US now moves criminal investigation into 1MDB funds

Source: FMT News

DoJ has asked a court in Los Angeles to put on hold its civil forfeiture lawsuits against Jho Low.

Image drawn from FMT News

LOS ANGELES: The US is conducting a criminal investigation into money stolen from 1MDB that allegedly was used to buy more than US$1 billion in real estate and other assets.

Court filings by the Department of Justice (DoJ) Thursday show the US is escalating its probe in a worldwide effort to track how much of the money that was raised by 1MDB for development projects was used to pay for luxury real estate, art, film productions and more.

DoJ officials asked a judge in Los Angeles to put on hold civil forfeiture lawsuits against assets acquired by Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, because pursuing these may have “an adverse effect” on its ability to conduct the criminal investigation.

In its civil cases, the US has alleged that from 2009 through 2015, more than US$4.5 billion belonging to 1MDB was diverted by high-level officials of the fund and their associates.

An FBI agent warned in a court filing that information disclosed in the civil cases may reveal “potential targets and subjects of the investigation and the investigative techniques that have been and will be used in the investigation.”

“Such disclosures could result in the destruction of evidence, flight of potential subjects and targets, or the identification and intimidation of potential witnesses,” according to the agent’s declaration. Read more

PAS to moot more changes to marriage amendment Bill before it reaches senate

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 11 — PAS will moot further changes to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act amendments that have been passed by the Dewan Rakyat recently.

PAS information chief Nasrudin Hassan said that this will be done before the Bill reaches the senate.

He said in a statement that PAS will arrange to meet Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman to discuss the proposed amendments which would “protect Islam and its followers”.

The amendments, known as Act 164 was passed by Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday despite controversy surrounding Putrajaya’s decision to remove an earlier clause in the Bill that prevents unilateral conversion.

PAS were among the parties that demanded that the clause on unilateral conversion be removed from the Bill, but also wanted further amendments in the interest of Islam. Read more

Changes in laws is lasting solution to unilateral conversion, say lawyers

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: Kindergarten teacher M Indira Gandhi and spouses in similar predicament will have to wait for a Federal Court ruling whether a parent can unilaterally convert their children, family law practitioners said.

They, however, said it was still desirable in the long term for parliament to amend the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act (LRA) to stop such conversion when a spouse becomes a Muslim.

The lawyers said an apex court ruling could be departed from by another bench later and the conversion issue would recur.

Lawyer Balwant Singh Sidhu said if the Federal Court in Indira’s appeal correctly decided the interpretation of Article 12(4) of the Federal Constitution, then an amendment to section 88 might not be necessary.

Indira’s lawyer have argued that the consent of both parents are needed when a spouse converts the children of a civil marriage to Islam. Read more

Arifin should explain why he chose Raus as chief justice, says former A-G

Source: The Malaysian Insight

FORMER chief justice Arifin Zakaria’s decision to name Raus Sharif as his successor should be put under intense public scrutiny because it has set the stage for the biggest judicial crisis in 30 years, former attorney-general Abu Talib Othman said.

Abu Talib said Arifin had to explain why he nominated Raus, especially now that the latter had passed the mandatory retirement age of 66 years and six months.

“He should come out and tell the public because it is a controversy now. And it is a matter of great public importance. He should come out and explain.

“Is he of the opinion that all the other judges who have proven to be very competent and fiercely independent in the exercise of judicial functions are not competent to be the chief justice?” Abu Talib told The Malaysian Insight.

The former A-G, now 79, also questioned the manner in which Arifin stalled his announcement to right before he officially retired. Read more

Amend constitution clause on ‘parent’ to fix interfaith custody tussle, Putrajaya urged

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail –File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 11 — The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) called on the federal government to commit itself to recognise the right of both parents amid a continuing controversy over interfaith child custody conflicts in the country.

Its chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail expressed the commission’s regret over the withdrawal of a key clause in the government’s amendment of the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act that he said would have been the ideal solution to ban the unilateral conversion of children.

“Suhakam calls on the Government to commit firmly to this issue and to recognise the importance of both parents to have equal parental rights and authority in relation to the religion, custody and upbringing of their children, considering the principle of the best interest of the child.

“Suhakam believes that the remedy lies in an amendment to Article 12(4) of the Federal Constitution,” Razali said in a statement. Read more

Unilateral conversion: Equal parental rights must be upheld

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: The government should recognise the importance of both parents having equal parental rights regarding the religion of their children, says the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia(Suhakam).

In a statement today, the independent statutory body expressed its disappointment over the decision to withdraw a provision in the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment) Bill 2016, which would have been an effective solution to the unilateral religious conversion of minors by a parent.

“It is our view that the amendment would have resolved interfaith custody conflicts between Muslim and non-Muslim parents, and established coherent standards for reconciling the principle of the best interests of the child with the constitutional rights of parents in the exercise of the right to freedom of religion,” said Suhakam chairman Razali Ismail.

The bill in question had included a new provision in regard to the religion of the child, with Section 88A(1) stating that if a parent converts to Islam, the religion of the children remains the same unless both parents agree to the conversion of their children. Read more