Hornbill Unleashed

July 29, 2016

Report: Wife claims Justo was tricked to confess

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

The wife of former PetroSaudi International employee Xavier Andre Justo has been reported claiming she believes he had been tricked into confessing his crimes by his former colleagues, in an attempt to protect themselves and their associates.

In a lengthy exposé by UK’s The Guardian, Laura Justo reportedly said that after her husband was arrested for allegedly attempting to blackmail his former employer in Bangkok June last year, he was visited by his former colleague Patrick Mahony, a director who handled PetroSaudi’s business affairs.

“Laura says that Mahony offered Justo a deal: confess and plead guilty, and PetroSaudi will get you out of here by the end of the year.

“Justo reluctantly agreed. He signed a confession – without a lawyer present – which claimed that he had attempted to blackmail his former employers, and apologised to Mahony and (PetroSaudi chief executive officer Tarek) Obaid ‘for the harm stress and anxiety I caused them’. (more…)

Adenan: BN risks losing in GE if autonomy promises not met

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

Adenan-SatemSarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem has said the Barisan Nasional has to show “results” in the discussions over the devolution of Federal power to the state, or risk an Opposition victory in the 14th General Election.

Adenan, who is state BN chief, said discussions were in the second phase, a legal negotiation led by a committee under Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri.

The Sarawak BN has promised Sarawakians that it would, among other things, raise the state’s share of oil revenue from the current 5 per cent to 20 per cent.

“We are not happy. I can tell you we are not happy, with the present arrangement,” Adenan told party members during a Hari Raya Puasa appreciation dinner in Kuching on Thursday night. (more…)

1MDB: The inside story of the world’s biggest financial scandal

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

On 22 June 2015, Xavier Justo, a 48-year-old retired Swiss banker, walked towards the front door of his brand new boutique hotel on Koh Samui, a tropical Thai island. He had spent the past three years building the luxurious white-stone complex of chalets and apartments overlooking the shimmering sea and was almost ready to open for business. All he needed was a licence.

Justo had arrived in Thailand four years earlier, having fled the drab world of finance in London. In 2011, he and his girlfriend Laura toured the country on a motorbike and, two years later, they got married on a secluded beach. The couple eventually settled down in Koh Samui, a tourist hotspot, just an hour’s flight south of Bangkok. After trying out a couple of entrepreneurial ventures, Justo eventually decided that he would go into the hotel business. He bought a plot with an imposing house and began building: adding a gym, villas and a tennis court.

The Guardian view on Malaysian politics: a scandal meriting the world’s attention

Investigations into the 1MDB development fund and a new security law are both cause for concern (more…)

Education Dept to repair termite-infested SK Sayed Othman in Miri

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

The Education Department will repair the termite-infested 54-year old wooden school block where a seven-year-old pupil yesterday sustained minor injuries after stepping on a run-down floorboard.

District Education officer Hassan Hasbollah said officials from the Education Department in Kuching would come tomorrow to inspect and assess the cost of repairing the block housing the Year One, Two and Three classrooms.

“We hope the repair can be done within this year,” he told reporters after visiting the school, SK Sayed Othman. with Piasau assemblyperson Sebastian Ting Chiew Yew in Miri today.

Hassan said SK Sayed Othman was one of the schools in the list submitted to the department early this year for urgent repair.

For long-term measure, he said, SK Sayed Othman had been picked as among the primary schools to be redeveloped under the 11th Malaysia Plan. (more…)

Chartered accountant Rafizi offers free service to audit 1MDB

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

PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli has volunteered to join the new audit team to be appointed to number crunch the allegation-riddled 1MDB.

The Pandan lawmaker said he is a chartered accountant registered with the Institute of Chartered Accounts England and Wales (ICAEW) and the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA).

“I am also prepared to volunteer my service for free,” he added in a media statement.

If 1MDB’s board of directors is convinced there were no wrongdoings, Rafizi said, the easiest and most cost-effective way to convince the people is to appoint him to the new audit team.

