Lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah alleged today that his client Datuk Seri Najib Razak was a victim of fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho’s conspiracy.
“We know our client is innocent because our client is a victim. I dare tell you that he is a victim of conspiracy of Jho Low and gang,” he told the press at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex here, referring to Najib.
“So give him a chance. You have to prove that he is part of Jho Low’s conspiracy,” he added, directing the remark to the prosecution.
Earlier today, during Najib’s corruption trial over RM42 million of ex-1MDB unit SRC International Sdn Bhd’s funds at the High Court, Najib’s lawyers had sought for communication records between Low and AmBank officer Joanna Yu Ging Ping that were seized by Bank Negara Malaysia investigators.
A Finance Minister is supposed to manage the nation’s finances through official channels and institutions, yet Najib lied continuously when he claimed this unofficial advisor (Jho Low) had nothing to do with 1MDB following the setting up of the fund after May 2009.
Pictures exist of Jho Low together with the fund’s first ‘joint venture’ partners from PetroSaudi and Najib at the time that project was launched in September 2009.
Copious further evidence shows that Jho Low was secretly involved every step of the way over each and every detail managing that ‘joint venture’ and also all 1MDB’s later activities until the moment he was exposed by Sarawak Report in 2015 and immediately fled Malaysia.
So Najib claims he is a victim, but he was also a serial liar over the role of Jho Low, whom he so belatedly alleges he was duped by. Why?
For a victim this man, who was also Prime Minister, was nothing if not powerful. So, likewise, the moment he realised the money entering his accounts was from SRC (back in Juuly 2015) he ought to have issued a Red Notice for Jho Low and launched a wholescale investigation admitting a horrendous error.
Instead, he allowed Jho Low to go off to China and negotiate a hundred percent inflation of the cost of the East Coast Rail link (at enormous further cost on top) …. in order to hide repayments of the missing 1MDB money. Again, why?
And why did he continue to act with bad faith after all the facts and figures were exposed by the FBI and many other international investigators in 2016, as he refused to acknowledge what he is now forced to admit (following election defeat) namely wrongdoing at 1MDB?
Najib denied right up till the election that there had been misappropriation from 1MDB, that Jho Low was involved or that money had been misdirected into his own accounts. Given 1MDB smelt to high heaven and the world was investigating it, this simply won’t wash under the category of being “duped”.
The ultimate irony is that Najib’s present defence is essentially that he was an incredibly stupid and unenquiring man, of the sort who ought never to have been put in charge of RM10 of someone else’s money let alone the country’s entire wealth. And yet day after day Malaysians are con-currently being treated to his endless supercilious lecturing about various other aspects of the economy, which he claims he could be running better than his successors.
If your best defence is that you are an idiot, who paid not the slightest attention to glaring evidence of misappropriation linked to your own accounts and failed to probe missing billions acquired by you when alerted to wrong-doing at 1MDB, then it is best not to try and create the opposite impression at the very same time by constantly posing as a top economist and money manager on every other topic under the sun.
Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak today took aim at the renegotiated East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) deal, in particular the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) forming a joint venture with Malaysia Rail Link (MRL) for operations and maintenance.
“The suggestion for the Chinese side to be involved in the management of the ECRL is not reasonable, because this is a form of domestic transportation in our country.
“Malaysian citizens have the capability to handle the entire railway system, and that is why we have trained our workers before this,” he said.
Najib was speaking to reporters outside the Kuala Lumpur High Court after attending today’s proceedings in relation to the SRC International Sdn Bhd corruption trial.
One of the key points in the renegotiated deal is that CCCC forming a joint venture with MRL to operate and maintain the ECRL. The joint venture also means that the Beijing-owned company will bear 50 percent of the risk should the project run into trouble.
‘National security risk’
Najib said this stipulation could affect national security, because “national secrets would be made known to outsiders.”
