Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Najib’s toll freebie meant to entice Harapan supporters will only going to cost BN voters more

In Friday’s 2018 Budget speech, one of the big “goodies” that the Prime Minister announced was the abolishment of 4 tolls at Sg Rasau, Batu Tiga, Bukit Kayu Hitam and on the Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL).

On the surface, it looks like the Najib administration is hard pressed to replicate the Pakatan Harapan Alternative Budget which promised abolishing all highway tolls over time.

However, before Malaysians decides to rejoice, the first question that arises is how the government intends to compensate the existing toll concessionaires for their loss of revenue.

The Second Finance Minister, Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani very quickly burst the balloons by admitting that the government is looking at increasing the concession period for other tolls belonging to concessionaires as compensation.

This simply means that Malaysians will end paying toll fares for longer periods.

More specifically however, the tolls abolished were located in Selangor, a state which Dato’ Seri Najib Razak is only too eager to regain; and in Kedah as well as Johor, where BN is at the risk of losing with the twin threats of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

The 3 tolls at Sg Rasau, Batu Tiga and Bukit Kayu Hitam are owned by PLUS Malaysia Bhd. As a result, compensation for abolishing just three tolls will see the extension of its concession on any other highway under its management including the North-South Expressway, Seremban-Port Dickson Highway, Butterworth-Kulim Expressway, Malaysia-Singapore Second Link.

Very simply, the burden of the political move by Dato’ Seri Najib Razak to “free” the tolls in Selangor, Kedah and Johor will be “shared” by BN supporters in other parts of the country.  It appears to make a lot more sense to demonstrate support Pakatan Harapan because then, the BN government will actually show more love for you.

That however, isn’t the whole story.

The EDL is currently owned by MRCB, who just so happens is desperately looking to sell the loss-making highway.  MRCB also doesn’t own any other highway assets.

Hence the only way for the EDL toll to be abolished is for the Federal Government to fork out multi-billion ringgit compensation for MRCB.  Therefore, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak must come clean as to how much tax-payers must fork out to pay for the EDL and how the compensation is calculated.

The rakyat’s biggest fear is the Najib administration bailing out highway concessionaires, further proving that BN’s intrinsic economic policy is to “privatise profits and socialize losses”.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Minister of Finance confirms that EPF has not confirmed or approved any specific investments amounting to USD3 to 4 bil. in the US, contradicting the Prime Minister's boast to President Trump

The Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak went to the United States (US) last month and wasted no time impressing on President Donald Trump that he is out to boost the US economy.  He said “Number one, we want to help you in terms of strengthening the US economy.”

Among the most controversial and very specific promise by Dato’ Seri Najib was for the Malaysian Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to investment an additional “three to four billion dollars” to “support... infrastructure redevelopment in the United States.”

I had asked in my parliamentary question to the Minister of Finance whether the EPF has already specific projects amounting to “three to four billion dollars” to “support infrastructure redevelopment in the United States”.  I further asked, if yes, how much have been approved.

Tony Pua meminta Menteri Kewangan menyatakan sama ada jawatankuasa Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja (KWSP) telah meluluskan pelaburan sebanyak US$3 sehingga US$4 bilion bagi tujuan menyokong pembangunan semula infrastruktur di Amerika Syarikat.  Jika ada, apakah nilai pelaburan-pelaburan spesifik ini yang telah diluluskan.

In a relatively lengthy reply received from the Minister of Finance dated 25 October (attached), he effectively confirmed that EPF has made no such specific decision to invest “three to four billion dollars” to “support infrastructure redevelopment in the United States”.

The reply stated that every EPF investment is evaluated on a case by case basis on strict, disciplined and diligent criteria.

The reply did try to play down the Prime Minister’s promises to the American President by claiming that what he said was “consistent with the long term strategy of the EPF to increase its overseas investment, particularly in property and infrastructure”.  The Minister of Finance also tried to justify property and infratructure projects are relatively low-risk investment providing a relatively good rate of return.

However, my question has absolutely nothing to do with what forms of investment provides better or safer returns.  My question is specifically on whether EPF has already decided to make the specific US$3 billion, possibly up to US$4 billion of investment to “support… infrastructure redevelopment in the United States.”

Malaysians are relieved that the EPF will not be making any rash investments in the United States, more so inexplicably to “support… infrastructure redevelopment in the United States”.  It is not our job to “make America great again”.

We have no objections to EPF investment a proportion of its funds overseas, as long as the risks involved are properly mitigated and the investments are evaluated on strict and diligent criteria.

However, the above proved that our Prime Minister boasted empty promises to the American President.  The question then is, why did Dato’ Seri Najib Razak have to go out of his way to impress the Trump administration?

The answer appears to be obvious, from his stay the the Trump Hotel to his boasts at the White House, the Prime Minister pulled out all stops to curry favour the American President in order to hope that the United States government will go easy on the single largest anti-kleptocracy money laundering seizure in the country.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Despite 2 years after the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax, Budget 2018 projects increasing reliance on income taxes

Dato’ Seri Najib Razak proudly announced that the projected budget deficit for 2018 will be 2.8% compared to 3.0% expected for 2017.

However, this target is to be achieved not via more prudent spending but significantly higher government revenue collection.  As previously expressed by the Prime Minister, his administration has been “saved” by the implementation of the Goods & Services Tax (GST).

The GST is expected to contribute RM41.5 billion to the treasury coffers in 2017, and further increase to RM43.8 billion in 2018.  This compares against income from Sales and Services Tax (SST) last collected from Malaysians in 2014 which amounted to RM17.1 billion.

However, despite the massive increase in Government revenues resulting from the GST, there was no reprieve for individual and corporate income tax payers.  In fact, it has become increasingly painful for Malaysian income tax payers.

For individuals, income tax contributions increased by 4.7% from 2015 to 2016.  However, for this year (2017), individual income tax contributions will increase by a massive 9.2% to RM30.1 billion.  For 2018, individual income tax collection for the Government will increase by another 7.1% to RM32.2 billion. This is inspite of the proposed 2% decrease in income tax rates for taxable income up to RM70,000 per annum.

For corporate tax payers, the increase in burden isn’t any less. While corporate taxes dropped by 0.1% from 2015 to 2016, it is expected to increase by 6.6% to RM67.8 billion this year.  Next year, the increase is even more, at a projected 6.9% to RM72.5 billion.

The above increases in individual and corporate income taxes are disproportionately higher than the 4-5% economic growth rates for Malaysia.

The above lends credence to the widespread discontent against the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) for their heavy-handed tactics in squeezing substantially higher tax contributions from individuals and businesses. Some have even termed LHDN’s tactics as “tax terrorism” by demanding, with hardly any room for negotiation, backdated taxes of up to 10 years.

The above Budget proved that the Najib administration has not seriously implemented policies to impose prudence in spending.  Instead, it is relying almost entirely on increasing taxes to balance its books instead of cutting wastage, eliminating corruption and reducing the cost of government.

As a whole, this is reflected in the significant increase in the Federal Government operating expenditure which is expected to increase by RM14.4 billion 6.5% to RM234.3 billion in 2018.  In contrast, the increase in only by RM9.7 billion or 4.6% in 2017; while in 2016, the operating expenditure actually reduced by 3.1%.

In addition, the operating expenditure as a proportion to total expenditure continued its increase to 83.6%, the highest in Malaysian budget history.

Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s 2018 budget speech, like the year before, was littered with political sniping and peppered with a litany of election year goodies.  It contained no meaningful reforms in economic policies and institutions to end corruption and wastage.

The 2018 Budget only served to prove the widespread fears that as long as there are no such serious reforms in place, ordinary Malaysians will be forced to bear increasing higher tax contributions – whether it is via the GST, individual or corporate income taxes.

With outrageously creative accounting and a preposterous tax-payers’ bailout admitted by 1MDB itself, perhaps 1MDB will indeed be “on track to realise a profit”.

On Wednesday, I had accused the Prime Minister of peddling lies with the outrageous claim that 1MDB “is on track to realise a profit”, when 1MDB is nothing but a shell today laden with some RM40 billion of outstanding debt (including debts that have been assumed by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) over the past year).

1MDB tried vainly to defend the Prime Minister yesterday by spewing another set of half-truths and establish new standards of creative accounting.

I had, not for the first time, argued that 1MDB made some RM2.3 billion of losses from the sale of its acquired power plants to China General Nuclear Corporation.  And not for the first time, 1MDB tried to argue that 1MDB didn’t lose money because of dividends purportedly received from the energy subsidiaries.

