Hornbill Unleashed

July 28, 2016

Nurul Izzah wants Malaysians to focus on 1MDB

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 PM

PKR Vice-President Nurul Izzah Anwar has urged Malaysians to give prominence to the 1MDB saga and those behind the alleged misappropriation.

Every other issue, she said, should be secondary to this.

Speaking at a press conference at the DBKL headquarters here today, Nurul said state elections were not the biggest concern at present and that the main focus should be on bringing to task those involved in the 1MDB saga.

She said Malaysians should, therefore, focus on those who had “robbed the country almost dry”.

The US Department of Justice last week filed civil forfeiture lawsuits saying that over US$3.5 billion had been misappropriated from 1MDB.

The DoJ is seeking to seize assets “involved in and traceable to an international conspiracy to launder money misappropriated from 1MDB”, from several individuals and firms.

On elections, Nurul pointed out that with the possibility of three-cornered fights, everyone risked losing seats.

“Theoretically speaking, that’s just the way it is. No one wins except Umno.”


Sheith Khidhir Bin Abu Bakar


Gun mayhem on our streets

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

Four assassins on motorcycles took the life of a moneylender in broad daylight in Setapak on Wednesday. They fired 18 rounds at the victim, hitting him 16 times in a killing that sent shivers down our spine.

This is the latest of gun-related slayings in our country. Here is the chronological of shooting cases nationwide this year.

Jan 25:

A man was shot dead from close range at Jalan Jinjang, Kuala Lumpur. The body of the victim known as S. Surya Kumar, 41, was found slumped in the driver’s seat of a pick-up truck.

Feb 11:

Another close-range shooting and the victim is businessman Syed Amen Jainul Abdin. He was shot dead in front of a motorcycle shop at Jalan Datuk Keramat, Kuala Lumpur. His body was found in the car he was driving. (more…)

Will opposition parties accept Muhyiddin as PM-designate? Zaid asks

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

Zaid said that the federal opposition needed a leader who could take over the administration of the country; as well as someone who could unite all parties including PAS. — File picDatuk Zaid Ibrahim has suggested that Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin be made Opposition Leader and Prime Minister-designate, saying that he had sources confirming that the former deputy prime minister will become president of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s new “all Malay/ Bumiputera party”.

Zaid said that the federal opposition needed a leader who could take over the administration of the country; as well as someone who could unite all parties including PAS.

“I am happy to learn from inside sources that he has decided to continue with politics by becoming President of the new party.

“I understand that it will be an all Malay/ Bumiputera party that will be somewhat similar to Umno. This is good development as it will broaden the Opposition coalition,” the former Umno law minister said in a blog posting this morning. (more…)

‘Celaka Umno not celaka Melayu’, court rules as DAP rep acquitted of second sedition charge

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

DAP state lawmaker RSN Rayer has been acquitted of a second sedition charge over his ‘celaka Umno’ remark. — Picture by KE OoiThe Sessions Court here acquitted and discharged today DAP state lawmaker RSN Rayer of a second sedition charge over his “celaka Umno” (Damn Umno) remark.

Sessions court judge Ibrahim Osman said the prosecution had failed to prove a prima facie case against the Seri Delima state assemblyman.

“While the prosecution has proved that he has said those words in a speech, it has failed to prove the seditious element as Umno is not a racial group but a political group,” he said when reading his decision today at the end of the prosecution’s case.

The court also finds that the phrase “celaka Umno” does not translate to “celaka Melayu”.

Rayer had been accused of uttering “celaka, celaka, celaka Umno” on May 20, 2014 during the state legislative assembly sitting. (more…)

Why sex education is necessary

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

Malaysians love to do many things with vim and vigour, particularly when it involves indulging one’s self. And alongside overindulging in food for the body, us locals also tend to overindulge on junk food for the soul: gossip. If ever there was a truism about our beloved nation, it’s the fact that a rumour here can travel faster than an anxious sunbeam that is late for an appointment.

Of course, a major part of this gossip will centre around that most universal of human activities, sex — yes, the three-letter word that many feel requires four letters to properly express. It’s all around in everyday conversation, particularly in the nosy snooping of a relative — or worse, an unrelated auntie — who asks someone about when they are going to get married/have children/have more children to keep the existing one company. We regularly see protests about sexy singers each time a sweet young thing tries to do a concert here, as recently happened — more often than not by the same set of seemingly frustrated people. (more…)

Don’t push new health insurance before public feedback, Putrajaya told

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

Yesterday, Treasury Secretary-General Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah was reported as saying that the new scheme will be presented to Malaysians in Budget 2017. — File picThe government must obtain industry and stakeholder feedback before proceeding with a proposed national healthcare insurance to avoid the rejection that befell a previous plan, said a DAP MP.

The Serdang MP said that healthcare and finance are very complicated issues, which made it untenable for the government to make decisions on both matters without consulting those that would be affected by such policies.

“One still remembers the public backlash when the 1Care national healthcare insurance was proposed back in 2011 and the plan eventually had to be scrapped/postponed,” he said in a statement.

“The consequence of this top-down decision making process is that there will be a lot of misinformation and speculation as to the underlying motivation for introducing this healthcare insurance scheme when it is announced. This will make it all but impossible to have a rational and fact-based discussion and debate on this issue.” (more…)

AGC man slated to be new MACC head?

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

Abu Kassim is relinquishing the top post on August 1, but will continue as an officer until his retirement in December 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy MayDatuk Dzulkifli Ahmad, a senior official with the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), is set to be the new Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner, a move that is bound to raise concerns about the independence of the agency.