“I will officially write to 1MDB board of directors chairperson Irwan Siregar regarding this,” he added. (more…)

MP questions billions in contracts ‘quietly’ awarded by Immigration

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

DAP lawmaker Steven Sim has raised concerns over major new contracts being given out discreetly by the Immigration Department, which is helmed by Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

“From last year onwards, it looks as if massive new contracts were given out to a few closely-linked government contractors.

“These contracts totalled up to billions, and are mostly given without open tender despite the crisis facing our Immigration Department.

“Information about these contracts is not available in the public domain.

“Ahmad Zahid had declared at least one of the deals as an ‘official secret’ which cannot be given even to members of parliament who enquired in the Dewan Rakyat,” said Sim, who is the Bukit Mertajam MP in a statement. (more…)

By-laws impinge on Constitutional rights

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

The defence by Kelantan PAS Youth chief Ahmad Fadhli Shaari that the “sexy” poster fine is not due to hudud is a feeble and lame attempt to divert attention from the crux of the problem.

MCA Kelantan Secretary Datuk Lua Choon Hann says PAS’ ultra-conservative religious values are being implemented unto non-Muslims, and in the process, erode the protections accorded by the Federal Constitution for non-Muslims.

In the case involving the Kota Bharu City Council (MBKB) fining the non-Muslim watch retailer, the local authority had defined the posters featuring Bollywood starlet Aishwarya Rai as “sexy”, thereby an “offence” under MBKB’s by-laws, says MCA Kelantan Youth Chairman Chong Swee Wee.

By Ahmad Fadhli’s very own admission regarding the so-called sexy posters offence, “The offence is under Syariah law and applies to both Muslims and non-Muslims.” (more…)

AG’s powers not immune to being challenged in Court

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

Zaid-IbrahimThe Attorney-General’s (AG) powers are not immune to being challenged in court. This was the argument put forward by former de facto Law Minister Zaid Ibrahim in his submission to obtain leave to challenge Attorney-General Mohd Apandi Ali’s decision not to prosecute Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak for alleged wrongdoing.

“There was a previous case (Mohamed Nordin Johan v Public Prosecutor) where leave was granted to challenge the AG’s opinion,” the submission read.

“It should be determined at the hearing, after the leave stage, so the applicant (Zaid) can have a chance to ventilate arguments.”

If the material shows that it is not correct to let the PM (Prime Minister) free for what he had (allegedly) done, continued the submission, then the Court should be given a chance to say so. (more…)

Why Najib’s premiership may be staring at the precipice

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

Last week, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it was taking action to seek “the forfeiture and recovery of more than US$1 billion in assets” related to 1MDB. This action will likely start the process that will eventually lead to the removal of Najib Abdul Razak, Malaysia’s sixth prime minister.

According to the DOJ, from 2009 to 2015, more than US$3.5 billion in 1MDB funds was allegedly sent from one financial institution to another around the world, to hide the origins of the fund and, perhaps more importantly, to hide the ultimate beneficiaries.

Although the DOJ did not name Najib directly (he is thought to be ‘Malaysian Official 1’), two of those named were directly connected to Najib.

The first is Riza Aziz, Najib’s stepson. Riza is infamous in Malaysia for being one of the producers of the Martin Scorsese film, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’. The DOJ filed forfeiture claims against the royalties from the film, suggesting that it was funded by 1MDB money. (more…)

Reveal documents proving donation to PM, Gobind urges AG

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

DAP legal bureau chief Gobind Singh Deo has posed 10 questions to attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali regarding the 1MDB scandal.

Among them is whether Apandi would reveal the documents that he has, which allegedly proves that US$681 million found in Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s personal accounts were a donation.

“Would the right honorable attorney-general therefore agree with me to a public disclosure of all the documents he has in his possession to substantiate his position that the monies were indeed from a donation so as to dispel concerns over his decision not to prosecute in those cases?