Let me remind the CEO of 1MDB, Arul Kanda again - he had conceded to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that were the purported RM2.18b in dividends to be counted, he also needs to account for the huge RM3.5 billion in interest costs on the loan is taken to purchase those assets in the first place.

Only a half-baked CEO would tell his shareholders that he made money from the dividends, without taking into account the massive interest bill which was substantially higher than the purported dividends!

Worse, when I checked the financial statements of 1MDB’s energy subsidiaries, there was not a single year where they declared dividends to their 1MDB parent.  This meant that Arul Kanda cooked up the entire ‘dividend’ bullshit.

The Prime Minister himself declared that the proposed 1MDB rationalisation exercise practically ‘complete’ way back on 31 December 2015.  He said then, “it is therefore clear that 1MDB’s major challenges are now behind it as I promised they would be last summer.”

Except two years later, the plans are not only far from complete, they have completely unravelled.

As I’ve already highlighted previously, the RM7.41 billion deal to sell 60% of Bandar Malaysia which was the pillar of the 1MDB rationalisation exercise, has collapse spectacularly with no end in sight.

1MDB which had no ability to develop the massive property project had surrendered Bandar Malaysia back to the MoF, as proposed by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).  And as 1MDB rightly pointed out, I was part of the committee which made the particular recommendation.

However, what PAC did not at any point in time recommend for the RM2.4 billion sukuk bond 1MDB borrowed for Bandar Malaysia to be also handed to MoF.  This is because the Auditor-General has confirmed that hardly a single sen from the above bond was actually spent for the purposes of the Bandar Malaysia project – a fact which was also conceded by Arul Kanda to the PAC.

Most shockingly however, as admitted explicitly for the first time by 1MDB in its statement to condemn me, was that 1MDB is expecting to “receive payments, over time” from MoF for the above debt-laden asset transfers.

In layman terms, it means that not only the tax-payers were forced to assume 1MDB’s debt, we bloody fools have to even pay 1MDB to assume these debts!

The above doesn’t yet include the fact that MoF has only recently in August, directly or indirectly bailed out 1MDB by making some US$600 million (RM2.5 billion) in settlement payments to Abu Dhabi’s IPIC.

Perhaps, I was wrong after all.  Despite being a shell laden with some RM40 billion of debts, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak was right to say that 1MDB “is on track to realise a profit” – with outrageously creative accounting and a preposterous tax-payers’ bailout.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Dato’ Seri Najib Razak is clutching at straws arguing that the ringgit has performed well this year when it has barely recovered a fraction of its losses since 2013

Dato’ Seri Najib Razak wants Malaysians to believe that “the ringgit had performed better than the currencies of many other large commodity exporter countries, and forecasters had predicted that it will regain its strength”.

Is the Prime Minister trying to convince us that the 5.9% appreciation of the ringgit from RM4.49 to the dollar on 1 January 2017 to RM4.24 today is an achievement worthy of a standing ovation from Malaysians?

Does he need reminding that when he became the Prime Minister on 9 April 2009, the exchange rate was RM3.58 to the dollar or 18% higher than what it is today?  As a matter of fact, since the 2013 general election, the ringgit has tanked significantly on an annual basis.

In 2014, the ringgit slumped 6.3% from 3.281 on 1 January to 3.502 a dollar on 31 December.

The Prime Minister had then told us in January 2015 that the Ringgit will bounce back from the then five-year low versus the US dollar as “Malaysia's financial market is sufficiently robust”.  Believe it or not, the Ringgit was then trading at 3.50 to the Dollar, which now seemed like a parallel universe away.

Instead, in 2015, the ringgit collapsed 18.5% to 4.303 a dollar on 31 December.

Even then, despite continued re-assurance from the Government and Bank Negara that our currency was undervalued and unjustifiably depreciated for those 2 years, the ringgit tanked a further 9.6% in 2016.

If we had all trusted Dato’ Seri Najib Razak and invested based on his financial advice, some of us would be bordering on suicidal tendencies today.

The thing is, if every other currency had declined at the same rate against the Dollar, it wouldn’t have felt so bad.  What is particularly galling is that the Ringgit performance is the worst among all the major regional currencies over the past few years.  We have weakened significantly against the Hong Kong and Singapore dollar, the Thai baht, the Indonesian rupiah, the Chinese yuan and many more.  Hence the Prime Minister’s call for a celebration for a marginal improvement in the exchange rates this year is a serious case of clutching at straws.

It appears that everyone knows the real cause of the ringgit’s terrible performance except our clueless or pretend-to-be-clueless Prime Minister and his merry men. The fundamental cause is because of the complete collapse in confidence in our currency and economy ever since we have been outed as a major global kleptocracy and the failure of the Malaysian authorities and Government to take any action against those responsible.

The direct consequence of a badly depreciated ringgit is not only significantly higher travel cost overseas, it is the much higher cost of imports which translates into the highest inflation rates Malaysia is facing since the last global financial subprime crisis.

We cannot let Najib’s focus on the Ringgit’s short-term improvements distract us from the bigger picture. In order for the Ringgit to recover to RM3 to the dollar, the only way will be to rid the country of a kleptocratic administration and implement clean, transparent and competitive economic policies to bring back the confidence of local and foreign investors in Malaysia.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Dato’ Seri Najib Razak is the biggest purveyor of ‘fake news’ by singing 1MDB's praises in his blog but has no courage to debate the mother of all scandals in Parliament

On his blog yesterday, Najib gave us his economic vision for the country ahead of the 2018 Budget announcement on Friday.

However, the entire credibility of his “economic vision” collapsed with the outrageous claim that 1MDB has not only “brought the country good” but “is on track to realise a profit”.

1MDB is currently an empty shell, holding absolutely nothing but some RM40 billion of debts.  How in the world is 1MDB “on track to realise a profit”?!  If this is not a brazen attempt by the Prime Minister to create ‘fake news’, what is?

Dato’ Seri Najib argued that it was 1MDB which solved the lop-sided power purchase agreements attributed to the previous BN Prime Minister.

We are thankful that Dato’ Seri Najib finally admitted that those independent power producers (IPPs) were allowed to profit astronomically from the BN government of which he was part of before.  However, Malaysians are still clueless as to how 1MDB apparently “solved” the above injustice.

As far as we are concerned, Malaysians didn’t enjoy a single sen in benefit as electricity tariffs have only increased and not decreased since 1MDB started acquiring these IPPs.  Worse, the 1MDB’s RM12.1 billion-misadventure in the power sector resulted in multi-billion ringgit losses when it was forced to dispose of its entire energy interests to a China outfit for a mere RM9.3 billion.

Dato’ Seri Najib Razak further told Malaysians to laud 1MDB for its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) work including its sponsorship of hajj pilgrimages and scholarships purportedly amounting to RM690 million.

What the Prime Minister failed to tell Malaysians is that the so-called CSR is funded entirely with government-guaranteed debt amounting to more than RM40 billion.

More pertinently, while RM690 million of the debt may have found its way to CSR initiatives, US$732 million or approximately RM3 billion found its way from 1MDB to Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s personal bank account in Ambank between 2011 to 2014.  The Prime Minister has to date failed to debunk this expose by the US Depart of Justice.

Najib must think Malaysians fools to believe in all his outrageous lies.

If the Prime Minister really thinks that 1MDB has been the saviour of Malaysia, then he should immediately lift the ban on sensitive 1MDB questions raised in the august House.  Instead, he should table a Ministerial Statement to ‘debunk’ all the so-called ‘lies’ by the members of the opposition and allow for a full debate on the 1MDB scandal.

However, if Dato’ Seri Najib Razak chooses not to be accountable in Parliament, then he will prove himself to be the most corrupt and cowardly Prime Minister in the history of Malaysia who relies on the BN-controlled mainstream media to propound his ‘fake news’.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Speaker has gone bonkers in his over-zealousness to cover up the 1MDB mega-scandal, in this case a US$600 million (RM2.5 billion) emergency bailout of 1MDB by the Ministry of Finance in August 2017

The Parliament question time has become a complete joke.  During the last sitting, I had 5 questions rejected for asking questions with regards to 1MDB.  This round, I have 3, in part because I submitted less questions on 1MDB to avoid too many questions being thrown out.

However, the basis of rejecting the questions I had posed remained completely untenable.  For example, I had asked submitted the following question to be answered today:
Tony Pua meminta Menteri Kewangan menyatakan adakah 1MDB membayar lebih kurang US$600 juta kepada IPIC pada bulan Ogos 2017 melalui pengewangan (“monetisation”) ‘unit’ dana pelaburan 1MDB?  Adakah Kementerian Kewangan telah membantu membiayai bayaran tersebut secara langsung atau tidak langsung?
The question was whether 1MDB’s settlement to Abu Dhabi’s IPIC was funded through the monetisation of 1MDB investment ‘units’ and/or whether the Ministry of Finance (MOF) had helped support these payments either directly or indirectly.

