It Works Both Ways

Any federal ministers planning to hold official visits to Sarawak must notify the state government of their itineraries and schedules in advance.

Sarawak Premier Abang Johari Openg said the details required include exact projects or functions by each ministry to be held in the state.

According to Berita Harian, Abang Johari (above) said the move was in line with Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s call for all federal ministers to follow Sarawak government’s protocols and work together with the local leaders in the implementation of any project.

“The early notice is also to allow the Sarawak government to plan and coordinate so that the visits can be done at the right places.

Our comment

Sarawak’s corrupted regime has long played the victim, owing to its own surrender of Sarawak’s its oil to the federal government, whilst exploiting its autonomies to the full.

The reason the chief minister (or do we now call him “Premier”/ why not his Highness?) wishes to demand notice of visits by federal ministers, plus a full itinerary in advance, is is not about concern but about control.

He is demanding that senior Malaysian politicians elected to be in charge of the country should be forced to ask humble permission to enter the state, not just to politely let him know under the usual protocols about public events.

He will then tell then the ‘right’ places to visit and warn them when they have ‘not followed Sarawak protocols’ or are not visiting the ‘local leaders’ recognised by GPS. After all,GPS has worked hard to sideline local representatives who do not tow their line.

GPS will soon be seeking to extend that constraint on any public official coming to the state in the course of their duties, just in case they might be engaged in something inconvenient (like investigating cronies, corrupt concessions, abuses of indigenous people, election rigging for example).

The GPS cabal don’t want federal authorities snooping into what they are up to. They don’t want them meeting people and hearing things without sending their own heavies to escort them and monitor each and every person that they speak to. They want the chance to interfere in such duties and to veto certain meetings or even stop such visits altogether.

This is how Sarawak has treated NGOs, reformers and democracy campaigners for many decades. Any kind of critic (including the Editor of Sarawak Report who photographed a logging blockade and wrote about it) is barred from the state completely. Simply because it is inconvenient and shows up bad practices they want to hide.

This has been accepted under the alleged autonomies permitted by the federation, despite impinging on the basic human rights of all Malaysians.

The demand should work both ways. Any GPS minister or official ought likewise be put under the same constraint should they wish to leave their autonomous fiefdom in order to venture into the rest of Federal Malaysia.

A Sarawak state representative or local minister seeking to pursue his business on the side in a KL hotel, for example, should be forced to notify the authorities of his journey in advance and wait for permission to arrive.  The request should advise the federal authorities and authorities of the states they visit as to whoever they plan to meet.

And they should expect to be tailed by goons throughout.


Bonkers Brexit CPTPP Deal Opens UK's Door To Dirty Palm Oil

UK-Asia trade deal to boost UK economy by 0.08%

The UK has signed a deal to join a trade pact with 11 Asia and Pacific nations, three years after it officially left the European Union.

Joining the group will boost UK exports by cutting tariffs on goods such as cheese, cars, chocolate, machinery, gin and whisky, the government said.

However, the government’s own estimates show being in the bloc will only add 0.08% to the size of the UK’s economy.

The trade area covers a market of around 500 million people.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership – or CPTPP – was established in 2018, and includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Membership of the CPTPP loosens restrictions on trade between members and reduce tariffs – a form of border tax – on goods.

Together, the 11 members account for about 13% of the world’s income and after 21 months of negotiations, the UK has become the first European country to join.

The government said the agreement was the UK’s “biggest trade deal since Brexit”.

However, the gains for the UK from joining are expected to be modest. The UK already has free trade deals with all of the members except Brunei and Malaysia, some of which were rolled over from its previous membership of the EU.

And even with some gains in trading the government only estimates it will add 0.08% to the size of the economy in 10 years. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), which provides forecasts for the government, has previously said Brexit would reduce the UK’s potential economic growth by about 4% in the long term.

GPS made sure to get their own billionaire businessman Fadillah Yusof back into the Plantation Ministry to push more deforestation and dirty oil palm

GPS made sure to get their own billionaire businessman Fadillah Yusof back into the Plantation Ministry to push more deforestation and dirty oil palm

Our comment

The UK already had a deal with all these countries, except Brunei and Malaysia, and yet in order to negotiate this ‘triumph’ of joining the CPTPP, marketed as a flagship post-Brexit achievement by the ‘mad as a box of snakes‘ former UK foreign secretary, Liz Truss, she agreed to Malaysia’s terms about dropping restrictions on palm oil that which had been  imposed under the EU.