Malay Mail Online understands that the AGC has promoted the civil service position of Dzulkifli, who is head of the National Revenue Recovery Enforcement Team (NRRET) in the AGC, to the Jusa A Superscale in order to pave the way for his appointment as head of the anti-graft agency.

“If he’s not upgraded, he cannot jump,” a highly-placed source told Malay Mail Online today.

Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed, who had led the commission for six and a half years, is relinquishing the top post on August 1, but will continue as an officer until his retirement in December 2020. (more…)

Busting medical myths on social media

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

Diseases spread via many different channels. But who could have guessed that social media would contribute to medical problems by spreading myths.

In the 2011 movie Contagion, it wasn’t a virus that was spreading like wild fire. Rumours, lies and myths were circulated without control ON the social media.

In real life, this is happening too. One example is the recent cases of measles and diphtheria recurring in Malaysia due to the refusal of parents to vaccinate their newborns.

There are lies and myths on the social media that prevented lives from being saved. A group of doctors has set up a Facebook page called Medical Mythbusters Malaysia (M3) to counter misinformation circulated on the social media. (more…)

Ex-Malaysian Bar chief to represent Gani Patail after ouster plot accusation

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

Ragunath confirmed that he has been appointed as Abdul Gani's legal counsel. — Picture by Sayuti ZainudinAccused of conspiring to topple the federal government, retired Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail has appointed former Malaysian Bar president Ragunath Kesavan to be his legal counsel.

“Yes, I am representing Abdul Gani. I will take instructions to institute legal action,” Ragunathan confirmed to news portal Malaysiakini today.

According to the report, the lawyer did not elaborate on the kind of action that will be taken.

Abdul Gani was among three people accused by Umno Youth vice-chief Khairul Azwan Harun in his police report last Tuesday.

The other two are outgoing Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed and former Bank Negara Negara governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, who left her position last April. (more…)

Bar says defending PM on DOJ suits improper, wants AG to recuse himself

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

Attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali must recuse himself from exercising his powers as public prosecutor under Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution, as he has shown himself as not a neutral decision-maker, said Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru.

Thiru argued that Apandi’s defence of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak in relation to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) allegations was improper.

“The AG has placed himself in an obvious and untenable position of conflict of interest.

“He is disqualified – and must therefore recuse himself immediately – from exercising his prosecutorial powers as public prosecutor under Article 145(3). Should there be any recommendation for prosecution over these allegations, he will not be seen as a neutral decision–maker,” he added in a media statement. (more…)

If the cap fits, wear it, Dapsy tells Latheefa

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

dap_pkr_latheefa-koya_600DAP did not make any announcement about snap polls in Penang, rather some people concerned about such an election had leaked the news to the media, according to Dapsy National Political Education Director Chiong Yoke Kong.

“If the cap fits, wear it,” he told Latheefa Koya in a press statement issued today regarding a Facebook posting the PKR legal adviser made yesterday.

In the Facebook posting, which was seen as a response to DAP’s Tony Pua, Latheefa commented about the snap polls, reminding certain parties not to “strip first and then complain about being left naked”.

She suggested that DAP had announced the snap polls, the death of Pakatan Rakyat and the formation of Pakatan Harapan all before a final decision was made.

Chiong however,dismissed the statement saying that PAS was the one who ceased all political cooperation with DAP in their Muktamar on June 6 last year.

“DAP was forced to say that there was no longer a Pakatan Rakyat. This is different from the one-sided dissolution of the coalition.”

On the formation of Pakatan Harapan, Chiong said that the new coalition couldn’t have possibly been formed nor could it have been announced without PKR’s participation.

“In fact, Pakatan Harapan was officially launched by PKR President Dr Wan Azizah and Amanah President Mohamad Sabu on January 9. Doesn’t Latheefa Koya understand this simple logic?”

Chiong said that Latheefa’s justification of PKR’s fears to face state elections by stating that DAP’s reasons for having the elections keeps changing and is inconsistent, was unfair as the truth was that PKR was the one who was inconsistent.

“Unlike PKR, who kept changing their minds regarding the Selangor Menteri Besar issue, DAP had never changed their minds and are in fact determined to combine all the existing issues to face the Penang state elections.

“There is no conflict in raising the issue of the referendum on Najib (Prime Minister) as well as gaining the people’s mandate, just as PKR tried to get the Permatang Pauh people’s mandate to get the people’s support for PKR’s President.”

Chiong pointed out that DAP has fully supported PKR in several political issues raised by PKR including the crisis involving former Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim.

“From Wan Azizah to Azmin Ali, DAP remains a consistent and loyal comrade who has never turned its back on PKR’s leaders unlike its other back-stabbing ally.

“Although PKR are taking a long time to decide on the Penang state elections, unlike their swift decision on the Kajang Move, DAP continues to respect PKR’s decision to delay coming to a decision, which can also be construed as giving breathing space to Najib’s regime.”


FMT Reporters


Zaid: Political parties can be race-based, not racist

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

zaid ibrahimA political party in this country can be based on one ethnic group so long as it’s not racist, narrow-minded and extreme in its actions, said former de facto Law Minister Zaid Ibrahim in his latest blog posting.

“What we need is a Malay-based party that’s inclusive and progressive, and that has all the attributes of a party of the future.”

“It must be positive in its outlook and eschew hatred and bigotry.”

He called for parties that care about the people, and that work to unite, not divide the nation.

