Talkback

What Is Possible And Not Possible

The Australian Immigration Department’s investigations found that former police commando Sirul Azhar Omar did not record or distribute any videos to the media while he was held at the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre (VIDC) in Sydney.

This is based on checks on CCTV recordings, Sirul’s appearance in the videos and the backdrop used in the video, the department said in a statement. The statement was published by Australia’s 60 Minutes programme on its website today.

“These factors support the Department’s view that the video was made between the time of the Malaysian Federal Court decision and the time the individual entered immigration detention,” the department said, adding that it had obtained two independent translations of the video recordings.

It said it is not possible for someone to have smuggled in the clothing Sirul wore or the flannel backdrop seen in the videos. In a number of video recordings leaked to Malaysiakini, Sirul had among others said he was being used by certain quarters to slander others, but did not mention names.

Lawyer Americk Sidhu has earlier argued that Sirul recorded the videos after his detention as he had in one of the clips referred to a press conference by lawyer Kamarul Hisham and Hasnul Rezua Merican (photo), which happened on Dec 31, 2015. Sirul also refers to the application he is making for permanent residency in Australia, Americk said.

Our comment

What is not possible is to predict the future. On the other hand, as the world knows, items get smuggled in and out of detention centres and prisons all the time.

Sirul was picked up in Australia and detained in Villawood in January of 2015.  The eruption of the corruption crisis surrounding the Malaysian Prime Minister did not occur until Sarawak Report published details of the PetroSaudi deal later in March.

So, how did Sirul have the foresight to record a video, back in 2014, denouncing a ‘conspiracy’ to tarnish the name of the Prime Minister, when the whole theory of this so-called ‘conspiracy’ only emerged after that corruption crisis broke?

The Australian Immigration Minister is therefore going to have to decide if he is going to deal with this situation convincingly or become a complicit party in the laughable attempt to pretend that these recordings took place before Sirul was arrested in Australia.

The whole point of the video recordings was to use this former bodyguard to defend the Malaysian Prime Minister primarily against concerns that have been raised about who gave him the order to murder a woman who had threatened blackmail over a defence contract where he had taken bribes (according to prosecutors in a current French court case).

Before Sirul went into Villawood he himself was attempting to blackmail the Prime Minister for several million dollars over the same issue, as text messages have confirmed. Sirul wanted money to “say nothing.. that way I won’t bring down the PM”.  The PM’s intermediary responded by saying they wanted to negotiate.

At this time Sirul had yet to hire his immigration team, which was fixed up for him by expensive UMNO lawyers after his arrest. Neither was anyone approaching him at that time to highlight the Altantuya case, which had drifted out of the news.

In fact, when Sirul was arrested he first reached out to people he hoped could help him finally tell the truth – that included the former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir, who was visited by Sirul’s mother.

It was then that the operation swung into action, headed by the team of expensive UMNO lawyers, to control Sirul and use him to defend his former boss.  The videos were a ham-fisted and obvious part of that strategy and have been so easily seen through and ridiculed in Malaysia that the orchestrators have bottled out of showing the final episode, said to ‘name the conspirators’ seeking to ‘use Sirul to defame Najib’.

They can’t show that ‘episode’ now, because it would one hundred per cent prove that the video was made in prison, because all the people the video was seeking to target (eg the editor of Sarawak Report) had no involvement with Sirul prior to his incarceration at Villawood.

Sirul complained at his conviction that he was being used as a scapegoat by powerful people.  Nothing has changed in this situation and the Australian authorities should do a better job of protecting the innocent, not shield the guilty or face the public consequences.

People Who Think They Can Get Away With Anything Like Bonnie & Clyde

Lessons can be learnt from the 1MDB controversy as the country progresses forward, said CIMB group chairman Datuk Seri Nazir Razak.

Nazir said this was so that there would not be a moral hazard where people think they can get away with anything.

He added that people responsible for any wrongdoings should be held accountable so that no one would dare to do it again.

“Something did go wrong in 1MDB and no one can deny that. The total debt was way out of range of its capital base,” said Nazir.

He added that in 2009, 1MDB raised a RM5bil bond n the capital market.

“I was not privy to information about it,” said Nazir while responding to the audience during the question-and-answer session of the StarLIVE Power Talks-Business Series at Menara Star attended by Star Media Group chairman Datuk Fu Ah Kiow and Star Media Group CEO Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai .

