Talkback

Is Sozzled Lester UMNO's Only Weapon Against Corruption Allegations?

The opposition’s reliance on foreign media reports to bring down the country’s leaders is seen as a threat that could undermine the country’s democratic system, says Umno supreme council member Mahdzir Khalid.

He described the opposition’s move of using foreign media reports to bring down Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak as unfair. Mahdzir said this when asked to comment on the action of former Sarawak Tribune editor, Lester Melanyi (photo, below), confessing that reports by Sarawak Report founder Clare Rewcastle-Brown on Najib all this while were nothing but lies.

“The problem in Malaysia is when there are those who take news conveyed in perspective without knowing its truth and authenticity, this makes it easier for the foreign media to continue to report lies for the purpose of inciting the people. “The opposition also conveniently takes these foreign media reports to be made into issues to fight the country’s leaders.

By right, we have to first verify whether the information is correct, otherwise, this is what happens,” he told reporters…… “Maybe, after this, many more details will emerge to prove that the allegations against Najib are untrue, However, I’m sure people will always support the country’s leaders as they realise that all these are all lies,” Mahdzir said.

Last Saturday, Melanyi told a press conference that Rewcastle-Brown’s accusation against Najib of paying RM9.5 million to lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah was not true, and that the report was written out of personal motive. Melanyi then requested he be given a few weeks to submit evidence on the matter.

Our comment

It took Sarawak Report less than 24 hours to debunk Kuching’s sozzled drunk, Lester Melanyi’s garbled ravings last time he stuck his head above the parapet. We proved he was an entertaining liar and that his ‘sources’ were rubbish.

He clearly needs another handout and has therefore been prepared to conduct another of his ‘press conferences’.  Lester we forgive you.

Our reporting, to the contrary, is backed by the sort of evidence that UMNO’s bigwigs plainly do not wish to see discussed in court. Moreover, the details on the Shafee payment and others made by the Prime Minister were in the hands of many others, as UMNO bosses are well aware, before we received and published it.  The Wall Street Journal and ABC Australia published many of the details from these documents early last year.

So, we have our witnesses and a string of sources. If we did not, the whole of UMNO would have charged to court months ago eager to prove us and others to be lying.  In fact, why even bother go to court when you can publish the truth and unmask the liar, like we did when we dispensed with Lester within 24 hours back in 2015?

Rest assured, if Shafee had NOT been paid RM9.5 million we would have heard by now and been shown the proof.

So, Melanyi’s press conference and the reliance of this UMNO spokesman on such an embarrassing character is clear evidence they have a very big problem.  It shows the only ‘witness’ they have been able to bring to their defence over the PM’s corrupt payments is Ludicrous Lester, who has spent the last 5 years sloping round the bars and tea houses of Kuching and hardly knows his right hand from his left foot.

You bet he has asked for a ‘few weeks’ (read several months/forever) to produce the evidence to back up his latest rambling allegations.  He will have taken the payment for the press conference in advance however.

Now Shukri Has Admitted Shafee Was Biased!

Nancy said that her answer to Parliament in 2015 that Shafee had only received RM1,000 was based on information given to her as then-de factolaw minister by the AG’s Chambers, and it remains unchanged.

“As far as I remember, whatever response was given to me to reply in Parliament, that was the official one,” she told Malaysiakini.

Nancy said Shafee believed he was performing a “national service”.

Whistleblower site Sarawak Report, citing leaked investigation papers, previously claimed that Shafee had received two payments totalling RM9.5 million directly from Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

However, Nancy was unaware of this.

“Other than that, I do not know. I mean all those allegations, I cannot confirm nor refute them because as far as I’m concerned officially, the answer given to me was RM1,000.

Our comment

Malaysia’s jailed opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, is to return to court following the emergence of new evidence that the case against him was perverted by a whopping RM9.4m bung to the lead prosecutor personally paid by the Prime Minister – presenting a clear conflict of interest.

Now, minister Nancy Shukri has made matters worse by confirming that the prosecutor, Shafee Abdullah, a private lawyer controversially drafted in by the government for the task, had agreed to do the job for a token fee, since he viewed the matter to be a “national service”.

