Hornbill Unleashed

July 23, 2016

1MDB is no longer just about stolen money

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

1mdbSo many countries are now investigating 1Malaysia Development Berhad: in the course of them doing that, I hope some are not subtly holding this country to ransom. Given our endless predicaments, it is important to ensure that our sovereignty and vital interests are not compromised when dealing with others.

It is important to keep vigilant of treaties signed, concessions made, and foreign policies promulgated during this difficult time.

How could we raise so much money through bonds and then use the proceeds for unimaginable wayward indulgences? Are reputable investment bankers and sophisticated bond investors blind or are they part of the conspiracy?

It is just too convenient to push the responsibility to the Malaysian government (present and future) and the Malaysian taxpayer. It is time investment bankers are held accountable and bond-holders take a “haircut”. I don’t care, maybe we should just default on the bonds and damn the sovereignty ratings: there is not much reputation left to protect in the first place. (more…)

Snap polls: PKR chiefs to meet on Tuesday

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

azizahParti Keadilan Rakyat is reported to have asked for more time to ask for members’ views about the DAP’s proposal to call for fresh state elections in Penang

PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said party leaders would meet on Tuesday to discuss the matter further. She stressed that any decision should be made jointly by Pakatan Harapan, according to Malay Mail Online.

Bernama had reported from Penang earlier in the day that Lim had said a meeting of Penang Pakatan leaders would be held tomorrow.

However in Kajang, Wan Azizah told reporters attending her open house that “we have asked from him (Lim Guan Eng) more time so we can deliberate because it is going to be on the basis of Pakatan Harapan to hold the snap polls. We are still in the process of actually meeting and discussing”, she was quoted as saying. (more…)

DPM launches East Malaysia International Internet Gateway project

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

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi speaks during the launch of The East Malaysia International Internet Gateway project, in Kota Belud July 23, 2016. — Bernama picThe East Malaysia International Internet Gateway (EM-IIG) project will create jobs for locals, boost economic growth and ensure that domestic and international businesses remain viable and competitive.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi hopes the EM-IIG project will lure foreign investors to set up their research and development base here.

“I hope this project can be fully implemented for the benefit of locals,” he told reporters after the ground breaking ceremony of EM-IIG project in Kampung Rampayan Laut, here today.

Ahmad Zahid said the project would assist government plans to reduce the digital gap between the rural and urban population via the provision of high speed broadband Internet. (more…)

Learn the consequences of kleptocracy, says TI-M

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

akhbar satarMalaysia’s leaders must be prepared for the consequences of kleptocratic actions, warns Transparency International Malaysia president Akhbar Satar.

He said kleptocratic governments “impose massive tax burdens on the public and enterprises. A kleptocratic government treats its country’s treasury as though it is its own bank account,” Akhbar told FMT. “They exploit the wealth of the public and use the proceeds for their own use or glorification; they spend funds on luxury projects to obtain more commission.”

He was commenting on the forfeiture complaint filed by American federal prosecutors to seize assets said to have been acquired through funds looted from 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

Akhbar noted that for a nation to be labelled as a kleptocracy, it must be ruled by a government dominated by unethical leaders pretending to be honest but who have rampant greed and are involved in corruption. (more…)

PKR Youth backs Bersih 5 rally to urge Najib’s resignation

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

PKR Youth has voiced their support for the mooted Bersih 5 rally to urge for Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s resignation.

This comes after the US Department of Justice (DOJ) forfeiture lawsuit earlier this week, where they are seeking the return of assets allegedly stolen from 1MDB funds.

“We think we need the Bersih 5 rally to save the country from being ruined further.

“Bersih 5 is the best medium for the Malaysian people right now, (that is to) gather peacefully, as is enshrined in the constitution, to claim back our rights as citizens,” said PKR Youth deputy chief Afif Bahardin in a statement today.

The rally is needed because the 1MDB scandal has clearly put the sovereignty and the economy of the country in dire straits, he said, adding that the prime minister’s silence on these issues is a further betrayal to the people. (more…)

Where did the US$3.5 billion go?

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

More than US$3.5 billion in funds belonging to 1MDB was allegedly misappropriated by high-level officials of 1MDB and their associates. Where did the money go?

“On paper the US$1 billion was for resource rights, instead (it was) used for personal enrichment… (including) gambling debts in Las Vegas casinos, a luxury yacht, interior decorators in London, millions in property including a Bombardier jet costing US$35 million,” said Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Andrew McCabe.

Almost all of us would have a hard time grasping how much US$3.5 billion is. Perhaps a photo guide of the assets allegedly bought with money misappropriated from 1MDB would put the amount in perspective.

Here’s the list of the purportedly ill-gotten assets: (more…)

Parking hike only for us commoners?

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

There is perhaps no other city hall quite as confusing and fond of flip-flops as the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).

