reports.  This was also the reason why the PAC had recommended that the authorities carry out investigations against Datuk Shahrol Halmi and other management officers who were involved.

Hence the question that the Second Finance Minister must answer is – why haven’t investigations into the shenanigans in 1MDB, especially by Datuk Shahrol Halmi been completed after more than a year?  Why is Datuk Shahrol still a Director at the PEMANDU agency in the Prime Minister’s Department?

Is it because he is ‘untouchable’ and protected by the Prime Minister himself, so as to avoid even more damning truths surfacing on how tens of billions of ringgit were misappropriated by 1MDB, of which a substantial portion of it was channelled to Dato’ Seri Najib Razak?

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani must think that Malaysians are born yesterday to buy his excuse that the Government “can't press charges on 1MDB without a full picture”.

I was stunned by the Second Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani’s remarks to the media that the Government “can’t press charges on 1MDB without a full picture”.  I had certainly expected better of him, as he was a known critic of 1MDB before his appointment as a Minister.

"The transfer of the money to the accounts and so on, it’s not that. That’s only half the story. If you want to charge people, you need the complete story," Johari said at a luncheon talk organised by Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd which was reported by the Edge Financial Daily yesterday.

Of course, we need the complete story in order to charge any person for a crime.  However, the question is there must be a concerted effort to investigate the crime. 

From what we can see happening in Malaysia at this point of time, there is no attempt at all to investigate the crimes everyone can see which have taken place in Malaysia.

The United States Department of Justice (US DOJ) has clearly presented all documentary evidence of how funds amounting to more than US$5.6 billion have been siphoned from 1MDB and laundered overseas.  This included more than US$1 billion which have been siphoned to Good Star Limited which was owned by Jho Low, whose whereabouts are a mystery today.  The 1MDB management had persistently tried to hide this fact by lying that Good Star Limited was owned by 1MDB’s joint venture partner, Petrosaudi International Limited.

In Singapore, bankers have been sent to jail and bank licences have been withdrawn for facilitating the above same transactions.  This has included funds which has passed through to and from a Tanore Finance Corporation via its bank account with Falcon Private Bank to the personal bank account of Dato’ Seri Najib Razak.

And yet, despite the obvious and ease of accessing all the relevant evidence of grand corruption, the Second Finance Minister has the cheek to tell Malaysians that the Government “can’t press charges without the full picture”.

Dato’ Seri Johari even had the gall to dismiss the case in Singapore as not having involved Malaysians. "The governance issue happened in Singapore, not in Malaysia. And those characters are actually Singaporeans,” he said.

The Minister is obviously pretending very hard to be ignorant and stupid because the Singapore cases clearly named the parties who laundered the funds included Jho Low, his father Tan Sri Larry Low and other associates who were Malaysians.  Evidence including banking transactions were presented to the Court demonstrating how these funds stolen from 1MDB were misappropriated, including the amounts ending up in the Prime Minister’s bank account.

If the Minister is really clueless about the evidence and what took place in the US DOJ and Singapore Courts, I will be most happy to share the information and documents with the Minister.

However, please don’t tell half-truths to the Malaysian public that "even the PAC (Public Accounts Committee) and AG (auditor-general) were unable to specifically tell what went wrong.

The AG has discovered many wrongs which were cited in the AG’s Report on 1MDB which the Cabinet has decided to classify under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).  This was despite the fact that 1MDB had refused full cooperation with the AG by denying the AG access to crucial banking documents of its overseas subsidiaries.

But even what little revealed in the PAC Report was sufficient for the PAC to conclude massive wrong-doing on the part of the management.  The PAC has specifically demanded that Datuk Shahrol Halmi be investigated for his role in causing the billions of ringgit of losses to 1MDB and the Malaysian Government. 

It has been nearly a year since the report has been tabled in Parliament. Why hasn’t any action at all be taken against Datuk Shahrol Halmi?  In fact, why is Datuk Shahrol Halmi still a Director at the PEMANDU agency in the Prime Minister’s Department?

The reality is, not only has the Government made no effort into investigating the scandal, it is blocking all attempts to investigate the crime. For example, the Attorney-General abused his power by instructing the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) from further investigating the US$681 million or more which were discovered in the Prime Minister’s bank account. Subsequently, he rejected a request for cooperation by the Swiss Attorney-General to investigate the case.

Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani may not have been involved in the attempts to stall or stop the investigations, as he was only appointed a Minister in July last year.  However, he should not try to belittle the intelligence of ordinary Malaysians or take us for fools by claiming that the Government can’t press charges because it doesn’t have a “full picture”.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Which Finance Minister in the world worth his salt would tell you that the debts of its wholly-owned subsidiaries are not the debt of the parent company?

First of all, I would like to thank the Second Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani for issuing the official statement “Some Facts for Tony Pua”, in response to my earlier press statement on this issue.