 “Apandi cannot expect Malaysians to just sit back and take anything that he says without thinking about it at all.


Penang DAP downplays rift with PKR, urges negotiation

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

chow-kon-yeow_penang_pakatan-harapan_6001The Penang DAP has sought to play down any notion of a serious rift with fellow Pakatan Harapan component PKR, after being hit by a volley of reports of a possible rupture between the two parties over DAP’s plan to have snap polls in Penang,

Penang DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow today said it is important that the contentious issues related to the matter be discussed through negotiation within Pakatan after a decision is reached on having the early elections.

“I feel that at this stage issues related to how parties will partake in the early elections do not arise as the decision to hold the elections has not been made yet,” Chow said.

“The main issue of whether there will be an agreement reached or not is more important than the side issues,” he added, stressing that details can be worked out once the decision is made. (more…)

Sarawak Report claims ex-cop hired to extract confession from Justo

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

Whistleblower website Sarawak Report claimed that a former policeman was allegedly hired to extract a confession from ex-PetroSaudi International employee Xavier Andre Justo following his arrest in Thailand.

In an emailed communique, Sarawak Report alleged that Justo’s former colleague Patrick Mahony organised a second person to visit Justo two days after his detention.

“This was Paul Finnegan, a former UK policeman, who claimed he had been deployed to work on the case by Scotland Yard, supposedly with the blessing of the Thai authorities.

“That claim was a lie, however,” the website alleged.

According to Sarawak Report, Finnegan was purportedly hired by PetroSaudi for a fee of RM3,000 a day to handle Justo on their behalf. (more…)

Irwan: US DoJ case not about M’sian economy

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

DoJ-Irwan-SiregarThe United States Department of Justice’s (DoJ) civil suit to recover assets derived from alleged misappropriation of 1MDB funds will not affect the country’s sovereign ratings, says Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah.

The Treasury secretary-general said the civil lawsuit was not even about the economy.

“That has nothing to do with the economy,” he said in response to a question from members of the media after closing a Bahasa Inggeris 1Malaysia (BI1M) pilot programme here today.

On July 20, the US DoJ filed a civil lawsuit to seize assets acquired with money allegedly misapproriated from 1MDB.

Asked on the downgrade of Petronas’s Long-Term Foreign- and Local-Currency Issuer Defaul Ratings to “A-” from “A” by Fitch Ratings recently, Irwan said it was just a “temporary thing”.

“Petronas is a profit-generating entity, in terms of performance it is good, but because of the world environment — the oil prices and everything — it is a temporary kind of thing.

“In terms of jobs creation, Petronas is still creating jobs, the Rapid (Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development) project is still going ahead, so there is no worry about future ratings,” he added.


C4: Did Deloitte assist facilitation of grand corruption by 1MDB?

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

cynthia-gabriel_1mdb_deloitte_600The Center to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4) has doubts that any of the attributes listed in Deloitte’s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct were demonstrated in its audit of 1MDB.

“The Code summarizes behavioural expectations of its partners, executive directors, principals, directors and employees,” noted C4 Executive Director Cynthia Gabriel in a statement.

She highlighted several aspects from the Code:

On professional behaviour: “We foster a culture of appropriate professional skepticism and personal accountability which supports clients and drives quality in the services we provide.” (more…)

Snap polls in Penang: Why DAP can’t forge ahead alone

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

Political analysts warn that if DAP proceeds with state elections without the explicit consensus of ally PKR, it will widen cracks within the Pakatan Harapan partnership that has been dented in the fallout with former ally PAS. — Picture by Saw Siow FengDespite being the dominant political party in Penang, pundits believe the DAP could be signing the death warrant for the fragmented federal Opposition front in the long run if it proceeds with state elections without the explicit consensus of ally PKR.

Political analysts predict the secular party will likely retain all 19 of its seats out of 40 won in Election 2013 if went ahead, but warned that the decision will widen cracks within the Pakatan Harapan partnership that has been dented in the fallout with former ally PAS.