Najib’s successor has just negotiated a RM21 billion REDUCTION for a bettered and extended version of the project that this charged kleptocrat locked Malaysia into in order to hide his alleged thefts from 1MDB – a matter that is currently the subject of some 38 criminal charges, which are costing the country a fortune to put to trial as Najib won’t admit to any of them.
Najib is not only refusing to admit to his ‘imperfections’ as prime minister, he is taking full advantage of his continuing freedom and the indulgence of a reforming government to accuse all those who have had to clear up his own economic mess of themselves being ‘failures’ at this and that.
So, perhaps no surprise he has even had the brass neck to accuse them of failing over this major improvement of a dud deal he had signed up to under a $5 billion penalty clause, preventing this government from getting out of it.
Sarawak Report suggests that Najib’s enormous legal team (a mystery in itself since this ex-PM argued he had no money to pay his generous bail offer) ought to consider an entirely new defence…. that of their client being a self-delusional, barking-mad fantasist.
At least, under that plea, this pampered failure could hope to be placed in an asylum for the mentally unbalanced, to be kept in relative comfort (compared to the prison that his alleged crimes would normally make him eligible for life) and be allowed the space and time to rant on about his imagined grand successes and the failures of the poor team of folk, who have had to rally together to make good his disastrous term of office.
PAS central committee member Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz said he wanted to protect his integrity as a member of the party committee, which led him to lie about a voice recording allegedly proving that the Islamist party had accepted funds from its former political rival, Umno.
Nik Abduh said his initial denial to being one of the voices featured in the incriminating clip was akin to a minister having to lie about secret issues discussed in cabinet meetings.
He later admitted to being the person heard in the audio clip.
“It’s not a matter of lying or not, but of wanting to protect the integrity of a member (of the PAS central committee).
“It’s the same with a government officer in a cabinet meeting. A journalist finds out, asks the minister. Of course, the minister is not going to answer (the truth),” he told The Malaysian Insight in an exclusive interview recently.
Nik Abduh reasoned that in such situations, a minister would likely feign ignorance “because it is still a secret, doesn’t need to be made public”.
“So is the act of keeping it a secret wrong? It’s not,” said the Bachok lawmaker.
Nik Abduh said while Islam forbids lying, there were exceptions to the rule.
“There is room in Islam to lie. It’s the same with envy which is a sin, but it’s not any more if our sense of envy towards the rich becomes a motivation for us to become rich.” ….
While initially affected by the attacks following the audio recording expose, Nik Abduh said he is intent on soldiering on.
“It’s easy for me when I know that those are lies, and so I’m not afraid. If we concede defeat, we will lose…
Nik Abduh said the party is now focused on ensuring that its grassroots are clear on the direction of the leadership, adding that PAS members have been reminded to channel their anger for Umno to Pakatan Harapan.
“Our advice to the people is, when you feel angry towards Umno, change it to PH.
One has to hope, given these confessions, that Nik Abduh gave chapter and verse to the MACC on the details of those secret money transfers he was referring to in that recorded meeting.
After all, he referred to at least 10 instances of UMNO handing money over to PAS and in terms of millions of ringgit. He now admits he then lied about it to help PAS president Hadi Awang, as he sought to sue Sarawak Report out of house and home for alerting Malaysians to that very matter.
That’s OK, Nik Abduh tells us, because lying is fine if it is in the right cause (his party’s and his own).
However, what is clear is whether or not Nik Abduh considers it a sin under his own interesting interpretation of his respected religion, it remains an earthly crime under present Malaysian law for one political party to secretly fund another, whilst deceptively pretending to voters they are in opposition, for the purpose of self-gratification, namely retaining/obtaining political power.
There is another issue, which relates to whether PAS declared the money and from where did UMNO get the money? Sarawak Report has information about at least three occasions where hefty sums of cash were lugged in bags from one party to representatives of the other. Where did the cash come from and exactly where did it all go?