This may be considered a big win by little Malaysia, given Britain gets practically nothing out of joining the trade bloc – a projected 0.08% rise of trade over the next ten years, compared to a loss of economic growth of 4% caused by Brexit.

However, those rich traders who plan to now sell their palm oil through the UK without pesky barriers to worry about, such as the EU sustainability rules, will do so at the expense of those poorer Malaysians who are trying to prevent their lands being swallowed up in the last final push to log out all the remaining forests in the country and replace them with this mono-culture.

Huge funds are being poured into greenwash PR to represent those seeking to sell palm oil as humble ‘smallholders’ being penalised by brutal competitive trade barriers imposed by rival oil producers abroad. They aren’t.

Behind this drive are a handful of rapacious logging concerns ready to turn their hand mass cash crop cultivation of imported quick grow monocultures – oil palm/acacia – with only swift dollar returns in mind. More is never enough.

In ten years, according to audits provided by environmental groups who have studied the concessions being handed out, the entire Malaysian landmass will be one dreary factory farm producing a single bio-fuel for export.

Think about what would happen when a blight occurs (which it almost certainly will). The wealthy billionaire families who foisted this disaster on Malaysia will be far away drowning in their riches.

The rest of Malaysia will have to starve just like the Irish did in the dreadful potato famine two hundred years ago. So, not that much of a triumph for Malaysia or mankind but lessons are never learned.

Hollywood's 1MDB Links Keep Bouncing Back

Ipoh-born Michelle Yeoh won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role at the 95th Academy Awards held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles today.

This is for her brilliant role as Chinese-American immigrant Evelyn Quan in the movie “Everything Everywhere All At Once”, who while being audited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), discovered that she must connect with parallel universe versions of herself to prevent a powerful being from destroying the multiverse.

Yeoh, 60, created history by being the first Asian actress to win in this category.

Our comment

Tinsel Town’s dollar hungry fraternity barely knew where Malaysia was as they hung round Jho Low’s largess. Likewise, ignorance of Michelle Yeoh’s own connections to the 1MDB story undoubtedly played into her good fortune at the Academy Awards.

Leo DiCaprio arguably missed his Oscar thanks to the exposure over Wolf of Wall Street which was bankrolled by Najib and 1MDB’s stolen money. Yeoh was lucky that few in Hollywood appear to know how she too was being bankrolled by Najib at the very same time and duly lent all her celebrity to support his G13 election prospects and talk up his subsequent regime.

However, everyone in Malaysia does – after all, she’s refused to apologise saying she was merely expressing her opinion in support of a politician she admires.

Today the staggering sums earned by her French boyfriend for taking on the role of ‘tourism ambassador’ under Najib (including to cover holiday trips for the duo) have again done the rounds on social media – and it has tainted the satisfaction most would feel about their local born actress winning an Oscar in a film brandishing such a classic aspirational Hollywood title – “Everything Everywhere All at Once”.

Ms Yeoh, who has long lived the life of a global sophisticate alongside her partner, Jean Todd, and spends little time in Malaysia, chose to play the victim claiming her Oscar on behalf of “people who look like me” and even older women.

She was spared the real life audit in her moment of triumph. However, according to disparaging material circulating back home, Yeoh is a daughter of privilege whose father was a politically connected businessman and MCA official who embraced the corrupted BN regime.

So, unsurprisingly perhaps, civil society and reform were not Yeoh’s thing. She has been only too comfortable championing Najib, speaking at his rallies and turning a blind eye to his blatant corruption 

“We have a leader here who has done so many good things and will do more. I hope from the bottom of my heart that he will remain as the Prime Minister and I ask all of you to give him a strong mandate”

Yeoh memorably gushed in 2013. The fact her partner had received a plot of land and huge allowances including RM380,000 to cover their holidays, was dismissed by Najib’s spokesperson with the explanation “When he gets to meet people or contacts in Europe, RM1mil is nothing”.

According to reports, the spokesman added that Todt had even arranged to meet a top film producer and people from the Paris-based Hello! magazine, adding: “You think we can get that kind of access easily? No way!”