However, I received a rejection letter from the Speaker claiming that the question could not be answered presumably because it would be subjudice as “the matter is in court”.  But the above payment which is part of an agreed settlement with IPIC has nothing to do with any court, whether in Malaysia or any where around the world.

I didn’t even ask about the ‘settlement’ itself.  I merely asked if the MOF helped 1MDB, directly or indirectly, with the US$600 million payment to IPIC which was made in the month of August.  Hence, how is this in any way related to any court case?

The Speaker should be reminded that in April this year, it was 1MDB itself who claimed that its payment obligations would be funded by the monetisation of investment ‘units’.

In August, 1MDB changed their tune and said that the payments were funded through the ‘proceeds of the on-going rationalisation programme’. What exactly is this rationalisation programme?

Is it not ridiculous that 1MDB can make all sorts of conflicting and vague statements to the public but Members of Parliament have no recourse to obtain any clarification or confirmations from the Ministers?

Both 1MDB and the MOF need to come clean about the source of these payments. If the Ministry is helping make these payments, surely the rakyat have a right to know.  In fact, the refusal to respond has only confirmed the suspicions that the MOF has indeed conducted an emergency RM2.5 billion bailout of 1MDB in August this year.

We very much regret that the purportedly independent Speaker’s Office is now helping 1MDB and MOF cover up questions on the scandal.  I will certainly raise this question again in my speech in this sitting and it will make a complete mockery of the Budget debate if the Finance Minister cannot tell us where our money has been used or spent.

Monday, October 23, 2017

The single biggest economic challenge which Dato’ Seri Najib Razak must address in the 2018 Budget is rising inflation

We will expect Dato’ Seri Najib Razak to wax lyrical about the higher that expected economic growth as reflected in the recent GDP figures. Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) said given the strong growth in the first half of 2017 at 5.7%, the economy is expected to expand by more than 4.8% in 2017.

The question must be asked, if Malaysia’s economy is doing so well, why is it that ordinary Malaysians on the streets are feeling so pained?

The answer is obvious.  While the BN leaders sing praises of themselves over their supposed achievements, Malaysia’s inflation rate – which reflects the cost of living in the country, has been hitting record levels unseen since the global financial subprime crisis a decade ago.

Malaysia recorded an inflation of 4.3% year-on-year in September, the highest since March, mainly due to the rise in transportation costs and prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages.

According to the latest the consumer price index (CPI) released by the Statistics Department on Friday, transportation segment increased 15.8% on costlier fuel while the food and non-alcoholic drinks group rose 4.6%.

To put the above figures in context – despite GST’s implementation in April 2015 which resulted in a spike in inflation, the CPI had only increased to 2.1%.  In 2016, the inflation rate continued remained persistent at 2.1%.

Back then, the BN Ministers argued that the rising inflation was only a temporary “one-off”, and assured that the inflation rate will decline after a year or so after the implementation of the GST.  However, the CPI not only remained stubborn, it has accelerated to 4% year to date in 2017 demonstrating how wrong the BN administration have been.

In fact, Malaysia is currently suffering from negative real interest rates.  A survey of the local banks would show that they are only paying up to interests of 3.05% for 1-month fixed deposits.  If one keeps cash in a current or savings account as most Malaysians do, the gap would be even bigger.

This means our hard-earned savings kept in the banks are worth less tomorrow than they are worth today.

Hence not only Malaysians have gotten markedly poorer globally as a result of the massive depreciation of the ringgit over the past 4 years, our wealth is shrinking even in local ringgit terms.

Hence, the single biggest economic threat which must be addressed in the 2018 Budget to be announced on Friday this week is Malaysia’s inflation rate.  If Dato’ Seri Najib Razak decides to gloss over the issue by pulling the wool over the people’s eyes in an election year, the consequences for the people will be dire as Malaysians will be faced with even higher cost of living expenses in an environment of stagnant wages and rising unemployment, especially among youths.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Why is the MCMC quick to the draw when the Prime Minister is ‘insulted’ on Facebook, but completely silent when tens of millions of private, and possibly confidential data have been stolen?

Lowyat.net reported on Thursday alledged that stolen personal data belonging to millions of Malaysia were up for sale publicly. However, instead of coming out with an investigation into the matter, the regulator MCMC demanded that Lowyat.net remove its report.

The the now ‘deleted’ report exposed that the data includes personal data sourced from various telecommunication providers, medical associations and housing loan providers. The data being sold was reportedly stolen between 2012 and 2015.   This data could include citizens’ private bank details, mobile phone numbers, addresses and emails. Clearly, the magnitude of this sale of Malaysians’ private data should be a cause for concern as it concerns.

Why is the first move by the authorities at MCMC to block the report?  Why is it that after 2 days, MCMC has yet to make any comment on the issue?  Is it because the public sale of stolen personal data also exposed how MCMC is utterly toothless in enforcing the Personal Data Protect Act passed in Parliament in 2010?

Or is the MCMC protecting all the 'big' players in the market from telecommunication companies to banks to government agencies from being charged for breaking the law, by failing to take adequate measures to protect the privacy of their customers' data?

The complete silence by MCMC contrasts against the series of lightning quick and harsh actions taken against individuals who were merely expressing their anger and frustration at the state of affairs in this country by hurling insults at the Prime Minister or the Government on Facebook or Twitter.

Many of these individuals have been investigated and charged under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 which provides for a maximum fine of RM50,000 or jail of not more than a year or both, if convicted.  In addition, MCMC wasted no time blocking access to multiple blogs and websites which have exposed scandals of the Prime Minister, such as Sarawak Report and The Malaysian Insider, whereby most, if not all, of the allegations have proven true

It would appear that MCMC treats itself as a political watch dog for Dato’ Seri Najib Razak and Barisan Nasional, instead of playing its role to protect the interest of ordinary Malaysians.

MCMC and the Ministry of Information and Communications need to provide Malaysians with an assurance that our private data online is being protected and breaches are investigated thoroughly. Perhaps, instead of political policing, it is time they focused on policing cyber threats and protecting Malaysians’ privacy.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun is free to commence legal action against either one or both of us over comments made regarding MCA's land grab in Petaling Jaya

The MCA Vice-President and former Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara (PJU), Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun has today, threatened to sue Yeo Bee Yin, state assemblywoman for Damansara Utama and/or Tony Pua, the current Member of Parliament for PJU.

The is with regards to remarks we have made about her position and role in a land grab scandal in Petaling Jaya between 2006 to 2008 which was discovered recently.  This was a 1-acre piece of land which was awarded to MCA for RM1 per square feet or RM52,000 in total.  A market price estimate of the land value based on approximately RM400 per square feet would add up to RM17.5 million.

We have established the following facts:

1.     Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun was the Member of Parliament for PJU during the period concerned.

2.     Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun is MCA Vice-President today.  She was also the MCA Wanita deputy chairperson during the period concerned.

3.     Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun is fully aware of the land application and transaction where the BN state government then granted the ownership of the land to MCA.

4.     Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun is fully aware of the location of the land as she was at one point in time initiating or encouraging a dragonfruits farming project there.

5.     The land was formerly occupied by squatters before they were evicted by the then BN state government.

6.     The land deal has profited MCA immensely at the expense of the state government and the people of Selangor.

7.     The land is currently zoned as a “water body” [“Badan Air (Sungai)] in the Petaling Jaya Local Plan (RTPJ) and MCA has applied to convert the “water body” into a “commercial and services” zone.

8.     This is not the first land grab scandal in Selangor by MCA, but the first discovered in Petaling Jaya.

Therefore, we questioned:

1.     What is the role played by Datin Paduka Chew, whether directly or indirectly to support the land grab?

2.     Did Datin Paduka Chew object to or at any point of time attempted to stop the land application by MCA given that she was fully aware of the transaction?  Or did she close one eye and placed the interest of MCA above that of her voters?

3.     Does Datin Paduka Chew, as a very senior MCA party leader believe that the land grab by MCA is an ethical exercise and not a breach of trust of the people who have voted for her and her party then?

4.     If Datin Paduka Chew still have any conscience left in her, would she agree with us that the land be returned to the state government so that it can remain as a “water body”, acting as a buffer to prevent flooding along Sg Kayu Ara in Kg Chempaka?  Or at the very least, would she agree that it is only proper for a political party pay the full premium for the land which was alienated by the state government?