However, he added that his bonds team showed him that the transactions were not properly priced and were handled in a very unusual manner.

Our comment

The brother of the PM has spent his career as a responsible senior banker and has increasingly made his concerns clear about the way Malaysia has been run by his sibling and wife.

It has become one of those countries where certain people think they “can get away with anything” he laments and he makes clear this mentality must end for survival of the economy and the well-being of the people.

He focuses on 1MDB, where the management still persist in denying a single impropriety has taken place, but where he himself flagged up issues from the very start in 2009.

The CEO of 1MDB Arul Kanda and former CEO Shahrol Halmi appear to think they can continue to lie that all is well, because they have the backing of the all-powerful brother of Nazir and his wife, who have been nicknamed amongst close associates ‘Bonnie & Clyde’.

Bonnie & Clyde also appeared to imagine they could get away with everything, as long as they had a fast horse….

More From The Minister For Libel And False Communications

Abdul Rahman, who is BN strategic communications director, took issue with DAP’s Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong and Tanjong MP Ng Wei Aik’s statements blaming BN for Lim’s controversy.

“I advise these YBs to stop embarrassing themselves.

“Defending their master with lame excuses will only further weaken Lim’s position as chief minister,” Rahman said in a series of Twitter postings.

Rahman said it was not BN’s doing that got Lim into the position he is in right now.

“It wasn’t BN who forced Lim to buy the property and at such undervalued price. Stop blaming others.

“It wasn’t BN who forced Lim to buy the property from this particular lady whose boss is the KLIDC (Kuala Lumpur International Dental Centre Sdn Bhd) owner.

“The timing, seller, and price of bungalow buy (were) not determined by BN,” he said.

Our comment

The Minister for Libel, Dahlan Rahman, is at it again.

This is the man who notoriously orchestrated the ban on Sarawak Report, based on concocted and rapidly disproved lies by a hired bankrupt journalist, Lester Melanyi.

Dahlan rests on the power of the Prime Minister to organise warrants of arrest and arm twist the courts, which in the case of Sarawak Report has meant we cannot pursue a suit in Malaysia against him.

However, now that this minister has discovered his moral outrage against corruption, we will suggest that he addresses the real issue, which concerns his  own party leader.

Taking Dahlan’s own argument, we did not force Najib to secretly transfer RM2.6 billion (and more) into his accounts, nor did we transfer and spend all those millions he took from the KWAP pension fund via SRC.

Najib Adds Hypocrisy To His Sins

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has described the RM100 million graft case in the Youth and Sports Ministry as disappointing and vowed tough action against those responsible.

“I view seriously the misappropriation case involving a senior government officer at the Youth and Sports Ministry which is being investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

“This case is disappointing as it happened for a number of years without detection,” he said in a blog posting today.

Najib said those involved would be held to account.

“The government would never compromise on cases where government funds are misappropriated and stern action would be taken against those involved,” he added.

Our comment

Malaysians have been unsure whether to react more with laughter or anger at the sheer brazen cheek of Najib’s performance yesterday.

Here is a Prime Minister willing to shower indignation on folk, who were stealing a mere RM100 million from taxpayers!

He wants the sternest punishment against small fry, who were only following their masters’ example.

Their lawyers will be preparing their cases now. of course.  After all, look at the stunning precedent of a Prime Minister “cleared” on the grounds he spent the public’s money (on his credit cards), but says he didn’t know how he got it.

This is why leaders ought to resign if caught stealing, as they can no longer credibly uphold the law against others.

But Najib has plainly lost contact with reality within his bubble of BN sycophants. He is like an Emperor without clothes, as the nation watches slack jawed.

Those In Glass Longhouses Ought Not Throw Stones

A Sarawak BN leader has lamented the state DAP’s continued efforts to link the state government to Putrajaya’s scandals such as 1MDB.

Parti Bumiputera Bersatu Sarawak (PBB) information chief Peter Minos said it’s not fair to paint Sarawak BN as guilty by association.

“Take a longhouse – if the tuai rumah (leader) makes errors or mistakes or goes against the laws, it is not right or fair to blame everyone in that longhouse or chase them out,” Minos told Malaysiakini.

He was responding to Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen who said Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has now become the opposition’s main “campaigner” in the upcoming state polls due to the 1MDB scandals and the goods and services tax (GST).