Sarawak Report will not seek to comment on this politician’s strange and unusual interpretations of his religion and moral code, as one assumes that there are higher authorities within the faith he claims to belong to that can pass judgement on his excuses about lying and harbouring envious thoughts.
However, the earthly issues need addressing under the penal code and this party’s political supporters ought not to be treated like blind monkeys, expected to accept every convenient excuse and twist and turn of their leadership, as and when they get found out.
Putrajaya needs to take a more aggressive approach to tackle the European Union’s (EU) decision to phase out palm oil from transport fuel used in that trading bloc, says the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda).
Felda director-general Datuk Dr Othman Omar said this is a purely business strategy for some EU member nations.
“In the past they said the cultivation of palm oil here caused deforestation, but we have stopped planting in new areas. Next they said palm oil is not green. I think as far as the lobby is concerned, they look at oil palm as more efficient and more people are attracted to produce more, so they need to kill it before it becomes their biggest competitor.
“So we have to play a more aggressive role. I think they are winning in terms of their public relations campaign, they are using small children now. All the children have been taught that from young you don’t consume palm oil at all as it is bad and it kills the orang utan,” he told reporters today.
It seems safe to assume that Dr Othman Omar does not come from the world of commerce, where threatening customers is rarely considered a good sales tactic.
In other words, if clients think your product stinks there is no point taking a Fawlty Towers style exception to their views, by hurling back insults and accusations, because it only confirms their opinion of you and the product concerned.
Conciliation not aggression is the key – the likes of Dr Omar need to change their game and engage with these customers to alter their opinion.
It is simply factually ridiculous, for example, to claim that mass deforestation followed by mass oil palm plantations in East Malaysia and Kalimantan (largely by Malaysian companies) has not been the primary threat to the endangered Orang Utan and countless other precious forms of plant and animal life facing loss of habitat on the Island of Borneo, which scientists agree is the most biodiverse corner of the planet.
It is also ridiculous to pretend that the deforestation isn’t still going on as new areas are being bulldozed all the time.
Admit it, then do something about it and people will stop protesting and may buy your palm oil.
Remember deforestation damages Malaysia economically as well. The more of that magical biodiversity that is sacrificed to a monoculture that destroys the land and needs to be increasingly pumped with fertilisers and pesticides on industrial scales, the greater the commercial loss in terms of valuable products for the future based on that huge bank of DNA currently being destroyed.
And the greater the world condemnation will be over sacrificing Earth’s scarce remaining natural heritage for a greedy cash crop that has already glutted its markets and needs to be reined back along with all other fuel products to prevent rampant global warming
The embarrassing fact is that Europe’s school kids understand these issues well, but clearly Dr Omar still doesn’t (he has an ally in that other old fogey, Donald Trump). Our next generation knows about global waming, the dangers of deforestation and of mass extinction, not because of ‘indoctrination’ but because they study science in class.
They are worried that angry, out-of-date and defensive dinosaurs like Dr Omar are going to screw up our earth before they can take it over and rescue what is left. Temperatures are set to rise 1.5C in a decade, unless we can change our food habits, re-forest and stop burning fuels.
There is no Planet B: mankind needs to work together to rescue this one and there is not much time to do it. Don’t take it out on the kids or be aggressive, because it won’t solve a thing and will tar Malaysia’s image in the process.
BN secretary-general Nazri Abdul Aziz said his speech, where he said a non-Muslim should not be an attorney-general, was merely a reflection of grassroots sentiment.
“What I said about the attorney-general (is) I am stating facts on the ground – that (there is) fear (among) the Malays that probably, if the AG is not a bumi or Malay, then there is a fear of bias.
“And this happened. The case of Adib is a fact,” he told a press conference at Umno’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur today.
Nazri was referring to the death of firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim after sustaining injuries during a riot in November.
[“People can see that the attorney-general and the suspects have the same skin colour, so don’t blame the Malay because they thought the attorney-general is not fair”]
Stirring up fear about race is the oldest trick in the book for politicians who have been caught out on matters of dishonesty.
