If former prime minister Najib Razak really was the mastermind behind the theft of 1MDB-linked billions, why has only a miniscule fraction of the stolen money been linked to him?
That’s the question asked by Najib’s former political communications consultant Romen Bose in a forthcoming book.
He writes that the RM42 million found in Najib’s personal bank account that supposedly belonged to SRC international amounted to “only about 0.22% of the US$4.5 billion (RM18.6 billion) that US prosecutors say was supposedly looted from 1MDB” and reasons that “it must be that the remaining 99.8% of monies allegedly looted from 1MDB went to the actual mastermind and his accomplices”.
Bose questions whether a more likely explanation would be that Najib was made the fall guy in a complex plot to rob the state investment agency, with those truly responsible paying off officials to keep the prime minister in the dark and planting the RM42 million so that if the plan fell apart, “it would be Najib left holding the bag”….
“I am certain he will triumph in the end. His enemies should be afraid. I would be.”
Penguin Books have ducked and dived, refusing to answer journalists who have enquired as to why the once proud publishing house has shamefully backed this apologist book on behalf of the world’s most notorious convicted kleptocrat.
The writer of the book, who himself received stolen money from 1MDB for his role as Najib’s communications guru, takes his opportunity to repeat the ridiculous claim that Najib was a patsy who was duped into receiving millions into his own accounts, whilst at the same time promoting his boss as the financial mentor to the nation.
He then directly threatens those whom Najib regards as his enemies to “be afraid” because the convicted criminal is bound to return to highest office. In their position, says Bose, he would be.
Such dark statements can but draw the minds of critics and most Malaysians back in the direction of episodes that remain unsatisfactorily unresolved whilst linked to Najib, such as the death of Altantuya and other episodes where the motive for murder have remained unclear for those convicted. Now there’s the true meaning of being a fall guy.
Meanwhile, Bose continues the theme of having one’s cake and eating it, as he follows his ‘bossku’s’ other tactic of admitting whilst at the same time denying that Najib did take the SRC cash by claiming that it such a small amount it didn’t count.
So far, Najib has ‘only’ been convicted of stealing RM42 million after all. Bose points out in his fawning narrative that this was only a small proportion of the whopping RM4 billion of public cash that Najib caused to be siphoned out through the fund before being lost.
So, argues Bose, why make such a fuss about ‘peanuts’? For the high and mighty Najib we are talking petty cash. That jail is good enough for small people who steal really small sums by comparison to this does not occur to Bose any more than to his paymaster [did they pay Penguin to publish this book? Penguin won’t answer, so we don’t know].
However, Bose’s arguments weak as they are are weakened further by the facts that he has chosen to ignore. So far, Najib has been convicted merely on a fraction of the crimes with which he has been charged.
By minimising the significance of a ‘mere RM42 million’ the con-job PM is plainly hoping to make his “triumphant return” before the chickens come home to roost in court regarding the rather larger sums, namely billions, that he is charged with looting.
Naturally, in his dreams of returning as PM10 Najib’s first move will be to order the dropping of all such prosecutions that are presently in the process of revealing ever more damning evidence of his crimes. Bose will then join lawyer Shafee in the ruling Pantheon of Najib’s most loyal advisors to ruin the country.
Wake up. The SRC convictions over the RM42 million related only to cash that was never exported from Malaysia which therefore presented local prosecutors with a relatively simple case to ‘swiftly’ convict their errant ex-PM (it has taken a mere three years so far, which represents lightening speed for the Malaysian courts when it comes to cases against the powerful such as him).
Under Najib’s instructions the vast majority of SRC cash was swiftly send abroad on spurious grounds and ‘lost’. At the same time, Najib’s protege Jho Low was dabbling in the purchase of his own strategic resources using a company with an eerily similar name to SRC!
But, what else happened to that exported RM4 billion raised after Najib had bullied KWAP to lend it and the Cabinet to guarantee the money? Well, as the later court cases and convictions are due to remind the public once these more complex matters have ground their way through the glacial courts, an awful lot of it also found its way back into Najib’s personal accounts in KL. A great deal more than RM42 million!
Long before the 1MDB bond money was flushing into Najib’s 2112022009694 dollar account at AmBank KL, a whopping USD170 million had arrived in November 2011. This was just a couple of months after the first RM2 billion draw down by SRC from KWAP took place in August at which point a lion’s share of the cash had been sent to SRC’s ‘International Account’ at Julius Baer bank in Hong Kong where it was held in dollars.