Looking at how the DBKL revoked its 150% parking fees hike in the posh Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) area less than 48 hours after implementing it, one cannot help but come to conclusion that the DBKL is fond of going zero to 60 in 15 seconds, then abruptly screeching to a halt when it realises its tyres are on fire.

Following a meeting between DBKL and Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor  (better known as Ku Nan), the exorbitant parking hike— announced just a few days ago— was revoked in TTDI, but why?

Although not all of the TTDI area can be considered ‘posh’, it is a well-known fact that there are numerous members of the rich and powerful who have set up their homes there in mansions so large, you’d need Google Maps to navigate your way through them.

The hike in parking fees was implemented in order to reduce congestion in Bukit Bintang, Bukit Damansara, Sri Hartamas, Desa Hartamas, Solaris Mont Kiara, and Bangsar. (more…)

Umno ‘trying to straighten a wet thread’ on 1MDB

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

khairuddin-abu-hassan_Tengku-Adnan_1mdb_600A former Umno divisional leader, Khairuddin Abu Hassan, has accused Umno leaders of “trying to straighten a wet thread” in the controversial issues around 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

He challenged Umno’s leaders to debate the 1MDB controversy on air via Radio-TV Malaysia after Umno secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor had called for opposition politicians to not act in haste.

Khairuddin accused Tengku Adnan and Umno leaders of not holding on to their faith in Islam by appearing to condone bribery and corruption.

“Enough with Umno’s leaders attempting to straighten a wet thread.

Najib Razak (Umno president and prime minister) must take responsibility in the 1MDB scandal,” Khairuddin said in a statement today. (more…)

NY law firm held funds taken from 1MDB, says report

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

1mdb_law_60016A law firm in New York has been identified as a key transit point for money that had allegedly been misappropriated from 1MDB and used in multimillion-dollar deals.

The civil suits filed by the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) in Los Angeles on Wednesday, had named Shearman & Sterling LLP as the owner of a trust account through which illicit funds flowed for the purchase of luxury real estate and private jets in the US, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The DoJ had filed suits on Wednesday saying that over US$3.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB.

In its suits, the DoJ said it sought to seize assets “involved in and traceable to an international conspiracy to launder money misappropriated from 1MDB”. (more…)

‘Red shirts’ leader says will ‘paint KL red’ if Bersih 5 happens

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

Jamal addresses members of the media outside the Sogo Shopping Mall in Kuala Lumpur July 23, 2016. — Picture by Yusof Mat IsaUmno’s Datuk Jamal Yunos today vowed to hold a counter rally at the same place and time as Bersih 5, if organisers of the latter event proceed with the proposal.

The Sungai Besar Umno division chief was the face of the September 16 gathering last year that was called the “Red Shirts rally”, among others, and which featured crowd trouble among attendees.

“If there is a street demo to paralyse the democratic system, if this happens, we will then hold version two of the red rally, which we expect to have more than 300,000 people who will paint KL red again,” he told reporters in a press conference outside Sogo today.

Over 30 red-shirt members gathered here today for what was initially thought to be a gathering against critics of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, but which Jamal’s supporters later said was to announce the rally.


Snap polls: Wait for tomorrow, says LGE

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

lim-guan-eng_penang_pkr_amanah_600The DAP is still waiting for a consensus from the two other parties in Pakatan Harapan about calling for a snap state election.

The DAP’s Secretary-General, Lim Guan Eng, said Pakatan partners PKR and Parti Amanah Negara were already aware of the need and reason for the state elections.

“There’s no confusion on our part, we are very clear and what is necessary is for a consensus to be reached. We are still waiting for the agreement from PKR (and Amanah). We are having a meeting on Sunday, let’s wait for the announcement,” he told reporters today.

Asked if an announcement would be made about the snap election, Lim said there was a possibility that an announcement would be made as to whether to call for the snap election or not. (more…)

State PKR: Sarawak Day very significant day for Sarawakians

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:02 AM

See fields questions from the press.Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) describes Sarawak Day as a very significant celebration for Sarawakians in the fight for the state’s right from the federal government.

Its vice chairman See Chee How said it was crucial for all the people, irrespective of their political affiliations and differences, to stand up and fight for Sarawak’s right.

“I feel that Sarawak Day celebration is a very significant and meaningful to the people of Sarawak… so let us all stand up and be united in our fight for our rights,” See said, concurring with Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem who had called on the people to stay united behind the government to pursue the matter.

He told reporters this after attending the celebration, which was officiated at by Yang diPertua Negeri Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and Adenan at Kuching Waterfront yesterday. (more…)

Content no longer — CM

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

Taib waves to the crowd. From left are Abang Johari, Adenan and Uggah. – Photo by Muhammad Rais SanusiSarawak is no longer content being behind other states in the country after over 50 years of independence in Malaysia.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem said “we do not want to be in a position where after over 50 years in Malaysia”, schools in the state remained without electricity and treated water supply, while roads were unfinished or there was no access at all.

