PAS’ Zaharudin Muhammad, a figure who has been linked to the infamous recording featuring the party’s central committee member Nik Abduh Nik Aziz talking about receiving money from Umno, has lashed out against a group he dubs the “dedak cartel”.
Dedak, or animal feed, is a Malay term for bribes made famous by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
In Zaharudin’s case, the cartel refers to those who received funds from Umno or those linked to Umno….
The audio clip in question was widely circulated early last year, and ostensibly depicts a person talking about Umno’s funding of PAS.
In the recording, an individual can be heard admitting that PAS leaders, including himself, late spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, and even party president Abdul Hadi Awang had received funds from Umno.
The person also says that PAS received RM2 million from Umno with the knowledge of its top leaders to defeat DAP in the 2016 Sarawak state election…..
In a series of Facebook posts which began yesterday, Zaharudin, who is the son-in-law of PAS president Hadi, .. claimed he was defending himself from accusations that he was the one who recorded Nik Abduh’s remarks and leaked it.
He said if he was the source for the recording, he would have revealed even more details, such as claims that the recording was misused to appease those who were unhappy with corrupt PAS leaders.
“[…] the recording was played to prove that the act of taking dedak was done by the top leadership – when it actually was not, and I will show proof that the act of taking dedak was not condoned by top leaders,” Zaharudin said in one post….
“What I revealed was the secrets of the dedak cartel,” he said.
So, PAS President Hadi’s son-in-law, Zaharudin Mohammad, is now admitting the one thing that Sarawak Report initially reported about this matter, which was that it was widely suspected that money was flowing from UMNO into upper echelons of PAS.
These are party officials, whom Zaharudin described yesterday in his Facebook post as a powerful ‘cartel’ of ‘dedak eaters’ (bribe takers) as opposed to ordinary members who might take money for votes (as Hadi tried to allege was the meaning of the famous recording in his court submissions).
And yet despite this knowledge and admission by his own son-in-law, the PAS President, backed by advisors who included the people Zaharudin is now effectively accusing, decided to sue Sarawak Report on the basis of a cooked up deceit.
First Hadi claimed that everyone assumed Sarawak Report must have been referring to him personally in its article, because he was so dominant in his party – even though Zaharudin now claims it was others beneath Hadi who were taking the money.
Then Hadi backed by his party continued to sue Sarawak Report for months, despite now admitting they knew people in the party were taking UMNO’s money and that the party had fallen in line with UMNO.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Najib admitted on the hustings that Hadi would visit him secretly at night before the election to plot joint policies together. At the same time Hadi’s lawyers were issuing sworn signed statements on behalf of their client to the UK court saying that PAS was still wholeheartedly in opposition to UMNO and critical of Najib and that it was therefore a libel to claim otherwise or that money had been involved in the change of political direction of the party.
Hadi and his son in law are therefore denying they personally received money, whilst finally admitting their party and a circle of important members did. So, in effect they are admitting perjury and the bringing of false accusations against Sarawak Report in the London court.
These people even lied about the settlement they paid to extract themselves belatedly from the case when they realised that SR was not prepared to be bowed and bullied and was prepared to stand up to them in that self-same court armed with the evidence they could not deny.
Hadi and his super-expensive UK law firm ought to hold their heads in shame over this disgraceful and deceitful abuse of British libel law.
British journalists need better protection from decietful foreign litigants like Hadi and UK law firms who readily charge huge fees to bring such dubious cases.
The Sarawak governor’s office has reiterated that the MACC has exonerated Abdul Taib Mahmud from any wrongdoing, in the wake of the latter being linked by an environmental activist group to an allegedly illegal land-clearing operation just outside Mulu National Park.
Taib’s press secretary Jameson Ahip Nawie pointed to a July 3, 2018 press conference held by MACC chief commissioner Mohd Shukri Abdull in relation to 15 separate investigations opened into the Sarawak governor.
The top graftbuster had said there was no case against Taib, due to lack of evidence regarding his involvement in the decision-making process.
In a statement to Malaysiakini today, Jameson said the position of the Sarawak governor “is an apolitical appointment, which should be above politics or public debate”.
“The current Governor of Sarawak, His Excellency Abdul Taib Mahmud was first appointed on March 1, 2014 for a four-year term. His term was renewed for another four-year term in February 2018.
“It is unethical, to say the least, that Abdul Taib is still being linked to the so-called dubious projects in Sarawak.
If Governor Taib Mahmud seeks to offer lessons in ethics he should start by providing full transparency on the myriad concessions and contracts issued during his period of office, nearly all of which ended up in the hands of his own family, proxies and crony companies.