Minos said those were purely “KL issues”, and DAP should not blame Sarawak BN for it.

Similarly, he said, Sarawak BN would not blame DAP for the scandal surrounding Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s bungalow.

Our comment

It is amusing that BN leaders have suddenly discovered their moral outrage over corruption, now that they think they have something with which to accuse the opposition.

This PBB information chief, whilst alluding to alleged improprieties in Penang, expects not to be associated with BN’s 1MDB global mega-scandal, which he readily admits is a case of corrupt practice by painting Najib as the equivalent of a law breaking longhouse chief!

However, it was 1MDB money that was secretly channelled to buy out Governor Taib Mahmud’s family company UBG for an overpriced and typical crony BN profit.

And, while the world looks on scandalised, it is Taib, his side-kick Adenan and their PBB party, who continue to keep the Prime Minister responsible for 1MDB in power with their solid support and vital parliamentary seats.

Indeed, Adenan has said he wants Najib to stay in power “forever”, thereby 100% endorsing the corruption of 1MDB and all the rest of BN’s current dirty practice.

It is therefore entirely right to tar PBB with the same brush as 1MDB, as would also be the case were longhouse members knowingly supporting and taking money from a corrupt, law-breaking headman.

"Buying" An Election Is A Major Crime...

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak purportedly revealed that BN spent RM1.5 billion for the 13th general election in a meeting with Umno liaison chiefs, according to former Kedah menteri besar Mukhriz Mahathir.

Mukhriz claimed that he was told about this after quizzing Najib in the meeting about the RM2.6 billion that was deposited into the latter’s personal bank accounts, which the prime minister stated was a political donation from the Middle East.

Therefore, Mukhriz questioned how Najib could return RM2.03 billion of the RM2.6 billion if RM1.5 billion was spent on the election.

“What I find strange and curious about the RM2.6 billion which he claimed was an Arab donation is, if having spent RM1.5 billion in the 13th general election, only RM1.1 billion is left.

“How can he return RM2.03 billion to the Arabs? How did the (remainder of) RM1.1 billion become RM2 billion?..

….. he (Tengku Adnan) said: ‘We spent a lot for the 13th general election. We had to spend a lot to make sure we win’ but he said he cannot reveal how much was spent.

“Then suddenly the (Umno) president (Najib) interjected, he said he can reveal how much was spent in the 13th general election. He said we spent RM1.5 billion,” said Mukhriz.

The former MB said he was shocked and questioned how BN could perform even worse than the previous general election despite spending such a huge sum

“Then Ku Nan replied: ‘you’re still young, what do you know’,” said Mukhriz

Our comment

How can it be legitimate for a ruling party to buy an election?

Yet, these people are prepared to even admit to buying GE13, since it appears in their eyes to be a marginally better excuse for stealing billions from the public purse than merely putting it into their own pockets.

But, as Mukhriz rightly points out, the figures show that they did that as well.

Najib and his cronies are of the opinion that their own party stalwarts, who hold those bought parliamentary seats (many from Sarawak) will be more tolerant of this money having been used to buy an election than to further enrich Najib and his family.

However, as far as the rest of ordinary Malaysians are concerned it means that not only did Najib steal their money, he stole their election as well.

Poor Pandikar

Dewan Rakyat speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia expressed strong disapproval of former Terengganu menteri besar Ahmad Said’s motion of no confidence against the state’s incumbent menteri besar which was tabled at the Terengganu state legislative assembly sitting yesterday.

Pandikar said that it did not even cross his mind that a no-confidence motion against either the prime minister or a menteri besar can be tabled in a “modern democratic country” like Malaysia without a notice.

“Tabling a no-confidence motion is like an ambush: you table such a motion when you notice that there are absentees from the other side.

“There’s no cheating and lies in a democracy. Everything must be transparent, there must be a notice and such,” said Pandikar in his speech before launching the Election Commission’s (EC) new building in Putrajaya today.

Our comment

Poor Pandikar – it is embarrassing to be in a senior position and be exposed as so unqualified.

His remarks are akin to an engineer, who admits he has not come across Pythagoras’s theorem or a surgeon, who hasn’t heard of a haemorrhage.

A motion of no confidence is indeed an ambush and it is the established means by which modern democratic parliaments deal with failed leaders, who no longer command the respect of the majority of MPs.