“If it is 20 years or 30 years, we do not mind. But it is 53 years, more than half a century, we cannot tolerate it anymore.

“Therefore, we ask the federal (government) to be more sympathetic when we question the rights for our resources. Because that is our rights,” he said during the inaugural official celebration of Sarawak Day graced by Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud yesterday. (more…)

Bishop urges people to live the love, peace of Sarawak

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

The different ethnic group of Sarawak holding hands in praise and worship.Bishop of Sibu Right Reverend Joseph Hii from the Catholic Church calls on all Sarawakians to live the love and peace of Sarawak by being people of peace.

In the preaching of the word session during the ‘Sarawak Independence Day: A New Dawn’ celebration on Thursday night at Sibu Gateway, he regarded Borneo Island as the ‘Garden of Eden’.

“Tonight (Thursday) we are celebrating Sarawak’s birthday and we give thanks to God for the fruitfulness of this land and the many blessings He gave us,” he pointed out.

He enthused that Sarawak was the land of peace because she was born from peace.

He said July 22 was a day to remember the struggles of those in the past so that peace would come to the people. (more…)

CM: Vital to know why we are part of Malaysia

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

Actors in a scene of a stage play on ‘Anti-Cession Movement’.The inaugural celebration of Sarawak Day is a success, but Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem wishes that a reference to the Inter-Governmental Committee Report, Malaysia Agreement and Malaysia Act could have been mentioned during a special performance staged to commemorate the history of Sarawak.

The show touched on Sarawak being one of Brunei’s territories, the reign of the White Rajahs under the Brooke family which lasted a century, the Japanese Occupation, Anti-Cession Movement and eventually, Sarawak’s independence.

Adenan’s official address pointed out that it was vital to inform Sarawakians why the state became a part of Malaysia.

“We have just been related to the history of Sarawak, from the time of the Brunei Sultanate to almost the present day. But the part that was not mentioned, which I wish could have (been) mentioned, was the Inter-Governmental Committee and the Malaysia Agreement,” he said at the Sarawak Day celebration in Kuching Waterfront here yesterday, where the opening ceremony was officiated at by Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud. (more…)

July 22, 2016

Netizens, politicians post Sarawak Day greetings

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:02 PM

Sarawak-DayA wave of Sarawakian pride and patriotism swept across social media as netizens and politicians from the state celebrated Sarawak Day.

July 22, 1963, is significant to the people of Sarawak as it marked the first day of self-governance of the former British Crown colony, with many viewing the date as Sarawak’s Independence Day.

Today, many Sarawakians took to social media to celebrate Sarawak Day and show their love for their homeland through messages, artworks and even a video.
State Minister for Local Government Dr Sim Kui Hian uploaded a video explaining the significance of the date, while PBB’s federal minister Rohani Abdul Karim took to Facebook to wish Sarawakians. (more…)

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Finally in Danger?

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

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Finally in Danger?For the first time since he began a 20-year livelihood of theft of vast amounts of Malaysian government funds that began at least in 1999 when he was named defense minister for the second time, Prime Minister Najib Razak’s kleptocratic career may finally be in danger.

It is rare, if ever, that a foreign head of state and an ally of the United States government has been hit with charges as devastating as those released on July 20 by US Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch against suspects in what she called an “an international conspiracy to launder funds misappropriated from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.”

Although he is identified only as “Malaysian Public Official No. 1,” it is clear that Najib is the target of what Lynch called “the largest single action ever brought” under the US’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.

The US Justice Department investigation is a damning indictment of the entire structure surrounding 1MDB. It found that from 2009 through 2015, more than US$3.5 billion in funds belonging to 1MDB were misappropriated from an entity ostensibly created by the Malaysian government to promote economic development in Malaysia through global partnerships and foreign direct investment, and intended to be used for improving the well-being of the Malaysian people. (more…)

Adenan: Sarawak will stay in Malaysia

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

Sarawak Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud (second right) with Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem (centre) at the Sarawak Day celebration. — Picture by Sulok TawieSarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem said today that Sarawak is committed to remain in Malaysia but will continue to fight for its rights.

The chief minister cited the state’s rights as enshrined in the Inter-Governmental Committee Report, the Malaysia Agreement and the Malaysia Act 1963.

“Our position is clear, that is, there will be no secession from the federation of Malaysia now and in the future,” he said at a celebration to mark Sarawak Day at the Kuching Waterfront here.

He asked civil societies, the Sarawak for Sarawakians, and nationalists not to harbour any thoughts of secession from the federation.