We find absolutely nothing defamatory in the above questions and facts, which were expressed in the purported defamatory video published by Yeo on her Facebook and our joint press conferences over the issue.  Hence there is absolutely no reason for the video to be taken down.

Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun is free to sue Yeo and/or Pua as that is her prerogative.  However, our genuine advice to the former Deputy Minister is, if she is concerned about her political reputation being damaged, she will be much better off winning the hearts and minds of the people by declaring that all parcels of land alienated by state governments all over the country to MCA be returned to the respective state governments, failing which the premium for the parcels of land be paid in full.

Tony Pua & Yeo Bee Yin

Monday, September 18, 2017

Did Dato’ Seri Najib Razak make empty and meaningless promises to the President of the United States just to curry favour and show off?

In the viral 6-minute meeting between Dato’ Seri Najib Razak and President Trump, accompanied by their respective delegations, the Malaysian Prime Minister pulled out all stops to impress the American President.

Dato’ Seri Najib did not waste time with pleasantries and started his speech with how much Malaysian firms and funds will purchase from, and invest with US companies.  He said “Number one, we want to help you in terms of strengthening the US economy.”

Among the most controversial promise by Dato’ Seri Najib was for the Malaysian Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to investment an additional “three to four billion dollars” to “support... infrastructure redevelopment in the United States.”

Ordinary Malaysians, and in particular, contributors to the EPF are up in arms over the Prime Minister’s callous promise to the American president. How is it that we are now spending billions of our saving to support “infrastructure redevelopment in the United States” when we are in desperate need for the same in Malaysia?

The irony cannot be greater when only recently Dato’ Seri Najib Razak secured a RM55 billion loan from China’s Export-Import Bank in order to award a contract to China Communications and Construction Company (CCCC) to build the controversially priced East Coast Rail Link.  We don’t have money to build our own infrastructure and our Prime Minister wants to help make America great again?

However, perhaps after realising the political damage which his ‘promises’ to President Trump have caused, the Prime Minister is now telling Malaysians something different.

In his Malaysia Day speech given in Kota Kinabalu, he said “when I said that the EPF wanted to invest in the US, they (opposition) said it was no use and it was better to invest in our own country.”

The prime minister explained that the EPF had funds totalling RM760 billion which could be invested not only in the US, but in 39 other countries.  “The decision was not made by politicians, it was made by its investment committee,” he added.

Dato’ Seri Najib Razak even taunted the critics as “shallow, not that smart”.

The Prime Minister is obviously trying to be disingenuous here, promising President Trump one thing, but justifying something completely different to Malaysians.

Since Dato’ Seri Najib claimed that “the decision was not made by politicians”, we would like to ask him if the EPF investment committee has already made the decision to invest “three to four billion dollars” to “support infrastructure redevelopment in the United States”?

We are not questioning the right for EPF to invest overseas.  It is EPF’s prerogative to invest a certain amount of funds overseas after the necessary analysis and due diligence have been carried out by the investment committee.  However, as far as Malaysians are aware, there has been no such definitive resolution or commitment by the EPF to make the “three to four billion dollars” to “support infrastructure redevelopment in the United States”.

Hence, if indeed investment decisions at the EPF are “not made by politicians” as justified by Dato’ Seri Najib Razak, and that EPF has also not made any decision to invest “three to four billion dollars” to “support infrastructure redevelopment in the United States”, then we can only conclude that our Prime Minister boasted empty promises to the American President.

The question then is, why did Dato’ Seri Najib Razak have to go out of his way to impress the Trump administration?  The answer appears to be obvious, from his stay the the Trump Hotel to his boasts at the White House, the Prime Minister pulled out all stops to curry favour the American President in order to hope that the United States government will go easy on the single largest anti-kleptocracy money laundering seizure in the country.

We call upon the EPF and Khazanah Nasional to maintain independent financial discipline, free from political pressures and interference, in carrying out their investment mandates.  This is to ensure that the life-savings of Malaysian workers and the assets of the Malaysian people will remain safe and secure, protected for generations to come.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Dato’ Seri Najib Razak must sue Newsweek and CNN for calling him a “crook” to redeem not only his reputation, but also the pride and honour of Malaysians

Internationally renowned journal, Newsweek published an article by former World Bank President, Paul Wolfowitz with the headline “Trump meeting with Malaysian crook Najib reeks of the swamp” on 13 September 2017.

At the same time, internationally renowned broadcaster, CNN reported the meeting between President Trump and Dato’ Seri Najib Razak in its “Conflict of Interest Watch” story.  They reported “Najib’s alleged role in what the United States Justice Department called an international conspiracy to launder funds misappropriated from a Malaysian fund, money that the Justice Department says should have been used to help the Malaysian people but instead was used by a small number of individual to fuel their, quote: "astonishing greed".

There is absolutely no question that the reputation of Dato’ Seri Najib Razak has been torn to shreds by the international media.  The Prime Minister’s vain attempts at lifting his profile as an adored international leader invited to the White House by President Trump have not only failed to achieve his goals, but destroyed whatever semblance of credibility he might have had left.

Worse, he isn’t the sole or biggest victim of being labelled an international “crook”.  The utlimate victim is Malaysia and its citizens as we have no where to hide our faces as we have been shamed almost beyond redemption.  We have lost our honour and pride when the leader of our country becomes an infamous “crook” while Malaysia earns the kleptocracy badge.

What ‘face’ do we have left when our Prime Minister goes to the United States to help make America great again by offering their economy our crown jewels worth some RM60 billion, but all we get from the US media is mud thrown at our faces?

We call upon the Prime Minister to put together the best team of international lawyers to sue Newsweek and CNN for defamation and publication of “fake news” to redeem not only his reputation, but our honour and pride.

After all, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak is well-known for going to the Court to protect his so-called reputation.  I have been at the receiving end of two such defamation – one in 2014 and one in 2017 with regards to 1MDB, both of which are still undergoing the legal process.

At the very least, the Prime Minister’s lawyer, Datuk Hafarizam Harun should inform both Newsweek and CNN that Dato’ Seri Najib Razak is open to an apology.  He has offered me the same option just two days ago, claiming that the Prime Minister “is open-minded and would accept an 'I am sorry Mr Prime Minister'” in order for a legal settlement to be reached.

However, if Dato’ Seri Najib Razak doesn’t even have the courage to salvage his reputation and credibility internationally by suing Newsweek and CNN, then the entire world would only be convinced that he is guilty as charged.  In which case, there would of course be absolutely no reason for me to offer Dato’ Seri Najib Razak any apology for pretty much saying the same things.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Dato’ Seri Najib Razak offered President Trump our crown jewels worth billions of dollars and got nothing in return

The Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s 6-minute meeting in the Oval Office has become the laughing stock for tens, perhaps hundreds of millions of people around the world.

The historic meeting with President Trump should have been a triumph for Dato’ Seri Najib, a testimony that Malaysia has arrived under his leadership to be treated as an equal partner to the United States.

Instead, the video of the meeting which has gone viral around the world showcased a desperate Prime Minister paying tribute to his imperial masters.

Dato’ Seri Najib Razak boasted of a US$10 billion (RM42 billion) deal by Malaysia Airlines to acquire Boeing jetliners and even publicly offered to “persuade” AirAsia to purchase GE engines.  That’s like giving not only your daughter’s hand in marriage to the emperor, but trying to offer the cousin’s as well!

As a matter of fact, Malaysians have no idea how the deeply loss-making Malaysia Airlines which needed a RM6 billion bailout from Khazanah in 2014 can afford potential US$10 billion acquisition of aircrafts from Boeing.

The Prime Minister then further offered another “three to four billion dollars” from Malaysians’ Employee Provident Fund (EPF) to “support... infrastructure redevelopment in the United States.”
The icing on the cake was that Khazanah, our sovereign wealth fund, would also invest more money in United States companies, having already invested more than US$400 million to date.

And all we got in return was a “Thank you very much. Appreciate it.”  You could almost imagine Trump quietly saying “You can go now” in his head.

Malaysians have never felt more shocked and shamed at the international stage.  The Prime Minister offered our crown jewels worth some RM60 billion in a vain attempt to please President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign, and we got absolutely nothing in return.

President Trump didn’t even try to pretend that Malaysia got anything in return – for example, the promise of ‘potential’ investments or increased imports of made-in-Malaysia products or visa-free travel for Malaysians to the United States.

We are outraged at Dato’ Seri Najib Razak pawning our assets “to strengthen the United States economy” for his own personal agenda, when the precious funds could be used to rescue our own floundering economy.