Zaid was expressing happiness that inside sources had confirmed that Muhyiddin Yassin will head a new party.

“I was expecting Muhyiddin to hold a big celebration on Wednesday, the one-year anniversary of his dismissal from the evil government. “ (more…)

Penang snap polls could cost us all, says Nurul Izzah

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

PKR vice president Nurul Izzah Anwar says an early election in Penang would be dangerous to the opposition. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa An early election in Penang would be dangerous to the opposition that cannot guarantee straight fights against Barisan Nasional, PKR vice president Nurul Izzah Anwar said

Elaborating on her party’s rationale for resisting DAP’s push for the early state election, the Lembah Pantai MP said neither party was assured of retaining the seats they currently hold in the Penang assembly.

“We all face that risk. With the possibility of three-cornered fights, theoretically speaking, no one wins but Umno,” she was quoted as saying by news portalMalaysiakini.

PKR and DAP leaders have become increasingly antagonistic over their parties’ difference on the snap poll.

Yesterday, PKR’s Latheefa Koya took veiled swipes at DAP and accused it of acting unilaterally on multiple occasions, after DAP publicity chief Tony Pua questioned the sincerity of PKR’s friendship over its refusal to support the state election. (more…)

AG should be independent and impartial in exercising powers, says Malaysian Bar

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

Steven said that the AG would be overstepping and confusing his constitutional duties if he defends a public official. — Picture by Siow Saw FengAttorney General Tan Sri Apandi Ali should exercise his prosecutorial powers “fairly, independently and impartially”, and not place himself in a position of conflict of interest, Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru said today.

In a statement, Steven said it is not the role of the Attorney General to speak for or defend any public official “in respect of any allegation of misconduct or criminal wrongdoing committed in the public official’s private or personal capacity.”

Steven said that the AG would be overstepping and confusing his constitutional duties if he defends a public official.

“He is disqualified — and must therefore recuse himself immediately — from exercising his prosecutorial powers as Public Prosecutor under Article 145(3) should there be any further recommendation for prosecution over these allegations, because he would not be seen as a neutral decision–maker,” he added. (more…)

Umno rebel presents DoJ report to party’s disciplinary board

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

rushdanAn Umno rebel presented the US Department of Justice (DoJ) report on individuals who allegedly misappropriated billions from 1MDB when he was questioned by the ruling party’s disciplinary board this afternoon.

“It was a parting gift to the board,” Coalition of Branch Chiefs Malaysia (GKCM) Vice-President Rushdan Mohamed told FMT after the meeting held at the Putra World Trade Centre here.

GKCM is aligned to the pro-Dr Mahathir Mohamed faction.

Rushdan alleged that the board admitted it should be ashamed of the allegation, but kept mum afterwards.

He was called in today for setting Umno’s constitution booklet on fire last month in protest against the expulsion of former deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin and former Kedah Menteri Besar Mukhriz Mahathir from the party. (more…)

Decoding DOJ’s filing – has it solved the 1MDB enigma?

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

KiniGuide The US Department of Justice’s (DOJ) civil forefeiture suits last week have exposed 1MDB’s questioning dealings over the past few years.

After scrutinising the 136-page document, Malaysiakini will try to trace the ‘vanished’ funds 1MDB’s critics have brought up, and compare it with official narratives.

How much money has ‘disappeared’?

The opposition members sitting in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said US$7 billion (RM28 billion) of 1MDB cash and liquid assets could not be verified by the auditor-general and had “disappeared without a trace”.

The US$7 billion can be broken down to four money trails, namely: (more…)

1MDB Officer 3 has been identified

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

jasmin-loo_1mdb_600One of those described in the civil forfeiture suit of the US Department of Justice has been identified as Jasmine Loo, a former chief counsel for 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

She was also 1MDB’s liaison to Goldman Sachs Group Inc, the global bank that helped it raise USD6 billion, according to a report by Bloomberg.

Quoting from documents filed by the DoJ, the report said after one of the big sales led by Goldman Sachs, USD5 million of the cash raised for 1MDB travelled through shell companies and allegedly ended up in her Swiss bank account.

“The US Government refers to the official only as ‘1MDB Officer 3.’ According to people familiar with the matter, she is Jasmine Loo Ai Swan – a Malaysian who studied law in the UK and worked for a Malaysian developer and an oil firm before joining 1MDB,” according to the Bloomberg report. (more…)

Snap elections – winning the battle, losing the war

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

Emboldened by pieces by Hazlan Zakaria and P Gunasegaram, I thought to take a look at some of the pros and cons of snap elections in Penang.

Let’s jump straight into what is likely the most important question: how would snap elections impact the political landscape nationally?

To formulate a comprehensive answer, let’s briefly recap where we stand.

It’s true that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has survived a truly impressive array of scandals over the years.

That said, the latest investigation by the US Department of Justice and the ensuing international embarrassment is likely to prove one of the bigger challenges he’s faced. (more…)

DoJ action: One group of investors may be relieved

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

For one group of investors, at least, the US Department of Justice’s civil forfeiture suit promises a solution to their problem.

The businessmen who bought the Park Lane Hotel for USD654 million, according to a report in The Australian, have found the investment to be a big headache.

These include big names such as developer Harry Macklowe, Howard Lorber, chairman of brokerage Douglas Elliman, and Highgate Holdings, a Dallas hotel investment company.