This is because the Minister confirmed the very facts which I had stated.

1.     The Minister confirmed that real estate owned by the Government was sold to 1MDB at “nominal” prices.  A check on 1MDB financial statements would show that the 70-acre Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) land was priced at RM64 per square feet (psf) for a total of RM194 million, while the 486-acre Bandar Malaysia was at RM72psf for a total of RM1.67 billion.

2.     The Minister concurred that the 1MDB real estate companies took loans amounting to RM800 million from SOCSO and another RM2.4 billion worth of sukuk for Bandar Malaysia.

3.     The Minster also confirmed that the above debts amounting to RM3.2 billion are no longer under the books of 1MDB as they have been assumed by the Ministry of Finance.

The question is, how else to describe the above transactions other than a bailout?  The Government granted these parcels of land at “nominal prices” to 1MDB, but when effectively less than 50% of these parcels of land were ‘returned’ to the Government, they came with an attached liability of RM3.2 billion?

The Minister failed to mention the fact that 1MDB has sold 30.5 acres of TRX and 40% of Bandar Malaysia for RM3.5 billion and RM7.8 billion respectively where the proceeds are due entirely to 1MDB.  None of it went towards the settlement of these debts.  So why is it that 1MDB gets to keep all the astronomical profits, while the Ministry of Finance is left to carry all the liabilities in their entirety?

Dato’ Seri Johari tried to wriggle his way out of it by claiming that the above were merely the “operating debts” of the real estate subsidiaries.  Malaysians fail to understand his convoluted argument that “there is therefore a clear distinction between 1MDB debts, which will not be taken over by MOF Inc, and the BMSB/TRXC project company operating debt, which are part of the assets and liabilities of the company…”

I hope that Dato’ Seri Johari, who was formerly a corporate man himself, did not actually draft the statement because it makes no financial sense.  No Finance Minister worth his salt would argue that the “operating debts” of a wholly-owned subsidiary does not belong to the parent company’s accounting books.

The Second Finance Minister might do well to consult 1MDB’s newly appointed auditors, Parker Randall for an accounting opinion before issuing such embarrassing statements.

What is worse is that, even if Dato’ Seri Johari’s illogical statement holds, he has failed to acknowledge that both the Auditor-General and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have discovered that the bulk of the money raised from the borrowings did not go towards the real estate projects!

Page 43 of the PAC Report would tell you that out of RM800 million borrowed from SOCSO, only RM338 million went towards 1MDB Real Estate and its projects.  The balance was “advanced” to the 1MDB parent company for other purposes.

Even more shocking, Page 45 of the same report would tell you that not a single sen of the RM2.4 billion sukuk raised went towards the development of Bandar Malaysia or TRX, or any other 1MDB real estate projects!  The net proceeds from the sukuk were “advanced” to the 1MDB parent company for other purposes as well as to refinance previous borrowings, which were also utilised for non-real estate purposes.

The 1MDB CEO, Arul Kanda himself, confessed to the Public Accounts Committee that due to cashflow difficulties within the 1MDB group, these funds were “diverted” from their intended purposes.

Hence while the intent of the RM3.2 billion of borrowings was perhaps “operational” as emphasized by the Second Finance Minister, in reality, the overwhelming bulk of the borrowings was brazenly utilised for “non-operational” purposes.

Therefore, using Dato’ Seri Johari’s own argument, since more than RM2.8 billion of the borrowings were “non-operational” in nature, 1MDB must pay back these “advances” to MOF.

Otherwise, it’s a triple-whammy for the Malaysian tax-payers – where (1) 1MDB made multi-billion ringgit profits from nominally priced land from the Government to partially cover up tens-of-billions of ringgit of losses from other 1MDB transactions; (2) the Government takes back less than 50% of the land attached to a RM3.2 billion liability and (3) the RM3.2 billion borrowed was never invested in the land in the first place, which means that MOF itself has to further invest in the projects to realise their value.

The Malaysian tax-payers cannot be more screwed and victimised than the extra-ordinary bailout that is taking place right before our very eyes.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Don't “thank” the Domestic Trade Minister for raising sugar prices by “only 11 sen” - facts proved that the BN Government has allowed Malaysia’s sugar duopoly to make super-profits over the past 2 years

Two days ago, Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin said Malaysians should be thankful for the minimal hike in sugar price.  He said the hike, at only 3.8%, was minor compared with what was proposed.

This followed the ministry’s recent announcement that the new price of coarse granulated white sugar from March 1 onwards was RM2.95 per kg, up from the previous RM2.84.

“In fact, when we did the calculation, the millers had been asking us to increase the price to RM3.20, which is a jump of 40 sen. But from our calculation, we took the average and set it at the minimum of 11 sen,” he told reporters at the Dewan Rakyat.