“If you are advocating for secession, our answer will be no,” he said, asking the groups to instead strive to work with the state government for a better future and to make Sarawak an equal partner in Malaysia. (more…)

We’ll keep fighting, reminding Putrajaya of Sarawak’s rights – Adenan

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

Adenan SatemIt is the duty of Sarawak to remind officials from Kuala Lumpur of the pertinence of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem, who pointed this out during Sarawak Day 2016 celebration today (July 22), conceded that “there has been constant erosion of power given to us over the last 50 over years.”

He said Sarawak was in the process of claiming its rights and there had been a response from the federal government – a committee had been formed to work out the details.

“Those officials in Kuala Lumpur were not even born in 1963. They are ignorant. It is therefore our duty to remind them of the agreement.

“I dare say that Sabah will follow through but we must fight for our own. The first step is to declare Sarawak Day to show that we are thankful to those who fought for our independence,” he said at the celebration graced by Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud at Kuching Waterfront. (more…)

‘Sarawak Day’ the right term for July 22 – Masing

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

Masing fielding questions from the media.Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing believes that ‘Sarawak Day’ is the most appropriate term for July 22.

He said this is because history shows that July 22 was the day Sarawak had its very first elected government.

“Sarawak Day is the most appropriate term to mark the day when Sarawak achieved self-rule. It is the day we had an elected government,” Masing told The Borneo Post yesterday.

Masing, who is also Infrastructure Development and Transportation Minister, pointed out that though Sir Alexander Waddel might still be the governor representing the British Queen at that time, the fact was that Sarawak had achieved self-governing status. (more…)

Why we must stand up for the Malaysian Bar

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

The government plans to amend the Legal Profession Act (LPA) 1976, the law governing Malaysian lawyers, and proposes to have two government representatives sit on the Bar Council.

Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru told me in an interview that Putrajaya is also proposing that the two representatives report to the government, even though Bar Council meetings are required by law to be confidential.

The Malaysian public generally doesn’t seem too fussed about the proposed LPA amendments, maybe because they think that it doesn’t affect them.

Drastic changes to a law governing the legal profession may not directly affect the ordinary citizen’s day-to-day living, but Malaysian democracy will take another step backwards when one of the last few remaining independent institutions in the country falls under the control of the government. (more…)

Bersih 5 rally mooted after US DOJ’s 1MDB suit

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

Bersih 2.0 committee member Maria Chin Abdullah said that Bersih has been consistent in their stand against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng Bersih 2.0 is considering holding a Bersih 5 public rally here after the US Department of Justice filed a lawsuit seeking to recover more than US$1 billion in assets bought with money allegedly embezzled from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The polls watchdog chairman Maria Chin Abdullah said today that it is currently in the process of negotiating with civil society and various non-governmental organisations on planning for the public protest, which she said would be best held soon.

“Bersih’s process is that we have to consult the NGOs before we actually make any decision. That is definitely an agenda on the table,” she told a press conference outside the Election Commission’s (EC) headquarters here.

Chin added that Bersih would also not hesitate to work together with former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, but only if he agrees with the reform agenda that they have set up. (more…)

Who is #MalaysianOfficial1?

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

One cannot help, but to note the amount of attention given to the press conference given by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) last night.

Instead of pressing charges against 1MDB officials or implicated persons as many would have assumed, it was rather an application to confiscate assets amounting to some US$1 billion (RM4.04billion) allegedly stolen from the sovereign fund founded by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Five were implicated. “Malaysian Official 1”, Najib’s stepson Riza Aziz, Jho Low and two other Abu Dhabi officials.

In Harry Potter, the main antagonist Lord Voldermort is referred to as “you know who” or “he who must not be named”. Nearly every witch or wizard dares not utter his name. (more…)

Malaysian Official 1, 1MDB and US$1 bil

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

The authorities in the United States have finally taken action against three Malaysians now accused of spending government cash. Few days back, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced plans to seize US$1 billion and more in the form of assets and profits — two years after initial news of their Federal Bureau of Investigation handling the complaints.

Also announced yesterday is that the government of Singapore is seizing some S$240 million in assets under the same cause.

A short recap, the US is saying that Malaysians were robbed and the money was in fact spent in Hollywood for a movie, Las Vegas for gambling and was done by three individuals — the infamous Jho Low, the Prime Minister’s stepson Riza Aziz and their comrade.

On top of this, the excessive and lavish lifestyle was also highlighted, including the seizure of a Monet and a Van Gogh, as well as a Bombadier private jet. (more…)

Anwar wants reform, but does Dr Mahathir, asks Chegubard

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

ChegubardJailed Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim may not have any problem working with former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, but is the feeling mutual.

In commenting on a Reuters report which claimed Anwar and Mahathir were set to join forces against Prime Minister Najib Razak, PKR life member Badrul Hisham Shaharin said though the move was “idealistic”, Anwar just wanted to bring reform to the country.

“Anwar is a big hearted person. After he was released from jail, he announced that he forgave Mahathir and all the conspirators who jailed him.”