Britain’s legendary Dr Johnson called ‘patriotism [racism] the last refuge of the scoundrel’ over two hundred years ago.
Those still representing provenly corrupt UMNO thus hope to fall back on encouraging an attitude amongst their remaining followers that ‘they may be crooks, but at least they are our crooks’, even though crooks in fact only work for themselves.
Nazri should remember, however, that the crucial votes that kept UMNO/BN in power for decades came from allied parties in East Malaysia (indeed his son’s nice Hummer vehicle was paid for by an East Malaysian political operator) and these folk are not Malay.
East Malaysia and West Malaysia joined on equal terms into the federation and yet people like Nazri persist in voicing a view that East Malaysians, like other minorities, have to be treated as inferior in every way and not to be allowed to hold office, simply because they are not Malay Malaysian as opposed to all the other Malaysian folk. That was not the deal.
Furthermore, if a non Malay is considered by definition prejudiced as AG or Finance Minister or whatever else, then the logic works both ways, so why should non Malay Malaysians feel they can trust a Malay AG or Finance Minister, especially when such sentiments of prejudice have been expressed?
Nazri seems to be doing his best to split Malaysia and drive the Eastern states into full blown separatist feeling. He clearly has no conscience in such matters and doesn’t care about how that would harm Malay prosperity, since he is only concerned to stir fear and anger amongst peaceable Malays for his own political purposes.
Meanwhile, the disgraceful attempt to whip up crowd anger about a tragic death of a fire officer is being unbuttoned as the facts of what actually happened start to emerge in the unbiased and professional environment of the Coroner’s court.
Creatures like Nazri are first corrupt and second utterly irresponsible in seeking to protect their corrupted interests by stirring racsim. They are certainly not fit for public office and bring shame upon those they seek to represent.
PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan said his party is grateful to the MACC for clearing the air over the allegations that the Islamist party received funds linked to 1MDB.
“The confirmation proves all the allegations about the matter were lies, wild slander and an evil plot that is mala fide in nature and aimed to sully the image and integrity of PAS, particularly in the run-up to the 14th general election.
“Therefore, PAS urges all quarters to accept MACC’s confirmation as fact which was based on a transparent, professional investigation, without fear or favour to any quarters,” he said in a statement today.
Takiyuddin added that PAS will take legal action against anyone perpetuating the claim.
Earlier today, MACC chief Mohd Shukri Abdull confirmed that the MACC has yet to find any 1MDB funds ending up in PAS’ official bank account.
“MACC’s investigation to date has not found the RM90 million in funds, supposedly originating from 1MDB, entering PAS’ account,” he had said.
The PAS Gen Sec has predictably siezed on a statement by an MACC official to accuse others of “wild slander and lies”, activities which it has officially granted itself permission to indulge in, but has yet to prove against Sarawak Report.
Sarawak Report invites Mr Takiyuddin, for example, to provide a single instance where this site suggested that money going to PAS from UMNO was derived from 1MDB.
We also ask why the statement that money did not come from 1MDB somehow means that “all allegations about the matter [of cash from UMNO]” are “wild slander”, “an evil plot” and so forth.
After all, the money flowing directly from Najib’s 1MDB slush accounts to allied parties stopped the moment Sarawak Report exposed the original 1MDB scandal back in February 2015. Whereas the main collaboration with PAS plainly started later.
Following this partial statement about something that had not been alleged in the first place from an official who is not leading on the case, the MACC should be asked to complete the information and confirm whether or not it has information that PAS received money from UMNO, which was used to pay for seat deposits?
Sarawak Report provided evidence of such cash transfers from UMNO into PAS accounts in advance of GE14 that appeared to be for that purpose, as part of its defence against Hadi’s claims of defamation. PAS retreated and dropped its court case.
