Talkback

If Logging Is Not About Cash For Cronies Prove It

“I have gazetted many forest areas for water assets owned by PAAB (Pengurusan Aset Air Berhad, an agency under Xavier’s ministry). The Selangor Forestry Department and Land District Office have transferred hundreds of acres to them

“So, when rebuke comes along saying this (proposal) is contrary to the wishes of the state and federal governments to maintain the number of forest reserves (in the country), I feel that the allegation is very false and deviates from the truth.

“Those who oppose this proposal do not realise they are oblivious and have misunderstood the truth,” Amirudin added.

Xavier previously told Malaysiakini that he was firmly against the degazettement of the forest reserve, saying it sent the wrong message as state governments ought to try to increase forest cover, not reduce it.

Our comment

Mr Amirudin appears to be arrogant in describing people who disagree with him (including senior government ministers) as “oblivious and misunderstanding the truth”.

So, perhaps he could start passing some more facts to those lesser folk – in particular the public who elected him – who need to understand his actions, being they are so unknowing?

Could he release to the public the full minutes of the decision making process and all the information on which the decision was made?

Could he also supply BEFORE the tree choppers race in, details of exactly who the companies are that will be doing the job, who their genuine shareholders are and what the financial arrangements are?

Residents will want full details of exactly how these forests are to be removed, in ADVANCE given the disruption to their lives and indeed livelihoods.

Mr Amirudin has supplied the excuse of ‘danger of fire’ for this timber grab, so could he supply the scientific basis for that popular excuse by logging interests? Natural forests are resistant to fire, whereas plantations are prone to fire – as demonstrated by the Australian fires that were widely fuelled by plantation corridors, making his argument by no means certain and one that ought to have been publicly debated before this sudden decision was made by him.

Sadly Malaysia’s recent history of timber plunder points to a very clear over-riding motivation – which has been cash for cronies. Mr Amarudin needs to work harder to reassure his electorate that the process is not being repeated in this case.

Trade In Your Merc Ibrahim!

“At that time, Tuan Guru was using a very beautiful cane. I do not know where he got it or bought it but I saw that it was a beautiful cane, so I knew he loved that cane,” he said…..

Despite that, Tuan Ibrahim said that Nik Aziz was still willing to give his beloved cane to the old man, before taking the old man’s wooden cane.

“He (Nik Aziz) turned to me and read that verse – we have to give what we love, we have to give what we love.

“…That is why the al-Quran condemns those contributions which we do not like and do not want, but we give to others, those which we would not like even if others were to give to us.

“Allah wants us to give something we love,” Tuan Ibrahim said.

He shared this story during his officiating speech at the National Welfare Convention at the Dewan Seri Kasih Bandar Tun Hussein Onn today.

Our comment

Well, the first thing Tuan Ibrahim can do to show a good example is to gift his Merc and all those other Mercs bought with public money by his show-off colleagues to a good welfare cause to help constituents in PAS run states, who are poorer than anywhere else in Peninsular Malaysia.

Why fall back on a long departed and highly regarded leader, who adopted the opposite politics to his present party, to show how things ought to be done according to the principles he purports to espouse?

'Back Orifice' Activity Fine By PAS

For PAS, the terms “front door” and “back door” do not arise when it comes to forming a government. All it takes is a window of opportunity to change a government, as long as the change is carried out legally.

According to PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, as long as the changes are made in accordance within democratic, legal and constitutional means, PAS considers the change to be “legitimate”, even if it was done through a “window”.

“The back door, the front door, for us there is no such term. The change must be by existing laws and regulations.

“For example, there was a change of government in Perak in 2009 (when three Pakatan Rakyat legislators defected to BN), do we want to say that was by the back door? After all, it is legal,” said Tuan Ibrahim, who is also Kubang Kerian MP.

Our comment

The Mercedes chauffered PAS leadership are once again making a mockery of basic morality as they posture as a ‘religious’ party, instead of the bunch of rogues everyone knows them to be.

On this occasion they are fantasising about taking over power by seducing as many MPs as possible, by whatever means it appears, into a completely different political coalition to the one they were elected to serve in – one that would support the dishonest, sectarian and bigotted agenda PAS promotes instead of the reforming pledge to return Malaysia to the rule of law that won the present government its term of office.

For UMNO leaders facing criminal charges the incentive of the proposed realignment would be to ‘solve Najib’s problem’ as Zahid, who was caught on tape claiming Dr Mahathir would support the conspiracy, put it.

Put simply, this bunch of self-confessed liars and deceivers have no moral qualms about turning MPs into hopping frogs (historical incentives have almost always involved cash) who cheat their constituents by swapping parties and agendas in return for personal favours and opportunities, if it keeps the likes of themselves and Najib out of jail. Who cares what the electorate voted them in to do?