The Australian report said when the group purchased the Park Lane Hotel from the estate of Leona Helmsley, it was studying the possibility of converting the property into ultra-luxury condominiums, among other things. (more…)

July 27, 2016

Sarawak latest to be hit by passport shortage

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 PM

People waiting to renew their passports were forced to wait outside the Immigration Department office at Plaza Glomac. Many immigration department branches nationwide face a shortage of passports, forcing them to turn away applicants. — Picture from Facebook user Sheena PrasannanThose intending to renew or apply for travel documents continue to face problems due to a shortage of passports.

Sarawak is the latest state hit with many in Kuching and Miri facing this predicament since last week.

A high ranking official familiar with the issue said close to 20,000 passports were delivered to the Immigration Department in Putrajaya several weeks ago but a large number had defects.

The department issues an average of 220,000 passports a month.

“There is a shortage of supply in several states, including Sabah and Sarawak. This is the second time the department is facing a major shortage of passports in the past few months as the suppliers are unable to cope with the demand.”

The passport shortage fiasco was first exposed by Malay Mail on June 16. (more…)

Four songs for ‘Malaysian Official 1’

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 PM

While we await more exposés by the United States’ Department of Justice (DOJ), let us speculate on the four songs that the “Malaysian Official 1” might wish, to hear. They might be, Leaving on a Jet Plane by John Denver. Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me to the Moon. Maybe Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run. Perhaps, These Boots were Made for Walking by Nancy Sinatra.

The rakyat suffered. The money could have been used to improve the lives of Malaysians, but it was redirected to purportedly benefit the individuals named in the American lawsuit. The Americans refused to condone a corrupt regime, because it builds mistrust. Moreover, they would not allow America to be used as a money-laundering haven for corrupt dictators.

Back home, a wall of silence, and an impenetrable fog of denial, was being built in Putrajaya. How could the people in Putrajaya, the Cabinet, the high-ranking officials say, and do nothing?

First up was the Communications and Multimedia Minister, Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak, who urged Malaysians not to believe the American allegations about 1MDB. “No one should rush to judgment before allegations are proven in court,” he said. (sic) (more…)

US DOJ says “YES” but 1MDB says “NO”. Why?

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 PM

The USA’s Department of Justice (DOJ) had alleged that billions were stolen from 1MDB and initiated asset seizures to recover this but 1MDB insist that it had not lost any money and that all its assets are accounted for.

Essentially, the DOJ says someone stole your money and I will get some of it back for you while 1MDB is saying “No. That one is not my money”.

Why is this peculiar situation happening?

Let’s follow the money trail – particular the 3 sources of funds that the DOJ explicitly said the alleged stolen money came from.

Alleged source of funds 1: Good Star, as part of the PetroSaudi-1MDB Joint Venture.
What did 1MDB pay: (more…)

What is the US action about?

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 PM

Many questions are being asked about the latest bombshell announced by the US attorney general and the FBI. They have initiated action to seize the assets acquired by using money stolen from the people of Malaysia, in particular the 1MDB Fund.

The AG has filed a “civil suit” for this purpose. And named five individuals – two Malaysians and three foreigners. Others – code-named – have also been indirectly implicated.

What is this suit about? Why civil and not criminal? What gives the US the right to bring this action? And can they haul up people who are not US citizens or living in the US?

As a result of worldwide clamour, the US launched a 2010 initiative to recover the proceeds of corruption (and money laundering) that are either held in the United States or moved through the United States. It is known as the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative. (“Kleptocracy” is a Greek word meaning “The rule of thieves”). The assets to be recovered could be money in banks or property bought with the stolen money. (more…)

Transport minister says unaware of MH370 ‘murder suicide’ claims

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

Liow stressed that the government has 'no evidence' on the matter. — Picture by Saw Siow FengThe government is not aware of claims that Flight MH370 pilot Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah had run a simulation of the southern Indian Ocean air route one week before the jet disappeared, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said today.

The Malaysia Airlines flight had 239 people on board when it mysteriously disappeared on March 8, 2014. Investigators have been searching the southern section of the Indian Ocean, believing the jumbo jet ended up there.

“We are not aware and that is not evidence proving him flying that route,” Liow told reporters after attending the signing ceremony between Malaysia Airlines and Boeing over the purchase of 50 new aircrafts.

Suggestions that Zaharie may have deliberately steered the plane to the Southern Indian Ocean in a “murder suicide” resurfaced recently after New York magazine quoted a confidential Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI) report noting the flight simulation path on Zaharie’s personal flight simulator being of interest.

“Criminal investigation is still ongoing. So we leave it to the investigation team,” he said.

He also stressed that the government has “no evidence” on the matter.

Search operations are still ongoing more than two years after the flight, which was en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, disappeared on March 8, 2014.


RAM ANAND


 

Kit Siang says AG has failed to rebut DoJ claims

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

lim-kit-siangAttorney-General Mohamad Apandi Ali should explain why a Q&A piece on the US Department of Justice’s (DoJ) claims over the 1MDB saga was taken down.

DAP Parliamentary Leader and MP for Gelang Patah Lim Kit Siang said the Q&A by the Attorney-General’s Chambers was uploaded onto the AGC website on Monday but had since been taken down.

The DoJ has filed a civil forfeiture suit to seize over US$1 billion in assets in the United States which had allegedly been purchased using money misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

In a statement today, Lim asked: “Is this because the 17-point Q&A acknowledged that “Malaysian Official 1” mentioned 34 times in the 136-page 513-paragraph DoJ legal suit is the Prime Minister, Najib Razak although Najib was not named in the suits?” (more…)

Johor sultan: Royal family maintains strict neutrality on national politics

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

The Johor royal family maintains a position of ‘strict neutrality’ on all matters related to national-level politics, said Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar said in a Facebook post today.