However, Badrul, who is better known as Chegubard, said Mahathir still continued to attack Anwar. (more…)

Nazir: The Edge was suspended for saying what US now says

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

CIMB chairperson Nazir Razak has noted how The Edge was once suspended for printing details of the alleged 1MDB fund flows, which is now being repeated yesterday in the US Department of Justice’s (DOJ) civil forfeiture filing against properties and assets of figures linked to the sovereign fund scandal.

“Exactly 12 months ago, this headline got them suspended.

“Today, the US attorney-general is saying pretty much the same thing,” wrote the younger brother to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak in an Instagram posting last night.

This comment was posted along with the picture of the front page article that got the business paper into soup with authorities.

Nazir pointed out the article ‘How Jho Low and PetroSaudi cheated Malaysia out of RM1.83b cash (and RM400m million paper profit) with help from 1MDB executives’ detailed the same alleged circuitous use of a network of banks and accounts to obfuscate the transfer of public monies out of 1MDB into private hands. (more…)

1.M.D.B – What is in an Acronym?

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

No one in Malaysia can open their social media accounts without having the one number and three lettered acronym staring back at them for the past few days.

As a matter of fact, that one number and three lettered acronym has been haunting us for months, but only in the past two days, someone has finally put a white shroud on it and we are now finally seeing its shape come into view.

1.M.D.B. has finally been caught by the United States of America (US) crimebusters after its spree in Malaysia, US, Singapore, UAE and a few more countries.

The live telecast of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and a high powered team breaking it point by point on what they are doing on 1MDB took the internet by storm as it was announced as the “ largest single action ever brought under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative. (more…)

Mujahid: Amanah not invited to discuss snap polls

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

Lim-Guang-EngAmanah was not invited to discussions with Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng on the proposed snap polls in Penang, said state Amanah chief Mujahid Yusof Rawa.

According to a China Press report, Mujahid said he only knew about the discussions through media reports.

“As far as I know, at the central level, the component parties have not even discussed it with Amanah leaders.”

Moreover, Mujahid said, Amanah did not even know when Pakatan Harapan would have discussions on the matter.

On the division of seats, Mujahid said that could only be discussed after the date of a possible snap polls had been fixed, should  snap polls be called. (more…)

US Probe Veers Close to Najib Family

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

US Probe Veers Close to Najib FamilyReports in American newspapers that the US government plans to seize more than US$1 billion in assets purchased by funds allegedly stolen from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd. sovereign wealth fund  brings a massive scandal one giant step closer to Prime Minister Najib Razak.

According to stories in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, the properties, bought through Delaware shell companies, involve real estate in Los Angeles and New York, which according to other sources are believed to be closely tied to the Najib family, particularly Najib’s stepson Riza Aziz, Rosmah’s son by a previous marriage.

The other is Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low as he is known, who was the brains behind setting up 1MDB in the first place. Although Najib himself was the financial adviser to the fund until quite recently and according to statute was responsible for signing off on all of the 1MDB financial transactions, he is not expected to be named. After establishing a flamboyant presence in New York’s café scene, Jho Low has more recently made himself scarce in the US. (more…)

US may take on movie, music roles in 1MDB asset seizure

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

The US government may become a movie and music industry player, at least temporarily, after moving to seize US$1 billion in assets that prosecutors said were bought with money looted from the Malaysian state development fund.

The 2013 movie ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ and an interest in the rights of EMI Music Publishing are among the targets of civil lawsuits that are filled with allegations that Malaysian officials, their relatives and associates laundered the fund’s money and hid it in property, artwork and luxury goods in the United States.

Seizures of assets by government authorities are fairly common, but they more typically involve sports cars, yachts and jewelry bought with drug trafficking proceeds or with profits from white-collar crime.

The case of the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB announced on Wednesday is unusually large and involves some out-of-the-ordinary assets, such as rights associated with the dark comedy film starring Leonardo DiCaprio as a corrupt New York stockbroker. (more…)

1MDB: US action puts golfing buddies in tight spot

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

1mdb USThe US seizure action against properties said to have been purchased using money siphoned from 1MDB puts golfing buddies Barack Obama and Najib Razak in a tight spot.

A Bloomberg report, however, says while it will complicate matters, it will not damage the long-term US-Malaysia relationship.

The Bloomberg report, quoting analysts, said this was because the current relationship between US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Najib Razak was somewhat personal, and Malaysia and the US needed each other.

The report said the US Department of Justice’s (DoJ) move would “complicate” existing relations but not damage it.

Najib and Obama have hit it on quite well, with the duo even golfing together in Hawaii. (more…)

Jho Low no-show at DiCaprio’s latest star-studded charity gala, says report

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

Hours after the US Justice Department filed civil suits related to 1MDB funds and future profits for the 2013 movie ‘Wolf of Wall Street’, its lead actor Leonardo DiCaprio hosted a star-studded charity gala in St Tropez, France.