We call upon the Prime Minister to call for a special 2-day Parliamentary sitting upon his return from the United States to discuss and debate his 6-minute debacle with President Trump.  Dato’ Seri Najib Razak must justify to the 30 million Malaysians why he behaved like the leader of a vassal state to the US ‘imperialists’ within days after we celebrated 60 years of independence.

Issued by,

Pakatan Harapan 1MDB Action Committee

Tony Pua, DAP MP Petaling Jaya Utara
Sim Tze Tsin, PKR MP Bayan Baru
Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, Amanah Strategic Director
Dr Rais Hussin, PPBM Strategic Director

Monday, September 04, 2017

Najib’s admission that the Government would be dysfunctional if not for GST is a direct admission of Barisan Nasional's dismal failure in financial management

The Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak told the crowd at the TN50 dialogue with women yesterday that without the GST the Government would have collapsed financially, and hence Malaysians should be thankful that the he has implemented the GST.

"I am not kidding you, I am not fooling you. I am the minister of finance, I know if we minus RM42 billion from the country's revenue, you will be in a standstill and the government will be dysfunctional.

Dato’ Seri Najib further added, “You can only spend whatever money you have. You will be in deep trouble if you have to borrow money from 'Ah Long' (loan sharks).”

The Prime Minister could not be more wrong on two counts.

Firstly, why is it that a country like Malaysia which is blessed and rich with income from natural resources suddenly so desperately dependent on GST revenue after 60 years of independence?

Without the GST, Federal Government revenue has increased consistently from RM123.5 billion in 2006 to RM185.4 billion (2011) to RM219.1 billion in 2015.  The above represents a 77.4% increase in revenue in the 10 years before the GST was implement, or an annual compounded growth rate of 6.5% - well above the average annual GDP growth rate.

If during those years, the BN government has consistently boasted of strong economic growth and development – why is Dato’ Seri Najib now crying out loud that the Malaysian government would suddenly collapse without the GST?

The above itself debunked the Prime Minister’s second claim that we “will be in deep trouble if [we] have to borrow money from ‘Ah Long’.

The very reason why the BN government is forced to implement the GST today to collect more taxes is precisely because we have indeed borrowed heavily over the past decade.

Our Federal Government debt has increased from RM306.4 billion in 2008 to RM655.7 billion by the end of 2016.  Hence the government’s debt increase of 114% far outstrips the revenue increase of 77%!

In the language of the Prime Minister, it is precisely because the reckless BN government has borrowed from the Ah Longs that Malaysians are now forced to bear the heavy burden of the GST.
The next question to ask is, why has the BN government borrowed so much and where have all the money gone?

The answer is simple – waste, corruption and kleptocracy in the BN administration as epitomised by the 1MDB scandal which will cost the Malaysian tax-payers at least RM42 billion.  While 1MDB headlines the extent of the graft and abuse of power in the Najib-led government, it is by no means the only significant scandal under the BN administration.  Annual Auditor-General reports over the past decades lay bare the malaise in the entire government machinery with nausea-inducing details of leakages, mismanagement and misappropriation.

This brings the inevitable conclusion that while the GST might rescue the BN administration for the time-being, it merely papers over the symptoms of the cancer afflicting our country.  Until such a time where the brazen culture of waste, corruption and kleptocracy is eradicated from the Malaysian government, no matter how much new taxes revenue the GST (or any other new taxes) generate, it will never be enough.

As the Malay proverb goes, “besar periuk, lagi besar keraknya”.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

How did 1MDB make the additional US$300 million of debt repayment to the US$350 million paid earlier this month?

We have received the good news that "IPIC has now received the funds required to be paid by Aug 31 to complete the performance by Minister of Finance (Incorporated) Malaysia and 1MDB of the payment obligations that were initially due to be performed by July 31 under the settlement and the consent award and to pay default interest on the delayed payment."

It is good news because the failure of 1MDB to comply with the above scheduled payments would not only have created a diplomatic crisis between Malaysia and Abu Dhabi, it would have had major implications on Malaysia’s credit ratings.

The bad news however, is we have yet to hear any details of how 1MDB has made the combined payment of US$650 million or approximately RM2.8 billion.

While we await for the latest statement from 1MDB, the company’s previous statement only mentioned vaguely that they are the “proceeds of the on-going rationalisation programme”.
There are absolutely no details as to what proceeds from what specific rationalisation programme undertaken by 1MDB.

Initially in April this year, 1MDB said the funds would come from the “monetization of 1MDB-owned investment fund units”.  However, ever since the United States Department of Justice have labelled the “fund units” as fraudulent, 1MDB has since conveniently dropped any mention of these units from its subsequent statements.

Despite repeated questions by many parties, including those in the media and financial community, both 1MDB and the Ministry of Finance (MoF) have remained completely opaque as to the source the funds used to repay IPIC.  Why are they so adamant in not disclosing 1MDB’s source of funds?

Hence, the US$650 million or RM2.8 billion question now is - are 1MDB and MoF refusing to answer the above questions because MoF has extended the funds, directly or indirectly via some convoluted pretend “rationalisation” schemes to 1MDB to help the latter settle its debt obligations?

Until and unless the MoF provides factual clarity on the above, Malaysians cannot be blamed for assuming that 1MDB had to settle the above debt instalment with a tax-payer bailout.

That will cement today as the worst national day in Malaysia’s 60 years of independence.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Dato’ Seri Najib Razak merupakan Perdana Menteri hipokrit yang bermuka tembok tertebal seluruh dunia

Semalam, Perdana Menteri Dato’ Seri Najib Razak menyindir sikap pembangkang yang mendakwa kerajaan membayar terlalu mahal bagi projek MRT sedangkan pada masa sama ramai pemimpinnya ditangkap dengan skandal kewangan.

"Yang lucunya, baru-baru ini sudah mula terbongkar di negeri-negeri mereka tentang skandal banglo, …harga terowong, pintu gerbang dan lebuhraya yang dibina berlipat ganda lebih tinggi daripada sepatutnya.

"Ke mana hilangnya wang ini? Apakah skandal kewangan mereka ini tujuan untuk membina MRT dengan lebih murah?" tulis beliau.

Dato’ Seri Najib Razak jelas merupakan seorang pemimpin yang paling “shameless” seluruh dunia.  Beliau berani membandingkan fitnah terhadap kes pembelian banglo Ketua Menteri Lim Guan Eng dengan skandal peribadi dan keluarga beliau yang berkaitan dengan 1MDB dan SRC International?

Dalam kes rumah Lim Guan Eng, harga yang dibeli adalah selaras dengan pendapatan seorang Ketua Menteri.  Itupun Lim Guan Eng telah membuat pinjaman daripada bank untuk membeli rumah pertamanya di Pulau Pinang yang bernilai RM2.8 juta.  Tambahan lagi, harga pembelian rumah tersebut adalah menurut harga pasaran untuk kawasan tersebut, dan bukannya dengan “diskaun luarbiasa” seperti tohmahan-tohmahan pimpinan Barisan Nasional.

Tapi yang paling penting sekali, Lim Guan Eng telah secara terbuka dan berkali-kali menafikan fitnah tersebut.  Beliau sedia mencabar dakwaan yang dibawa oleh Suruhanjaya Pencegah Rasuah Malaysia dengan bukti-bukti yang kukuh.

Sebaliknya, saya nak tanya adakah pembelian berlian bernilai US$27.3 juta (RM117 juta) selaras oleh Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor selaras dengan pendapatan keluarga seorang Perdana Menteri?  Setahu kami, pendapatan seorang Perdana Menteri adalah lebih kurang RM600,000 setahun.  Dato' Seri Najib kena memegang jawatan Perdana Menteri selama 200 tahun sebelum mendapat kemampuan untuk membeli berlian tersebut.  Rakyat Malaysia ingin tahu, dari mana datangnya wang untuk membeli bukan sahaja berlian RM117 juta tersebut tetapi barang-barang kemas yang bernilai berjuta-juta ringgit?

Apatah lagi, selepas dua bulan berlian RM117 juta didedahkan oeh Jabatan Kehakiman Amerika Syarikat, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak and Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor tidak pernah menafikan dakwaan tersebut.

Adalah jelas bahawa Lim Guan Eng berani kerana benar, manakala pasangan Najib-Rosmah membisu kerana salah.

Perdana Menteri juga membuat sindiran terhadap kontrak pembinaan terowong dan lebuhraya di Pulau Pinang yang kononnya terlampau mahal berbanding dengan MRT di Lembah Klang.

Saya hanya ada satu balasan terhadap tuduhan liar tersebut.  Kontrak pembinaan terowong dan lebuhraya di Pulau Pinang ditawarkan bawah pimpinan kerajaan Pakatan melalui tender terbuka.  Sebaliknya, kontrak MRT yang bernilai lebih kurang RM30 bilion, ditawarkan kepada pihak Gamuda dengan rundingan terus, tanpa sebarang tender.