“If they go ahead with the state polls, it will only create a bigger crack within Pakatan and more problems between DAP and PKR.

“Calling this now when the Opposition front is at its weakest does not make sense. How to go to war when they are weak?” Dr Faisal Hazis, associate professor at the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), posited. (more…)

Penang is ‘the’ country?

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

The Chief Minister of Penang Lim Guan Eng has taken to pleading in public to try to convince its opposition allies that the best option for Penang is to call for snap polls.

This is because its main ally PKR does not seem to be keen at all to enter an election at the moment, let alone in a state in which it holds three parliamentary seats and 10 state seats.

DAP holds seven parliamentary seats and 19 state seats. PAS holds one state seat. BN has three parliamentary seats and 10 state seats.

PKR’s leaders have been openly questioning the need for a snap polls at a time when the opposition is fractured and recent twin by elections showed that they lost the Malay votes to BN.

BN won with big majorities in the recent Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar by elections. (more…)

Bahasa Inggeris 1Malaysia to take on bigger scale after initial success

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

Mohd Irwan, who mooted the BI1M, said the free English lessons had received overwhelming participation, while the participants showed marked improvement. ― File picThe Finance Ministry’s Bahasa Inggeris 1Malaysia (BI1M) programme is set to take on a much bigger scale in its second phase following its success.

Treasury Secretary-General Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, who mooted the BI1M, said the free English lessons had received overwhelming participation, while the participants showed marked improvement.

He said 8,288 Malaysians from all walks of life aged from seven to 81 attended the BI1M from an initial target of 3,400.

“We spent RM4 million to conduct BI1M nationwide at nine Urban Transformation Centres and six Rural Transformation Centres, and we hope the budget could be increased next year so that we can grow bigger and reach out to more villages, plantations and other rural areas. (more…)

Amanah warns PAS not to break up Pakatan Harapan

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

Penang Parti Amanah Negara chairperson Mujahid Yusof Rawa said the party will fight any effort, including PAS’, to break up Pakatan Harapan.

Mujahid was speaking in the context of an impending snap polls in Penang proposed by the DAP to seek a fresh mandate after Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was slapped with two graft charges.

Mujahid said that PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man’s recent remark in a Chinese daily showed he tried to “interfere” in the business of Harapan.

“He did that by warning and threatening Amanah, which we regret. He has no basis and right to do so,” Mujahid said in a statement. (more…)

Ten things the world should know about corruption a la Malaysia

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

SATIRE With ongoing money laundering and possible corruption probes against our state investment arm 1MDB overseas, foreigners may wonder why the state-owned fund, which is the brainchild of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and related individuals, is not quite getting the same treatment back home.

While 1MDB was the subject of investigations by local law enforcement agencies and regulators, its peccadilloes were written off as business-related administrative weaknesses in Malaysia, and the blame was laid on its board and management.

And of course, Najib, who led the advisory board and under whose signature each and every major deal and transaction was approved, was rightly exonerated.

The joint task force on 1MDB and the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee also stopped all proceedings after hanging 1MDB’s board and management out to dry, and asking police to target them for investigations. (more…)

IDEAS: Dzulkifli’s appointment will help MACC in 1MDB issue

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

Wan Saiful noted that Dzulkifli, who used to head the National Revenue Recovery Enforcement Team at the Attorney-General’s Chambers, has experience in recovering stolen assets. — Picture by Siow Feng SawDatuk Dzulkifli Ahmad’s appointment as the new Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner will assist the agency particularly in issues surrounding 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) said today.

IDEAS chief executive Wan Saiful Wan Jan said the libertarian think tank was sad to see Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed resign as MACC chief commissioner, but noted that Dzulkifli, who used to head the National Revenue Recovery Enforcement Team at the Attorney-General’s Chambers, has experience in recovering stolen assets.