His aid complains that as Governor he is above all decisions, so cannot be blamed for what has happened regarding the on-going Mulu land scandal. However, the fact is that at the time the various concessions were handed out and native rights were railroaded Taib was chief minister, finance minister, planning and development minister, chair of the Land Custody and Development Authority and in charge of the Land & Survey Department.
The concessions and special conditions were given to his son (for free) and the railroading was done by his son’s company before the shares were passed to a third party which immediately commenced bulldozing.
If Taib seeks to contest those facts, fair enough. However, if he does not the ethical failures lie in what happened not in the public interest reporting of this scandal.
Sarawak Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud today urged Sarawakians to support the state government’s efforts to reclaim their rights enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
He said he believed that a delegation led by Chief Minister Datuk Abang Johari Openg will continue to take the interests and the development of the state into account in the negotiation to reclaim the rights from Putrajaya.
“The negotiation for the return of the rights, which have been eroded, needs to be carried out with the federal government through a correct channel,” he said at the opening of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly’s session here….
On the enforcement of Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 and Gas Distribution Ordinance 2016, the governor said it will help to further boost the state’s revenue for the benefit of the people.
He said the state government has taken a bold step to introduce a 5 per cent sales tax on the export of petroleum and petroleum products, which is expected to generate about RM3.8 billion revenue this year.
No greater ‘erosion of rights’ of Sarawakians has taken place than the crooked Petroleum Act of 1974 negotiated by this Chief Thief of Sarawak (as federal minister for energy at the time) and his own uncle, then chief minister.
This illegal act (the pair never put it before the Sarawak State Assembly to be ratified) removed state control over its maritime oil and gas, providing for only a meagre 5% of revenues to Sarawak.
Now Taib is trying to present this 5% tax as some kind of grand achievement after billions have been lost to the state.
In fact, as Sarawak Report exposed, Taib was seeking just before the last election to use the weakness of Najib Razak to claw back the oil wealth he had given away, but primarily for himself. Najib agreed that future contracts should go through a Sarawak state entity called Petros.
And guess whom Taib placed as the ‘joint venture’ company for the first Petros deal? None other than his own family concern South Sea Energy, fronted by others but secretly run by himself and his son (as reported by their bank in Oman).
Taib and his crew have for years ruthlessly exploited Sarawakians’ understandable desire to be rid of the corrupt governance that has been allowed and exploited in the worst colonial manner by West Malaysia.
However, this multi-billionaire Chief Thief of Sarawak has been the embodiment of that exploitation and control, the self-serving catspaw of the federal entities who eroded Sarawak’s autonomy. Therefore, any settlement that includes his continuing control of the country can only mean greater peril for the people of Sarawak.
What is needed is reform and the rule of law – then a new state government can start discussing matters on an even footing with their partners in the federation.
Tradewinds Plantation Bhd has expressed its deep regrets over the arson incident on April 23, which affected its Sungai Tersak estate in Simunjan.
The company believes that such irresponsible and dangerous act was made in retaliation for the dismantling by Tradewinds of a makeshift crossing to access an intended plantation road.
This illegal crossing was set up by unknown individuals.
It is said that many parties have alleged that the land lots on the estate belong to the locals, and not to Tradewinds.
Nevertheless, this allegation of ownership has been dismissed by the Court of Appeal and is found to have no merit, says the company.
“The unlawful act of erecting the said illegal makeshift crossing has caused losses to Tradewinds, and (the crossing) is used to provide unlawful access for the purpose of theft of FFB (oil palm’s fresh fruit bunches) and to compromise the state of security in the estate.
“Only authorised Tradewinds personnel are allowed into the estate,” said the group in a press statement released yesterday, stressing that Tradewinds is the lawful owner of the estate and that there are no Native Customary Rights (NCR) land there.
Taib’s sneering wealthy cousins were filmed expressing their disdain for the dispossessed native people of Sarawak, whom they dismissed as ‘squatters’.
The wealthy shareholders and directors of Tradewinds appear equally sanctimonious about their rights to take land from people who have lived there for thousands of years. They got those super-trustworthy Appeal Court judges appointed by Najib to find in their favour after all.
Yet time and again native customary rights enshrined by the original constitution have been trampled on and dismissed by a state government that has sought to limit the legal meaning of those rights to snatch land and timber – usually selling concessions first through cronies and then on to major outfits like Tradewinds.
So, we suggest that if Tradewinds are so confident of their rights to this land and all the other pieces of territory that they have acquired all over Sarawak this company should step up and produce the chain of ownership for all of their leases, right back to the moment that they were alienated by the corrupt government of Taib Mahmud.
The details on those land grabs (conducted by the Land Custody and Development Corporation set up and controlled for decades by Taib Mahmud) were disgracefully kept secret. However, Sarawak Report has obtained several of those land records and guess what?