So, let’s hear the full story from the MACC investigation and not a comment on something that was never alleged.
It is meanwhile interesting that Takiyuddin is once again issuing pre-election threats to sue those who report on genuine public interest concerns about the apparent secretive collaboration of two political parties, who appear to have resorted to an aggressive, extremist racist agenda on top of transacting those corrupt payments…. and all sadly in the name of religion.
Inspector-general of police Mohamad Fuzi Harun and his delegation’s study trip to Turkey was paid for by lottery operator Da Ma Cai, according to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.
Lim said that although the trip had been approved by the Totalisator Board – an agency under the Finance Ministry – the money did not come from the government.
“The source of funding is not the Finance Ministry. “The source of funding is Da Ma Cai, a number forecasting company, so they didn’t get a penny from us,” he told reporters in Putrajaya today.
The Totalisator Board was set up under the Racing (Totalisator Board) Act 1961 to control and coordinate all betting on horse races in the country.
Previously, Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin confirmed that Fuzi headed a team of senior officers on a study tour to Istanbul to learn about combatting online gambling, and that the trip was sponsored by the board.
Sarawak Report has received hints of an exciting new training opportunity targeted at top cops (plus ANO), which is to be sponsored by an association of massage parlour owners in KL.
Twenty first class returns are on offer to Amsterdam in order to study policing challenges in Red Light Districts. There will be an opportunity to meet local officers who work the beat and to observe first hand the nature of the problem.
The entire party will be looked after from start to finish in a 5 star hotel in Central Amsterdam over a six day period and a prominent tour company will escort them and their companions to all the cultural sites, treating them to famous Dutch delicacies and free beverages.
A highlight will be the canal tour and a naughty peek at one of the famous canabis cafes that operate in the city (don’t inhale the air too deeply in there).
It goes without saying the massage parlour association will expect absolutely no leniency or favours from police officers in return or consider their pampered guests to be beholden in any way.
What’s to turn down?
PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said that the party’s doors are open to any MP, assemblyperson or ordinary member who wants to join it….
His comments come in the wake of the exit of 10 MPs, including former minister Hamzah Zainuddin, from Umno since Thursday….
Tuan Ibrahim said that with Umno’s large membership and financial clout, the exodus of elected representatives should not have happened.
“They (Umno leaders) are being charged in court and faces all kinds of accusations and personal attacks. They have not recovered from a major defeat.
“I think when all of this develops concurrently, sometimes the leadership loses focus.
“But the fact is Umno has its strengths with three million members and billions of ringgit in assets. The current situation should not have happened,” he said.
There seems to be something missing from the message from this PAS religious leader cum politician that reflects the party’s almost incomprehensible falling in with UMNO, even whilst the stink of corruption has driven away so many of that party’s own elected MPs.
The PAS deputy leader suggests that those UMNO representatives ought not to have left, given the large membership of the party … and “billions of ringgit” he says UMNO has in assets.
Is morality not a good enough reason for this religious party leader?
In fact, how and why UMNO has managed to acquire such an apparently vast trove of wealth is highly pertinent. Perhaps this PAS leader would be so helpful as to detail what he knows of UMNO’s assets, so that it can be examined how on earth a political party could accumulate such billions through non-corrupted means?
This may not trouble PAS, but more and more Malaysians will surely be looking at the benefits of disolving UMNO altogether (given its present status appears to be illegitimate) and perhaps injecting those very assets back into the economy from which its leadership has looted so much money?
Tabung Haji’s 2016 assets are RM4b short of deposits, with allegations it cooked the books to justify dividend payout….
The Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration is now weighing options to deal with Tabung Haji (TH), whose assets are RM4 billion short of deposits by nine million would-be pilgrims, according to its last financial report in 2016, with more losses likely since.
A senior official told The Sunday Times that TH had “faked last year’s accounts to justify its dividend payout” of up to 6.25 per cent in February, just three months before the May 9 elections. This amounted to RM2.7 billion, just shy of a net profit of RM2.8 billion.