Perhaps, given his novice level understanding of the job he is in, Pandikar should take a quick look at that helpful online aid Wikipedia?  Quote:

“Motions of no confidence are a feature of the Westminster system of government that requires an executive to retain the confidence of the House of Commons. It is a fundamental principle of the British constitution that the Government must retain the confidence of the legislature as it is not possible for a Government to operate effectively without the support of the majority of the legislature….By convention a no confidence vote will take precedence over normal Parliamentary business for that day..”

This means that if someone from either side of the house tables such a motion on a certain day, then it is the Speaker’s duty to give it PRECEDENCE  over all other business.

After all, what could be more important?

 

Borneo Post Ticks Off Sarawak Report On Journalism Standards...

IN their jostling to get to the forefront of their war against the degradation of the environment, some international NGOs have turned on timber and oil palm plantation companies to score mileage and gain favour from their sponsors.

These ‘green’ bodies usually rely on information that ranges from half truths to blatant lies to run down companies involved in large-scale agriculture and logging.

To these NGOs, the ends justify the means and reports by their informants or activists need not be verified as long as they could sensationalise the issues they are championing.

Recently one of these so-called champions of the environment Upreshpal Singh working through Friends of the Orangutan (FOTO) hurled slanderous allegations against KTS and BLD, accusing them of wanton destruction of the forest through oil palm planting and logging.

Sadly Rettet den Re genwalde.V  (Save The Rainforest), a supposedly credible German NGO jumped on Upreshpal Singh’s bandwagon and started a campaign to undermine the interest of the two companies.

Their allegations were picked up by Sarawak Report and posted on the portal on Feb 25, 2016…….

Save the Rainforest, Forest Hero, Friends of the Earth, Friends of the Orangutan, and many other similar organisations have sprung up like mushrooms each trying to outdo the others in their reports  …..

Sarawak Report in its Feb 25, 2016 article titled ‘Germany’s Save The Rainforest Campaign Tells Chainsaw Giant STIHL to Cut Ties with KTS’ stated that a major new petition and campaign had been launched to get the KTS Group to commit seriously to environmental and indigenous concerns.

In the same article, Sarawak Report went on to write that the German NGO’s petition accused KTS of an abysmal record in environmental destruction and native encroachment in Sarawak….

This is sheer irresponsible journalism, if nothing else.

Adenan is loved by many, too many to mention. … Adenan even sang to raise significant funds to help the poor, the needy and the less fortunate.

Clare Rewcastle Brown should be ashamed of herself for trying to discredit him and suggesting that he kept a blind eye on illegal logging by certain companies.

Our comment

The Borneo Post ran this major thundering front page article, followed by an inside spread, over the weekend, which lambasted Sarawak Report and other NGOs for “biased reporting” and “poor journalism”.

Perhaps in the interests of good journalism The Borneo Post ought itself to have declared the interest of its ownership in the matter?

Because, of course, the Borneo Post is owned by the self-same KTS, which also happens to be the owner of BLD Plantations, the subject of the reports so criticised by the Post’s verbose and angry writer!

Moreover, a quick check into the identity of this writer, one Wan Abdillah bin Wan Hamid reveals that, far from being an objective reporter on the staff of the Borneo Post, he is in fact the Executive Director of that self-same BLD Plantations!

No mention of this staggering conflict of interest is made at any point in this lengthy diatribe against Sarawak Report, Germany’s Rainforest Rescue, Friends Of The Orangutans (FOTO) and the local campaigners, who have been sticking up for the native landowners, whose lives have been illegally trashed by BLD.

What more sorry illustration of the fact that Sarawak continues to be controlled by a crony political and business partnership, where concessions and media licences are handed out to friends for favours?

One of the most visible pals of the supposedly reforming Adenan Satem is none other than than the boss of KTS Henry Lau, who plainly thinks he can use a newspaper in such a high-handed and frankly stupid way.

It is a shame also for those genuine journalists, struggling to make The Borneo Post a credible news source for their readers.

Politicians Politic and Writers Write....

Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah has urged lawmakers to cease politicking and expressed his wish for the continuation of the current administration in order to realise the goal of making Malaysia a high-income nation.

In his opening address at this year’s Parliament session, he said differing views should be appreciated, instead of slandering and attempting to topple each other.

