Hornbill Unleashed

October 12, 2015

Will Hadi and PAS do the inconceivable to wrest seats?

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

PAS says it is mulling fielding non-Muslims in the coming state election, expected early next year.

That’s no shocker, after all it’s a free country, a democratic country so by all means do so because it is legal and proper.

Besides, isn’t politics the art of the possible? It’s where nothing is impossible. If under any normal circumstances, only normal things can happen, in politics, expect the abnormal because what can and cannot happen depends on political parties and their leaders. (more…)

90 pct local teachers by year 2018

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

Sarawak Education Department is working to reach a posting ratio of nine local teachers to one from outside the state under Initiative 90:10 by 2018.

As of September this year, the ratio in primary schools of locals to teachers from outside the state is 78:20 (20,369 locals, 5,211 from Peninsular Malaysia and 517 from Sabah and Labuan).

For secondary schools, the ratio of local teachers to those from Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Labuan is 73:25:2 (10,628 locals, 3,687 West Malaysians and 229 from Sabah and Labuan). (more…)

Borneo still BN’s as cash handouts resonate more than corruption, analysts say

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

The popularity of Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem (pictured) will even out any major shift in support for the opposition, according to a political analyst. — File picSabah and Sarawak will remain Barisan Nasional’s (BN) vote bank should elections be held now as tangible assistance like fishing nets matter more to the impoverished rural electorate than abstract issues like corruption or autonomy, analysts said.

While some urban and semi urban seats may swing in the opposition’s favour as the economy declines amid controversy surrounding state investment firm 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) that is under investigation, the rising popularity of Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem will even out any major shifts, according to pundits.

“The opposition party here still fails to strike a chord with the majority rural voters of Sabah and Sarawak. The issues they bring up are valid, but at the end of the day, bread and butter issues are what will win over their votes,” political scientist Dr Faisal Hazis told Malay Mail Online. (more…)

Art Harun : BNM can now sue 1MDB for US$5.5bn

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

art-harunBank Negara Malaysia can take a civil suit against 1Malaysia Development Bhd or its officers to get around the Attorney-General’s reluctance to prosecute the company, according to lawyer-blogger Art Harun.

Quoting the Financial Services Act, he said 1MDB or those responsible for its affairs could be punished by an amount of up to three times the amount involved in a complaint by Bank Negara.

This could be as much as US$5.5 billion, based on the figure of US$1.83 billion that Bank Negara has ordered 1MDB to repatriate to Malaysia.

He also suggested that those responsible could also go to jail for contempt of court if they failed to comply with any court orders that the Bank obtained through a civil suit. (more…)

The biggest cause of disunity

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

race, schoolThe biggest single cause of national disunity today is bad politics.

Cultural, racial and religious differences are a given in Malaysia. Our demography guarantees diversity without our having to look far or search hard to find a name, face or tongue that is distinct from our own.

A plural society has more competing interests to manage than does a homogeneous society, and it needs a different style of handling. That is another given. Malaysians may have many bad habits, but as a society, we are not particularly predisposed to conflict or aggression. For that, we need a catalytic reagent. The stream of bad politicians and bad politics provides just that. (more…)

PKR tugged between populism and principle

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

Yesterday’s meeting of the central leadership council of PKR, convened by demand of members reportedly unhappy with the alleged haste behind Pakatan Harapan’s formation, is simply a continuation of the intramural feuding within the party.

The feuding accelerated last year after the faction allied to Azmin Ali were denied the spoils of victory in the party’s internal polls in spite of having done well in the elections.

When deputy president Azmin not only comfortably retained his post in the polls and went on to become Selangor menteri besar – largely through the support of PAS – members of the group opposed to him were appointed to key posts in the hierarchy by the party’s de facto leader, Anwar Ibrahim, who had maintained a posture of dubious neutrality during the polls. (more…)

‘Judges should quit, if can’t uphold constitution on religious freedom’

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

Religious freedom for Muslims is a contentious issue in Malaysia but well-known law lecturer Azmi Sharom has no qualms defending it.

He said judges, who are mostly Muslims in the country, are terrified of being seen as bad Muslims for supporting freedom of religion.

Azmi said judges would not rule in favour of it although the Quran says there is no compulsion in religion.