“Malaysians should thank me instead of being angry with me,” Hamzah said.

An arrogant statement like that by the Minister is an open invitation for a fact-check.  In keeping with the current fad of “fact-checks” as epitomised by Malaysia Communications and Multimedia Commission’s (MCMC) “Sebenarnya” portal, I dug up the historical prices of global raw sugar prices, Malaysia government’s “Long-Term Contracts” (LTC) for raw sugar supply, our historical subsidies for processed white sugar and the Manufacturer’s white sugar price (before subsidy). (Please refer to table attached.)

Prior to 2015, Malaysia’s two sole sugar manufacturers purchased raw sugar via Malaysia government’s LTC for imported raw sugar supply.  For 2009-2011, the fixed raw sugar price was US$17.50 per 100lbs, while for 2012-2014, the price per 100lbs was US$26.00.

The LTC raw sugar purchasing system was subsequently abolished and manufacturers purchased import their raw sugar supply directly based on global market raw sugar prices.

I have also calculated the Manufacturer’s white sugar price, which is the sum of retail white sugar price plus any subsidy paid by the Government.  This will be the price that the two manufacturers receive per kilogram of sugar sold.

Very simply, I put the manufacturer’s raw sugar purchasing price and the processed sugar selling price historical trends from 2010 to date together in a single chart as shown in Chart A below.

The Chart itself speaks a thousand words.

Between January 2012 to December 2014, the manufacturer’s raw sugar supply price was US$26 per 100lbs.  They could sell processed sugar at RM2.84/kg and had no problems making a profit.

The question that needs to be asked is, today, the global market raw sugar price is approximately US$18.16 per 100lbs, why is it that the BN government see it fit to further increase the retail sugar price to RM2.95/kg?

Even after accounting for the differences in exchange rate over the period of time, the price of sugar should have been reduced, and not increased!

Chart A:


Worse, if you look at the raw sugar supply price in 2015, it dipped for the manufacturers immediately from US$26 in December 2014 to US$15.06 in January 2015, and further to a low of only US$10.67 in August 2015, why did the Government allow the manufacturers to continue making astronomical profits at RM2.84/kg?

Why hadn’t the Government reduced the price of sugar drastically in 2015 when the raw sugar supply price hit rock bottom?  As a comparison, even when the manufacturers bought raw sugar for US$17.50 prior between 2009 and 2011, the manufacturer’s sugar price was only between RM2.05 and RM2.50.

The data proved beyond doubt that there is absolutely no need for Malaysians to “thank” the Domestic Trade Minister as demanded by Dato’ Seri Hamzah Zainuddin.  Instead, Malaysians should perhaps be cursing and swearing at the Minister and the BN Government for stupidly (or perhaps intentionally) allowing the two Malaysian sugar manufacturers for profiteering via a Government-imposed selling price at the expense of ordinary suffering Malaysians.

We call upon the Government to not only withdraw the recent price hike of 11 sen for the retail price of sugar, but instead further lower the ceiling price from RM2.84/kg to reflect the substantially lower global price of raw sugar over the past 2 years.  This should be done immediately without any compensation or subsidies paid to the manufacturers.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Finance Minister’s convoluted answer on MoF takeover of 1MDB’s real estate assets was a blatant attempt to mask at least a RM3.2 billion bailout

I had submitted a question last week to the Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak which only required a simple straightforward, possibly 2-sentence answer.  I have asked the Finance Minister to “list the 1MDB real estate assets taken over by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and the consideration paid for them”.

More importantly, I asked “did MoF take over the borrowings associated with these assets including, the RM800 million from SOCSO and RM2.4 billion in sukuk bonds”.  This question only required a simple “yes or no” reply, with the total borrowings assumed by the MoF, if any.

What I received was a long grandmother story which tried to obviously obfuscate the answer.

The Finance Minister tried to pin the blame or responsibility for the take over of assets on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).  The PAC had indeed recommended that the MoF takeover these assets and I have no problems with that.
Anak-anak syarikat dan aset milik kumpulan 1MDB (TRX, Bandar Malaysia, tanah Air Itam, tanah Pulau Indah) seharusnya diserahkan kepada MKD, supaya dapat dikawal selia dan diuruskan dengan lebih rapi dan teliti. (pg 106)

To the second part of my question, again he shifted to responsibility to the PAC by quoting page 81 of the PAC report which stated that
…pinjaman SOCSO sebanyak RM800 juta oleh TRX City Sdn Bhd dan sukuk sebanyak RM2.4 bilion oleh Bandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd akan diuruskan, di mana ia akan kekal ditanggung oleh aliran tunai projek TRX dan projek Bandar Malaysia.

That was a most blatant slight of hand, and I actually had to double-check my own copy of the PAC Report because I didn’t recall any such recommendations. My memory certainly did not fail me because the statement on pg 81 was actually the proposal submitted by 1MDB to the PAC and not, a recommendation by the PAC!