These ‘preachers’ who have no shame in spending money offered by the reforming central government to bail out their failing state (money meant to pay staff salaries and services for people) on flash top of the range Mercs for their own use, certainly surprise nobody that they see nothing wrong with this ‘back orifice’ activity.

They have no credible authority to lecture others one jot about morality however, as it is they who need to be sent back to their religious classes to be taught the difference between right and wrong.

Najib Didn't Return The Money, He Did Issue A Red Notice Against SR!

Najib claimed that at the time, he had no knowledge of the money source when the deposits were made in 2014 and 2015.

The Pekan MP said he only found out the possibility of the money being siphoned from SRC International from media reports, and cited London-based whistleblower website Sarawak Report.

Sithambaram: Around the middle of 2015, as a result of the Sarawak Report article, you agree that you were aware that SRC’s money had been paid into your account?

Najib: At that time when the thing became an issue, I became aware that it could have been SRC’s money via Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd, but I had no knowledge and I didn’t authorise it.

Sithambaram: Since you became aware when it became an issue as a result of the Sarawak Report article, you did not return the money to SRC?

Najib: Yes, I did not return because it was the subject of investigations.

Sithambaram: The logical thing to do was to return the money; if you know money wrongly came in you would return, you agree?

Najib: Yes, I should have, but at that time it was still the subject of investigations…

Similar to the earlier stages of his testimony, Najib maintained that despite claims of inconsistencies within documents tendered as evidence against him, no police report was made by him as the case was already being investigated by authorities.

Our comment

Najib did not issue a police report into the mysterious millions that had come into his bank account (which he spent) nor did he return the money after Sarawak Report alerted him that it had been stolen from SRC, as he now admits.

However, this very busy man (who explained he had 1,001 other things to attend to) DID take a number of other actions related to the matter. Sarawak Report can remember this very well, because it was the butt of several of them.

He ensured that warrants were issued by the IGP against the Editor of this news site for “spreading false news” and “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy” and further that a Red Notice terrorism alert was filed with INTERPOL and ASEANPOL seeking our arrest and extradition.

He also arranged for this site to be banned in Malaysia and for threats to be issued to locally based news organisations that repeated our evidence on their own platforms.

Further to that, Najib worked closely with PetroSaudi and Jho Low to get SR whistleblower Xavier Justo arrested in Bangkok, where he was forced into a false confession by agents of PetroSaudi claiming that information was being forged by Sarawak Report.

He then sacked the AG who drew up charge sheets based on the information published by Sarawak Report and also sacked his Deputy PM who had demanded explanations.

Najib may be admitting the money was stolen now and that he realised it at the time, but then he was denying it and going after anyone who sought to expose the truth in the most ruthless manner he could. He certainly was not offering to give the money back or making a police report into what went wrong.

Had Sarawak Report been captured, tried and sentenced by Najib’s law officers at that time, a jail term of 20 years awaited us.  So, what jail term awaits a political leader who steals billions from the public purse and then seeks to cover it up at the expense of the freedom of honest reporters?

Azmin's Counter Suit

Mohamed Azmin Ali has linked the owners of a travel agency suing him over unpaid travel bills to a conspiracy against him involving a gay-sex video controversy earlier this year.

A counter-claim to the suit said the owners of the travel agency are the parents of Muhammad Haziq Hassan Mohd Ayub, who was arrested by police and implicated in the distribution of the sex video.

It said Haziq’s parents are “very close” to PKR president Anwar Ibrahim and suggested that the suit was filed in order to damage Azmin politically…

Azmin’s counter-claim against the travel agency, sighted by FMT, alleged that the sex-video conspiracy was “orchestrated by the leader of a political party”, making note of a police statement regarding the video.

Azmin suggested that the contents of the travel agency’s suit were leaked to the Sarawak Report web site as part of the conspiracy.

The counter-claim alleged that the travel agency’s “intention of filing (the suit over the unpaid bills) and leaking it to the Sarawak Report without giving the true background was to damage the defendant (Azmin) politically to the advantage of the above said political leader”.

Details of the suit were first revealed by Sarawak Report.

Azmin’s counter claim …said there was an ulterior purpose in bringing the matter to court, and Azmin sought general, exemplary and aggravated damages for damage to his character.

Azmin denied owing the travel agency RM328,901 but accepted liability for RM162,272 comprising RM41,752 in bills on his account and more than RM60,000 each for his two underage sons.

He denied liability for the accounts of his adult son and three adult daughters, and also denied liability for the travel account of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. He denied any knowledge of an account in the name of Wan Putera Shahjuan W Salihudin and denied liability for the sum of RM2,570 claimed by the agency.