“My argument is that, if you are so scared, don’t be a judge,” Azmi said to loud applause from a packed hall at the Nusantara Forum in George Town last night. (more…)

PKR wants PAS, PSM in but internal grumblings continue

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

PKR today announced that it will work to widen the membership of Pakatan Harapan, by inviting PAS, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) and Sabah and Sarawak local parties.

However, the resolution made at the emergency central leadership committee meeting today does not mean the grouses by 25 of its members over the new opposition pact’s formation has been put to rest.

On the public front, deputy president Azmin Ali told reporters after the meeting that the MPP is happy with the explanation given by party president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail(photo). (more…)

Najib: Chinese-medium schools here to stay

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

najib-sekolahChinese-medium schools are here to stay, Najib Razak said today to applause at the MCA general assembly and reiterated that multiculturalism and multilingualism was the core foundation of Malaysia.

“That’s why when certain parties said that we should abolish vernacular schools, I said this is not BN policy,” said Najib, who is Barisan Nasional chairman. “BN policies stands for multiculturalism, multilingualism and multiethnicism,” he said.

He reminded those present of the vision of the country’s forefathers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Abdul Razak, Tun Tan Cheng Lock, and Tun Sambathan. (more…)

Najib slams both Bersih 4 and Himpunan Rakyat rallies

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

Najib Razak has slammed both the Bersih 4 rally and the Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu that followed.

In his speech however, he appears to suggest that the Bersih rally on Aug 29 and 30 was the worse of the two.

“We have the ‘yellow shirt’ demonstration…and we have also the ‘red shirt’ demonstration.

“What we need to stress is that if (you) want to hold a demonstration, do it peacefully. (more…)

Don’t mess with our rights to a ‘right and proper’ education

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

Recent activity in capital cities around the globe focused on conferences and seminars that called for the elimination of poverty and for prosperity to be enjoyed by all.

But the most remarkable highlights were facts debunking the myths on poverty.

Grinding poverty worldwide is a stark reality even though affluence is reaching more people.

But the fact that billions of people are not on the Internet is a big letdown as being connected and having mobile phones are the keys to lifting people out of poverty. (more…)

Sarawak people hold the same views about Najib

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

ZAINUDDIN-maidinFormer information minister Zainuddin Maidin says the Sarawak people share the same sentiments of peninsular Malaysians towards the prime minister, Najib Razak.

He said he learned of this after a trip to Sarawak recently in which he spent five days in the interior to learn about the local people’s feelings about the Chief Minister, Adenan Satem.

“The feelings towards Najib in Sarawak are similar to the ones in the Peninsula from my observation but surely the SB (Special Branch) knows better,” he said on his blog, Zamkata in which he posted remarks he had made on his Twitter account. (more…)

AG must explain 1MDB inaction despite Bank Negara stand

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

Bank Negara issued a statement yesterday instructing 1MDB to repatriate US$18.3 billion of funds back to the country. Bank Negara politely declared that the application to investment the funds abroad were “based on inaccurate or without complete disclosure of material information”.

Therefore, the application(s) were defective, rendering prior approvals null and void.

The above instructions came a day after the Attorney-General’s (AG) Chambers disclosed that it had twice rejected Bank Negara’s recommendations for action against 1MDB after finding no wrongdoing committed by any of the state-owned firm’s officials. (more…)

Time to see through the haze and take action

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

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, haze is “an obscuration of the atmosphere … caused by an infinite number of minute particles”.

Coincidentally, it also means “a state of mental obscurity or confusion”. Malaysians have one word for it: blur.

This may well describe the situation we are in now, on both the physical and mental levels. The skies are shrouded in a grey mist, visibility is low, and the air is filled with the acrid smell of burning.

As a result, we have had to keep our children from school, flights are delayed or grounded, and everyone is smarting in the eyes or having respiratory problems. (more…)

Expectations for 2016 Budget

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

The 2016 Budget will be tabled in the Parliament on October 23, with high expectations from various industries and economic sectors in the country.

Of these, the biggest hope from Malaysians is none other than for the government to introduce effective measures to stimulate the sluggish economy and relieve the financial burden of the people.