Dato’ Seri Najib Razak sekarang sudah begitu terdesak sehingga melontarkan fitnah-fitnah yang tidak berasas.  Rakyat Malaysia kini memang malu negara kita yang akan menyambut ulang-tahun ke-60 dipimpin oleh seorang Perdana Menteri munafik yang tidak berintegriti.  

Monday, August 14, 2017

UMNO Sec-Gen Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor should learn that while perception problems are often fixable, facts on the other hand, can’t be faked

UMNO secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said that Barisan Nasional must counter the perception created by the Opposition on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to win back the state, said.

He claimed the 1MDB issue had been solved, and UMNO now must fix the wrong perception that the Opposition had created.

"The 1MDB issue has been solved. The bad perception was created (by the opposition) to confuse the voters. So, Umno has to step in to clear the confusion," he said after opening the Petaling Jaya Utara UMNO division meeting yesterday morning.

If only UMNO and BN’s problems in Selangor were merely as simple as “perception”.  Indeed, if that was the only problem with 1MDB, it would have been extremely easy to fix.

The challenge for UMNO-BN, if Tengku Adnan hasn’t realised by now, isn’t a mere problem of perception.  It is the problem that their attempts fake facts have gained no traction, especially in Selangor where the thinking electorate do not fall, hook, line and sinker for BN’s lies.

The people of Selangor, what more in Petaling Jaya Utara, can see with their own eyes not how the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak and 1MDB is hiding themselves from “sensitive” questions about the RM50 billion monster scandal.

Why else would the Speaker of Parliament reject nearly all questions with regards to 1MDB even as innocuous as seeking to know the current value of 1MDB’s ‘unit’ investments previously held with the now-defunct BSI Bank in Singapore?

Why else would the Prime Minister not answer as to why is it that the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Apandi Ali claimed that the charges laid out in the United States Department of Justice (US DOJ) were “politically motivated”?

It also isn’t a question of perception when 1MDB repeatedly failed to fulfil its obligations to repay its agreed instalment to Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC) amounting to billions of ringgit.

The people of Selangor are not so dumb as to not be able to see the fact 1MDB has suffered billions of ringgit of losses, as a result of a kleptocratic BN administration which will lead to Malaysians footing the RM42 billion 1MDB bill.

They can read between the lines when the Prime Minister failed to deny or explain the US$732 million which were deposited into his personal bank account in Ambank since the US DOJ exposed that the funds originated from 1MDB.  They can also deduce intelligently when his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, failed to explain or deny her acquisition of a US$27.3 million 22-carat pink diamond ring/necklace after the latest allegations by the DOJ.

Hence the biggest problem the BN administration faces isn’t a question of perception.  The biggest 1MDB problem facing BN is the people are staring at the bare indisputable facts which the BN leaders are only trying to sweep under the carpet.

Most importantly, we are confident that the people of Selangor will support the Pakatan Harapan coalition comprising of Bersatu, Amanah, PKR and DAP and reject all other parties who fail to crusade against the single largest case of robbery and kleptocracy in the history of Malaysia.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Arul Kanda’s disastrous record at 1MDB makes him the least qualified to take over the reigns of Khazanah Nasional

Malaysians were shocked to read the report by The Malaysian Insight on Thursday that Arul Kanda is one of the candidates being considered for the post of Managing Director of Khazanah Nasional.
The online portal reported that “a selection panel has been formed to look through the candidates who can take over from Azman (Mokhtar) whose contract expires in two years” and Arul Kanda is one of two outsiders being considered.

After the disastrous and disgraceful record at the debt-ridden 1MDB since his appointment in January 2015, Arul Kanda should be automatically disqualified from even consideration at the country’s sovereign wealth fund.

The latest catastrophe is the failure of 1MDB to fulfil its settlement obligations with Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC) in a timely matter.  Despite claiming since April 24 this year that its repayment to IPIC would be fulfilled via the “monetization” of 1MDB’s investment ‘units’ last known to be held in Singapore, IPIC had to twice extend the deadline for the first instalment payment scheduled on 31 July 2017.

1MDB has since managed to pay the “equivalent” of US$350 million on 11 August and would have up to 31 August to settle the balance of US$300 million.  However, even the above partial payment of the first instalment is shrouded in mystery as it is clear that the 1MDB ‘units’ have not been monetized while the source of the 1MDB funds were unclear.

In addition, Arul Kanda has botched the so-called rationalisation with the original attempt to sell 60% of Bandar Malaysia to the Iskandar Waterfront Holdings (IWH) Sdn Bhd-led consortium.  Despite 1MDB having collected 10% of the sale amounting to RM741 million as “deposit”, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) had to terminate the contract due to IWH’s repeated failure to fulfil its obligations, it was MoF which had to refund the RM741 million “deposit” to the purchaser.

However, the worst deed of Arul Kanda has been to repeatedly lie to the Auditor-General, the Public Accounts Committee and Malaysians in general, to cover up the 1MDB scandal to ensure that those behind the multi-billion dollar misappropriation in the company would be let off scotfree.

For example, Arul Kanda is fully aware that 1MDB’s investment ‘units’ previously held at the now defunct BSI Bank, Singapore are fraudulent and more importantly are worth at best a tiny fraction of their purported US$2.318 billion in valuation.  The fraud has been uncovered by the United States Department of Justice, as reported in the additional civil suit filed in June this year.

However, despite having access to all the material documents and information, Arul Kanda has continued the pretence that 1MDB had already redeemed some US$1.3 billion worth of the ‘units’.  At one point Arul Kanda even told the 1MDB Directors that he has “seen the bank statements” that 1MDB had already received the proceeds in ‘cash’.

Today we know that the entire redemption exercise was a Ponzi-like round-tripping exercise using part of the proceeds from a Deutsche Bank loan to pretend that it’s the receipt from the ‘units’ redemption exercise.

Malaysians can only shiver in trepidation at the thought that a RM145 billion-Khazanah Nasional, which is relatively healthy today, would be helmed by the same person who hammered the final nail in 1MDB’s coffin.

The only thing more shocking I heard when I started sniffing around with regards to The Malaysian Insight report is the fact that Arul Kanda is also awaiting possible appointment as a Senator which comes with a Ministerial position.  If that were true, then it would be proof that the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak would only appoint those without a shred of honesty and integrity to the Cabinet.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

How did 1MDB make its “equivalent” of US$350 million payment to IPIC?

1MDB proudly announced that it has successfully made partial payment for the outstanding sum to Abu Dhabi’s IPIC, after twice having the deadline extended.

The beleagured company said “1MDB is pleased to announce that pursuant to the amendment dated  August 8, 2017, to the settlement deed with Minister of Finance (Incorporated) Malaysia and IPIC, 1MDB has now remitted to date, the equivalent of US$350 million to IPIC.”

When reading any statements from 1MDB, it is always like trying to solve an Agatha Christie murder mystery.  You need to scrutinise the statement for curious or incriminating clues.

For example, in this case, why did 1MDB say “the equivalent of US$350 million” as opposed to just a straightforward “US$350 million”, or whatever the amount is?

Normally, one would perhaps phrase “the equivalent of US$350 million” if the payment was not remitted in US Dollars but perhaps in this case in Ringgit Malaysia?  This clearly lends credence to the allegations that no Bank wants to process payments relating to 1MDB transactions for fear of partaking in a money laundering exercise, especially since US Dollar transactions would require re-routing via US Banks.

The Malaysian Insight had earlier also reported that the remittance was carried out via Maybank Bhd.  Does this mean that 1MDB circumvented its US Dollar remittance “technical problem” with Bank Negara granting approval for the remittance to be issued from Malaysia in Ringgit (or any other non-US Dollar currency)?

This mystery further begs the question – how did 1MDB get its money in Malaysia?  By all public pronouncements from 1MDB and by Ministers in Parliament, 1MDB certainly doesn’t have “the equivalent of US$350 million” or nearly RM1.5 billion in cash sitting around in its local bank accounts.

That’s when you refer back to 1MDB’s 24 April 2017 IPIC settlement announcement for more clues. Then, 1MDB explicitly stated that the company’s “obligations will be met by 1MDB, primarily via monetization of 1MDB-owned investment fund units”.

The last we know, these investment fund ‘units’ were held in the now-defunct BSI Bank, Singapore.  The last known value on the balance of these ‘units’ was US$940 million.