However, while Dato’ Seri Najib Razak did not explicitly say “yes” or “no” to the above question, it is now clear as day that the MoF has effectively bailed out 1MDB to the tune of RM3.2 billion by taking over these debts!

It also meant that the Second Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Abdul Johari Ghani’s prior insistence to the media that there was no taking over of 1MDB debts planned over the assets takeover was a blatant lie.

Malaysians are being raped two-times over the above transaction because these pieces of land were “sold” to 1MDB by the MoF at bargain basement prices.  The land for the 70-acre TRX was priced at RM64 per square feet (psf) for a total of RM194 million, while the 486-acre Bandar Malaysia was at RM72psf for a total of RM1.67 billion.

However, 1MDB has already sold parts of TRX to Tabung Haji and Armed Forces Pension Fund-owned Affin Bank for more than RM2,700 and RM4,500psf.  In total, 30.5 acre of TRX was sold for approximately RM3.5 billion.  At the same time 40% of Bandar Malaysia has been sold for more than RM1,000psf.  The proceeds of these sale has already gone into the pockets of 1MDB to service its mountain of debt unrelated to its property division.

Hence we were screwed first time when we practically gave the super-prime land to 1MDB for free, allowing 1MDB to blindly profit for billions of ringgit.  We are now screwed the second time, when MoF takes back the balance of the assets from 1MDB, now attached with a mega RM3.2 billion debt.

Malaysians can now understand why former Second Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Husni Hanadzlah decided to quit the Cabinet.  The brazen bailout horrors which are taking place today are just mind-blowing – and the above refers only to the real estate transactions.

No Minister with an iota of integrity or credibility would want to remain in this Cabinet, bent on using billions of ringgit of tax-payers’ money to cover up the single largest kleptocratic crime by the Najib administration.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

1MDB Chairman, Tan Sri Irwan Serigar must answer as to why his fellow Directors are so tardy in making urgent and critical decisions on the financial audit of scandal-ridden 1MDB

The last audited financial statements filed by 1MDB was for the accounts for the year-ending March 2014.  1MDB has failed to file their financial statements for 2 consecutive years, March 2015 and March 2016 which were due to by October 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Even so, Deloitte Malaysia has since July last year, withdrawn its endorsements for the financial statements of March 2013 and 2014.  At the same time, the disgraced audit firm announced that it had resigned as the auditors of 1MDB as at February 2016.

The new auditors, Parker Randall, which is operated locally by a four-partner Afrizan Tarmili Khairul Azhar (aftaas) was appointed in January this year.

I had asked in my parliamentary question to the Finance Minister last week as to whether Parker Randall will re-audit the 1MDB financial statements for March 2013 and 2014.

The Minister of Finance responded that the Board of Directors will make a decision on the above on “after further discussions with the new auditor”.

The reply also stated that the last time the Board of Directors met to discuss the implications of the US Department of Justice asset-seizure kleptocracy suit was prior to 26 July 2016 when 1MDB had issued a press statement.

Malaysians are shocked that for exactly 1 year after Treasurer-General, Tan Sri Irwan Serigar took over the 1MDB Chairmanship from the disgraced Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, the Board of Directors had basically sat on their backsides and demonstrated little or no urgency over the 1MDB fiasco.

Allegations and evidence have been produced and made available globally by the US Department of Justice which showed that more than US$5 billion have been misappropriation from 1MDB and laundered around the world and yet our Treasurer-General acts as if it is no big deal.  These allegations and evidence have been supported since by court prosecutions which took place in Singapore and Switzerland against banks which had facilitated the money-laundering transactions.

Worse, it has also been discovered that at least US$731 million from the above misappropriated sum had found its way into the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s personal bank account.  Despite the gravity of the crime, our Treasurer-General, the most senior civil servant responsible for managing our hundreds of billions of ringgit of annual tax revenue has shown only nonchalance in the scandal.

Any auditor worth their salt would immediately tell you that they will not be able to complete a financial audit for the year without the “opening balance” or prior year accounts.  In this case, it is clear that there have been no audited and certified accounts for March 2013 and 2014 given that Deloitte has withdrawn its endorsement.

What’s more, the Companies Act requires the annual submission of financial statements endorsed by an appointed external auditor to the Registrar of Companies.  It is the statutory requirement for the independent auditor to carry out the above task and Directors who fail to ensure that the above are duly completed in a timely matter may be punishable by up to 5 years’ jail or thirty thousand ringgit.

The only resolution for the above matter is for the accounts for March 2013 and 2014 to be re-audited and re-stated.

Hence, what is the point of appointing Parker Randall as the new auditors if they cannot properly perform their duties? Why is the 1MDB Board of Directors dragging its feet under the chairmanship of the Treasurer-General?