However, the New York Post, quoting sources, claimed that the Hollywood star’s close friend, Malaysian-born tycoon Jho Low, was not present.

In an article titled ‘Leo DiCaprio parties as feds go after ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ profits’, the publication said Low, whose real name is LowTack Jho, had been a key donor to DiCaprio’s personal foundation.

At its third annual fund-raiser on Wednesday night, DiCaprio’s foundation, which focuses on environmental causes, raised a whopping US$45 million. (more…)

Kit Siang: I’m not M’sian Official 1, over to you, Najib

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

Since the US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed its civil suits related to 1MDB funds, there has been intense speculation regarding the identity of ‘Malaysian Official 1′ cited in the documents.

One light-hearted hypothesis, according to Lim Kit Siang, is whether the DAP stalwart could be the abovementioned official.

However, since this is a serious matter involving the honour and international reputation of Malaysia, Lim has decided to clear the air.

“Let me formally declare that I am not the ‘Malaysian Official 1′,” he added.

On the same note, the veteran politician challenged Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to make a similar declaration. (more…)

Ideas: Najib’s position safe thanks to Umno members

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

Wan-Saiful-Wan-JanThe allegations by the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) in its suit over assets linked to money misappropriated from 1MDB will have little impact on the position of Prime Minister Najib Razak.

This is the opinion of Ideas Chief Executive Officer Wan Saiful Wan Jan, who adds that Najib is secure as long as he remains Umno President.

“I remain consistent with my view that Najib’s political future can only be threatened by the members and leaders of Umno, and not by any outside powers. So far there is no sign that Umno is sensitive to the damage inflicted to our country by this saga.

“Umno members generally decide based on local considerations, and just like any other political party they will prioritise their own political survival. That is the bottom line,” Wan Saiful said. (more…)

Penang snap election: Not all about Lim

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

To dissolve the Penang State Assembly and to seek a new mandate from the people of Penang is probably the most difficult decision that the DAP Central Executive Committee (CEC) has ever made. This move will provide a platform for people’s power to prevail against the dark forces and the first step to re-write the political history of our beloved nation.

After hours of deliberation, the DAP CEC unanimously resolved to dissolve the Penang State Assembly, upon consultation with our coalition partners in Pakatan Harapan.

According to our original plan, after consultation with our coalition partners, DAP Secretary-General and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng would explain to the people of Penang and all concerned Malaysians the difficult decision we made. It was unfortunate that the plan was prematurely leaked to the media.

But since it is now known, it is time for us to tell the public our consideration and rationale. (more…)

Search for Malaysian MH370 aircraft to be suspended

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

MH370-relatives-angry-over-'ignored'-debrisHopes of finding flight MH370’s final resting place are “fading” and the massive three-nation search for the doomed jet will be suspended if nothing is found in the suspected crash zone, Malaysia, Australia and China said Friday.

With the designated search area due to be fully scanned within weeks, transport ministers from the three countries made their announcement after holding talks on the future of the unprecedented deep-sea hunt for the Malaysia Airlines passenger plane.

“With less than 10,000 square kilometres (3,861 square miles) of the high priority search area remaining to be searched, ministers acknowledged that despite the best efforts of all involved the likelihood of finding the aircraft is fading,” said a joint statement after the meeting in Malaysia’s administrative capital Putrajaya.

Unless “credible new evidence” turns up by the time the current operations are completed, “the search would not end, but be suspended” until solid new information pointing to a crash site emerges, they said. (more…)

White House calls for transparency in wake of scandal

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

The White HouseThe White House urged Malaysia on Thursday to demonstrate good governance and a transparent business climate, a day after US prosecutors sued to try and seize $1 billion in assets they said were bought with money stolen from a state development fund.

The civil lawsuits present a potentially thorny issue for the two countries that have grown closer during the administration of President Barack Obama, who has visited the southeast Asian nation twice in the last two years.

The lawsuits will likely affect relations, but they did not come as a surprise, said a US congressional aide. “It has been a concern of a lot of people for a long time. Corruption in Malaysia is a huge problem,” the aide said.

No criminal charges have been filed in the scandal surrounding Malaysia’s 1MDB sovereign wealth fund, which was overseen by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. (more…)

PSM welcomes ‘political action’, hopes Harapan is serious

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

Socialist party PSM welcomes news that opposition pact Pakatan Harapan has vowed to organise the people in a ‘political action’ against the powers-that-be if Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak does not go on leave in the face of US government action against alleged misappropriation of 1MDB money.

The party also said that it would set aside any differences it might have with the opposition pact to join such an initiative, but hoped that Harapan would show true resolve in pursuing the matter and not only go halfway.

“PSM can offer a ceasefire with the opposition pact if it is planning a serious, large-scale and encompassing action.