The counter-claim said the suit brought by YHA Travel & Tours was a “breach of understanding” between Azmin and the agency. It said they had a 20-year-long relationship in which he was given “considerable latitude in settling any outstanding sum” owed to them.

Our comment

One assumes this litigant paid in advance for the lavish family celebrations currently underway at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, KLCC. Otherwise who would take the booking of an admitted defaulter to the tune of over RM300,000?

Yet the details of this ‘counter-suit’, so mysteriously leaked to the press in advance of being placed in court, now indicate there was  rather more to the earlier matter of non-payment to a luxury travel agency than a mere inability to fork out the massive sum of RM300,000.

By alleging that the person he has refused to pay was behind a ‘political plot’ to film him in a fake video and in disclosing that the same person was arrested by the police over this very matter (something not previously public knowledge) this minister has indicated a separate motive entirely for his failure to pay this particular bill.

It is a motive that has nothing to do with not having the resources to meet the bill. Instead, it indicates retribution for perceived disloyalty.

That might go towards allyaing concerns on the part of the Mandarin Hotel over whether this politician can meet his bills for the curent massive family wedding bonanza (just days after a major conference at the Rennaissance Hotel for all his supporters – all expenses paid).

However, it may not satisfy the public, who have seen declared assets only of a ministerial salary and house in KL with respect to this minister’s financial resources.

Of course there are potential explanations. Najib Razak was able to explain his own daughter’s lavish wedding expenses on the basis that the family of her husband was fantastically rich and paid for it (a claim that was later disputed).  So, maybe a kind relative, friend or fan is footing the bill for the Madarin Oriental extravaganza?  It would be nice to know, in the spirit of Refomasi.

Separately, the economics minister’s leaked counter-suit claims Sarawak Report wrote its article about Azmin’s travel debts thanks only to leaked information. We can confirm to the contrary that Sarawak Report based its report on Azmin’s RM300,000 unpaid travel bill on documents obtained from the KL court’s public online access service, following a tip-off.

We do not disclose our sources, as is our right.

Who Is "Obsessing About Being PM"?

Stop obsessing about becoming PM ‘every day, week and month’, Azmin tells Anwar

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim should prioritise helping Pakatan Harapan rebuild the country instead of obsessing over becoming the next prime minister, Datuk Seri Azmin Ali said today.

“You don’t have to talk about it (power transition) every day, every week and every month.

“When the people voted us in, they wanted us to reform and deliver and that should be the focus of the new government,” he told a press conference at Ames Hotel lobby today.

Azmin, who is the Economic Affairs Minister, said since PH had only come into power less than two years ago, the ruling coalition needs to work overtime to ensure the country’s stability.

“There is so much to do. We couldn’t even fulfil all the manifesto yet because that manifesto was planned for five years.

“We are committed to delivering it and we are here to ensure that we will deliver, but we have to work as a team. We should not undermine each other,” he said.

Our comment

Wow!

That’s some Chutzpah from a tiresome plotter who has spent the last two years factionalising and undermining his boss, to the utter neglect of his party’s political agenda, purely because of his own obsession to take charge.

What other reason could there be for having turned PKR into a squabbling tribal mess rather than accepting line-management, attending meetings and focusing on the reforming agenda?

Why seek to delay the transfer of government to his own party leader and resort instead to flirting with every form of political enemy to undermine him if getting the top job was not Azmin’s own prime obsession?

The obstruction and betrayal has been momentus. Azmin has shown he is willing to team up with corrupt UMNO kleptocrats and bogus holymen from PAS rather than knuckle down, pay due respect and gratitude to a mentor who did ten years in jail and focus on the country, instead of his own soring ambitions.

Whatever the perceived slights or alleged disppointments (Azmin was granted a top office of state on his boss’s recommendation but plainly it was not enough) or plain impatience, such tantrums cannot be justified because the party and the people matter more than him.

Now, having just been offered reconciliation despite all the endless scenes and accepted it, it is reported that he has yet again insulted his forgiving boss by publicly calling him (not for the first time) “obsessed with becoming PM”.  Can this be true?

Under the circumstances Azmin should now immediately disown or recant those words, or leave the party.

Meanwhile, in case Azmeanies had not noticed, it is increasingly the whole country that is now obsessed with getting the transfer of power done and dusted. PH supporters now urgently want to crack on with the programme of change, which has stalled under the present compromise regime.

Dr Mahathir had a tough job to do, that of delivering a stable transfer of power and holding the country peacefully through a momentus period of change as certain criminals from the past regime are brought to book.  He has done that with great skill and dignity and it is a job almost done.

The delivery of change needs a new energy and a new government and the veteran prime minister has himself agreed the time to transfer is starting to approach and has indicated he will reasonably soon hand over – not to Azmin but to Anwar. That was the election pledge.