We call upon Tan Sri Irwan Serigar to do what he is being paid to do by the Malaysian tax-payers properly.  He must remember that his job is to protect the integrity of his office and not to protect those who have misappropriated and stolen billions of ringgit from the Government and the people.

Monday, March 13, 2017

There’s nothing personal about a Tun Dr Mahathir – Dato’ Seri Nazri Aziz 1MDB Debate

A public spat between former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the Minister of Tourism, Dato’ Seri Nazri Aziz has led to a 1MDB debate challenge which has been duly accepted by the latter.

The Tourism Minister even took a dig at his colleague, EPU Minister, Dato’ Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan, who withdrew at the last minute after agreeing to a highly anticipated debate with the Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng.

Dato’ Seri Nazri said he would not budge. "Why should I? I am Nazri Aziz, you should know me better, I am not Rahman Dahlan," he told Malaysiakini when contacted.

The Minister’s bravado has apparently put the Najib Cabinet in a panic mode as the debate on 1MDB has been a subject matter which they have taken great pains to hide and cover up.

Even 1MDB CEO, Arul Kanda withdrew from a debate with me last year, after accepting a similar challenge with much bravado – holding a press conference in a hotel to say “Bring it on!”

They are so worried about the negative fallout for the Najib administration that Finance Minister II, Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani had to declare that the proposed debate between Tun Dr Mahathir and Dato’ Seri Nazri had “nothing to do” with the Government.


How ridiculous is it for the Finance Minister II to claim that the RM50 billion corruption scandal has “nothing to do” with the Government?

The 1MDB debate has everything to do with the Government, and in particular the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak.  The latter, who is also Finance Minister I, has been found to have received US$731 million which had originated from 1MDB based on the documents and evidence produced by the United States Department of Justice (US DOJ).  The 1MDB scandal has made Malaysia the kleptocratic capital of the world and put Malaysians to shame.

In fact, it is shocking that to date, since the US DOJ filed the suit to seize assets acquired with money laundered from 1MDB in July 2016, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak has not once denied the allegations that he has received the US$731 million misappropriated from 1MDB.

Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani tried to argue that the matter had purportedly already been “debated extensively in Parliament”.

He told the reporters that “the report that (was) prepared by the auditor general, (the) public accounts committee (PAC), have been deliberated extensively in Parliament, all questions have been answered in Parliament.”

However, the Finance Minister II failed to also clarify that the Parliament Speaker has forbidden any answers on questions relating to the 1MDB US DOJ suit, preposterously claiming “subjudice”.  At the same time, the then newly appointed PAC Chairman, Dato’ Hasan Arifin took pains to unilaterally make amendments to the PAC Report and refused any attempts during the meetings to investigate links between the scandal and the Prime Minister.  Worse, if all questions on 1MDB has allegedly been answered, then why is the Cabinet hiding the Auditor-General’s Report under the Official Secrets Act (OSA)?

Even the Finance Minister II himself failed to answer questions raised in Parliament on the scandal during the last sitting.

Hence with the utter failure of the Parliament, the next best thing Malaysians can hope for to gain the truth is via a debate. And one between the former premier and one of the harshest critic of the Najib administration, versus one of the most senior Minister’s in Najib’s cabinet could not have come at a better time.

In fact, if the Government has nothing to hide, we call upon the Cabinet to insist that the debate be broadcast live on RTM or TV3, for there could not be a better opportunity for the Najib administration to destroy the opposition’s allegations on 1MDB and clear its tainted reputation.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Dato’ Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan failed to convince anyone that he has not abused his powers to benefit developers while he was the Housing Minister

Dato’ Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan has been embroiled in the controversy of granting an extension of time (EOT) for the construction of condominium projects by BHL Group of Companies.  The former Urban Well-Being, Housing and Local Government (KPKT) Minister’s move has resulted in the house-buyers failing to secure Liquidated and Ascertained Damages (LAD) from the developer as stipulated in the Sale and Purchase Agreements (SPAs).

The aggrieved house-buyers have filed a judicial review against the Housing Controller and the Minister for the above decision last year.

Last Tuesday, the High Court ruled that the Housing Controller has no power to grant an extension of time to developers who delay the completion of housing projects.  Justice Hanipah Farikullah, who allowed the judicial review application by 71 house buyers, said the minister’s decision to rely on a regulation to allow the extension was against the Housing Development (Control & Licensing) Act.

We have called upon Dato’ Seri Rahman Dahlan to explain why he abused his powers to benefit the developers who have failed to deliver their projects on a timely basis for the house-buyers.

Worse, it has been discovered that the appeal by BHL approved by the Minister was supported by a letter from the wife of the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Apandi Ali, masquerading as a Director of the company.  The existence of the letter raises valid suspicions of bias, cronyism and impropriety.