Web users expressing their views on the prime minister’s Facebook account have voiced out such expectations. Among the key points are to reduce the GST rate and increase subsidies to ease the people’s burden. (more…)

An alumnus speaks out in defense of Chinese schools

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

Zeffrey Muhammad (not his real name) completely disagrees with calls to abolish the vernacular school system, which were made by certain parties during the 916 red-shirt rally recently.

An alumnus of SJKC Pu Nan, Zeffrey spent six years at the Chinese primary school in Bakri, Muar where he enrolled as a Standard One pupil.

“The existence of Chinese schools in Malaysia should be staunchly safeguarded, as they have been proven to produce academic excellence,” he argued.

Stressing that discipline is the utmost important lesson taught to students, Zeffrey cited one example when he was at SJKC Pu Nan, the instruction that students were not allowed to run in the school compound.

“They could only do so in the school field,” he explained.

As a Malay, Zeffrey revealed that he had also enjoyed extra attention from his teachers. But the fact is, the concern shown by teachers for students at the school cut across the board.

Once, when another student did not have enough money to purchase a dictionary, the teachers at the school called his parents to discuss the matter.

The school then agreed to buy the dictionary for the student.

Chinese schools in Malaysia use Chinese as the medium of instruction whereby students learn history, moral, science, mathematics and other subjects using the language.

The syllabus is the same with national primary schools, except for the medium of instruction.

“Some of the skills taught in Chinese schools however are based on civilisation in China. For example, I learned to use the abacus in mathematics,” said Zeffrey.

Even if national schools were to introduce Chinese and Tamil as compulsory subjects, Zeffrey believes that certain elements found in vernacular schools can never be emulated.

“The culture of hard work and discipline may not be the same. In addition, the teaching techniques may be different,” he argued.

Currently, about 15 per cent or 87,000 of non-Chinese students make up the population of the 573,000 students in Chinese primary schools across the country.

The rising number of non-Chinese students in Chinese primary schools, has also made the schools to not only cater for the Chinese community, but the entire Malaysian population.

Ironically, the topic of closing down Chinese primary schools crops up periodically, as they continue to be singled out as the stumbling block to national integration.

Zeffrey, who is married, nevertheless has no plans to send his son to a vernacular school.

With so many options available today, parents are able to choose private or international schools as well, he said.

During the 916 red-shirt rally, images of protesters holding aloft banners urging the government to abolish SJKC drew criticisms from Malaysians in general.

United Chinese School Teachers’ Association of Malaysia (Jiao Zong) president  Ong Chiow Chuen urged the government to take a serious stance against the proliferation of extreme racist remarks, and to take stern action to stop such behaviour.

“This includes those individuals and organisations that intentionally create racial conflicts in order to defend racial harmony and peace,” Ong was quoted as saying.

Looking at the situation today where racial disharmony has become more prevalent in the country, Zeffrey, who works as a government officer, is seriously considering relocating to another country in search of a better life for his family.

“I have a lot of Chinese friends, and I am deeply hurt that they are being singled out for allegedly besmirching the honour of the Malays.”

“And I worry that the situation in the country might get worse, before it gets better,” Zeffrey explained.

Back to the topic of the future of Chinese education in Malaysia, he asked, “How can you abolish Chinese schools, when they are superior in quality compared with national schools?”

Lokman Mustafa

MDB’s ‘everything is normal’ stance insults Malaysians, says Shafie Apdal

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

Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal (pic) joins Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in calling for the government to heed the call by the Conference of Rulers to expedite investigations into 1MDB. – The Malaysian Insider pic, October 10, 2015.1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is insulting the intelligence of Malaysians by reacting to criticism with the answer that things are normal because its assets exceed its debts, Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal said today.

Sacked from the Cabinet in July, the former minister is now the second Umno leader to fully back the statement by the Conference of Rulers earlier this week which called for a swift resolution to 1MDB’s alleged wrongdoing and action taken against the culprits.

Shafie in a statement said he also agreed with former deputy prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s views on the troubled government-owned investment firm. (more…)

Umno VP: Don’t insult us, bring 1MDB wrongdoers to book

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

Umno vice president Shafie Apdal today upped the ante on 1MDB by calling for legal action against those responsible for the fallout.

He says even though 1MDB is going through a debt rationalisation process, the nation is already paying the price through poor economic sentiments.