Yeoh sang for her supper then. However, it has not stopped her dashing in to co-produce a rival film production to The Sarawak Report [in which SR declares an interest] relating to the story Billion Dollar Whale which, like Wolf of Wall Street focuses on the lavish theft and waste indulged in by Najib and his side-kick Jho Low – all at the expense of the Malaysian people.

Ms Yeoh therefore clearly intends to carry on having her cake and eating it. Playing the victim and playing the Malaysian when effectively she is neither and making money out of the grotesque story of her fellow Malaysian Jho Low and his disgraced Bossku – a man whom Yeoh was happy to profit from and to support wholeheartedly when it suited.

What a performance!

Standing Up For Hadi!

Amanah Youth has urged the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to revoke the “Tan Sri” title accorded to PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang two years ago, over the latter’s “insolence and disrespect” against the Malay rulers.

According to Amanah Youth vice-chief Abbas Salimmi Adzmi, this was due to the Marang MP’s recent remark about plotting to topple the government led by Anwar Ibrahim, which the former said went against the king’s decree for political stability.

“What Hadi (above) is doing now should not be left to continue. Many times the Agong has decreed that all work together to defend the government and help the country recover.

“As a senior Muslim politician, he (Hadi) should work together to build the country, for the sake of the rakyat, and not be power hungry and try to topple the government,” Abbas told the media after handing a memorandum urging action against Hadi at the Istana Negara this morning.

Our comment

If Hadi is plotting illegally to overthrow the government then he deserves exposure and punishment.

If not, he is entitled to oppose the present government and to long and wish for its replacement – even to predict it. At the moment, most people rightly do not share his longing and it is unlikely to get him far if he keeps to legal means.

On the other hand, those who are trying to counter his machinations by dragging in specious arguments about ‘royal approval’ and ‘royal decrees’ are doing more harm than good when it comes to Malaysia’s democratic progress.

The stability of the government comes from the alignment of Malaysia’s political parties who represent their electorate. The King accepted the inevitable when he appointed Anwar Ibrahim, who commanded the majority of support amongst MPs and who has shown that he holds the necessary Parliamentary approval to govern the country.

The role of a modern constitutional monarch is to act as a referee in this process to ensure the enforcement of the rules, not to ‘decree’ as he/she chooses nor to ‘appoint’ a prime minister who does not represent the majority of MPs (despite the very unfortunate and regressive precedent of the previous coup government).

Seeking to curry favour with less sophisticated citizens by suggesting Hadi is ‘going against the decree of the King’ in opposing the present government is therefore to create a backward misunderstanding of how democracy works.

Malaysia is currently blessed with a government led by progressives (including Amanah) who should honour their duty to speak in terms that reflect the actual roles of the country’s institutions and not some feudal arrangement from the past.

Whether Hadi should ever have been awarded his title in the first place is an entirely separate matter.

Dear Sultan - It Is Your Logging Activities That Cause Flooding

Yang di-Pertuan Agong al-Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah, today decreed for the government to conduct a detailed study to reduce and address the flood risks.

His Majesty said that short and long-term solutions, such as flood mitigation projects and efforts to deepen shallow rivers, are necessary due to frequent flooding.

“We can think about the cost (to implement the project to address flood problems) later, but we have to find the cause as there are always floods occurring, every year, every month.

“This is also subject to small rivers and drains in the city, which are not well maintained… all kinds of garbage thrown arbitrarily, which may be the cause of the flooding,” said His Majesty.

Sultan Abdullah said this while visiting and presenting donations to flood victims, at the Kampung Baru Sungai Chedong temporary relief centre today.

He was accompanied by Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah, and their son, Tengku Amir Nasser Ibrahim Shah.

… The floods hit Pahang on Wednesday, as a result of continuous heavy rain, causing the river water level to overflow in Raub, Jerantut, Maran, Pekan, Bera, Temerloh and Rompin districts.

Our comment

It is extremely sad that this Agong, from a state where the royal family has been behind so much of the recent desecration of the forests, is under the impression that the causes of flooding are not already well known. Or that they might be due to common garbage.

Whoever failed to educate him on the matter is plainly at fault, because even back half a century ago it was very well known that above all it is careless logging that creates erosion that creates floods.