Yesterday, the former Minister, Dato’ Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan denied that he has abused his power in the process.



"The decision I took was based on the powers clearly given to KPKT minister as stated in Act 118 (Housing Development (Control and Licensing) Act 1966)," he said.  He added that the decision in granting EOT was based on merit and was not influenced by support letters.

However, the Court ruling has stated clearly that the Minister has no power under Section 24 of the Housing and Development (Control and Licensing) Act, to empower housing controllers to waive or change any of the terms and conditions of the prescribed statutory agreement.  What “power” is the Minister harping about?

What is however most important, is the fact that Dato’ Seri Rahman Dahlan had insisted that his decision was based on the “merits” of the case.  However, in his statement, the Minister failed to specify even a single instance of such a “merit” to justify his decision which had rubbed salt onto the wounds of the house-buyers.

What could be so convincing and justifiable in the appeal by the developer, other than the fact that it was put forth by the wife of the Attorney-General, which moved the Minister to arbitrarily extend the completion date of the housing project by 12 months resulting in millions of ringgit of losses by the house-buyers?

Among the primary roles of the Minister is to safeguard the interest of Malaysian home-buyers against incompetent and unscrupulous developers.  Barring perhaps acts of God, the Minister should never interfere in a transaction, especially if it were to clearly result in substantial losses to the house-buyers.

Instead of granting approvals for extensions to Developers and penalising house-buyers, the Minister should have instead given warnings to the Developers that the Government will not hesitate to assist home-buyers in asserting their rights should the former fail to deliver their promises.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Move to allow petrol companies and kiosks to compete will benefit consumers and is long overdue

Bernama reported last week that the Second Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani said the government is studying the option of setting a ceiling price for petrol in view of the escalating cost of fuel.

He added that "It is up to the government to set a ceiling which is deemed fair for all. When the government has decided on the ceiling price, whether they (O&G industry players) want to sell the oil at lower prices for promotional purposes, we leave it to them.”

We fully welcome the above move as it is long overdue. Malaysians do not understand why petrol companies in Malaysia are not allowed to sell petrol prices at lower prices when they could see how kiosks in Thailand or Singapore can compete and lower pump prices.

When I asked the above question in Parliament several times, the only response I had once in 2009 from the then Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Industry, Datuk Tan Lian Hoe was that allowing petrol stations to compete with different prices “would confuse consumers”.  It appears that Malaysians consumers are much more easily confused compared to our overseas counterparts.

We can understand if the Government sets a maximum price these companies can sell petrol so that Malaysians will not be unfairly over-charged.  But we don't see the logic of not allowing the companies to compete and transfer their cost efficiencies to us via lower fuel prices. This is especially since the Government has already abolished fuel subsidy more than a year ago.

The only reason we could think of was that the Government is merely trying to protect the weaker players at the expense of the consumers.

As publicly discussed over the past weeks over the fuel price hikes, the petrol price is calculated based on the average monthly price of refined fuel as measured by Means of Platt Singapore (MOPS). However, petrol companies don't purchase their fuel at these “average” prices. They will all try, with varying degrees of success to acquire their supply of petrol at the lowest possible price during the month or even the year.

In addition, some petrol companies are obviously more efficient than others and have lower operating and investment costs.

Therefore, why shouldn't these companies who purchase their stock at cheaper prices and are more cost-efficient be allowed to pass on some of their savings to long-suffering Malaysians?

Hence we call upon Dato' Seri Johari Abdul Ghani to free up the competition as soon as possible and not wait until petrol prices go up further in the coming months.

In fact, under the new regime, the competition between petrol companies and kiosks must be regulated under the Competition Act by the Competition Commission of Malaysia. This is to ensure that there will be a level playing field and the petrol companies and kiosks will not collude to fix prices at the expense of ordinary consumers.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Instead of making the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia the bastion of truth and integrity, Datuk Seri Salleh Keruak has made it the Ministry of Fake News and Miscommunications

There cannot be greater irony when the Minister of Communications and Multimedia, Datuk Seri Salleh Keruak warned in his blog exactly a month ago against posting “fake news”:
I’ve said this before and I will say it again – verify before you vilify your source of news information. It is very unfortunate to know that many people still cling on to mistaken beliefs and theories that could even be decades old!  
Fabricated news stories and irresponsible online news sources spread misinformation in order to mislead and/or make money when others click on the site or article. This makes fake news much more insidious than real news.  
According to an analysis by BuzzFeed, a leading independent digital media company, hoaxes about the US politics were among the top-performing fake news content on Facebook in 2016. BuzzFeed News Media Editor, Craig Silverman said that twenty-three of the 50 top-performing fake news hoaxes found on Facebook, were focused on US politics.

However, the Minister seems to have picked up a different lesson from the above analysis that he cited.  It appears that the prevalence and popularity of “fake news” which helped President Trump with the American elections is the exact approach he would take to help Dato’ Seri Najib Razak defend his kleptocratic administration.