USD170 million represented around RM800 million – almost half the total cash raised through that borrowing from KWAP, which Najib had caused his government to underwrite. It went from Julius Baer, via the Jho Low owned bogus Blackstone offshore subsidiary (Blackstone Real Estate Asia Parters BVI) and into Najib’s KL dollar account.
Does Bose think Najib was duped into receiving this? Does he think that Najib was likewise deceived by Jho Low into thinking this was yet more of the ‘Saudi Royal Donation’ money, supposedly later provided in March 2013? It won’t be the first time Najib will have confused his dates, as the Appeal Court judges pointed out last week. Najib was also seeking to claim he was deceived in this way in 2014/15 into believing he was receiving the same donation money when the RM42 million came locally through SRC. This was a year after he was claiming to have sent the money back.
Bose seems to be expecting Malaysians to regard a man whose excuse for monies received in 2011 and then 2014 is that he thought it came from a donation he claimed to have both received and then returned in 2013 as both an innocent dupe and a financial advisor to the nation.
With regard to the fallback argument that RM42 million is relative peanuts. Even Bose cannot claim the same for the RM800 million that was likewise earlier stolen from SRC only to pop up in Najib’s account can he?
All this is due to re-emerge to remind Najib’s followers (whoever they might be) that he is a massive kleptocrat who tells massive lies. Sarawak Report assumes this makes it one of Najib’s enemies and we register Bose’s warning, published by Penguin Books, that the editor should therefore ‘be afraid’.
Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Zahidi Zainul Abidin says the Finance Ministry insisted on giving the 5G spectrum to Digital Nasional Bhd despite protest from his ministry.
THE Finance Ministry (MOF) insisted on giving the 5G spectrum to Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB) despite protest from the Communications and Multimedia Ministry, Zahidi Zainul Abidin said today.
“We were instructed by MOF to give the contract to DNB without any consultations,” the deputy minister told Parliament today.
“We raised questions about the pricing as DNB will be selling to telecommunication companies (telcos) but DNB assured us that the price will be cheaper than 4G. That was their guarantee.
“It’s quite a miracle that DNB will be selling the 5G spectrum at a lower price to telcos but we had to agree,” said the Padang Besar MP.
The deputy minister was responding to Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh (Ledang-PH) on when DNB was going to brief Parliament on its plans for 5G.
Unlike other countries that let telcos set up their own 5G infrastructure, the government had decided to form a special purpose vehicle, DNB, to build the new spectrum.
Telcos had also complained of a lack of transparency on the project by DNB.
According to Zahidi, the ministry had wanted to consult with DNB but MOF steamrolled the decision and they had to accept it.
“We have, however, told DNB to work with Telekom Malaysia as they have the IT backbone. We didn’t see what DNB could do as it had nothing and had to start from scratch.
“DNB doesn’t even have any (telecommunication) poles,” said Zahidi.
Fahmi Fadzil (Lembah Pantai-PH) then asked how DNB secured the project when it had nothing.
“You have to ask MOF on the investments needed as we didn’t invest. Our work is communications but MOF wants to do our job.
“As such, we will let them do it and question them. We wanted to give the 5G spectrum to telcos as they already have the backbone and would be faster but DNB wanted to do it and said that the 4G infrastructure is incomplete as it was done by telcos.”
In July, DNB signed a contract with Ericsson to design and build the 5G infrastructures for RM11 billion. Neither DNB nor MOF has told the public how it plans to finance the project.
If it looks like a duck, as the saying goes.
At the very time the appalling events of the 1MDB scandal are being retrospectively unravelled in court, horrified Malaysians are watching what looks to be a parallel set of circumstances developing in real time, before their very eyes.
The growing concerns over 5DNB have now been confirmed by this protest, from within the government itself, made by Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Zahidi Zainul Abidin speaking in Parliament.
According to Zahidi, everything that went wrong with 1MDB is being reproduced with this latest Ministry Of Finance pet project. Worse, the costs of 1MDB have been inflated multiple times with 5DNB. Is it that Najib’s successors are determined to learn his lessons, only bigger and better, as he ‘mentors’ them through his ‘financial expertise’ in running the country?
As the candid complaint of the Minister for Communications makes clear (after all this is not an UMNO project but part of their reluctant deal to keep on Zafrul) nothing has been conducted in the proper way relating to this eye-waveringly expensive and utterly questionable excuse for a government project. Just like 1MDB in other words.