Excess logging and unsustainable monoculture also wipes out nature entirely and much of the once tropical lush land-bank of Malaysia is now in danger of ending up much like the sandy wastelands of the Gulf and Middle East, host to the earliest ‘civilisations’ where lust for wealth and unsustainable farming practices destroyed the ‘Garden of Eden’ over thousands of years.

With today’s technologies we can achieve the same effect in a decade.

So, might the Agong agree to put a moratorium on the logging in his state and encourage similar moratoriums elsewhere whilst he gets up to speed on these matters, because it would probably represent the country’s last chance to rescue the future of Malaysia’s flora and fauna – including its national emblem, the beleaguered and starving tiger population now reduced to around a hundred desperate sick animals in the wild?

That way he could go down in history as the man who saved his country rather than ruining it.

Cash For Trash - The Sad Truth About Najib's 1MDB

Kardashian told investigators she wanted to leave the casino at 5am but was advised to stay because of Low’s reputation for handing out gambling chips at the end of the night.

Eventually, Kardashian won around US$350,000 but her security guard advised her to return it since she didn’t gamble with her own money.

“When Kardashian attempted to give the chips back, Low told Kardashian that the chips were hers to keep,” said the FBI.

When Kardashian cashed out the chips, she was given around US$250,000 in one hundred dollar notes in a trash bag..….

Low initially wanted to gift Kardashian a horse carriage. When Kardashian requested a white Ferrari instead, Low allegedly responded “OK, I’ll just send you the cash.”

Kardashian was not familiar with the entity Goodstar but stated that if the money was coming from that entity, it was from Low.

“Once she was told the money came in, she just thought ‘Let’s get me a car’,” read the FBI documents.

Our comment

The scenes of Hollywood debauchery fuelled by cash raised from the poor Malaysian public are the sad emblem of 1MDB.

All these billions, borrowed at enormous rates of interest which all still has to be paid back, were thus squandered on the trashiest of Hollywood’s ‘personalities’ who even carried off the loot in trash bags.

Contrast these admissions with the sanctimonious triumph of wife Rosmah (mother of the greedy, precious Riza, who attended these occasions to fulfil his ambitions to ‘move among the stars’) outside court today.

She chose to brag that a decision to dismiss one of the scores of sets of charges against her husband and his co-conspirators would presage the dropping of all the other charges and convictions – i.e. that he and she will be let off their convictions for gross crimes against the people of Malaysia.

Those who are lining up for cheap meals thanks to BN/PN corruption and children studying under leaking roofs in schools, whose budgets Rosmah looted, will feel differently.

There is no political mileage (let alone justice) in letting these kleptocrats off with pardons or reviews, unless it is to satisfy a certain over-interfering head of state who has become far too involved in these misadventures.

Lynas Have Opted To Open Their Can Of Worms

“After 10 years of safe operation in Malaysia we are disappointed that the conditions that were applied to our 2020 operating licence remain,” Chief Executive Amanda Lacaze said in the statement…

“We will now proceed with administrative and legal appeals to ensure that Lynas is treated fairly and equitably as a Foreign Direct Investor and a significant employer and contributor to the Malaysian economy.”

Lynas had applied to Malaysia’s regulator for the conditions to be removed because they “represent a significant variation from the conditions under which… Lynas made the initial decision to invest in Malaysia,” it said.

Our comment

Today Lynas has duly submitted its threatened appeal against the decision of the Malaysian government to stand by the terms of its agreement with the company back in 2019, which gave Lynas ample time to organise alternative arrangements for its radioactive waste products by mid-2023.

The people of Kuantan want the ‘low-level’ waste out of their locality every bit as much as the people of Australia from whence the material came. Malaysian’s, understandably, feel they have become a dumping ground because their previous high authorities seemed willing to risk safety in return for fast bucks into certain back pockets.

However, it seems Lynas thought they could somehow by-pass the conditions of their own agreement and carry on processing and dumping waste that would require a secure storage facility for 10,000 years were they to place it back in Australia. Such a facility is in the process of being constructed but is not yet ready the company says.

The coup which over-turned the PH government that had negotiated Lynas’s commitment might have had something to do with the company’s optimism in this respect. It effectively returned the sort of government that had allowed their operations in the first place.

Given their first chance however, the electorate have again voted out corruption.

Lynas has made it loudly clear that it has the full backing of the Australian government over this appeal. Ministers for Mr Albanese have spoken out to confirm they are continuing the previous Liberal administration’s whole hearted support for this strategic producer of rare metal products.