Hence, one would certainly like to ask 1MDB, if the source of the “equivalent of US$350 million” came of the sale of these ‘units’ overseas?  If that were so, wouldn’t the investment disposal proceeds not be in US Dollars?

That’s when you go back to 1MDB’s latest statement, hoping for an easy answer.  However, like any good 1MDB statement, you will never get an honest and straightforward answer.

1MDB disclosed that “all funds paid to IPIC are from proceeds of the on-going rationalisation programme”.  This time, it’s just as important to make inference from what is not stated, beyond what is actually stated.

Notice how in the current statement, 1MDB no longer makes any reference to the “monetization of the 1MDB-owned investment fund units”, which was previously included in all of 1MDB’s past responses on the issue, including two separate Finance Minister’s replies to me in Parliament.

If 1MDB’s “equivalent of US$350 million” payment to IPIC was not the proceeds from the ‘units’ sale, then where did the money come from?  1MDB has after all, sold or transferred all of its assets – both energy and real estate, and have already used such proceeds to pare down their humongous debt and interest payments.

Hence, the US$350 million question now is, did this money come from the Ministry of Finance, directly or indirectly via some convoluted “rationalisation” schemes?  1MDB and Dato’ Seri Najib Razak must come clean on the matter, especially since 1MDB has another US$300 million and US$603 million to pay by 31 August and 31 December respectively.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Finance Minister II Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani should not bluff Malaysians by stating that the Government “has never given public funds to 1MDB to settle its debts”

According to Bernama yesterday, Second Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani said that “the Finance Ministry (MoF) has never given any public funds to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to help settle its debt”.

The Minister must think that Malaysians are complete and utter idiots to be served what is one of biggest piece of cow dung amongst all the attempts to cover up the 1MDB scandal.

The Ministry of Finance has on so many occasions come to the rescue of 1MDB over the past 2 years involving billions of ringgit of tax-payers’ monies, and yet Dato’ Seri Johari has the cheek to tell us that the MoF “has never given any public funds to 1MDB”.

Among the most clear-cut examples are the RM800 million loan from SOCSO and another RM2.4 billion Bandar Malaysia sukuk bond which the MoF have assumed as a result of taking over TRX City Sdn Bhd and Bandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd.

The Auditor-General has reported that nearly all of the above proceeds of the 1MDB borrowings were never used for the development of the 2 property projects above.  Hence when MoF agreed to take over the property projects and assumed the liabilities, MoF has effectively “settled” 1MDB’s RM3.2 billion debt problem.

What’s more, when 1MDB had originally sold a 60% stake in Bandar Malaysia to an Iskandar Waterfront Holdings (IWH) Sdn Bhd-led consortium, they had collected, and presumably spent the RM741 million deposit which has been paid upon the signing of the sale and purchase agreement in December 2015.

However, when MoF terminated the sale due to IWH payment defaults, it was MoF who coughed up the RM741 million to refund the deposit paid by the consortium.   If the deposit, should have been refunded at all, it should have been by 1MDB, and not by the Malaysian tax-payers.

The above doesn’t yet include MoF subsidiary or subsidiaries which actually acquired properties from 1MDB in TRX at inflated prices.  The irony is, it was MoF who sold the land to 1MDB in the first place at dirt cheap prices.

We understand the conundrum Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani is facing as the 2nd Finance Minister who has fallen out of favour and having to defend the indefensible regain the Prime Minister’s favour.  It is now clear that he has been dropped by Dato’ Seri Najib Razak from handling the 1MDB imbroglio, particularly in the company’s multi-billion dollar dispute with Abu Dhabi’s IPIC.

However, the Second Finance Minister should not go to the extent to telling outright lies to pull the wool over the people’s eyes.  Dato’ Seri Johari should not forget his role and responsibility to the people of Malaysia by sacrificing his own integrity and honour.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

No Malaysian or international is willing to help 1MDB launder funds via the sale of fraudulent investment ‘units’ to cover up 1MDB’s debt to IPIC

1MDB has failed to meet its own self-imposed deadline to repay its debts to Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC). The first instalment of US$602,725,000 was due on 31 July as part of the settlement arrived at the London Arbitration Court between IPIC, 1MDB and the Ministry of Finance in April 2017.

Then, 1MDB had disclosed that “these obligations will be met by 1MDB, primarily via monetization of 1MDB-owned investment fund units”.

Now with the payment in default, 1MDB said that it “is awaiting funds that were due to be received in July. Due to the need for additional regulatory approvals, the receipt of those funds has been delayed to August.”

The Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak repeated the same when questioned in Parliament by the Opposition Leader, Dato’ Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, claiming that the delay in payment is merely a “technical issue” without elaborating any further.

All of the above responses are cryptic and opaque as no one after reading or listening to the above responses have any clue as to why exactly is there apparent difficulty in processing the above transactions, or what regulatory approvals are involved, in making the above payment to IPIC.

The reason for the opacity and secrecy is simple. There is no Bank in the world today who is willing to process the ‘sale’ of the 1MDB-owned investment fund ‘units’. This is because the United States Department of Justice have stated that these ‘units’ were fraudulent. They were created to cover-up the more than US$1 billion which were misappropriated by 1MDB to Good Star Limited when the intent was to have invested with Petrosaudi International Limited.

In fact, the Singapore Courts also confirmed that the financial analyst from NRA Capital in Singapore was bribed to produce the false valuation report on these investment ‘units’.

Any Bank, Malaysian or international which facilitates the transaction involving the sale of these fraudulent investment ‘units’ by 1MDB to whoever or whichever party would hence be guilty of facilitating money laundering.

BSI Bank, the Singapore branch of the 132-year-old Swiss private bank which was the ‘custodian bank’ for the above 1MDB investment had already been punished. It’s merchant banking licence was terminated by Singapore and subsequently, the Switzerland’s financial regulator, FINMA has demanded that the Bank be dissolved.

No bank worth its salt would want to experience and endure the same fate as BSI Bank or many other Banks which have been fined and punished as a result of their entanglement with 1MDB.

The only way for 1MDB to repay IPIC would be a direct payment by the Government of Malaysia to IPIC. However, if that were to happen, it would be a direct admission by the Government that 1MDB is carrying the fraudulent investment and billions of dollars have been lost and stolen from the company, which requires a further mega-bailout from the country’s coffers.

Therefore, the decision by the Speaker to deny the Member of Parliament for Segambut’s motion to debate the default by 1MDB is a clear decision to save Dato’ Seri Najib Razak the embarrassment of having the truth revealed in Parliament or worse, incriminating the Prime Minister in the largest ever financial scandal to be inflicted on Malaysia.

We call upon Dato’ Seri Najib Razak to explain himself and tell the full truth to the millions of Malaysians who are gravely concerned with the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal. If there is ‘nothing to hide’ and what we have stated above is in anyway without basis as the BN leaders often claim, then come to Parliament, answer questions and debate openly.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Auditor-General and PAC Chairman's decision not to pursue 1MDB scandal proves that they are compromised and unfit to protect the interest of Malaysians

Malaysians are aghast, but perhaps not surprised, that both the new Auditor-General, Tan Sri Madinah Mohamad and the Public Accounts Committee Chairman, Datuk Seri Hasan Arifin have decided against pursuing the 1MDB investigations and audit further.

This is despite the fact that the United States Department of Justice (US DOJ) had over the past one year, revealed new explosive evidence and details of how the billions of dollars of 1MDB funds have been misappropriated, stolen and laundered all around the world.

Most incriminatingly, the US DOJ suits detailed how more than US$732 million (RM3.1 billion) flowed in and out of the Prime Minister’s personal bank account between 2011 and 2014.  The specific dates and amounts of funds transferred, as well as the respective banks involved are listed in Table A on below.

Even the most partial observers would have to concede that there is a prima facie case to investigate the flow of funds, to determine the veracity of the allegations contained in the US DOJ report.  The investigators in the United States did not pluck these transactions out of the sky, but have meticulously corroborated all evidence with all the international banks across the world from global banks like Standard Chartered Bank to private banks like Falcon Bank of Switzerland.

None of the above transactions were investigated or were made available to the previous Auditor-General Report by the then Auditor-General, Tan Sri Ambrin Buang as well as the Public Accounts Committee Report tabled in Parliament in April 2016.

The Auditor-General then had reprimanded 1MDB for refusing to hand over its foreign bank account statements and transaction verifications despite multiple requests.  However, even without the above, there was sufficient damning evidence of abuse and mismanagement within 1MDB for the PAC to table its critical report last year. 

Now, with the scale of new explosive details of the scandal surfacing since the April 2016 Report, any God-fearing and responsible Auditor-General or PAC Chairman would have demanded a re-opening of their investigations.