Tradewinds ended up as the eventual owners of at least one of the most disgraceful and corrupted secret landgrabs by Taib family members on record. Nearly a thousand hectares of land in Sungai Retus was secretly sold to a newly minted company named Masretus for a nominal sum of half a million ringgit (if that was even paid) in Februaly 2009.
The owner just happened to be Taib’s own brother Ibrahim.
And guess what happened next? Within just 6 weeks of that sale this Taib family member sold the whole lot on to Tradewinds for a whopping RM7.2 million.
None of the native people in the area had even been informed about alienation of the land or sale. However, doubtless Tradewinds directors are very happy to pompously opine about the legal right they have to all these lands also.
To hell with honesty, transparency and justice.
The US Justice Department is calling for Goldman Sachs to plead guilty for its role in the massive corruption scandal involving Malaysian investment fund 1MDB, The Financial Times reported.
That recommendation applies to any settlement between Goldman Sachs and US or state authorities, newspaper reported, citing unnamed sources.
It would be the toughest penalty the Justice Department could impose, as it potentially could affect the financial giant’s licence and ability to conduct business.
According to a source close to the investigation, the hard line recommendations by investigators is not surprising, but the final settlement is likely to be less onerous.
US authorities have accused a Malaysian financial intermediary, Low Taek Jho, former Goldman partner Tim Leissner and former Goldman banker, Ng Chong Hwa, of conspiring to launder billions of dollars from 1 Malaysia Development Berhad…
Leissner pleaded guilty, while Jho Low and Ng Chong Hwa deny the allegations.
Goldman Sachs has tried to distance itself from its two former employees.
Asked about the guilty plea recommendation, a bank spokesman told AFP, “We do not believe that such a charge would be warranted by the facts of the case or the law, particularly because senior management was unware of the criminal activity by Leissner and his associate who took extraordinary efforts to hide their part in the illegal scheme from management, compliance, and legal functions at the firm.”
For months Goldman Sachs has stuck to the tried and tested tactic of piling the blame on a fall-guy underling, in this case Tim Leissner, the former Southeast Asia boss who has already pleaded guilty to multiple crimes relating to 1MDB.
Malaysia was having none of it and AG Tommy Thomas has already issued criminal charges against the international arm of the bank in London and its Singapore subsidiaries.
Now, it is clear that the DOJ investigators are in agreement and in no mind to let this controversial bank off the hook, despite its lengendary ‘teflon qualities’ when it comes to making scandals stick.
After all, before initiating the dodgy $6.5 billion worth of loans at the heart of the 1MDB scandal, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs sat down with both Najib and Jho Low (who was already blacklisted as a top laundering threat by the compliance section of the bank) in a New York hotel to discuss initiating closer relations between the two parties.
Goldman proceeded to become the Malaysian government’s top lender and 1MDB brought in the biggest bonuses ever seen for the bank’s top players.
Under such circumstances there can be no excuse for these experienced operators to have simply failed to notice the dodgy stuff, when all the details were available for its enquiries.
Yet it was left to the tiny outsider Sarawak Report to blow the whistle way back in July 2013, calling for regulators to investigate, after we obtained a copy of the offer note for just one of these dodgy bonds and spied the outrageous and unusual terms.
If only partially informed observers like this small blog were able to spot the problem and to have dared to call it out, there is no excuse whatsoever for Goldman’s top brass to have ignored the red signals, plus our complaints, plus the growing evidence of malfeasance at 1MDB (whilst holding on to their pocketed millions in bonuses), which they did not for just weeks or months, but for YEARS, right up until Najib was booted out of office.
Goldman were not fooled, but they did make a rare miscalculation. The bank thought, like all the ‘experts’, that Najib would win GE14. In which case the scandal and the part they played could well have been buried by strong arm tactics in Malaysia.
What they misjudged was the level of righteous fury against corruption in Malaysia, so they got caught. And they ought not get away with it any more than others presently in the dock.
The DOJ ought to fine the bank billions and put its licence on the block.
Najib Razak had instructed and paid for a news portal to be set up to provide alternative news and combat fake news, a witness told the Kuala Lumpur High Court today.
The 16th witness at Najib’s SRC International trial, Onn Hafiz, 41, said his company Vital Spire ran MalaysianDigest.com on the former prime minister’s instructions.
The Johor Umno politician and great-grandson of Onn Jaafar added that the now-defunct news portal covered international and local news, as well as business, entertainment and sports on a daily basis.
“We wanted to give a balanced news for the general public, and combat fake news,” he said.