After all Lynas, an Australian Stockmarket listed company, has already benefited from numerous bailouts and soft loans from Australia and Japan (their major customer in the electronics industry) despite the highly controversial background of this company’s leading players.

So, it seems that Lynas hopes that bravado, diplomatic bullying and continuing to ‘do what it takes’ will force a Malaysian climbdown as the matter reaches the scrutiny of the appeal process.

Central to that scrutiny, inevitably, is likely to be the status of the so-called Multi-Category Industrial Scheduled Waste Disposal Site (MCISWDS) which Lynas agreed to commission to be built to assist in disposing of its waste (presently stored in heaps in the open air around their plant.

After a number of false starts curtailed by public protests (there were plans to place it lucratively in a forest reserve that would first have been logged and then in a peatland area) this MCISWDS is said three years later to be only 30% completed and therefore useless.

However, it is the embarrassing nature of this contract that Lynas perhaps thinks may pause the Malaysian government into extending its licence to pollute. In short, without tendering the highly specialised role, Lynas paid $100 million to an effective shell company owned by the regent of the state of Pahang (where the site is located) and a local UMNO business crony to carry out this waste disposal commitment, yet to be performed.

The regent is of course not only the current paid head of state of Pahang but also the son of the King of Malaysia.

Yes, that is pretty embarrassing for the Malaysians. However, it ought also to be every bit as embarrassing for the company itself and for the Australian government who has so far apparently failed to initiate appropriate investigations under their own country’s foreign bribery laws.

Meanwhile, as Lynas attempts in its press releases to patronise Malaysia about the great benefits its ‘inward foreign investment’ into the country the new Science Minister, Chang Lih Kang, has reminded radio listeners that when UMNO players first brought the company into Pahang in 2012 a handy 11 year tax exemption was negotiated for the company…. meaning that so far Lynas has not paid a bean at all to the Malaysian public purse!


It Is Right To End The Dodgy MP Handouts!

Perikatan Nasional (PN) chief whip Takiyuddin Hassan has expressed his concern over the constituency allocations for MPs which may be reduced by 65 percent this year.

He noted that while the government was taking steps to control its finances, he was adamant that allocations should be left alone as it was for the benefit of the people.

Allocations channelled through MPs provide direct benefits to the people, (they) should not be disturbed,” he said in a statement today.

The Kota Bharu MP said these allocations are channelled through the MPs’ service centres in their constituencies through the Implementation Coordination Unit (ICU).

Our comment

How sadly predictable that this professed lawyer and ‘religious’ party representative should put himself at the forefront of defending this degenerate ‘money politics’ practice of allowing MPs to buy local support at the expense of the public purse.

It is one thing for an MP to receive an allowance to run an office where constituents can seek advice and bring their issues.

However, to stuff his safe with a stash of cash for him to hand out as he pleases, acting as the powerful Datuk Bountiful to buy gratitude and obedience is quite another matter.

This is not his money, which is how far too many MPs have acted, it is public money. There are public rules governing how taxpayers’ money should be spent and who is eligible for state support.

These do not include feathering the nests of those an MP needs to keep sweet to win the next election, which is exactly where these funds are in danger of actually ending up.

If an MP finds there are people in need and who are eligible for public support amongst his constituents, then he ought to advise them which public services they should be applying to, so they can be processed correctly.

Arbitrary handouts are not the solution and recipients should understand they are being aided by the community and policies of the government, not their MP personally.

Indeed, how can a blanket allowance to MPs be fair or proper when certain areas contain far more need than others? This is compounded by the outrageous practice which penalises opposition MPs – and therefore those who voted for the opposition – by allowing them less than pro-government MPs?

This system is pernicious and corrupt as any observer can plainly see, certainly one qualified in the law!

The government is therefore quite right to slash the MPs’ budget so money can go through the appropriate channels to help Malaysians receive grants for which they are eligible, not as ‘charity’ from their MP but as a matter of right.

Bribery Of A Foreign Official Is A Crime In The USA - Goldman Have Been Caught Out Before

it is time for Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim to revisit and reopen the controversial Goldman Sachs settlement reached with the Malaysian government over 1MDB in July 2020 when Muhyiddin Yassin was prime minister and Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz was the finance minister.