“His experience in this field can only help the MACC in its tireless work in fighting corruption, particularly in addressing the ongoing 1MDB issue and other cases involving the loss of billions in public funds,” Wan Saiful said in a statement.

“Our foremost hope is that Datuk Dzulkifli will be as open to working with civil society as Tan Sri Abu Kassim has been. (more…)

Support Dzulkifli even if he’s not an ‘internal man’, Abu Kassim tells MACC officers

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

Without naming his successor, Abu Kassim said support was very much needed for the person heading the anti-graft commission. ― Picture by Choo Choy MayIn an emotional speech, outgoing Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) head Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed urged his officers today to support his successor who was appointed from the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

Without naming his successor Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad, Abu Kassim, whose last day as MACC chief commissioner falls on August 1, said support was very much needed for the person heading the anti-graft commission.

“Please give him, who is not an ‘internal man’, your support because without this, it will be very hard to move forward,” he said at an event to bid farewell to him and two of his deputies.

Deputy chief commissioner (prevention) Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali will be transfered to assume the director-general position with the Immigration Department from August 1, while deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Seri Shukri Abdull will be attending a course before retiring in October.



Overhauling Immigration Dept’s overhaul

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

Are some immigration officers too busy working on the wrong side of the law side earning incomes, that it has affected the efficiency of our Immigration Department?

For, not so long ago, Malaysians were able to boast to the world as we managed to get our digitally equipped passports done within a couple of hours at the many UTCs, some open even on weekends.

However, it was a shortlived joy, for now we hear how it may take six months to get a passport done, never mind the hours one has to queue up for a number which may not be there when it gets to your turn.

The Immigration Department, in acknowledging a shortage of passports, said they expected the matter to be ironed out by January next year, a report in Today Online stated. (more…)

The Guardian view on Malaysian politics: a scandal meriting the world’s attention

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

Malaysia’s prime minister Najib RazakMalaysia’s new security law, due to come into force on Monday, would be alarming at any time. Its sweeping powers permit authorities to declare national security areas which are off-limits to protests, where individuals and premises can be searched without a warrant, and where killings by security forces need not result in formal inquests. Changes to the country’s criminal code, undermining the rights of suspects, are similarly concerning. Human rights groups warn that existing laws, including the colonial-era Sedition Act – which Prime Minister Najib Razak once vowed to repeal – have been used to detain and muzzle critics. The country’s police chief recently warned that protests by electoral reform group Bersih would be permitted only if participants avoided calling for Mr Najib’s resignation.

The government says the National Security Council Act is needed to protect the public from a mounting global terrorism threat. It is striking, however, that it becomes law as the prime minister faces growing pressure and planned protests over the multi-billion-dollar 1MDB development fund scandal, which has snowballed since emerging a year ago. Even his erstwhile patron, former premier Mahathir Mohamad, has joined forces with the opposition in an attempt to oust him. (more…)

Rafizi offers audit services for free to 1MDB

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

rafiziOffering his services for free, a vocal critic of 1MDB hopes to be part of the state-owned investment fund’s audit team.

In a statement today, Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli expressed his interest to join the new audit team which will be announced soon.

“As a certified accountant registered with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW) and the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA), I want to express my interest and readiness to join the new audit team which will be appointed to audit 1MDB,” he said.

Not only that, the PKR Secretary-General said he was also willing to do the work without getting paid.

Rafizi reasoned that if the 1MDB board of directors were convinced there was no misappropriation in the fund’s transactions, the easiest way to convince the rakyat “for free” was by making him part of the new audit team.

“I will write to Tan Sri Irwan Serigar, the chairman of 1MDB’s board of directors with regard to this matter,” he said.

In a report by Malaysiakini earlier today, Irwan was quoted as telling reporters that they will announce soon the new auditors for 1MDB after Deloitte Malaysia decide to quit.

Deloitte had informed of its intention to resign as 1MDB auditor in February, according to a press statement by the investment fund.

FMT Reporters

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…)

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…)

‘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…)

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. (more…)

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.



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…)

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…)

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