He also condemned the increasing number of false statements purportedly issued by various members of the Johor royal family being circulated on social media lately.

He focused on a posting titled ‘Terkini ringgit jatuh RM4.4’ (Ringgit now falls to RM4.4).

“I wish to make it absolutely clear that no such statement was ever issued by me or my office and I regard this action as defamatory and reprehensible,” he said.

He also cited another posting by a young woman from Batu Pahat, who he claimed had circulated a rumour on social media about his wife, Johor Sultanah Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris. (more…)

Don’t expect cheaper homes despite downtrend, property experts say

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

Property experts say residential property prices would continue climbing as data showed a 5.1 per cent year-on-year rise in transactions for the second quarter of this year. — Reuters picThe prolonged slowdown in the residential housing sector is unlikely to lower prices as demand remains high, property experts said today.

Instead, they said residential property prices would continue climbing as data showed a 5.1 per cent year-on-year rise in transactions for the second quarter of this year.

“We are still seeing increases in house prices at around five to six per cent.

“It is still increasing although at a lower rate,” Datuk Faizan Abdul Rahman, director-general of the Valuation and Property Services, a department under the Finance Ministry, told reporters after speaking at the Malaysian Property Summit here.

“You don’t usually see reversal in prices in the residential market because Malaysia has a vast number of owners… almost all Malaysians own homes,” Elvin Fernandez, organising chairman of PEPS, a group representing property firms, told the same press conference. (more…)

Suasa’s unlicensed flight – bribery?

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

The incident of Suasa Airline flying without Air Service Permit (ASP) from KLIA to Langkawi is totally shocking and worrying; how possibly can the Transport Ministry, Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) and the airport management be so imprudent that an unlicensed aircraft was allowed to enter an airport and fly to another place?

This incident is extremely serious. We wonder what has happened to our country? An airline can fly its aircraft without permit, and while the US government has filed a court case against misappropriation of our government-founded company’s assets, our authorities seem unperturbed – is Malaysia currently in the state of anarchy?

CEO of Malaysia Airlines Christoph Müller has said that some staff members of the company were sleeping during office hours, did the same thing happen in Transport Ministry, DCA and Malaysia Airports Holdings (MAHB)?

When an airline has flown its aircraft without permit, it showed that territorial air space of our country was compromised, and there was a huge loophole in our airport security. One must understand that the security of the airport and the country is not merely apprehending drug runners and terrorists, as it also includes aviation safety and smooth operation of the flights, etc. (more…)

BR1M to boost earnings of lower-income group

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

Mohd-Irwan-Serigar-Abdullah_br1m_600The 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) will be improved in future to help the lower-income group increase its income.

Treasury Secretary-General Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah said discussions were being held on how to improve the programme, such as having a mandatory training session for them.

“Thus, after the training, they will be able to earn a higher income and come out of the group of BR1M recipients,” he said when opening the 11th Malaysian National Economic Conference here today.

Mohd Irwan Serigar said the implementation of a health insurance scheme for Malaysians would also be presented in the 2017 Budget.

“This scheme will be able to directly reduce the burden on the government, because we spend more than RM20 billion just on medicines.”

He said the scheme was currently being discussed and finalised with the Health Ministry and would be implemented as soon as possible.

“We have presented it to the National Economic Council and other related entities to set up and manage the health insurance so that the low-income group can receive better health services.”


Bernama


Delusions of checking on 1MDB on US soil

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

Umno Youth Chief and Minister for Youth and Sports Khairy Jamaluddin must stop deluding himself that the Americans will allow Malaysian authorities to lead investigations on alleged misappropriation of funds by 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) on US soil.

While it can be agreed that the suspects that are involved in the scandal are ‘innocent until proven guilty’, Khairy’s ‘wish’ could just be too far-fetched, says PKR Trade and Investment Bureau Chief Wong Chen.

The youth chief had earlier said in a news report that any criminal investigation into the findings of the civil suits filed by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) should be led by Malaysian authorities and that it would be preferable that should there be any instance of criminal fraud, those investigating be led by Malaysian enforcement agencies.

Khairy added that the findings of the DOJ have to be proven in a court of law. (more…)

‘NSC Act will give Najib arbitrary powers, bypass safeguards’

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

Civil liberties advocates Lawyers for Liberty warned that the National Security Council Act (NSC) 2016 is nothing more than a redressing of the now repealed Internal Security Act (ISA) that will grant Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak arbitrary powers, and even bypass safeguards that existed in the old law.

The group pointed out that powers once embodied in the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to declare “security areas” under the ISA were now shifted to Prime Minister Naib Abdul Razak, removing royal oversight, once the act comes into force on Aug 1.

“He has also substantially broadened the scope of the special provisions relating to ‘security areas’ to cover instances that do not justify the involvement of the military or use of deadly force,” LFL executive director Eric Paulsen said in a statement.

He said that the requirements to declare a “security area” under the ISA were much higher requiring public security to be threatened by a substantial body of persons causing a substantial body of citizens to fear organised violence. (more…)

Apandi says baffled by attacks, insists performing dutifully

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali said he has publicly explained major decisions made by the Attorney-General’s Chambers, and that all such decisions are taken in accordance to the law. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali has questioned the criticism directed at him since becoming Attorney-General, saying he has executed the duties of his office openly and faithfully.

He said he has publicly explained major decisions made by the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), and that all such decisions are taken in accordance to the law.

