Yes, 1MDB showed failings, lapses in governance, says Najib

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Picture of najib

Picture drawn from Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Razak today issued a frank admission of 1MDB’s failure, adding that there had been “valid cause for concern” over the state company’s affairs which have triggered investigations in several parts of the world.

“Now, I am not going to brush over this issue. There were indeed failings at the company, there were lapses in governance,” Najib told some 1,000 people at the Invest Malaysia 2018 conference today.

But Najib said the 1MDB issue had been politically exploited, adding that there was “a concentrated campaign” to sabotage the Malaysian economy.

He said the government was aware of 1MDB’s failings, which was why it had launched an investigation involving multiple authorities.

“Their findings were taken on board – and the company’s board was dissolved, its management team changed, and its operations reviewed,” he said.

1MDB was created by the government to promote long-term economic development for the benefit of the Malaysian people.

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Court frees Zaid Ibrahim of offensive blog posting charge

Source: The Malay Online

Picture of zaid ibrahim

Three years ago, Zaid was charged under Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA) under which stipulates that another person who was annoyed had to be called to give evidence. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 11 ― DAP member Datuk Zaid Ibrahim was today acquitted by the Cyber Court over an allegedly offensive blog post he made in 2015.

Justice Zaman Mohd Noor who made the ruling, said the prosecution failed to prove a prima facie case.

“The prosecution failed to sufficiently establish the case as there is a need to call the victim, [to ask] whether he is annoyed and how he felt. “Therefore the accused is released,” he said.

Three years ago, Zaid was charged under Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA) under which stipulates that another person who was annoyed had to be called to give evidence, which in this case would be the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. Read more

DAP slams Najib’s silence on human rights

Source: Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: A DAP MP today questioned Prime Minister Najib Razak’s silence on International Human Rights Day, accusing his administration of locking up those who defend human rights instead.

Contrasting Najib’s silence on the matter with his strong words during the recent Umno general assembly, Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto asked why Najib had not been as vocal on strengthening fundamental liberties in the country.

“Instead, his administration is progressively locking up defenders of human rights.

“Prime Minister Najib Razak’s absent International Human Rights Day message on Dec 10 is a clear indication that threats against fundamental civil liberties and human rights in Malaysia will continue to escalate by the 14th general election (GE14),” she said in a statement. Read more

Bar, Zaid, Khairuddin lose case against AG ‘failing to prosecute’ Najib

Source: FMT News 

PUTRAJAYA: The 18-month battle by the Malaysian Bar and two government critics to review the prosecutorial power of the attorney-general (AG) in refusing to frame charges agains Prime Minister Najib Razak over the RM2.6 billion donation has come to an end.

The Federal Court, in dismissing their leave applications, today affirmed the findings of the High Court last year that the A-G’s discretion could not be questioned.

A three-man bench chaired by Chief Justice Raus Sharif said the issue was settled following a series of past cases. Read more

CJ declines to recuse himself in historic application by Bar, two others

Source: FMT News 

PUTRAJAYA: No one in Malaysia’s legal history has ever applied for a chief justice to recuse himself from hearing a case – until today.

The Malaysian Bar and two government critics today applied to disqualify Chief Justice Raus Sharif from hearing their leave applications in their case against the attorney-general’s failure to prosecute Prime Minister Najib Razak over the RM2.6 billion donation.

However, the three-man bench of the Federal Court, chaired by Raus himself, dismissed the application, saying there was no merit to the case.

“However, rest assured that any decision will be made with two others based on facts and law,” he told lawyers for the applicants.

Others on the bench were justices Ahmad Maarop and Azahar Mohamed. Read more

Najib’s fear campaign — Bridget Welsh

Source: New Mandala

The Malaysian Prime Minister’s ruthless tactics to hold onto power at all costs demonstrate that he is the one who is most afraid while his people are willing to fight on, Bridget Welsh writes.

bersih

Picture taken from New Mandala

This week Najib Tun Razak is beating the Malay chauvinist drum at his party’s annual general assembly (AGM). Meetings of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) have regularly followed this mode, but the use of racism and paranoia have taken on greater intensity in the face of its leader’s eroding political legitimacy.

For the past two years, Malaysia’s Prime Minister has been beleaguered by the 1MDB scandal that has involved not only nearly $700 million going into Najib’s personal account but also raised issues of criminal money laundering, embezzlement and economic mismanagement involving over $3.5 billion. The case is being investigated and prosecuted in over six jurisdictions, most notably by the US Department of Justice.  The scandal featured centre stage in last month’s Bersih 5 rally in which thousands went to the streets to protest corruption, economic mismanagement and systematic inequalities in the electoral process.