Tied in with this is a horrendous allegation which, if true, will mean that one prime minister benefited from an attempt to negotiate a settlement in the billions of dollars with one of the world’s largest financiers and wheeler-dealers caused by the crooked dealings of another.

Just imagine the enormity of the crimes – one PM – Najib Abdul Razak – causes the loss of as much as RM40 billion through the self-styled strategic development company 1MDB.

Then another PM, Muhyiddin, compromises a settlement with one of those complicit in the crime – Goldman Sachs – which may run into billions of ringgit.

This is no concoction – it may well be true and only a thorough and impartial investigation by those who are honest and competent will eventually reveal whether it is or not.

For a start, Anwar must forthwith make public the settlement with Goldman Sachs and all payments made, especially since Kuang assemblyperson Sallehudin Amiruddin said in March 2021 that the authorities should investigate allegations that an RM500 million donation was made to Muhyiddin’s party, Bersatu, by a prominent lawyer handling the settlement with Goldman Sachs.

Press reports at the time said Malaysia was represented at the talks with Goldman Sachs by Attorney-General Idrus Azizan Harun and then solicitor-general II Siti Zainab Omar.

They were reported to have been assisted by Rosli Dahlan and DP Naban, the two senior partners of Rosli Dahlan Sarvana Partnership and also “chief legal trouble-shooters” for Muhyiddin Yassin.

The amount paid to the lawyers was never disclosed, and the non-disclosure agreement with Goldman Sachs was used as an excuse.


Our comment

It is right to re-visit the dodgy 1MDB settlement with Goldman Sachs, along with all the other dodgy looking deals driven through during the pandemic by the coup coalition government of Muhyiddin Yassin.

It is clear, with the Bersatu bank accounts now frozen and RM96.2 billion worth of contracts now under review, that Malaysia’s anti corruption authorities are doing just that.

Meanwhile, the new prime minister has indicated he has grounds to open proceedings against the bank for reneging even on the unsatisfactory deal that was arrived at – a move that might open a whole can of worms for the American banking giant.

Back in July 2020 the newly installed coup coalition and its unelected Finance Minister (a friend of the King who is now the unelected Trade Minister) steamrollered a super-swift settlement with Goldman which had just been found culpable in the United States of assisting in defrauding Malaysia of $6.5 billion through 1MDB.

The bank got off astonishingly lightly in this flash resolution by Muhyiddin’s men, with Malaysia settling for a cash payment of just $2.5 billion, whereas the previous administration had been demanding over $9 billion which represented the actual cost of the crime to Malaysian taxpayers (1MDB was left over $42 billion in debt).

The previous PH administration had also opened criminal proceedings against 17 Goldman Sachs bankers which were also dropped after the lousy settlement. After the signing, the CEO of the bank headed back to his Long Island home and threw a major party.

So, what happened to the money was the question being asked by many at the time, including the deposed prime minister, Mahathir Mohammed, who requested to know why the details of the deal were not made available at least to the Parliamentary Accounts Committee for appropriate scrutiny?

In short, how much of this depleted settlement actually ended up in the trust account set up by the previous Harapan government to repay 1MDB’s debts and how much might have been siphoned off in ‘commissions’ or ‘lawyers fees’, given the peculiar involvement of the new prime minister’s own personal lawyer in the swift negotiations?

The Bersatu government of Muhyiddin Yassin responded that it would not reveal the answers to these concerns nor allow any such scrutiny because it had made the entire settlement an ‘Official Secret’. The reason they gave was that Goldman Sachs had demanded a Non Disclosure Agreement!

At the time Sarawak Report and others observed that this excuse stank and flashed a red flag once more over the actions of the disgraced US bank. Indeed, if writer P Gunasegaram fears that two prime ministers (Najib and his former deputy, Muhyiddin) might between them have twice robbed the country over 1MDB, then the same could be feared of Goldman Sachs thanks also to this settlement.

The original Goldman crimes involved making hundreds of millions in fees through the bribing of foreign officials, namely Najib and his officers from 1MDB, for whom they raised bogus bonds.

If Goldman then agreed to a non-disclosure agreement to conceal the path of the cut price settlement money once it reached Malaysia…. then that is effectively once again participating in the bribery of foreign officials in return for saving huge amounts they could have paid in fines to Malaysia.