“Despite that, in this high-tech world with all forms of media, I am perplexed why there are some who can criticise me by saying that Malaysia supposedly doesn’t have an AG because the AG doesn’t speak up and such.

“Everything I do is according to the laws of this country. But still, there are people who want to table a vote of no confidence against me in the Dewan Rakyat, urge that I resign and even drag me to court,” he said in an opinion piece published by local Malay daily Berita Harian. (more…)

Hold emergency assembly sitting to discuss snap polls

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

penang_pakatan-harapan_600Pulau Betong assemblyman Mohd Farid Saad has questioned the silence of fellow Pakatan Harapan assemblymen on the likelihood of snap polls being conducted in Penang.

Farid said the issue revolved not only around DAP members and its assemblymen, but also other assemblymen, including those from Barisan Nasional (BN).

“DAP seems to be the only party that is engrossed in the idea of a snap election, while PKR is not convinced of the idea. I urge Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to hold an emergency state assembly sitting to discuss the matter to see if the majority agree with snap polls,” he said.

Farid also said if DAP was keen to conduct a snap poll, all of its 19 assemblymen must resign. (more…)

Did Tony Pua just take a swipe at PKR?

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

puaAmid the impasse between two parties in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition on holding snap polls in Penang, Tony Pua of DAP seems to have taken a swipe at PKR.

In a posting on his personal Facebook page today, the Petaling Jaya Utara MP said: “Sometimes you wonder what type of friends you have. When they are in a crisis, you back them to the hilt, come what may.

“Then, at a time where we would appreciate their support, they leak everything to the media first, leaving you completely naked. Or announce to the whole world their decision before they bother talking to us. With friends like this….”

Although Pua did not mention names, he is thought to be alluding to DAP’s ally PKR in PH, which announced yesterday that they are still not convinced of any valid reason to conduct snap elections in Penang. (more…)

Treasury sec-gen says looking to improve BR1M programme

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

Mohd Irwan said the implementation of a health insurance scheme for Malaysians would be presented in Budget 2017. ― File picThe 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) will be improved in the future to help the lower income group increase their income.

Treasury Secretary-General Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah said discussions were being held on how to improve the programme, such as having a mandatory training session for them.

“Thus after the training, they would be able to earn a higher income and come out of the group of BR1M recipients,” he said when opening the 11th Malaysian National Economic Conference, here today.

Mohd Irwan Serigar said the implementation of a health insurance scheme for Malaysians would also be presented in Budget 2017.

“This scheme will be able to directly reduce the burden on the government, because we spend more than RM20 billion just on medicines,” he said.

He said the scheme was currently being discussed and finalised with the Ministry of Health, and would be implemented as soon as possible.

“We have presented it to the National Economic Council and other related entities to set up and manage the health insurance so that the low-income group can receive better health services,” he said.


Bernama


 

Too sexy for my shop

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

Two recent incidents in the country tell us how much emphasis we are placing on outward appearance instead of inward morality.

American pop star Selena Gomez clad herself a pair of black slacks and a long-sleeved black top to “show respect for Malaysia’s culture and religion”. The reality is that she is placating certain groups that feared our eastern values would be corrupted.

There were calls for special prayers to invoke divine intervention for Gomez’s concert to be cancelled. Now if only there were as much efforts to combat corruption in the country.

Then, a watch retailer was summoned by the Kota Bharu Municipal Council (MPKB) over two “sexy” posters, including one of actress Aishwarya Rai — an “offence” he has supposedly committed more than 10 times since the 1990s. (more…)

Malaysians standing with Zeti, Gani, Abu Kassim, says PKR

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

Malaysians stand with Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Abu Kassim and Abdul Gani Patail to defend the institutions they are linked to, said PKR vice-president Shamsul Iskandar Mat Akin.

Zeti is the former Bank Negara governor, Abu Kassim the outgoing MACC chief, and Gani the former attorney-general.

“I want to firmly state that Malaysians are with Zeti and the others in defending Bank Negara and MACC,” said Shamsul, after sending amemorandum to the AG’s Chambers in Putrajaya this morning.

Umno Youth lodged a police report yesterday, alleging that the three were involved in a conspiracy to topple Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and the Malaysian government.

Shamsul said Umno Youth’s move was insolent and an attempt to hide the true criminal behind the 1MDB scandal.

He said Malaysians knew the identity of the person referred to as ‘Malaysian Official 1’ in the US Department of Justice’s (DOJ) court filing to seize 1MDB-linked assets.

The Bukit Katil MP urged Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to come forward on the matter, to prevent the country from becoming a laughing stock.

The DOJ alleged in its filings last week that US$731 million which originated from 1MDB went into the account of ‘Malaysian Official 1’.

The transactions matched those made to Najib’s accounts as revealed by the AG when he cleared Najib in January.


Malaysiakini


A society threatened by counterviews

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

Video producer and rapper Namewee came under heavy criticism over his latest music video, entitled Oh My God, from various quarters. The music video was seen as an attack on all religions and didn’t go down those who won’t accept any perceived challenge to conventional thinking when it comes to religion.

There are those who understood the message that the 33-year-old music artist, whose birth name is Wee Meng Chee, tried to convey. Their number pales in comparison with those who saw it as a crude attack that belittled the faith of others.

Society expects us to show prudence when it comes to talking about religion. It is an untouchable domain where many staunch believers brook no criticism. It is akin to stirring the proverbial hornet’s nest.