While the PAC had a meeting yesterday to receive the latest Auditor-General’s Report, there was no discussion of pursuing the 1MDB investigations.  Instead Dato’ Seri Hasan Arifin unilaterally told the media that the Committee will not re-open the case.

On the other hand, Tan Sri Madinah Mohamad merely added her department would do so only if it receives instructions from the Cabinet.  Such instruction would never come of course, given the blatant conflict of interests involved with the Finance and Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak directly implicated in the massive scandal.

Their refusal to pursue the investigations only serves to entrench the rakyat’s perception that they are stooges installed by Dato’ Seri Najib Razak to protect the latter from the outrageous scandal.  After all, it has been exposed previously that Tan Sri Madinah is or was an UMNO Kepong Division member where her husband is the Division Chairman, Datuk Rizuan Abdul Hamid had openly expressed his willingness to “die for Najib”.  On the other hand, Dato’ Seri Hasan Arifin was installed as the PAC Chairman after the previous Chairman, Datuk Nur Jazlan was “promoted” to become a Deputy Minister.  Dato’ Seri Hasan had in his own words, rejected the need to summon Dato’ Seri Najib to the PAC because he has to “cari makan”.

These top officials have betrayed the interest of the rakyat and are traitors to their race, religion and nation.  If they have any iota of honour left in them, they should resign from their positions and let others who have the interest of Malaysians at heart take over these posts.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Is Treasurer-General and 1MDB Chairman, Tan Sri Irwan Serigar aware of a third ‘secret’ Letter of Support for 1MDB’s US$975 million borrowing from a Deutsche Bank-led consortium in September 2014?

The latest suit filed by the United States Department of Justice (US DOJ) last month exposed a new allegation Dato’ Seri Najib Razak signed a ‘secret’ Letter of Support for 1MDB to secure a US$975 million loan from a Deutsche Bank-led consortium in September 2014.

The US DOJ suit stated that Dato’ Seri Najib Razak, referred to as “Malaysian Official 1 (MO1)”, “on behalf of the Government of Malaysia, provided a Letter of Support to Deutsche Bank in connection with the $975 million loan.”

This would have been a third Letter of Support issued by Dato’ Seri Najib Razak as the Finance Minister to effectively guarantee borrowings by 1MDB.  The letters had stated that “in the event 1MDB… fails to provide the required funds, Malaysia shall then step in to inject the necessary capital into the Issuer or make payments to ensure the Issuer’s obligations are fully met”.

The DOJ suit further noted that “internal Deutsche Bank records reflect that 1MDB officials opted to provide a Letter of Support signed by MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1, rather than some form of guarantee by 1MDB… at least in part because a letter of support did not require Bank Negara or Cabinet approval. At the request of 1MDB, all references to the Letter of Support were removed from the Facility Agreement.” 

I had submitted a question to the Finance Minister to confirm the existence of the letter in the current parliamentary sitting.  However, the question has been inexplicably rejected by the Speaker on the ultra-flimsy grounds of presumably questionable assumptions (“sangkaan”).

I had last week issued a statement via a press conference seeking answers from Dato’ Seri Najib Razak himself as to whether he had indeed issued this “secret” Letter of Support and whether he had the authorisation from the Cabinet and Ministry of Finance to do so.

However, the questions posed have been met with utter silence, whether from the Prime Minister himself or from his Cabinet cheerleaders.

I can fully understand why the Prime Minister might want to remain absolutely silent so as not to incriminate himself with any answers he may provide.

Hence, I now pose the same questions to the Treasurer-General of the Ministry of Finance, Tan Sri Irwan Serigar who has also been appointed as the Chairman of 1MDB just a year ago.

As the Treasurer-General of Finance Ministry, is Tan Sri Irwan Serigar aware that the Minister of Finance had signed a third Letter of Support for 1MDB in September 2014?  The official reply provided by the Minister of Finance in March 2016 stated that there were only 2 such Letters of Support issued in March 2013 for US$3 billion and another in March 2015 for US$150 million.

Was the reply which would have been prepared and approved by the Treasurer-General mistaken? Or was he, horrors of horrors, completely unaware that a third ‘secret’ Letter of Support had actually been issued by the Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak.

Secondly, even if he was not previously aware of the ‘secret’ letter, Tan Sri Irwan Serigar, as the Treasurer-General and 1MDB Chairman, must surely investigate.  Has he called Duetsche Bank to verify the existence of the Letter of Support as alleged by the US DOJ?

If Tan Sri Irwan fails to do the simple task of calling up the Bank to confirm this information, then he has betrayed the trust of Malaysian tax-payers as the most senior financial civil servant in the country today.

If he is unable to protect the financial interest of the 30 million Malaysians in the country, then he is completely unfit to continue in his position, both as the Treasurer-General and the 1MDB Chairman.

Dato’ Seri Najib Razak must come clean as to whether there was another undocumented “letter of support” for 1MDB in 2014 to borrow US$975 million from a Deutsche Bank-led consortium

In November 2014, when it was first discovered that Dato’ Seri Najib Razak had signed a “letter of support” to enable 1MDB to secure a US$3 billion bond in March 2013, it was immediately met with denial in Parliament.

On 6 November 2014, Datuk Ahmad Maslan, the then Deputy Minister of Finance had insisted in Parliament that the Government did not issue any such “letter of support”.  However, a few days later, he conceded to the media that such a “letter of support” existed and he was ultimately forced to apologise to the House for his “error” on 18 November 2014.

The existence of this “letter of support” had major financial implications for the Government because it stated that “In the event, 1MDB has shareholder of the issuer fails to provide the required funds… Malaysia shall then step in to inject the necessary capital into the issuer or make payment to ensure the issuers obligations are fully met.”  This meant that the Malaysian Government had effectively guaranteed, one way or another, the US$3 billion 1MDB borrowing above.

As reported by The Edge Financial Daily on 12 November 2014, Datuk Ahmad Maslan had said that there was “no other letter of support for 1MDB apart from the US$3 billion” during a media conference at the Parliament.

Further on 16 March 2016, when questioned by the Member of Parliament for Indera Mahkota, Dato’ Fauzi Abdul Rahman, the Finance Minister had confirmed that there were only TWO “letters of support” which was issued by the Government, including another for 1MDB’s US$150 million borrowing from Bank Exim in March 2015.

However, we have since discovered, via information provided by the latest United States Department of Justice filing to seize assets acquired with funds laundered from 1MDB that there exist another secret “letter of support” to borrow US$975 million from a Deutsche Bank-led consortium in September 2014.

The US DOJ suit stated that Dato’ Seri Najib Razak, referred to as “Malaysian Official 1 (MO1)”,
“on behalf of the Government of Malaysia, provided a Letter of Support to Deutsche Bank in connection with the $975 million loan.”

The suit further noted that “internal Deutsche Bank records reflect that 1MDB officials opted to provide a Letter of Support signed by MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1, rather than some form of guarantee by 1MDB… at least in part because a letter of support did not require Bank Negara or Cabinet approval. At the request of 1MDB, all references to the Letter of Support were removed from the Facility Agreement.”

Like the earlier “letters of support”, the Government agrees to financial support to 1MDB to ensure the company’s ability to repay. Dato’ Seri Najib Razak even “waived its sovereign immunity in connection with disputes arising out of the Letter of Support”.

I have submitted a simple question in the current sitting asking the Prime Minister to confirm if he had indeed issued a “Letter of Support” in connection to the US$975 million loan from Deutsche Bank.  The question has been rejected on the basis that it was “sangkaan”, or “presumably questionable assumptions”.

There was no assumptions in my question.  I had asked a simple matter as to whether there was indeed a “letter of support” issued in September 2014.  If there isn’t, just say “no”.  What’s so difficult?

Both Dato’ Seri Najib Razak and the Parliament’s refusal to entertain the simple factual question only serves to confirm the suspicions in everyone’s minds that such a secret guarantee was indeed issued.  Dato’ Seri Najib Razak cannot come to the Parliament to say “yes” to the question simply because it would mean that he had previously lied to the Parliament when he said there were only 2 such letters for the sums of US$3 billion and US$150 million.

This further raises the question as to whether Dato’ Seri Najib Razak had issued the letter without the Cabinet’s approval or for that matter, without the knowledge of the Finance Ministry – which will be a clear cut abuse of power by the Prime Minister.  I will confer with Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, the former Deputy Prime Minister to confirm if such a “letter of support” which binds the Malaysian Government was ever discussed in the Cabinet.

If not, then the Attorney-General must commence immediate investigations over the possible criminal breach of trust, abuse of power and even fraud against Dato’ Seri Najib Razak.