“But we hope that Harapan does not only stop at making media statements alone,” said PSM central committee member S Arutchelvan in a Facebook posting. (more…)

1MDB: Aziz Bari says silence may be seen as sign of guilt

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

Aziz-BariA legal expert said today that as the Malaysians named in the US Department of Justice’s lawsuits have remained silent, it may be seen as prove of partial guilt on their part.

Constitutional law expert Abdul Aziz Bari pointed out that it has been more than 24 hours since the US Department of Justice (DoJ) revealed that over USD3.5 billion was misappropriated from state investment firm 1MDB, but there had yet to be a denial from those named in the lawsuits.

“So we can assume what was revealed was the truth. Hence, I urge the Malaysian Government to stop wasting time and do what is needed to ensure actions are taken,” he told a press conference in front of Dang Wangi police headquarters here today.

He was accompanying Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng to lodge a report against those named in the DoJ lawsuits. (more…)

The rise and fall of UAE tycoon named in billion-dollar US suits

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

The rise and fall of Abu Dhabi tycoon Khadem al-Qubaisi (top photo left), named this week in US Justice Department lawsuits seeking to seize over US$1 billion in assets, illustrates the unpredictability of an opaque Gulf business world fuelled by huge sums of oil money.

In a few years, Qubaisi rose from obscurity to become one of the top executives in the United Arab Emirates by taking the helm of International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC), a state-run company investing some of Abu Dhabi’s petrodollars.

His fall was even faster. In April last year he was abruptly replaced as managing director of IPIC, and in subsequent months he resigned from a string of management positions and board memberships at other companies around the UAE and the region.

Neither Qubaisi nor the companies involved gave any public explanation for his departure, and his current whereabouts are not publicly known. Attempts by Reuters to contact him or his lawyers were unsuccessful, while IPIC declined to comment. (more…)

US lawsuits reveal Jho Low used father, brother to divert 1MDB-linked funds

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

Penang-born tycoon Jho Low had purchased several assets with funds allegedly siphoned from state-investor 1MDB using bank accounts owned by his father Larry Low and brother Low Teck Szen, according to the lawsuits filed by the US Department of Justice (DOJ).

The court documents stated that Jho Low had on several occasions used their accounts to transfer money for purchase of the assets.

The money for the purchases was originally transferred from the Good Star account to the Abu Dhabi Malaysia Kuwait Investment Corporation (AKDMIC) BSI account.

In the first recorded transaction on June 28, 2011, the documents stated that US$55 million was wire-transferred from the Good Star account to the ADKMIC BSI account.

Later the same day, about US$54.75 million was wire-transferred from the ADKMIC BSI account to an account at BSI Bank held in the name of Low Hock Peng or Larry Low. (more…)

Apandi, stop defending PM and tell us who ‘M’sian Official 1’ is

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

The attorney-general (AG) Mohamed Apandi Ali’s response to the US Department of Justice (DOJ) suit yesterday raises serious concerns.

Firstly, and with respect, he should decide where he stands. Is he the defence lawyer for the prime minister or is he the public prosecutor of Malaysia?

To my mind, he should not be leaping to the prime minister’s defence. He should maintain his independence and be open to the fact that serious allegations have been made in the suit which may lead to him having to reopen the case here at some stage.

Making broad comments and issuing veiled warnings to the effect that he has “strong concerns at insinuations and allegations” made against the prime minister at this stage seriously undermines public confidence in his office as public prosecutor. (more…)

Salleh Keruak claims Dr M’s allies behind US DOJ’s 1MDB suit

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

Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak pointed out yesterday that history has shown that the US can be hasty in its decisions or actions. — Bernama picTun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s allies are behind the US Department of Justice’s (DOJ) lawsuit seeking to recover more than US$1 billion in assets bought with money allegedly embezzled from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak claimed.

In a blog post yesterday, the communications and multimedia minister wrote that he was made to understand that “certain people” aligned to the former prime minister had lodged complaints with the US government.

“From our understanding the action currently being taken is based on complaints made by a third party or certain people aligned to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who are not actually the aggrieved party.

“Under US law, however, class action suits are allowed and the complainant can claim locus standi merely by virtue of the fact that he or she is a Malaysian citizen,” he wrote. (more…)

Act or prepare to face street demo, MP tells IGP

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

Lim-Lip-EngStop dragging your feet or be prepared for another massive street demonstration, a DAP lawmaker has told the Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar.

Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng, speaking to reporters after lodging his “final” report against state investment fund 1MDB, hoped his complaint “would not be ignored” like his previous ones.

“No more police report on 1MDB from me because they (the police) will either take action, or they won’t,” he told reporters outside the Dang Wangi police headquarters here.