Onn said he received a cheque of RM240,000 from Najib on January 30, 2015 made to Vital Spire. He added that the cheque was cashed at the CIMB branch in Bukit Damansara, where his company is located.
“It was set up on the direction of Najib. I met him in PM’s office.”
These conspirators stole money from a public pension fund and used it to disseminate propaganda through a portal that then blatantly lied about it.
“We vehemently deny the utterly preposterous allegation made in the blog [that accused Malaysian Digest of being funded by the Prime Minister’s Department] and will offer no further comment,” was what the portal’s editor had said back in 2013.
And yet these same folk claim it was they who were countering ‘Fake News” from outfits like Sarawak Report, which was calling out the blatant corruption involved.
Sarawak Report can impart one valuable lesson to unfortunate members of the public who have to try to determine the truth from lies from these competing sources, which is that actual Fake News costs a fortune (Najib was paying out tens of millions in stolen cash to support his myriad phony operations) whereas the pure voice of truth, like nature, comes almost free.
Throughout this period Sarawak Report was sustained by small donations amounting to far less than RM5,000 a month that paid for its internet costs and the dissemination of emails to those who signed up for our content after the site was banned.
Other tell-tale signs are facts. Genuine reporting seeks verification through demonstrable supporting evidence, whereas Fake News mongers tend to rely on stirring up emotion and prejudice and making claims, which they leave unproven.
On Thursday, Anwar had said the revelation about the RM90 million needs time as it is still under MACC probe.
“The answer from MACC was that there was no 1MDB money channeled to PAS. The allegation was not about money from 1MDB, but from Umno, which is still under investigation.
“I have specific information on the numbers and who received the money, I have seen the accounts. But I will not reveal now. Give it some time, the issue is not closed yet,” he said.
Commenting on this, Abdul Hadi, who is also MP for Marang, challenged Anwar to reveal the source of political funding which had previously been rumoured to come from overseas.
He said PAS also has information on other political leaders who allegedly received outside funding in big amounts.
“We ourselves also have information about other leaders receiving foreign funding in large numbers. That is more wrong.
“So, the government should not only be investigating us. They should also investigate the others, then only it is fair,” he said.
A fortnight ago the MACC put in papers to the AG’s office as they wrapped up their investigation into money received by PAS from UMNO.
In official speak that means they recommended more than one set of charges.
Meanwhile, a distinct change of tone has emerged from PAS leader Hadi Awang, in response to Anwar’s claim he has seen some of the evidence naming individuals who received dosh.
Gone are the furious denials that led to this party leader seeking to sue Sarawak Report, even though we never suggested his or any other name. In fact, it seems that Hadi is no longer denying the matter at all.
Instead, he has started whining about everyone else taking money as well, claiming other parties are also culpable. He is moaning why all the blame and investigation is centering on PAS?
Maybe it is because PAS and their ‘holier than thou’ denials drew most attention to themselves?
Hadi is starting to sound like the thief. who caught red-handed starts to bleat that others are secretly thieving also, so why should he be blamed?
As a teacher of morals Hadi should be able to come up with plenty of answers to that question.
Lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who is putting emphasis on the conversation transcript between fugitive businessperson Low Taek Jho and Ambank in defence of former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak in his SRC International Sdn Bhd trial, suggested that there would be “trouble” if the prosecution is unable to produce the document.
Speaking to journalists after the fourth day of the trial at the Kuala Lumpur court complex today, Shafee said the transcript was a vital piece of evidence for the defence team.
“It is a very important matter. If they (the prosecution) are trying to hide it, then it would be the end of them. They cannot hide it as it has been raised everywhere including by The Wall Street Journal and Sarawak Report.
“If it has gone missing, there would be big trouble,” he told journalists.
The prosecution has accused Shafee’s team of going on a “fishing expedition” but the defence team argued that it was up to the court to determine the relevance of the transcript after it was produced.
For years, Najib’s lawyer has claimed that everything written by Sarawak Report has been lies and ‘false news’, not to be given credence by anybody.
Najib used these grounds to ban the site.
Now however, we have the self-same lawyer relying on a false claim that Sarawak Report had access to emails by Jho Low to do with discussions with AmBank, claiming that if the prosecution cannot produce such emails there will be “trouble”.
Shafee has made this claim a number of times, so Sarawak Report must make clear we have never had access to the particular emails he is referring to, which appear to be linked to a story by the Wall Street Journal. Any reference by Sarawak Report to this particular matter relating to Jho Low’s communications with AmBank staff would have been secondary reporting, referencing the Wall Street Journal.
Meanwhile, we find it ironic that after years of vilifying SR as a liar, forger and paid agent of Najib’s opponents, his lawyers are now relying on a bogus claim about something we never wrote to attempt to get their client off the hook.