Yet, contrary to the pledges to the electorate and to the policies and commitments of his party, Azmin has over the past months primarily occupied himself in attempting to block that transition, announcing he wants to keep Mahathir in power beyond the old man’s own expected date whilst openly plotting with his party’s most crooked political enemies to snatch ‘backdoor’ control of government.

How better to demonstrate that it is in fact he that is “obsessed” with becoming prime minister, sadly at any cost?

If Anwar paid the penalty of his ambitions the sacrifice was to himself, through the years he spent in jail. Yet Azmin seems happy to let his party pay the cost for his own schemes, along with the hopes of the people who voted for it, as he jacks up any alliance he can muster with people who care nothing for Reformasi, purely to get the numbers that will put him in power.

For what purpose, people need to ask?  Because Azmin most certainly isn’t thinking of anyone but himself.

Discussing Channelling Projects?

The meeting between Umno parliamentarians and PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali last night was merely to discuss the channelling of government projects to their various constituencies, alleged Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The Umno president said, however, the meeting was carried out against previous advice of opposition leader in Parliament Ismail Sabri Yaakob, which led many parties to speculate as to its objective.

“I received information… the meeting was held to satisfy their (Umno MPs’) voters in getting government projects to be channelled through allocations to them as MPs.

“However, it created a perception… The opposition chief had before this reminded that any meeting must be done en bloc (by the opposition pact)

Our comment

Any Malaysian can see this lousy excuse is horse manure, as the Hishamuddin ‘plot’ apparently hatched during that notorious family holiday in Marrakesh (that cost so much) unfurls – or rather unravels.

But, what an excuse to make! Most of these BN goons are facing criminal charges of their own, just like their ‘Bosku’ Najib.  And like Najib they seem to think an equally incriminating explanation for their actions is OK to put people off the scent.

Najib claimed an Arab ruler had given him a billion dollars to help him buy GE13, as if that made it all OK.  Now, Zahid and Hishamuddin and co are claiming they went to Azmin’s house to get ‘projects’ channelled to their constituencies!!!  Is that how they think governments are run in the democratic age of law and order?

“I was just over at the minister’s house angling for a mass pork barrel to avoid the proper channels and all due process folks!”

Where this leaves this strange political creation of the Prime Minister and his parallel economics portfolio one has to wonder? Azmin has made clear he won’t support his own party PKR unless he is allowed to usurp its leader so which might he join instead?

Given his recent actions and style of politics UMNO seems the most natural home for him. Surely PH would be well rid of him. With such a defender after all, why would the PM need enemies?

Complaining Is Easier Than Making Progress - So Stop Throwing Stones?

The “PM-indeterminate” Anwar Ibrahim seems to have picked the wrong example to try to be on the right side of the ever-determined prime minister.

He has lambasted one of Malaysia’s more honest academics, Lim Teck Ghee, for apparently “keeping quiet during the era of corruption and theft under the BN government” just because Lim called the Pakatan Harapan (PH) record since the 2018 general election “an unmitigated disaster”.

Anwar should be more cautious when picking quarrels with Malaysian human rights defenders who have been exposing corruption, injustice and inequality since at least the 1970s. Does Anwar himself have the credentials for being consistent in exposing corruption in this country?

Was Anwar himself corruption-free when he was deputy prime minister in Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s first term as PM? He should examine his own record before casting the first stone at Lim.

[Kua Kia Soong is the adviser to Suaram]

 

Our comment

For the record it was Lim who cast the first stone in this matter, lambasting the PH government as “an unmitigated disaster” and thereby sparking indignation from its leader designate.

The world certainly looks different from the pensioned armchairs of academia than the bare floor of a prison cell where Anwar languished for 10 years for his cause.

From Professor Lim’s perspective what would really be an unmitigated disaster would be the sort of government that chucks feisty outspoken fellows like himself into just such a cell and slams it shut (or worse).

That was just the sort of government Malaysia avoided by the skin of its teeth on May 9th 2018 and could fall back into were fractious quarrelling and stone throwing of this kind to become the norm.

Whilst Professor Lim is clearly a significant individual who provokes valued critique and criticism, he should remember that despite his many years of vocalising and the complaints of NGOs (such as Suaram who has leapt so aggressively to his defence) it was the foot on ground courage of the likes of Anwar Ibrahim and Dr Mahathir, along with the hard graft accumulation of solid evidence on corruption that ultimately brought the opportunity for progress to Malaysia.

Therefore, in the light of the likely alternatives to PH (a PAS/UMNO/Crook’s alliance being the most obvious) such critics should perhaps platform less on hyperbole and unsubstantiated serious allegations and provide a more nuanced, evidence based and thougthful critique of this challenged administration of the sort that one might expect from a respected academic and NGO, which both most clearly are.