National service because he is on a crusade against sodomy or national service because he wanted the opposition leader in jail to protect the Prime Minister, who had just paid him close on ten million ringgit?

The guilelessness of so many senior figures in BN, who damn themselves by their own remarks, is itself quite remarkable.  A decent court should have little problem ruling in Anwar’s favour, when you have ministers such as Shukri openly admitting the agenda was to put him away rather than making a fair judgement.

You Help Me And I Will Help You

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak today announced a Hari Raya incentive of RM500 for Felda settlers but said those who had taken Felda to court or refused to sell their produce to the agency would not be receiving it.

“I would like to clarify the incentive, we will only be paying it to those who have done business with Felda.

“Those who have not done business with Felda, or those who have sued Felda – I’m sorry, they are not on the list,” he told the audience at a breaking of fast event at Felda Sungai Sayong in Kulai, Johor this evening.

Najib said the Hari Raya incentive will cost the government RM47.2 million.

On top of that, Najib said Felda settlers will each receive RM280 as a dividend from Felda Global Ventures Holdings Berhad (FGV), bringing the total payout to RM780 per person.

Our comment

“You help me with your vote, I help you with public money'”, Najib Razak earlier told voters in Sarawak.  He was on a stage and being recorded and clearly he simply saw nothing wrong in the blatant bribe.

Later, Parliament let him off.  After all, this Prime Minister has handed round public money without restraint to anyone who helps him keep power, including UMNO leaders.  Not only is it public money, but it is stolen public money that has cost in many cases double, because it was borrowed in the first place.

And if he is willing to bribe, who is surprised that he is also willing to blackmail with the same stolen public money?  Those who have protested at the abuse and theft from their public funds, such as FELDA, are now to be ‘punished’ by the removal of their allocated crumbs from the loot.

They should be proud to hold their heads high and say no to the stolen booty. After all, it is just a fraction of their own money that has been stolen from them and by making their stand against this corruption they are starting to stop the rot.

Things can be better and more prosperous if crooked politicians become a thing of the past. The FELDA abstainers should be praised for showing up Najib and their reward will be in better governance.

When In A Hole Don't Dig Deeper

Former inspector-general of police Musa Hassan has questioned the validity of Sarawak Report‘s allegation that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak paid prominent lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah RM9.5 million….

“So how can the RM9.5 million be paid to the lawyer if the account was already closed? I think this claim is not true as the payment was (alleged to have been) made on Sept 11, 2013 and Feb 17, 2014,” Musa said in a press conference in Petaling Jaya….

Dismissing Sarawak Report‘s allegation as slander, Musa said he too was a victim to such claims when he was investigating the first sodomy allegation against Anwar in 1998.

“I was also a victim of slander, I was accused of receiving RM5 million from (former prime minister) Dr Mahathir Mohamad which was supposedly put in my accounts in Singapore.

“But this is not true because I did not receive the RM5 million,” he said.

Meanwhile, citing a police report which was made based on the claims by Sarawak Report, Musa said the report was therefore false in nature.

“I hope the police will conduct investigations under Section 182 of the Penal Code for giving false information,” he added

Our comment

Imagine holding a press conference to make a loud statement to the media about something that is not directly related to yourself, when you haven’t even thoroughly checked the facts.

This is what Musa Hassan, a former IGP has done.  What a nightmare it must have been to work for someone that careless in a top position.

If Musa had properly examined the facts (read Sarawak Report for example) he would have noted that from day one we made clear that one of Najib’s personal accounts (no 2112022009694), the one which received $681 million in March 2013, was closed the following August:

268792291c836813108e6fde15e6fabbc3fbb0da

However, our article about Shafee’s payments quite clearly cites a later account Najib opened, into which money from SRC International was paid (a subsidiary of 1MDB).

This was account number 2112022011906, which remained open until we broke the scandal in 2015.  Getting these sorts of details right are the bread and butter of investigative work and something this senior officer ought to have been taught in police college.

It is lucky he is now retired and perhaps he should keep it that way, instead of digging his friends into deeper holes, when they themselves are plainly deciding that silence is the better option.