TH, whose depositors are put in a queue for highly-sought-after and scarce places to perform the haj, has yet to present its audited 2017 accounts, after its top management and board were reshuffled following the elections.
The fund’s new leadership lodged a police report last Friday against their BN-appointed predecessors – including former chairman Azeez Rahim, an Umno lawmaker who is a close confidant of former premier Najib Razak – after internal investigations that began in July.
They alleged abuse of RM22 million for political financing, as well as misrepresenting and hiding information relating to a 2012 sale of an Indonesian plantation worth US$910 million (S$1.25 billion).
PH leaders have in the past accused TH of being run like a Ponzi scheme, paying out dividends with new deposits despite underwhelming earnings due in part to questionable deals. These include the purchase of land and Islamic bonds from state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) – now insolvent after racking up over RM51 billion in debt with a third of it allegedly stolen – and a RM1.38 billion stake in ailing palm oil giant Felda Global Ventures that is now worth only a fifth of the initial outlay….
The spotlight on TH began just weeks after the May 9 polls, with a raid on Datuk Seri Azeez’s home and office, before the Umno supreme councillor and his brother were remanded for 10 days in late September.
Since taking power, PH has blown the lid on billion-ringgit scandals in 1MDB, the Felda agency which has resettled poor Malay families, sovereign wealth fund Khazanah and even the central bank.
But TH may be the biggest test, as it involves actual savings earned by the politically crucial Muslim majority, and not mere handouts or distant investments of government assets.
PAS Must Issue Their Comment On Tabung Haji’s Missing RM4 Billion.
When the first news came out back in May 2015 with enough evidence to make it absolutely clear that Najib and his placeman Azeez Rahim were raiding the savings of pilgrims at Tabung Haji by using the fund to buy up 1MDB land for gross mark-ups, the leadership of PAS failed to condemn the matter or to criticise the then PM and supporters in BN for stealing from the faithful.
Instead President Hadi came out a few days later and many times since to say that Najib should not resign. Time and again he likewise supported the then PM saying he should not resign over 1MDB or the billions in his account unless ‘four witnesses’ would say they saw him stealing it.
As the evidence has mounted and charges multiplied since the election, pointing to gross, rampant corruption and outrageous theft by Najib and BN from the people of Malaysia the remaining rump of PAS, which Hadi still leads has kept up that refusal to criticise Najib or his party (for which the ex-PM remains a sitting MP). To the contrary, the worse the mounting evidence has become, the closer the two parties have edged together in the name of proclaimed ‘Malay Muslim solidarity’.
In a few days they plan a joint march to complain of alleged moves against Malay Muslims – an apparent attempt to set a united political face against other Malaysians. In terms of tactics the parties have started to make way for each other in by-elections to help each other win.
However, this is not about religion, race or politics it is about right and wrong. PAS appears to have beem forging ever closer ties with a party that presided over the shocking theft of the savings of the faithful and trusting – those poorer Muslims, who wished to save for the Haj.
Will PAS condemn this apparent abuse of the very group of people they seek to lead, because so far the party has appeared surprisingly quiet?
And will they enlighten as to whether they intend to forge a more formal coalition out of the new ad hoc cooperation with the party responsible for those alleged thefts?
If PAS simply does not believe the reports and thinks the admissions of the new board of Tabung Haji and their police report are all a hoax, then it ought to explain that this is the party’s position. Likewise, all the findings of international investigators over 1MDB (including the Muslim nation of Abu Dhabi, which has also now sued Goldman Sachs). Does PAS think it is all is still not proven to the standards of their choosing or do they simply not care, prefering to put politics first?
The position of PAS as the self-proclaimed defenders of the Muslim Malays over the matter of the alleged thefts from Tabung Haji, FELDA, 1MDB and Bank Negara by the administration of Najib Razak needs urgently to be heard.