Just like 1MDB, the whole process has been hijacked by an arrogant (and this time entirely unelected) fellow at the MOF, who has immediately placed the project without any tendering or consultation under the murky purview of a so-called special purpose vehicle (SPV) of his own choice.
This SPV has turned out to be an entirely new entity with no previous capital nor existing staff nor infrastructure. ‘Starting from scratch’ as the Minister put it: just like 1MDB.
The SPV moreover is run by flunkeys from outside the existing civil service, a number of whom are of questionable character given their previous records. Just like 1MDB.
Unnamed financial advisors are also discussed as floating in the background of the project and powerfully orchestrating it, with their own interests apparently in mind. Just like 1MDB.
And whilst the touted projections for the project are ludicrously ambitious, the specifics have been unclear. Efforts appear to have been concentrated on extracting the huge sums of money required for the project rather than on working out how any of it really should be spent. Just like with 1MDB, as the Appeal Court spelled out just yesterday in its ruling against Najib.
There is a reason for due process and transparency in government contracting. The rules are there to weed out bad ideas, identify weak projects, reject the wrong actors and prevent criminal looting.
When these rules are specifically ignored and over-ridden and vast sums are poured into opaque structures masked by relentless, mind-numbingly stupid and over-energetic advertising campaigns people have a right to be suspicious and concerned. It all happened with 1MDB and look where that took the country. Now the same is going on with 5DNB.
The Communications Minister was therefore honourable and right to complain that the role of his ministry and its professional staff and infrastructure has been sidelined rather than utilised for its proper purpose. He is right to insinuate a corrupt intent or at the very least an arrogant foolhardiness that needs reined in.
And it’s not just Malaysians who ought be wary. The only thing that looks, swims and quacks differently from 1MDB in this latest UMNO brainchild is that a major western company has stepped in to partner the project. How deeply have they scrutinised their Malaysian counterparts it is fair to ask?
Meanwhile, the costs are exponentially even higher than with the bogus development fund that ended with the largest asset seizure the world has ever seen. 5DNB has seen an initial RM15bn of public money ploughed in,plus now a further RM11bn top-up to pay for Ericson to build infrastructure that existing telecoms companies were rivalling to invest in had they been allowed to collaborate instead. The latter route was advocated as the better and cheaper option by the Communications Ministry and all experts in the field but for reasons unknown, Zahidi Zainul Abidin says the Minister of Finance brushed their advice aside.
If 1MDB is a mini-duck therefore 5DNB has all the proportions of a mega-duck.
Did Najib have a point yesterday when he complained that there are so many worse scandals than 1MDB in Malaysia to be wary of? Of course he did. But if no one faces punishment it is clear no lessons will be learnt.
The Court of Appeal is set to deliver its verdict tomorrow on Najib Abdul Razak’s appeal to quash his conviction and sentencing in the RM42 million SRC International case.
In a unanimous decision today, the three-person bench chaired by judge Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil dismissed the former prime minister’s application to adduce fresh evidence in the appeal…
Karim said that Najib’s application failed to fulfil the requirement under Section 61 of the Courts of Judicature Act that any such additional evidence is not only relevant to the case but that it was not available during the criminal trial and was capable of creating reasonable doubt in the prosecution’s case.
Are his record bouts of exposure to Covid 19 to blame? Najib’s flash lawyer seems to have lost his touch. He almost appears to be acting desperately.
Today, after a particularly astonishing display of contempt as he and his client simply failed to turn up to hear their own application (for another delay) at the KL court, Shafee once again blamed the bug.
He had been asking for an umpteenth, eleventh hour delay on the ruling due tomorrow on Najib’s already inordinately delayed appeal against his SRC conviction, based on what he described as the discovery of ‘new evidence’.
However, as his own submissions have shown, this evidence turned out to be a year old, during which time he had failed to introduce his arguments as the ruling was delayed in other ways. The ‘evidence’ was also irrelevant to the question of Najib’s own guilt.
All this the judges pointed out as they rejected Shafee’s application, having finally located the missing duo and dragged them into a zoom session of the court on the threat of incarceration of his client.
Which leaves one wondering if Najib’s accident prone advocate is running out of tricks and foundering?
One should not presume so. Theatrics are Shafee’s style and his bag of tricks is deep and wide and packed with the most persuasive ammo. What’s more, Najib has remained placid over his fate since the day he was charged, telling all who care to listen that he will not face punishment for his actions.
It appears Rosamah is no longer playing safe in Singapore!
The people of Sarawak need to make the right choice in the 12th state election to maintain good relations between the state and federal governments, said Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
According to him, good ties are important to facilitate dealings between the two governments especially in implementing development for Sarawak residents.