1MDB’s argument that all is well because its asset exceeds liabilities is also an “insult”, he said, since the state investment firm is unable to pay its debts.

“Although debt rationalisation is in progress, we must also never forget that because of lack of transparency and good governance. The nation is paying a heavy price. (more…)

New move, new beginning beckons for Amanah

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

When it’s time to go, it is time to go.

It would be ideal if such departures can be planned ahead of time but in most cases, circumstances are such that one would have no choice, except to leave and hope for the best.

After accepting the fact that it would be impossible to stay on, the next step would be to decide where to go.

Sometimes, there could be a period of uncertainty as deciding on how to move ahead is equally important.

There would be sacrifices to be made. Things to be left behind and new challenges to be embraced. (more…)

Pakatan Harapan membership open to PAS, PSM, and Sabah, Sarawak parties

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

The Pakatan Harapan leaders at the roundtable discussion on September 22, where the new opposition pact, comprising PKR, DAP and Parti Amanah Negara, was formally launched. Other parties are now welcomed to join the pact, says PKR. – The Malaysian Insider pic, October 11, 2015.The membership of Pakatan Harapan will be expanded to try and include PAS and even Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), PKR decided today after a special central leadership meeting tonight.

The resolution was made in a special meeting chaired by president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail at the PKR headquarters in Petaling Jaya.

Deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali read out the resolution after the two-hour meeting.

“We have made the resolution to invite PAS, PSM and also parties from Sabah and Sarawak to join us,” he said. (more…)

Najib’s only policy is to protect self, not Malaysia, says Dr Mahathir

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

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says today Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has no solutions to the woes confronting the nation. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Seth Akmal, October 10, 2015.Najib Razak is only interested in protecting himself, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, adding that Najib was not concerned about development or economic wellbeing.

The former prime minister, a former ally of Najib turned staunch critic, reiterated his criticism that the embattled leader was only interested in cash and that he was using money to gain support.

He said Najib ignored his advice that people would not support the ruling Barisan Nasional pact by giving RM500 handouts through the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) programme.

“So he doesn’t care whether this country does well or not, the ringgit goes down he doesn’t care, he said it’s normal… will come back. (more…)

G25 urges rulers to uphold checks and balances

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

We, the members of G25, a group of concerned Malaysians, would like to express our wholehearted support to the statement issued by the Council of Rulers regarding the 1MDB, in which Their Royal Highnesses urge the investigations into the management of its funds to be expedited and carried out in a manner that is transparent and fair to all concerned and that the findings be made available to the public as soon as possible.

Their Royal Highnesses have correctly emphasised on the urgency for early completion of the investigations as the delay is causing unhealthy levels of uncertainty in the country and creating opportunities for various groups using race and religion to create fear and anxiety among the races.

All these tensions are having an adverse impact on political stability in the country, and causing the ringgit to decline beyond the country’s economic fundamentals, thereby dampening the investment climate and the growth prospects in the economy. (more…)

Sarawakians want Mahdzir barred from the state

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

Who is more “dangerous” to Sarawak?

Is he the DAP Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara Tony Pua who wanted  the  1MDB scandal to be investigated or Mahdzir Khalid, the Umno leader who spouted racist words?

Pua, who is DAP publicity secretary, was barred from entering Sarawak on 25 September 2015 for his criticisms of the debt-ridden state investment firm 1MDB and for wanting the scandal investigated.

On the other hand, Mahdzir, an Umno leader and Education Minister was reported to have blamed the Christians and Jews for the spilt among the Malays. (more…)

October 11, 2015

S4S: Don’t sign for the wrong group

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

Tan (right) and Peter show the petition booklet at the press conference.The Sarawak for Sarawakians (S4S) movement, which is running its three-month petition drive for the state government to enact a Referendum Act aimed at safeguarding the rights of Sarawak, has cautioned the general public from signing the petitions with the wrong group.

According to its spokesperson KC Tan, other groups were also carrying out their own self-motivated petitions – a situation that had been creating confusion among the public.

“When they (other groups) go out to collect petitions, the public will be confused as to who they are and what their signatures are for,” Tan told a press conference yesterday.