Perkasa information chief Hassan Basri Muhammmad says the big-headed Namewee has been emboldened by the tolerance the authorities have shown for his antics. He is one of the many who could see beyond the portrayal of religious figures in a negative light. (more…)

‘A message from Malaysian Official 1′

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

My dear fellow Malaysians,

Recently there has been much talk on the civil lawsuit filed by the US Department of Justice and its implications on Malaysia. There is so much speculation flying around on the parties involved and named in the suit. I think it is high time and only proper that I come out and make a statement.

The Malaysian Official 1 named in the civil suit is not the prime minister of Malaysia. It is me. Who am I? That’s irrelevant. The point is it is not the prime minister of Malaysia.

Please realise that there is a coup attempt by certain parties to overthrow the ruling government of Malaysia. Certain parties are reporting money-laundering transactions that took place in the United States of America to the authorities in the United States of America. Those people must be stopped. They are disrupting Malaysia’s parliamentary democracy. (more…)

Don’t strip, and complain about being naked, PKR leader hits back

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

In an obvious retort to Selangor DAP chief Tony Pua, PKR’s Latheefa Koya said her party cannot be expected to ask “how high” when its coalition partner demanded it to jump.

As for leaks to the media with regard to the snap polls in Penang, she questioned who was the first to make it public.

“Or wait… Who also unilaterally announced the death of Pakatan Rakyat?

“Or wait… Who also announced the formation of Pakatan Harapan – all to the press before the final decision?”

“Don’t strip first and then complain about being left naked,” she said in a Facebook post.

Earlier, Pua complained on Facebook about those who left their friends naked, but refused to state if he was referring to PKR and its stand on holding the snap polls. (more…)

Stars on a dark night

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

C_PC0014959These days there are so many “don’ts” and “can’ts” – things that can’t be written; names that can’t be named; words that can’t be spoken. We are also fast approaching the situation where thoughts can’t be thought. It is difficult for a pusillanimous scribe like me. (Okay, I am being pompous, in plain language it means cowardly writer). As a columnist I am obliged to foist my two-sen worth of something on the readership. So how? Well, this week I am reduced to retelling an old story and perhaps giving it a contemporary bend.

The story ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ by Hans Christian Andersen (1805 to 1875) tells of the vain emperor who was conned by a couple of swindlers into believing that they could weave him new clothes, which were made from the finest material imaginable. On top of that this new robe would have the amazing property that it was to be invisible to anyone who was incompetent or stupid. So cometh that day, the emperor stood naked in the city square, stripped of all his dignity. The applause from the sycophants and his chosen acolytes was thunderous.

Meanwhile two little boys in their innocence spoke the truth. “Hey,” they shouted, “the emperor has no clothes. The emperor is naked.”  Whereupon the emperor turned his baleful eyes on them and like the evil Queen in ‘Alice In Wonderland’ and shouted “Off with their heads!” The little boys were not spared and anyone who stood up for them were given similar treatment. So, the people trembled in fear. They were transformed into the three monkeys. You know, the ones who see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. (more…)

Don’t let ‘negative voices’ linked with 1MDB affect country’s strength, treasury sec-gen urges

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

Mohd Irwan said although there were ‘negative noises’ about 1MDB, the reception to the issue of the new government sukuk indicated there was still faith in the Malaysian economy. ― File picThe ‘negative noises’ associated with the problems of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) should not be allowed to affect the country’s current strength and investments.

Secretary-General of the Finance Ministry, Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, said the positive aspects on the country and the strong sectors should be highlighted to the foreigners.

“We do not want the country we built to collapse due to the issues we faced, including the ‘negative noises’, because the foreigners who want to trade with us will certainly consider them.

“So, because of it, we have to highlight the country’s positive aspects and the good things,” he said. (more…)

Felda has enabled social mobility, says Najib

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

Felda has enabled social mobility among the rural population, Prime Minister Najib Razak said today.

“This social mobility is the reason that there are now around 50,000 children of Felda settlers living in the Klang Valley. Perhaps there are even more,” said Najib.

The Prime Minister was speaking at an event with the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) community here.

He said the purpose of Felda was not just to improve rural income and eradicate poverty, but also to enable social mobility among the rural poor.

He called on Felda to use all its resources to achieve its goal of becoming an economic and political powerhouse.

Najib said by fully utilising its assets, especially its human capital, Felda would succeed in opening up greater opportunities for the second and third generation of settlers.

“We hope that the main objective of forming Felda, which is to make it an economic and political powerhouse, is achieved.

“Our success requires the networking of all those who work together with us, which we categorise as the Felda community.

“I’m sure many more will benefit from the network and joint cooperation,” he said.


Nawar Firdaws


High court dismisses Dr M and two others’ bid to cross-examine Najib

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pic) sued Datuk Seri Najib Razak over alleged misconduct on the part of the prime minister involving strategic development fund 1MDB. — Picture by Yusof Mat IsaThe High Court today dismissed former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and two others’ application to cross-examine Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak over his supporting affidavit in a suit relating to misconduct of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Judge Abu Bakar Jais in his judgment said there was no need to cross-examine Najib at this stage as the issue (over public officer) should be decided after

Najib’s application to strike out the suit filed by Dr Mahathir and two others, is heard.

“There is no hindrance for the plaintiff (Mahathir) to bring this issue when the same is argued.