Taking the example of the Second Sungai Yong Bridge costing RM12.6 million located about 15km from Kapit, Ismail Sabri said it would not be implemented if the two governments have a different focus…
“Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Jo (Abang Johari Openg) is my friend. As such, I hope the people would not make the wrong decision, for many more [projects] which need to be approved may not be implemented if the state administration is different from the central government,”
In a genuine democracy a politician making such a threat would be booed out of office.
Yet this bigoted prime minister who has crafted a budget that almost exclusively caters purely for Malays has openly seen fit to threaten the people of Sarawak that he will direct none of their own oil money towards developing their state unless they vote for his allies – the plunderers from GPS.
What better statement to sum up the reality of the relationship UMNO has maintained, not as equal partners with the supposedly independent Borneo states that have made West Malaysia rich, but as plundering colonialist bullies?
Banker Nazir Abdul Razak and a group of 54 other prominent individuals have urged Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah and the Conference of Rulers to endorse the setting up of a non-partisan platform to propose reforms amidst the challenges faced by the country.
In a letter, Nazir said successive prime ministers have come into power promising substantial reforms, but these promises often give way to racial and religious overtones and little change is ultimately achieved.
In addition, he said parliamentarians often fail to address structural issues because they often prioritise short-term interests and their own election.
Therefore, he said, a deliberative platform – which he proposed should be named the “Better Malaysia Assembly” – would be a better approach to push reforms….
The assembly will deliberate on issues of nationhood and institutional reforms, including matters such as the electoral system, political funding, federal-state relations, role of institutions, affirmative action and education.
It would identify specific policies and legislative changes that are required, which Nazir estimated would take 18 to 24 months of deliberation behind closed doors to reach a consensus.
And how does Najib’s brother propose to implement these proposed reforms to be arrived at behind closed doors before being endorsed by royalty?
Should these self-appointed members of the establishment (who have dominated the country for the past 60 years and therefore own this mess) just issue these secretively negotiated solutions, dreamed up by the most privileged panjandrums of the nation, by Royal Decree and simply abolish the role of Parliament in the process?
It seems these are exactly the lines along which Najib’s brother happens to be thinking as he haughtily dismisses the suitability of elected representatives (i.e. politicians) to manage the nation.
Some cheek given that he comes from the family who has messed things up in recent years not least by over-centralising power, neutering the nation’s institutions and treating parliament like a class of children during the very limited period it has been allowed to sit.
The purpose of this steady erosion of democracy over very many years of UMNO party political dictatorship? The desire to loot without oversight by the elected representatives of the people, whom this major beneficiary of all that corruption now seeks to blame for the consequences of this destruction of democracy by his own greedy social elite.
With more crowning irony, Nazir seeks to use the record of the past two years as some kind of proof of the failings of parliamentary democracy. Yet it is exactly throughout this period that Parliament and democracy have been suspended by his establishment pals, leaving the country to be ruled by the King and his Counsel and puppet PMs.
The reforms that are needed in Malaysia are these:
a) a return to the rule of law – this needs no blue sky thinking on the part of Nazir Razak. The rules are there, you just need to start implementing them, instead of giving continual passes to privileged individuals like his brother and his gang of crooks.
b) The above needs a restoration of a parliament with teeth to punish the plutocratic oligarchs who have grabbed the levers of power to enrich themselves. (his own brother being the most glaring example)
c) To achieve this you must place the selection of the Speaker of Parliament back in the hands of the appropriate body i.e. Parliament not the PM.
The rest of the necessary reforms will follow from the above, if the meddling of corrupt establishment power-mongers can be kept at bay.
On the other hand, if the overbearing individuals who have controlled the country behind the scenes for decades, are put in charge via this proposed self-selected ’eminent persons group’ endorsed by royal figures, Malaysia will merely be looking at more of the same and worse.
A foreigner was sentenced to a year in jail after being found guilty by the Lahad Datu magistrates’ court for the illegal possession of a Malaysian identity card and using it to obtain two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
The woman, who was not identified, was charged under Regulation 25(1)(e) of the National Registration Regulations 1990 (Amendment 2007) for deliberately having another person’s identity card and falsely using it as her own on two occasions.
There can be few countries on earth where a woman would be sent to jail for seeking to become vaccinated from Covid.
Her crime? To be a foreigner stuck in Malaysia for whatever reason and thus unable to receive a vaccine except by using someone else’s ID card.