He said S4S volunteers who were collecting signatures from the public would show the official S4S petition identification card and provide all the information with regard to the petition. (more…)

No-confidence move against Najib gathers pace

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

It’s almost certain that a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Najib Razak will be tabled when Parliament re-sits on Oct 19 for its budget session.

This is in spite of speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia’s captivity to BN interests.

Even one as partial to BN as he cannot ignore that when the Conference of Rulers has deigned to speak on the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) affair, the matter and its tumultuous saga cannot be quelled by a ruling that it is not of urgent and public importance.

He has to allow the motion to be tabled; the question remains as to who should table it – would-be dissidents within BN or the opposition leader. (more…)

Checkmate, Najib?

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

In my article on Thursday, I mentioned that the decree by the Conference of Rulers should be followed up with a royal commission of inquiry (RCI).

This is because besides the brutal murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shariibuu and her alleged connections with the purchase of two Scorpene submarines, the majority of Malaysians are serious about knowing the truth behind 1MDB.

If it is true that the 1MDB has borrowed RM42 billion, and the money has disappeared, it concerns all of us as well as the future generations of Malaysians who may have to pay the loans.

Government lands sold to 1MDB at subsidised price do not constitute what should be an answer as to where the borrowed money has gone to. (more…)

Cancel 1MDB’s financial licences, Rafizi tells Bank Negara

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

Bank Negara should cancel all of 1MDB’s financial licences if the attorney-general continues to refuse prosecuting the company.

PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli said Bank Negara should do this in order to solve all the financial problems 1MDB is currently plagued with.

Bank Negara, he added, should also cancel all permits and approvals of fund transfers that had been given to the company and to reject such applications in the future.

“If the Attorney-General’s Chambers refuses to use its power to prosecute 1MDB as suggested by Bank Negara, then Bank Negara should use other means to ensure that 1MDB’s problems do not prolong which will have an effect on the country’s economy,” he said in a statement today. (more…)

Leaked TPPA document reveals ‘catch’ for biologics

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

Although International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed indicated that Malaysia will only be providing a five-year data exclusivity period for biologics under the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), a purportedly leaked document reveals that other measures are needed as well.

The ‘other measures’ required are not explicitly spelled out in TPPA and presumably is up to each country to decide, but must “deliver comparable outcome in the market” versus an eight-year protection.

“They (biologics) are a growing share of medicines and can cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars per patient per year, and are often needed for a lifetime.

“This is unaffordable even for the US government. The Obama administration has repeatedly proposed in its budget reducing its current 12 years of biologics exclusivity to seven years,” said an analysis report of the leaked TPPA intellectual property chapter. (more…)

Leaked document: M’sian farmers to lose out under TPPA deal

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

Seed companies would supposedly gain more rights over farmers under new rules that Malaysia would have to ratify in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), according to two international NGOs.

Among others, this would bar farmers from exchanging seeds with one another, according to a report by the US-based group Public Citizen and Penang-based Third World Network (TWN).

“(The) International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants 1991 (UPOV 91) stops farmers from exchanging their seed, which is inconsistent with the practices of farmers in many developing nations, where seeds are exchanged for purposes of crop and variety rotation […] (more…)

‘Minutes of board meeting proves 1MDB’s Arul a liar’

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

Sarawak Report has furnished documents which the whistleblower website described as evidence that 1MDB president and executive director Arul Kanda is allegedly a “liar”.

This is in relation to his claim about “cash in the bank” at BSI Bank in Singapore.

Citing the purported minutes of a 1MDB board meeting which it obtained and published on the website, Sarawak Report claimed it proved Arul’s statement was not an “unfortunate miscommunication”, but part of a “deliberate strategy of misinformation”.

“In other words, it was a barefaced and extended lie,” said Sarawak Report in a statement emailed to Malaysiakini by its founder Clare Rewcastle Brown (left). (more…)

1MDB’s Arul confirms Sarawak Report expose, but explains miscommunication

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

1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) president and group executive director Arul Kanda Kandasamy denies a claim by whistleblower website Sarawak Report that he lied over cash funds redeemed from an overseas investment. – Reuters pic, October 10, 2015.1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) boss Arul Kanda Kandasamy today confirmed that Sarawak Report’s latest expose had been based on authentic minutes of the troubled firm’s board meetings, but denied the website’s claim that he was a liar over cash that was redeemed from an overseas investment.