“I’m giving the Inspector-General of Police one week from today to take action against those implicated in the US Department of Justice’s (DoJ) lawsuits. (more…)

Group barred from holding Sarawak Day event in Serian

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

Policemen in riot gear stopping people from entering Taman Kommuniti, Serian, to celebrate Sarawak Day, July 22, 2016. — Picture courtesy of Peter John JabanThe Sarawak 4 Sarawakians (S4S) civil society movement was today stopped by the police from holding a Sarawak Day celebration at Taman Kommuniti in Serian, about 70km from here this morning.

About 1,000 people who were at the venue were told by the police to disperse peacefully.

“Why are they so afraid of us celebrating this special occasion?” S4S spokesperson Karen Shepherd asked.

She said Sarawak Day is a special occasion and should be celebrated by all Sarawakians.

The police barred anyone from entering the venue, just outside Serian town, by sealing it with yellow tape.

About 50 policemen in riot gear were seen telling the people to leave. (more…)

See: Don’t deviate from the significance of July 22

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 6:54 AM

Sarawakians should give Sarawak Day which is celebrated today the significance and meaning it deserves, rather than get embroiled in debating whether it should be a day of self-governance or independence

In saying this, Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How believes it would be more meaningful to celebrate the day as the birth of a civic Sarawakian nationalism, that all Sarawakians would be united and be in one voice to champion the rights and interests of Sarawak and all Sarawakians.

“We are celebrating ‘Sarawak Day’ on July 22, and for the first time this year it is declared a public holiday, hence it gives us the opportunity to give this day the significance and meaning it deserves, rather than being embroiled in debating whether it should be a day of self-governance or independence.

“To me, it will be of significance and real meaning if this can be a day for the birth of Sarawakian nationalism, that

all Sarawakians irrespective of race, religion or socio-political affiliations will be united and be in one voice to champion the rights and interests of Sarawak and all Sarawakians,” he said in a press statement yesterday. (more…)

July 21, 2016

Is Najib’s skin as thick as red granite?

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:02 PM

So, after the hullabaloo surrounding the US Department of Justice, 1MDB, Riza Aziz and Jho Low, the bottom line question remains: Will Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s position as premier be at all affected?

Najib has done quite an astounding job staying in power despite this scandal. My wife quipped, “Very many other people would have died of shame by now.”

Yet, Najib survives it all. (On an unrelated note, I learnt that cockroaches can survive an initial nuclear explosion better than humans can, but will eventually still die from radiation poisoning.)

There were rumours quite a while ago, in the earlier days of the 1MBD scandal, of an uprising within the government bureaucracy to go after Najib the legal way. (more…)

US$731m siphoned from 1MDB to ‘Malaysian Official 1’ account, says DOJ

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:02 PM

US$731 million was allegedly siphoned from Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund 1MDB into a bank account owned by the unnamed ‘Malaysian Official 1’, according to the lawsuit filed by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) yesterday.

DOJ did not name ‘Malaysian Official 1’ but described the individual as a “high-ranking official in the Malaysian government who also held a position of authority with 1MDB.”

Upon its formation, Malaysian Official 1 assumed a position of authority with 1MDB, said DOJ.

Malaysian Official 1 had the authority to approve all appointments to, and removal from, 1MDB’s board of directors and 1MDB’s senior management team.

“In addition, any financial commitments by 1MDB, including investments, that were likely to affect a guarantee given by the government of Malaysia for the benefit of 1MDB, or any policy of the Malaysian government, required the approval of Malaysian Official 1,” the court documents state. (more…)

Najib: Don’t prejudge those named in US DOJ suit

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

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak urged the public not to jump to conclusions regarding the US Justice Department’s lawsuit to seize assets linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd. — File picNajib Razak today urged the public to respect the judicial process and not jump to conclusions regarding the US Justice Department’s lawsuit to seize assets linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Najib stressed that Putrajaya viewed the matter with gravity and would extend any cooperation sought by US investigators.

However, he maintained that it would be unfair to pass judgment on the individuals identified in the lawsuit simply for being named in the filing.

“Because of that, the process must be respected. Meaning, an individual has the opportunity to defend himself or use the judicial process in court and we rightly should not jump to any conclusions so long as the process has yet to be completed,” he said after attending the FELDA Hari Raya open house at Menara FELDA today.


Mahathir: Rally, referendum the way to oust Najib

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

mahathir-najibDr Mahathir Mohamad urged the people to step up their game and exert more pressure on Prime Minister Najib Razak and his Barisan Nasional (BN) government.

He said that such actions could lead to a referendum, which may be the only way forward in ousting Najib.

“I suggest the people push for a referendum on the prime minister’s leadership. Or a peaceful rally to demand his removal,” Mahathir said, adding that referendums had worked in other countries and so should be an option to be explored.

“The people expect Najib to be removed but, unfortunately, the very agencies that are supposed to enforce the law are the ones being investigated and questioned.

“Referendums have been done in many countries and they have successfully led to the removal of their leaders. (more…)

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