“Once again, I call upon all the honourable members to be united and to love this country. Give your undivided loyalty, defend and protect the country.

“I hope all the honourable members will stop politicking for narrow interests as the prolonged (politicking) has exhausted the people and government,” he said.

“Be a good example to the people by working together to come out with views that are beneficial to the harmony of the people and the prosperity of the country.

“In a parliamentary democracy, we may have different views. Celebrate the space (the difference), not topple, slander and foster enmity with each other, which can lead to the downfall of the nation,” he added.

The Agong also reminded the people to maintain harmony and uphold peace.

“Attempts to incite racial sentiment and abuse social media by spreading seditious and slanderous remarks and extremist ideologies should be contained immediately….

He also hoped that all efforts to strengthen religious institutions and enhance the administration of Islamic laws by empowering the Syariah Court would be realised.

Our comment

All due respect to the Agong, because it is not he, but the Prime Minister, who writes the speech he must give at the opening of Parliament.

At which point these seemingly ludicrous remarks all make sense.

After all, why elect politicians at all, if you are urging them not to engage in politics?  The job of parliamentarians is to hold the government of the day accountable and to give it a rough time if it fails or neglects in its duties and if necessary to change that government if they see fit.

That is what people elect them to do for the period of an electoral term.  People do not directly elect a Prime Minister in the Westminster model (as they do a US President) although convention dictates that the leader of the biggest party is expected under normal circumstances to become Prime Minister. MPs are therefore perfectly at liberty to re-align if the present executive no longer appeals to the majority of them – hopefully for honourable reasons rather than graft.

It is therefore nonsense for Najib to keep claiming he was elected personally for a full term and that it is ‘unconstitutional’ for anyone to seek to remove him if he cocks up the job. He should have a chat with Tony Blair, who was himself kicked out or consider the fate of Margaret Thatcher, likewise removed.

It is the absolute duty of parliamentarians to pressure the removal of Prime Ministers who have lost confidence. So if Najib wants them to stop politicking he should admit that what he really wants is to abolish Parliament altogether, for obvious the reason that his retirement looks far less likely to be as smooth and comfortable as that of Messrs Blair and Thatcher, given the history of his own actions.

So, telling politicians to stop politicking is like telling writers in social media not to express their opinions – only people on the defensive demand it.

Najib now thinks he can hide behind religion, but likewise it doesn’t cut when you say one thing and are caught doing the opposite time and again.

Poor Dim Deputy PM!

Najib has done the right thing in dropping Muhyiddin Yassin as his deputy, an aide to Rosmah Mansor said. Rizal Mansor said this was because there was no need for Najib to retain a ‘foolish’ deputy who refused to accept repeated explanations on the alleged scandals that implicated Najib.

“What is the point of having a foolish deputy?

“He could not understand the 1MDB issue which was explained at length to the cabinet (but) he understood what was written in The Edge,” said Rizal in reference to Muhyiddin’s criticisms against state-investment arm 1MDB.

Rizal, who cited Muhyiddin’s statement that there were people who came up to him and asked about scandals implicating Najib and Rosmah, also said: “I have personally given my explanation on all major issues involving the PM’s wife since before the 13th general elections until today.

“Among the big issues was the one on the (RM24 million diamond) ring and her daughter’s wedding.

“I have explained and answered every single one of the claims made. I have made public speeches, press statements as well as closed-door sessions with various levels of Umno and Wanita Umno leadership,” said Rizal, adding that most of them were satisfied with his answers.

Our comment

It is a relief that at least this Mr Mansor is sharp enough to understand all that has been “explained” about these matters.

However, the problem is that the entire rest of Malaysia and the inhabitants of the world beyond are not.

Aside from Mr Mansor and the other paid UMNO yes men, everyone else on the planet has found Mr Najib Razak’s (and Rosmah’s) excuses so utterly convoluted, changing, baffling and unsubstantiated that they have come to the conclusion that they are merely lies.

When Mr Mansor has attempted to explain it all over again in those press conferences, sadly (our brains not being as good as his) listeners have again come away unconvinced.

This all goes to prove the maxim that things need not only to be true, but they also need to be seen to be true.

This is where the super-intelligent Mr Mansor and Rosmah have failed and why the politically astute Mr Muhyiddin, Dr Mahathir and all those others are right.