“The cross-examination of the defendant (Najib) is unnecessary as the assertions that had been made by the defendant is clear from his affidavit,” he said in his judgment delivered in chambers. (more…)

July 26, 2016

RM30b added to rail project to pay off 1MDB debts, alleges Sarawak Report

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 PM

Whistleblower website Sarawak Report has accused Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s administration of colluding with main contractor China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) to hike up the cost of the double-track East Coast Rail Project (ECRP) from RM30 billion to RM60 billion to secretly pay off 1MDB debts.

“The PM’s ‘cunning plan’ is to get the government to agree to inflate the actual cost of the East Coast Rail Project from only RM30 billion to RM60 billion, all to be borrowed from the Chinese government, in order to disguise the payment of 1MDB’s (and financier Jho Low’s) company debts,” said the website in an e-mail communique.

Citing a whistleblower who allegedly provided copies of internal CCCC documents which detailed the supposed plan, Sarawak Report claimed that the government is set to approve the award of the contract to the firm, but with “a differential” of RM30 billion on top of the initial estimate.

The extra RM30 billion would be allegedly used to pay off 1MDB debts after the proposed project is to be approved at an inflated RM60 billion by the cabinet tomorrow. (more…)

Hell, Heaven, Priest, Politician

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 PM

[R]eligion has an “autoimmune disease”, a critical flaw … that leads to its misuse…. The disease’s two main symptoms are “God intoxication”… and “God manipulation”.

From ‘Religion’, Brook Wilensky-Lansford’s review of “Putting God Second: How to Save Religion from Itself”, The New York Time Book Review.

Malaysians watching with bewilderment and dismay as politicians and evangelists expound the superiority of their religion and promise milk, honey and paradise for their followers, and the fires of hell for those who do not belong, shouldn’t be surprised.

The antics of these fire and brimstone practitioners follow a well trodden pattern going back hundreds, if not thousands of years.

Any basic course on religion run not by graduates from religious institutions but by reputable scholars would teach about the history of the estimated 6,000 religions of the world, the differences, commonalities and patterns, and associations with cultural and ecological features, especially political. (more…)

‘Grand larceny in 1MDB’

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 PM

The might of the most powerful nation in the world has been brought to bear to investigate, uncover and institute legal proceedings to forfeit assets purchased through money stolen from proceeds of bonds sales by 1MDB.

The combined efforts of three US agencies, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), with the assistance of law enforcement agencies in other countries, have produced the most complete, holistic picture of the great fraud perpetrated by Jho Low and his co-conspirators to defraud the people of Malaysia of billions of ringgit ultimately belonging to them.

The 136-page, 513-paragraph ‘Verified Complaint for Forfeiture in Rem’ is a tour de force. The people of Malaysia, suffering under a state of powerlessness and helplessness, owe an immeasurable debt to the sterling work carried out by truly independent institutions in the United States.

As a long-time critic of US domestic and foreign policies, I pay tribute to their selfless work in exposing the greatest robbery in modern times; what is the Great Train Robbery of the 1960s compared to 1MDB! (more…)

How to steal billions

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 PM

From 2009 to at least 2013, private individuals were allegedly able to siphon off more than US$3.5 billion from the wealth fund of Malaysia and go on a high-end luxury shopping spree in several countries including the United States, the United Kingdom and Switzerland for property, museum-quality art and a private jet.

Gatekeepers such as auction houses, the real estate industry, lawyers and banks played supporting roles (sometimes unwittingly) in the alleged wrongdoing.

The perpetrators used shell companies, where the real names of the ultimate owners were obscured. Ironically, in a plot twist made in Hollywood, they even financed a film, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, about living high off financial fraud.

To ensure this lurid tale isn’t solely remembered for its audacity and scale, we need to take active steps to close the obvious loopholes in the US legal framework and compliance practices, and shore up the international financial system that has allowed this brazen money laundering to happen. (more…)

Maria Chin: No Bersih 5 rally yet

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 PM

Maria Chin Abdullah says Bersih 2.0 has yet to decide if it will organise a Bersih 5 rally. ― Picture by Yusof Mat IsaBersih 2.0 has yet to decide if it will organise a Bersih 5 rally, Maria Chin Abdullah said today.

The head of the electoral reform group said discussions were still ongoing, after Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said yesterday that it can proceed with a street demonstration as long as it follows the law and does not call for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s resignation.

“There’s no Bersih 5 yet. We haven’t called a rally. We’re still discussing,” Chin toldMalay Mail Online.

Sungai Besar Umno leader Datuk Jamal Yunos has said that another Red Shirt rally will be held if the Bersih 5 demonstration goes on.

Chin said last Friday that the fifth installment of Bersih 2.0’s street protests may be organised after the US Department of Justice filed a lawsuit seeking to recover more than US$1 billion (RM4.06 billion) in assets bought with money allegedly embezzled from state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The overnight Bersih 4 protest held last August saw tens of thousands of protesters flooding the streets in the capital city.


BOO SU-LYN


1MDB suit: PM Najib and Harakahdaily still negotiating over possible settlement

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

Datuk Seri Najib Razak (pictured) and Harakahdaily are still negotiating on possible settlement of the defamation suit he had filed against the PAS mouthpiece over 1Malaysia Development Berhad. — File picNajib Razak and Harakahdaily are still negotiating on possible settlement of the defamation suit filed by the former against the PAS mouthpiece over 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

The Prime Minister’s lawyer Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun told reporters today that both parties needed time to finalise the terms of the settlement.

He said Court of Appeal President Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif had set Sept 26 for case management for the two sides to update the court on the matter.

Meanwhile, Lawyer Wan Rohimi Wan Daud who represented Harakahdaily told reporters that his client was open to more discussion for possible settlement. (more…)

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