Would the Sabah judge have preferred her to continue as a potential spreader of the disease instead?
Malaysia, has plenty of doses of vaccine and has expressed a willingness to make sure all people in the country (whether foreign or not) should be protected for their own benefit and others. That has been the attitude of all sensible governments with supplies of Covid vaccine everywhere.
The scandal is why was this woman obliged to resort to subterfuge to get her vaccine in the first place? It is those responsible for her dilemma who should be jailed, not just for threatening her health but everybody else’s.
The police found no element of “vote-buying” in a food and cash handout event for the elderly people that is being aired in a viral video.
In a statement today, Malacca Criminal Investigation Department chief Azlan Abu said the event has nothing to do with the forthcoming Malacca state election.
“The image was uploaded yesterday by several Facebook accounts, showing food packages together with RM50 cash (being handed out to the elderly people).
“Image caption alleged that it happened in Malacca while some commented that there was a political element in the programme, which was meant to gain votes,” Azlan said.
“The investigation by Malacca police showed that the event was not meant to affect the ballots. No party symbol nor element was found in the video,” he said….
The two-minute-17-seconds video clip that made the rounds on social media shows dozens of elderly people queuing up for their share of food packages and an RM50 cash handout.
Bunga Raya Businesspersons and Residential Association head Leong Cheng Fah believes that the event took place in Pudu, Kuala Lumpur.
“I have checked with many activists and were told that this is an annual charity event in Pudu, in which food and cash are handed out on the road,” Leong was quoted as saying.
So, the Malacca police have investigated this shocking incident and have done little to explain what people can see with their own eyes. This is because their denials and assurances leave so much unsaid.
If the event had nothing to do with the Malacca election then where did the event take place and who is it that is handing out money to ‘elderly residents’? The speculation of a community voice in Malacca is inadequate on this matter.
If there is some regular charitable event where money is handed out to random folk on a regular basis then surely people would know about it?
What people do know about is the pernicious endemic practice of electoral bribery in Malaysia where money is handed out for votes before elections!
More to the point why are these ‘beneficiaries of charity’ plainly handing over their IC cards on receipt of their goodies? We can see what is going on with our own eyes in this video. This is of concern because of the practice of taking IC cards to prevent people voting or worse, to enable others to vote on their behalf.
Will the same folk have been told that after the election they will be able to collect back their IC card and another RM50? If so, it will be a practice that everyone in Malaysia is aware of.
So, if this is not the case will the Malacca police now provide more details about where this charitable incident took place, who was responsible for it and where their money came from so that Malaysians can find out more about what is going on with this highly peculiar set of circumstances?
It seems the forces of law in Malaysia would prefer distractions like issuing ‘Wanted’ posters for innocent foreign observers of the mess Malaysia now is in instead!
What further shame can the leadership of Malaysia’s fractious Coup Coalition heap upon its people?
Here is the former Prime Minister, Mahiaddin, whose campaign has just been fined together with his rival Najib Razak after the pair of these dirty old men took their electioneering into the Malacca market places at a risk to public health and contrary to their own laws.
So, what is he doing now? According to our own eyes he is handing a RM50* note to a passing voter – described as being a poor old man who is seeking cheap food stuffs. This is a crime on the part of the former prime minister known as electoral bribery and it comes under voter fraud, which in the UK at least would land him with a year in jail.
Perhaps ‘Moo’ has an excuse? Is he paying the motorcyclist for an illegal lift on the back of his bike or for some goods he brought to market?
In which case, how does he explain his crew of assistants one of whom is rifling through to extract another RM50 from a bundle that he appears to be clutching in a plastic holder and the other who is taking apparent notes on the identity of the recipient of this election ‘goody’?
Malaysians ought to take note that these handouts by their appallingly corrupt and embarrassing politicians are not the personal donations of the likes of Muhyiddin, pulled from their own pockets thanks to their fat salaries, but invariably stolen public money filtered into their party machinery for this very purpose amongst many others.
If Moo wishes to correct Sarawak Report on that assumption, then he can do so . Is it fake note handed out for fun? Can he trace the money to his private accounts? In either case, there is a hygiene matter. Once again this two faced PM who kept his people under a pointless and ineffective lockdown for several months is breaking his own rules and threatening public health by handing out grubby notes to people in a market place.
If Malaysia’s corrupted authorities won’t take action the people of Malacca ought – on polling day.
[*Or is this a mere cheapskate RM5 note to buy a vote? Moo is an old guy, BN’s Awang Tengah can tell him how prices have risen.]