Instead, the firm’s president and group executive director said there had been a misunderstanding which he then clarified to the board and 1MDB’s shareholder, the Finance Ministry.

Confirming that a copy of the troubled firm’s January 12 board meeting minutes had been used in the latest Sarawak Report expose, Arul Kanda said his knowledge of the redeemed funds then was based on his “understanding of events which had occurred before my time, that the redemption of fund units happened in cash for an amount of US$940 million”. (more…)

1MDB has assets abroad, so why the excuses?

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

Despite 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) indicating that it is unable to repatriate US$1.83 billion in funds, DAP parliamentarian Tony Pua believes the company has the assets to do so.

“1MDB has the assets to repatriate US$1.83 billion and must do so immediately to comply with the Bank Negara Malaysia directive,” he said in a statement today.

1MDB was ordered to repatriate the funds after Bank Negara revoked three permissions granted to 1MDB under the Exchange Control Act 1953 (ECA) for investments abroad, totalling US$1.83 billion (about RM7.5 billion at the current exchange rate).

Pua however said 1MDB does not seem to understand that Bank Negara has issued a direct order to execute the repatriation of funds, and is no longer merely seeking an explanation. (more…)

Judgment for PI’s widow in RM2 million suit defective in law, says senior lawyer

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

Altantuya Shaariibuu’s murder in 2006 has embroiled the prime minister and several high-profile individuals. A senior lawyer and his son now claim that a suit filed by a key witness in Altantuya’s murder trial is defective. – Al Jazeera pic, October 10, 2015.Senior lawyer Tan Sri Cecil Abraham and his son Sunil have claimed that the Court of Appeal order restoring the suit brought by the widow of a key witness in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder trial is defective in law.Their counsel, Rishwant Singh, in an October 5 letter to Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif said it was his duty as officer of the court to bring up the matter so that the mistake was rectified.

Rishwant held a watching brief for Cecil and Sunil on October 2 when the Court of Appeal restored the RM2 million suit brought by A. Santamil Selvi for losses suffered during the family’s five-year exile in India.

Respondent, carpet dealer Deepak Jaikishan, who represented himself, told the judges that he wished to concede his stand on this case. (more…)

Sosma is becoming the new ISA

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

The Malaysian Bar is outraged over the detention of Matthias Chang – a member of the Malaysian Bar and one of the lawyers representing Khairuddin Abu Hassan, a politician and vocal critic of 1MDB – under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).

The detention is reportedly for investigations into allegations of having committed offences under Sections 124K (sabotage) and Section 124L (attempt to commit sabotage), both under the Penal Code.

Chang was arrested by the police on Thursday after visiting his client, who is currently being detained at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters. It has been reported that Chang is now to be detained for up to 28 days. (more…)

1MDB boss confirms Sarawak Report docs authentic, denies lying

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

1MDB president and executive director Arul Kanda has confirmed the minutes of a 1MDB board meeting published by Sarawak Report to be authentic.

“[…] I can confirm that, in this particular case, it (Sarawak Report) appears to have published an authentic 1MDB document, namely minutes of a Jan 12, 2015 board meeting,” he said in an email to Malaysiakini.

Arul revealed this was the first 1MDB board meeting he attended; a week after he joined the company on Jan 5.

Responding to the whistleblower website which described the minutes as evidence that Arul was a “liar”, the 1MBD boss begged to differ. (more…)

MDB confirms Bank Negara directives, says RM7.5 billion used to clear debts

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

1MDB says the US$1.83 billion has either been spent or earmarked for debt settlement arrangements. – AFP filepic, October 9, 2015.1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) said tonight it had already used the US$1.83 billion (RM7.53 billion) it invested abroad to reduce its debts, in response to Bank Negara Malaysia’s order for it to repatriate the funds

Confirming the central bank’s statement earlier today on the revocation of three permissions granted, the government-owned investment firm said these were issued by Bank Negara between 2009 and 2011 for 1MDB to make overseas investments.