Najib's Frozen Singapore Accounts

Singapore’s central bank has fined Credit Suisse and United Overseas Bank (UOB) a total of S$1.6 million ($1.2 million) for breaching anti-money laundering rules in transactions related to Malaysia’s scandal-ridden state fund 1MDB.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said on Tuesday it had fined UOB S$900,000 and Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) S$700,000 as it wrapped up its two-year probe into banks involved in 1MDB-related transactions, which revealed several breaches of anti-money laundering (AML) requirements and control lapses….

“These include weaknesses in conducting due diligence on customers and inadequate scrutiny of customers’ transactions and activities,” it said in a statement, adding it did not, however, detect pervasive control weaknesses at UOB and Credit Suisse….

“While the fines imposed on UOB and Credit Suisse may appear low relative to the amounts that we see imposed by U.S. and UK regulators, they are substantive by Singapore standards,” said Nizam Ismail, partner at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP, where he advises clients on financial services regulation.

Our comment

Unlike the other penalties related to this investigation, which involved accounts managed by Jho Low, his alias Eric Tan or various subsidiaries of 1MDB, MAS has kept silent on the ownership of the illicit bank accounts managed by Credit Suisse and UOB.

In the absence of further explanation, Malaysians are therefore left with only one possible conclusion, which is that these two banks were managing accounts for Prime Minister Najib Razak.  Accounts which MAS has clearly linked to 1MDB and which therefore now must have been frozen by Singapore.

A Prime Minister ought not to be protected in such a way and treated as some sort of special individual who is above the law, particularly if Singapore wishes to claim that it is a proper international banking centre, run by rules.

Deals have clearly been done, which show the hand of political interference – death to financial confidence.  On the other hand, the compromise arrived at has clearly been designed not to let Najib off the hook completely and to open the way for eventual justice in this matter.

Singapore has confirmed the money in his accounts was dirty and has punished the banks’ failure to conduct due diligence on a politically exposed figure. They will not have released this money back.

The world is effectively waiting for Malaysians to show the guts and fortitude to deal with their own villains and chuck them out – then there will be a lot of money waiting to reward them!

More Najib Handouts!

Like brothers, Prime Minister Najib Razak praised his predecessor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for his undying loyalty to Umno and the BN government.

Announcing a RM5 million fund for the Tun Abdullah Badawi Legacy Organisation, Najib said Abdullah was a great national icon. “I appreciate Pak Lah’s loyalty all this while. Even after all that had happened, he continued to give his support, standing by me, the government, Umno and BN. “He never betrayed the party, let alone leave this beloved party,” he said.

Najib then said he did not come empty handed. “I am announcing a RM5 million fund for Pak Lah’s legacy. “The money will be given this year. If we have funds next year, we will give more,” he said in his speech at the opening of the Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Lecture in Putrajaya. Najib also expressed his gratitude to Abdullah for voluntarily ceding the post of Umno president to himself, paving the way to Putrajaya.

Our comment

For a Finance Minister Najib Razak clearly has no idea whatsoever what constitutes an appropriate payment.

So, it’s fine to hand out money to his “brother” and the guy who handed him his present job.

Might Malaysian’s be allowed to ask where Najib got the money from this time?  Is it RM5 million grabbed from 1MDB or from some other public fund raided by Najib?

Or has he just raided the Ministery of Finance?

What is this money to be spent on that it is justified for a Prime Minister to just hand it over to his old political chum…?

Definition of Public Office Is Who Appoints And Who Pays!

High Court judge Abu Bakar Jais in his controversial ruling yesterday that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is not a public official or public officer has detailed his grounds for the judgment in his 31-page decision.

Justice Abu Bakar said Najib’s lawyers argued that in initiating the suit, former Umno leaders Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Khairuddin Abu Hassan and Anina Saadudin must first prove the offices that Najib occupies – as prime minister, finance minister, BN chairperson and Umno president – are all public offices.

“The defendant maintained he is not a public officer and therefore cannot be liable for the tort of misfeasance in public office,” the judge said in throwing out the suit.

Najib, he noted, also contended there is no fiduciary duty owed by him as PM, finance minister, BN chairperson and Umno president to the plaintiffs.

“There is no mutual trust and confidence placed between the parties for a fiduciary relationship to exist,” Justice Abu Bakar said.

Our comment

The public appointed Najib and the public pays Najib.