Two days ago, I have countered Datuk Seri Salleh’s attempt to shrivel 1MDB’s scandal into a peanut-sized RM1 million.  The Minister even presented the alternative fact that 1MDB was in possession of RM51 billion in assets and hence is a healthy “going concern”.

I’ve detailed the Auditor-General’s findings that the Federal Government has guaranteed, directly and indirectly, RM39.8 billion of 1MDB’s monster debts of which the Ministry of Finance wholly-owned subsidiary has no ability to repay.

I’ve also cited the fact that even 1MDB’s auditors, Deloitte have renounced the 1MDB March 2013 financial statements which provided the RM51 billion asset figure.  This was after various international agencies, including the US Department of Justice (DOJ) provided documents demonstrating that at least US$5.6 billion have been stolen and laundered from 1MDB via fraudulent transfers and fake companies.

Despite the Minister’s normally quick responses, Datuk Seri Salleh Keruak has failed to respond to the cited facts, much less provided any shred of evidence to counter the allegations.

Instead, the above only proved that the Minister has corrupted his position to become the official Ministry of Fake News and Miscommunications, consistent with many of his earlier statements defending the indefensible Prime Minister and 1MDB.

The award of the fakest news of all perpetrated by Datuk Seri Salleh Keruak has to be his continued insistence, even after the mountain of evidence presented by the US DOJ on US$731 million finding its way into Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s personal bank account in Ambank, that “after comprehensive investigations by many authorities, it has been confirmed that the funds were a donation from the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia”.

The problem is, Datuk Seri Salleh Keruak is learning from the best, Nazi Hitler who wrote, “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”  The Minister presented not an iota of proof to continue asserting that the siphoned funds actually originated from “the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia”.

It is the sacred task and duty of all right-thinking Malaysians to stand up for the truth and defeat the ‘big lies’ of the Najib administration to protect our country from crooked dictators, and ensure that our children do not pay for our indifference.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Unlike DAP Parliamentary Leader Lim Kit Siang who believed that Dato’ Seri Salleh Keruak could be tutored by me on 1MDB, I believe that the Minister is untutorable because he can’t count

DAP Parliamentary Leader Lim Kit Siang asked me to tutor Dato’ Seri Salleh Keruak on 1MDB yesterday. This was in response to the Communicatioarns and Multimedia Minister’s incredible claim yesterday that the 1MDB scandal is only a puny RM1 million scandal compared to the BMF RM2.5 billion scandal.

I really would, if I could.

I now believe that the Minister is actually untutorable because he really cannot count nor understand simple accounting fundamentals.

This was after he insisted yesterday that he didn’t need any tutoring, that “1MDB's start-up capital was only RM1 million” and that debt-stricken company has “RM51 billion worth of assets to show for it plus ongoing development for the next couple of decades.”

Unfortunately, Dato’ Seri Salleh Keruak is spinning a story that even the CEO for 1MDB, Arul Kanda has stopped spinning since a year ago.  And it only goes to prove that he really doesn’t know what he is talking about.

Firstly, while the Government did inject only RM1 million in cash into 1MDB, that Government has provided direct and indirect guarantees to various lenders from whom 1MDB borrowed RM5.8 billion and US$7.73 billion (RM3.4bn), or a total of approximately RM39.8 billion.  The amounts, which have been verified by the Auditor-General as disclosed in the Public Accounts Committee Report on 1MDB included:
  • RM5.0bn – 30-year bond guaranteed by the Federal Government (2009)
  • RM0.8bn – 10-year loan from SOCSO guaranteed by the Federal Government (2010)
  • US$3.5bn –10-year bond guaranteed by IPIC, Abu Dhabi but indemnified by MOF Inc (2012)
  • US$3.0bn – 10-year bond backed by a “Letter of Support” signed by the Minister of Finance which effectively guaranteed the debt (2013)
  • US$1.0bn – Advance by IPIC to 1MDB, indemnified by MOF Inc (2015)
  • US$0.23j– Advance interest payments by IPIC on behalf of 1MDB, indemnified by MOF Inc (2015/6)

All the indemnities, direct and indirect guarantees above mean that should 1MDB fail to pay the above, then the Federal Government of Malaysia, funded by ordinary tax-payers are liable to pay for the RM39.8 billion of 1MDB borrowings.

The above does not yet include additional billions of borrowings by 1MDB which are not officially guaranteed by the Federal Government.  If Salleh Keruak doesn’t trust me or the Auditor-General with the above figures, he could perhaps request for tuition from Arul Kanda instead.

The question is, does 1MDB really have “RM51 billion worth of assets”, a figure Arul Kanda no longer cites and worse, a figure that 1MDB’s own auditors have publicly renounced, to pare down its debts?