“It is pertinent to highlight that those permissions, when granted, had no requirement for funds to be repatriated. Further, the use of those funds have been described in detail in the notes to 1MDB’s publicly available financial statements dated March 31, 2009 to March 31, 2014,” the firm said in a statement tonight. (more…)

TPPA leak shows poor nations may be deprived of key medication

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

A purportedly leaked Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) chapter has revealed that negotiators have abandoned a previous proposal of giving preferential treatment to developing countries until they reach high-income status.

Instead, some countries are given a transition period that varies from country-by-country, with wealthier countries not getting such leniencies at all.

However, the US-based NGO Public Citizen argued that the transition periods are too short, and could deprive poorer countries of life-saving medication.
“The periods are too short to expect that countries will be substantially more able to absorb the rules’ impact than they are today. (more…)

Zahid slams BN leaders who provoke on 1MDB

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

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi slammed Barisan Nasional (BN) party leaders for creating provocations which could cause the public to question the credibility of enforcement agencies in carrying out their duties relating to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) issue.

He said provocative statements should not be made to depict enforcement agencies as not taking immediate action to complete the investigations and start early prosecution.

“The integrity of the statement by the Rulers’ Council should not be misused as an attempt to save the party and government,” he said in a media statement which was distributed to Malaysian journalists covering his working visit in Washington DC, US, yesterday. (more…)

Dr M: Rulers Council not meddling but airing people’s views

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

The Malay rulers were only airing the people’s concerns when they issued a statement on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad therefore believes that the rulers did not interfere in the government’s affairs and were merely responding to public dissatisfaction with the probe into the company owned by the Ministry of Finance.

“That’s why the Malay rulers requested the government to answer the questions raised by the people.

“The Malay rulers gave their views and this does not mean they are interfering with government’s administration, but when the people ask their rulers through demonstrations and others because they are not getting the response from the government, they request their rulers to state their dissatisfaction towards the government,” he was quoted by The Malaysian Insider. (more…)

Delegates zoom in on RM2.6b, warn Najib of Nixon’s fate

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

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s RM2.6 billion imbroglio became one of the focal points of the MCA Youth annual general meeting today.

One delegate said if the prime minister does not come clean on the matter, Malaysia could witness a Watergate scandal, which forced US president Richard Nixon to step down, taking place here.

Another delegate said the MCA leadership would quit the Cabinet if Najib is found to have committed any wrongdoing.

Kepong representative Tan Hock Guan said the people are confused by Najib’s contradictory statements on the RM2.6 billion. (more…)

Print million copies of rulers’ stand for distribution, info dept told

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

An opposition leader has urged the Information Department to print a million copies of the Conference of Rulers’ concern about 1MDB, rule of law and national unity, to be distributed to the public nationwide.

DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang said the government and Malaysians should support the rulers with regard to their statement.

“The statement highlighted three national issues which haunt and hound thinking and patriotic Malaysians who want to save Malaysia from hurtling down the slippery slope towards a rogue state.

“For a start, to save Malaysia and support the rulers’ statement, the Information Department should print a million copies of the statement on Oct 6 on their concerns for mass distribution to the public throughout the country. (more…)

Who is standing behind Najib?

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

The recent statement by the Conference of Rulers calling for a full investigation into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) financial scandal without any cover-up reveals a crack in the relationship between the Umno government and the Malay rulers.

The last time there was this much tension in the air between the Malay rulers and the Umno-led government was when former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad sought to remove the legal immunity of the Malay rulers under the constitution and succeeded in 1993.

As Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been alleged to be one of the main players in the financial scandal, which has gripped the nation since its expose, it is obvious the rulers have decided that it is time they stood up for the rakyat.

Najib is alleged to have received RM2.6 billion of  1MDB funds in his personal bank accounts. (more…)

1MDB unable to repatriate US$1.83b ordered by Bank Negara

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

1MDB has indicated that it would be unable to repatriate US$1.83 billion in funds as demanded by Bank Negara.

This is because the funds have either been spent or earmarked for a debt transfer.

“The overseas investments of US$1.83 billion relates to historic equity and murabaha loan investments in a joint venture with PetroSaudi in 2009 – 2011, that was eventually converted in September 2012 into fund units valued at US$2.318 billion.