In return, Najib on assuming office swore to serve the public faithfully and honestly.

He was given a position of immense trust in charge of the nations finances, which the judge acknowledges he may have abused.

Yet this judge has opined that Najib is nevertheless not accountable to the public and that there is no duty of trust nor any obligation not to betray his terms of office, as would pertain to a teacher, parking officer or judge.

This law officer has decided that Najib is above the law and that democracy is about electing which dictator you want to have steal from you next – your money and your liberties included.

Malaysia needs to elect a government that will reform this despersate situation.

Election Crackdown On Democratic Freedom Of Speech!

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has clarified reports that social messaging app WhatsApp group administrators might face legal action if they fail to prevent the spread of false information in the group.

“MCMC would like to explain to the public that all conversations in any group messaging applications like WhatsApp, WeChat, Viber, Telegram and such, are private.

“Investigations will only be initiated if there are complaints against the contents shared in that group.

“Hence, the public, whether they are the group administrator or member, should be careful in spreading news in their groups so that it does not become a case of spreading false information,” MCMC said in a statement posted on its Facebook page today.

The commission reminded that disseminating false information is a crime under the law, such as Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998.

Our comment

We may be pretending to be getting ready for a free and fair election, but watch what you say!

This is because ‘spreading false news’ includes any ‘derogatory’ or ‘insulting’ remarks about the government in your private chat rooms!

Anyone who claims, falsely, for example, that Najib is the most unpopular Prime Minister ever, will follow Tony Pua and others into the police station to explain remarks that threaten to overturn a democratically elected government.

Because, whilst you have the democratic right to elect your government, the said government does not offer you the democratic right to over throw it!

Malaysian Ministers Backtrack on Abu Dhabi Settlement!

Umno supreme council member Mohd Puad Zarkashi has refuted claims that 1MDB has to make “double payments” to Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC).

Puad also claimed that 1MDB will not assume the principal payments on two bonds, guaranteed by both 1MDB and IPIC, which contradicted statements by both companies…

 

‘1MDB can sue IPIC’

He also noted that IPIC and 1MDB will hold further negotiations on the payments 1MDB had made to “certain entities” to find a common resolution on how to foot the US$3.5 billion principal payments on the bonds which will mature on 2022.

“If there is no resolution between IPIC and 1MDB, 1MDB has the right to take legal action against IPIC on the payment of US$2.5 billion it made to Aabar BVI, before the bonds mature in 2022,” he said

……

Finance Minister II Johari Abdul Ghani has disclosed the existence of a letter confirming that Aabar Investments PJS Ltd (BVI) is a subsidiary of International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) even though the Abu Dhabi firm denies this.

“As far as I am concerned, based on records provided by 1MDB to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) prior to the settlement agreement, Aabar Investments PJS Ltd (BVI) is a subsidiary of IPIC.

“A fact which was confirmed by the Registrar of Corporate Affairs of the British Virgin Islands by its letter dated Aug 11, 2016,” he told Malaysiakini.

The minister’s disclosure led a source familiar with the issue to question why the Malaysian team chose to opt for a settlement, when it had such strong evidence.

Our comment

In an astonishing development and within only 24 hours of the joint IPIC/ 1MDB announcement of an ‘amicable settlement’ being registered on the London Stock Exchange, two of Najib’s closest ministers have backtracked on the essentials of that agreement!

Except, nothing is any longer surprising in Malaysia, where ministers are running round like headless chickens trying to defend the indefensible over the thefts from 1MDB.

It has been internationally recognised that the settlement as announced represented a total cave-in by 1MDB and an effective admission that no money was ever paid by Malaysia to Abu Dhabi. After all, the terms of the settlement will be that Malaysia pays back the $1.2 billion bail out of 1MDB made last year and will take over all the remaining payments on the $3.5 billion it borrowed back in 2012.

This was despite previous, unsubstantiated claimes that 1MDB had paid IPIC $3.51 billion in supposed deposits for a guarantee on those borrowings. It is now clearly demonstrated how in fact that money was stolen by conspirators linked to Najib Razak’s proxy at 1MDB Jho Low (the conspirators included the Head of IPIC at the time, who is now jailed).