Has Dato’ Seri Salleh Keruak completely forgotten the fact that much of the RM51 billion worth of assets have either been sold (at a loss) or worse, been proven to be misappropriated by the investigations published in the United States, Switzerland and Singapore?

The documents which have surfaced since the international scandal broke showed the following sums have been outrightly siphoned from 1MDB:

  • US$1.83bn – Investment in or with Petrosaudi, which was mostly misappropriated to Good Star Limited, a company owned by Jho Low (2009-2011)
  • US$1.367bn – Purported “deposit” paid a fraudulent Aabar set up in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) which has since been liquidated (2012)
  • US$0.855bn – Additional “deposit” paid to the same fraudulent Aabar in 2014
  • US$1.56bn – Investment by 1MDB “Global Investment” in fraudulent investment funds (2013)

The total of funds misappropriated and hence completely lost, amounts to US$5.612 billion or approximately RM24.7 billion!  These losses do not yet include losses arising from 1MDB various “real” business transactions like the acquisition of power plants and real estate, astronomical fees paid to Goldman Sachs etc.

And despite all of the above, Dato’ Seri Salleh Keruak still deemed 1MDB “a going concern”.  The Minister obviously do not understand what is the meaning of “a going concern”.  Does he not realise that 1MDB no longer has any income sources despite remaining tens of billions of ringgit in debt?  Even Deloitte has given up auditing the company, and 1MDB itself has failed to produce a single financial statement since March 2013.

I sincerely hope that Dato’ Seri Salleh Keruak is merely pretending to be stupid.  Because if he is really that stupid, then even Arul Kanda would give up on him.  In fact, the 1MDB CEO might just prefer that the Minister keeps his mouth shut to save himself, BN, 1MDB and the Government further outrageous embarrassment.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

No clarity, more obfuscation: BN Strategic Communications Team's lengthy answer on how the Government arrived at a painful 20 sen hike for February petrol prices

I had issued a statement yesterday demanding that Dato’ Seri Najib Razak explain exactly how the Government arrived at a painful 20 sen increase for petrol prices.

RON95 and RON97 prices went up by 20 sen to RM2.30 (9.5%) and RM2.60 (8.3%) respectively while diesel cost went up by 10 sen to RM2.15 (4.9%).

This follows from the already big hike Malaysians have experienced since January where all types of fuel already increased in price by 20 sen.

Malaysians deserve a straightforward answer from the Government because they cannot fathom why the prices of fuel was upped significantly even though global crude oil prices have declined over the past month. What’s more, the beleaguered Ringgit actually recovered marginally which should ease the price pressures further.

Instead of receiving any response from any responsible Minister, much less the Finance and Prime Minister, we got a reply from the “BN Strategic Communications Team”. We don't know who they are, or even know what is their capacity to respond on behalf of the Government.

Regardless, taking their response at face value, they failed to provide any clarity on how the Government arrived at the painful 20 sen quantum of hike. If they could write such a lengthy essay to rebut my simple question, why couldn't they just attach the spreadsheet to justify the increase?

It explained that the pump prices was calculated from the average refined oil prices as measured by the “Singapore Means of Platts” (MOPS), which is already a widely acknowledged fact.

However, all that was further relevant from the statement was a paragraph which said, “a check on the MOPS would show that the average price of motor gasoline 95 unleaded for January had stabilised in a range of US$69 to US$70 per barrel and was materially higher than the average price in December 2016 where the price had steadily increased from US$62 at the beginning of the month to US$68 by December’s end.”

If the BN Strategic Communications Team is so confident of the numbers, why did they try to obfuscate the statistics with a fuzzy range of numbers, instead of just providing the specifics to justify the 20 sen hike?

I did the BN Strategic Communications Team a favour by doing the calculation on their behalf.

The average MOPS95 price for December 2016 is US$66.553 per barrel or US$0.4186 per liter. That works out to RM1.8753 per liter at the then exchange rate of US$1:RM4.48.

MOPS95 averaged slightly higher at US$68.820 per barrel or US$0.4328 per liter in January.  In turn, it translates to RM1.9130 per liter (US$1:RM4.42).

Hence based on the exact explanation provided by the BN Strategic Communications Team, the difference in price is only 3.8 sen more for January.

If so, why did the Government increase by so much more at 20 sen?

Therefore, my question raised yesterday remains unanswered, and Dato’ Seri Najib Razak, as both the Finance and Prime Minister, must explain why the price of petrol has increased so significantly despite the above.

The Ministry of Finance must disclose if the Government is actually imposing hidden taxes on the consumers to cover up for Government budget shortfalls.

Once again, we call for the full disclosure of the data, formula and exact details on how the fuel price hikes are calculated so that Malaysians know exactly why they have been forced to suffer as a result of the Government’s policies.