“As previously explained by 1MDB to Bank Negara, this sum of US$2.318 billion has been redeemed in 2014 and 2015, with proceeds being substantially utilised. (more…)

Dr Mahathir questions if Najib behind A-G’s clearance of 1MDB

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

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad raises doubts following the attorney-general's decision to clear 1MDB of false disclosure. – The Malaysian Insider filepic, October 9, 2015.The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) is not being transparent in clearing state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) of making false disclosures, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today, and asked if the prime minister was behind the decision.

Writing in his blog this evening, the former prime minister also said the attorney-general (A-G) now appeared to be acting “higher” than a judge by deeming Bank Negara’s probe into 1MDB as having no grounds for charges to be framed.

“It would seem that the A-G has made the judgement, rejecting the case as having no merit for a hearing in a court of law. And when an appeal is made, the appeal is dismissed by him on grounds which are not clear. There is a lack of transparency here,” Dr Mahathir wrote. (more…)

Activist’s 6-day remand to probe a tweet excessive, says NGO

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

An anti-Sedition Act NGO has slammed the continued detention of activist Khalid Mohd Ismath over a Twitter posting, saying it is excessive and unnecessary.

“Gerakan Hapus Akta Hasutan (GHAH) urges Khalid to be released immediately.

“The (total six day) remand […] is not justified if the aim is merely to investigate one comment made in the social media.

“The police should not waste their time investigating this trivial matter, while crime that continues to rise by the day deserves most of their attention,” said the group in a statement today. (more…)

Education Ministry to take action, following Orang Asli pupils’ tragedy

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

Following the tragedy that befell the seven Orang Asli students in Gua Musang, the Education Ministry will set up a special committee to look into various aspects involving Orang Asli children who stayed in its hostels.

Education director-general Khair Mohamad Yusof said the committee would include various parties and agencies and would look at development, safety, welfare, and health aspects of the hostels.

He said the committee would be chaired by the deputy director-general of education (education operations sector). (more…)

Ask Umno on TPPA, not DAP, Ibrahim told

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

Perkasa’s Ibrahim Ali should be questioning Umno on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) instead of DAP, said the party’s national assistant publicity secretary Zairil Khir Johari.

“Instead of dragging DAP into racial polemics, Ibrahim Ali should ask for a more detailed and transparent explanation from the Umno government,” Zairil said in a statement today.

The minister in charge of the TPPA is International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed and as such, he would know more about the contents of the TPPA, he added.

He also reminded that the ruling Umno government will be the one to give its final approval to the agreement, not DAP. (more…)

Minister: Dr M wrong on ‘pariah’ charge, we follow rules

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

Communications and Multimedia Minister Mohd Salleh Said Keruak has dismissed Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s claim that Malaysia has become a “pariah” state because the law is abused to cover up the 1MDB case.

The minister argued that the authorities do not act according to their whim and fancy.

“This allegation (by Mahathir) is baseless, whatever we (the government) do is in accordance with the rules.

“When an individual is arrested under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma), there is basis. We don’t simply take action as we like,” Salleh told reporters in Putrajaya. (more…)

TPPA unlikely to be tabled this parliament sitting

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

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) document may not be tabled in the Parliament this year because of time constraints.

Second International Trade and Industry Minister Ong Ka Chuan said the coming Dewan Rakyat sitting, which would start on Oct 19, would focus on the tabling and passing of Budget 2016.

“It is rather challenging to try to bring it to the Parliament this year but we will try. However, we need to discuss first with the Dewan Rakyat speaker (Pandikar Amin Mulia) on this.

“After all, we need to familiarise people with TPPA first because many are still confused,” Ong (photo) told reporters after opening the 40th Wanita MCA annual general assembly in Kuala Lumpur today. (more…)

1MDB not main focus of FBI probe, says Zahid

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

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the issue of 1MDB was not a major focus of a probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

“Maybe the issue is big as it is shouted about in the country (Malaysia) because in our country it is used as a political issue,” said Ahmad Zahid to Malaysian journalists in Washington DC on Friday.

Ahmad Zahid, who is on a working visit to the administrative centre of the United States (U.S.) said 1MDB was not raised at all during his meeting with US Secretary of State Johy Kerry and also in discussions with senior FBI officers.

“Nothing on 1MDB was raised by the FBI or John Kerry or any party that I met when I was in Washington,” he said when asked on media reports that the FBI had started their investigation on 1MDB. (more…)

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