However, Najib’s monkey ministers, who don’t like being shown up are now sounding off that IPIC did get the money and still owes $2.5 billion after all!  They claim documents (which they still have not substantiated) prove their point. And now they are suggesting that Malaysia is going to tear up the agreement and SUE ABU DHABI!

Malaysia needs to rid of itself of these embarrassing representatives!

1MDB Settlement CONFIRMS DOJ's Case

The settlement between 1MDB and the Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC) has derailed the US Department of Justice (DOJ) civil suit to seize more than US$1 billion in assets allegedly purchased using funds siphoned from 1MDB, said an Umno leader.

“This arbitration settlement has weakened the US DOJ civil suit and claims that 1MDB’s funds were stolen,” said Umno supreme council member Mohd Puad Zakarshi in a statement today.

Mohd Puad is also the director-general of the Information Ministry’s Special Affairs Division (Jasa).

The settlement announced yesterday will see 1MDB pay IPIC US$1.2 billion, as repayment after IPIC covered interest payments on 1MDB bonds in June 2015.

The bonds, valued at US$3.5 billion, were issued in 2012 to finance 1MDB’s energy unit – 1MDB Energy (Langat) Limited and 1MDB Energy Limited. Both bonds are due by 2022.

1MDB was supposed to pay IPIC US$3.5 billion for guaranteeing the bonds but IPIC said it never received payment.

1MDB said it had paid Aabar BVI, a British Virgin Island registered entity with an almost identical name as IPIC’s subsidiary. IPIC said it is not linked to Aabar BVI.

Won’t touch taxpayer’s funds

This portion of the dispute will be further negotiated in “good faith” between the parties, IPIC said in its filing to the London Stock Exchange yesterday.

“The parties have also agreed to enter into good faith discussions in relation to payments made by 1MDB Group to certain entities,” it said.

Meanwhile, Puad said the settlement shows that 1MDB will be able to pay its debts without touching taxpayers’ funds.

This is through monetising the “investment units” redemeed from the Cayman Islands and held in a Singapore bank via 1MDB’s subsidiary Brazen Sky Limited, which is reported to be worth US$940 billion.

“These obligations will be met by 1MDB, primarily via monetisation of 1MDB-owned investment fund units. 1MDB is pleased to confirm that a first tranche monetisation of approximately US$50 million has been received, in cash,” 1MDB said yesterday.

The Prime Minister’s Office said 1MDB will cash out all of its “investment fund units”.

Puad said this shows that the “investment units” have value, and are not worthless as earlier claimed by the opposition.

Our comment

Whatever qualifications were achieved by Mohd Puad Zakarshi, they plainly did not demand logic.

Because, the settlement by 1MDB doesn’t undermine the DOJ case, to the contrary it confirms it. Period.

If 1MDB had really paid $3.5 billion in ‘guarantee deposits’ to IPIC, as Najib continues to laughably claim, then Malaysia would never have lost the arbitration case and been forced to pay back the $1.2 billion that IPIC later bailed them out with.

Instead, the court would have pointed out that the bail out was just a third of the up-front deposit and IPIC would actually still have over $2 billion of 1MDB’s money left.

This is not what has happened.  The settlement involves an agreement by 1MDB to pay back the bail out money and to take over the responsibility for the remainder of its debts.

It is therefore a concrete admission by Malaysia that it could not prove its claims that it had deposited a single cent let alone billions with IPIC.

And that means that the money trails supplied by the DOJ investigations, showing instead that all the money was siphoned off into a bogus BVI account to pay for Jho Low, Rosmah and Khadem Al Qubaisi’s fun and frolics, has been confirmed by the settlement and not weakened.

It is plain as daylight, yet this Minister of Disinformation is attempting to say the opposite. How stupid does he think people are in Malaysia?

He is also asking people to believe that the payment is going to come from the ‘monetisation’ of non-existant ‘units’ that 1MDB also doesnt have, because all the PetroSaudi money was funnelled into another off-shore company (Good Star Limited) and stolen as well.

Puad says we should believe his story because the PM’s office said it (just like they said IPIC received money which it didn’t).

So, who is going to believe this illogical and mendacious fellow when he goes on to say that Najib won’t be touching taxpayer’s funds to repay the debt?

Is there a single voter who believes that?