The bank has a duty to perform post-transaction monitoring after passing on sums of money so it must know where this money went – or should know.

Now that Bersatu’s party accounts have been frozen, following the astounding revelation that no less than RM300 million had arrived in ‘donations’ during Muhyiddin’s short 18 months in office, prompting an MACC investigation, the truth looks set to come out, (barring further attempts at a political coup by the actors involved of course).

Goldman fatally misjudged the public mood when they did their original dirty deals with Najib and were exposed following BN’s 2018 election defeat.  It would be astounding if they had failed to learn that lesson and had indeed done a deal with the coup coalition to repeat that process.

If so, the people have again spoken and the bank stands in grave danger of being found out again, if this is what has happened.


Malaysia's 'Ivanka' Has Loads More Cred

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has put his foot down on his daughter Nurul Izzah’s appointment as his adviser for economics in both the Prime Minister’s Department as well as the Finance Ministry, saying it is to ensure that contracts and tenders are managed in an “orderly” manner.

Pointing out that his eldest daughter is taking on the unpaid role, Anwar gave his assurance that the appointment is not to misuse power or to enrich his family like those who grant projects worth millions of ringgit to their children and son or daughter-in-law.

“She (Nurul) is here to help. If she came to help with no positions, that will be questioned and it’s not transparent, nor is it proper,” he told reporters today after attending the National Sports Awards at the National Sports Council in Kuala Lumpur.

“I want to give assurance, God willing, that our administration, even if some are not satisfied with this decision, (we are here to) fight corruption, not to misuse power or enrich any officials or leaders.”…

Earlier today, Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) president Muhammad Mohan questioned Anwar’s decision, saying it may signal that cronyism and nepotism are back.

Our comment

It is sad to see Malaysia’s democracy advocates going after Nurul Izzar because she has agreed to work as her father’s unpaid advisor.

Yes, the unpaid role will open doors for her to make the enquiries he is plaining on leaving her to do.  Yet, special advisors have been adopted by leaders everywhere being people they know they can trust to delegate/ arms length some of the volume of their work. Usually these are paid.

Nurul is not a nepotistic parvenu, in fact she could hardly be more qualified for the role. She is one of Malaysia’s most longstanding and experienced opposition politicians, who has suffered and battled harder than many salaried NGOs who know when to duck out of the line of fire when danger threatens. She has not had such luxury and has shown at least as much courage and steadfastness for the cause of reform as they – and paid the price.

Like her mother, Nurul has been much more than a daughter, working as an elected politician, key ally and indeed surrogate for Anwar during his decade in jail. Anwar knows how she was there when others, who may now be back on board, were writing him off and making themselves scarce when support was needed.

Nurul is experienced in politics, therefore, and an inspiring speaker who is a rare Malaysian figure on the international stage. How many other Malaysian politicians can draw a crowd like she can in London or New York? They admire her for her story, her charisma and for her proven capability and qualities as a leader.

She lost her seat. The circumstances are murky as to why, but as a top politician she was a top target for the ultimately unsuccessful PN coalition.

It is common for parties to seek out some role for loyal MPs who meet this fate. Usually, the role includes a salary.  However, given her relationship, she has foregone the remuneration that any other ex-PKR MP in her position would have accepted without a thought – or criticism from others either.

So, why has she been singled out for this attack as if her years of political service stood for nothing?  Why has there been so much anger and criticism over this appointment compared, for example, to glaring and recent examples where powerful politicians have awarded multi-million ringgit contracts to companies owned by the husbands of their daughters or passed on their own seat to their son or daughter like a family heirloom?

Are these issues too complicated with too much work involved to stand up and complain about or are the politicians concerned too mean to confront in the same aggressive manner?  Count the articles and the official NGO complaints made about those real scandals, compared to all the column inches filled over Nurul’s unpaid job.

Perhaps some reflection is needed on the wisdom of making a false equivalence by calling the appointment of Nurul Izzar “nepotism” compared to the custom of treating parliamentary seats as a family heirloom, or “cronyism” compared to the purloining of contracts for family members or those who provide backhanders in return.

More work is needed and more noise made over these glaring examples of genuine corruption in Malaysia from the paid NGO figures who have waxed so noisily over Nurul. After all, they can do so without danger now, thanks to the advent of the pro-reform administration that she has worked for more than most.