Despite public discontent, Najib has adeptly used a variety of tactics to stay in power, which is crucial if he is to avoid international prosecution. The most obvious of these involves a crackdown on political opponents. Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was jailed in 2015. Since then more than 10 opposition politicians have faced a variety of charges from sedition to challenges to ‘parliamentary democracy’. Last month whistleblower and parliamentarian, Rafizi Ramli, was convicted of violating the Official Secrets Act for releasing evidence associated with 1MDB. This week’s UMNO meeting has called for continued no-holds barred attacks on the opposition. Read more

We won our independence on the streets, says Bersih Chairman

Source: The Sundaily

Bersih 2.0’s chairman Maria Chin Abdullah— Picture by Saw Siow Feng, taken from Malay Mail Online.

Bersih 2.0’s chairman Maria Chin Abdullah— Picture by Saw Siow Feng, taken from Malay Mail Online.

PETALING JAYA: Hours after Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said street demonstrations are not part of the Malaysian culture, Maria Chin Abdullah (pix) reminded everyone that it was through that means that the country gained independence.

The Bersih 2.0 chairman even suggested to the Prime Minister that Umno would not have survived today if it had not gone out to the streets to demonstrate.

“Street demonstrations have always been our culture. If you even remember how we won our independence, we were on the streets.

“Right from the beginning of our history. It is part of our right to dissent,” she told a press conference, here, today.

“We wanted to show them (British) at that time that we wanted change, and now to show to the government that people are serious about it,” she added.

Maria said she was also confident that the turnout for the Bersih 5 rally tomorrow would be huge, despite the threats hurled by Datuk Seri Jamal Yunos and his Red Shirts. Read more

Malaysian Bar to appeal against dismissal of judicial review bid on AG’s powers

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Bar Council president Steven Thiru say the Bar has decided to appeal against the High Court ruling because it is a ‘significant case’. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

Bar Council president Steven Thiru say the Bar has decided to appeal against the High Court ruling because it is a ‘significant case’. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 — The Malaysian Bar will appeal the High Court’s decision to dismiss the Bar’s judicial review bid on the Attorney-General’s powers, its president Steven Thiru said today.

In a statement, Steven said that Bar has decided to appeal against the High Court ruling because it is a “significant case”, and also because no instrumentality of the government should be above the law.

On November 11, the High Court refused to grant leave for the judicial review proceedings on grounds that the AG’s actions, covered by Article 145 of the Federal Constitution, was “not justiciable” and thus cannot be reviewed by a court of law.

The Malaysian Bar had sought for the judicial review along with former de-facto law minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim and former Umno leader Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan, regarding A-G Tan Sri Apandi Ali’s decision on January 26 this year to close investigation on the RM 2.6 billion donation into Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s accounts and also not to prosecute Najib in the case. Read more

High Court throws out bids to challenge AG’s ruling not to prosecute PM

Source: The Malay Mail Online

The High Court rejected the leave applications to challenge the AG's decision filed by Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan and the Malaysian Bar. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

The High Court rejected the leave applications to challenge the AG’s decision filed by Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan and the Malaysian Bar. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 — The High Court today dismissed three leave applications for a judicial review to challenge the Attorney-General’s decision to close investigations on the transfer of a RM2.6 billion donation and funds from SRC International Sdn Bhd to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s account and not to prosecute him over the issue.

Judge Datuk Hanipah Farikullah rejected the leave applications to challenge Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali’s decision filed by former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, former Batu Kawan Umno vice head Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan and the Malaysian Bar.

Senior Federal Counsel Datuk Amarjeet Singh told reporters that the judge, who made the decision in chambers, ruled that the AG had absolute discretion under Article 145 of Federal Constitution on prosecution and that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter.

“The court has no jurisdiction on such matters and the court accepted the AG’s explanation in his affidavit that the decision to close the file was an administrative decision.

“Therefore, the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) is free to open and investigate on new evidence and facts received by them on the issue of the donation and SRC,” he said. Read more

Malaysia’s Growing Crackdown on Dissent

Source: The Diplomat

A new report sheds light on a disturbing trend.

Prosecutors in the United States have filed civil lawsuits in July 2016 alleging that more than $3.5 billion was defrauded from 1MDB. Pic taken from FMT News.

Prosecutors in the United States had filed civil lawsuits in July 2016 alleging that more than $3.5 billion was defrauded from 1MDB. Pic taken from FMT News.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and his government have come under fire for the jailing of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and a crackdown on dissent, particularly the pro-democracy movement Bersih.

But a 40-page report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) found the Malaysian government has spread prosecutions of peaceful speech over the last 12-months beyond activists and politicians to ordinary citizens on social media.

“Criminalizing peaceful speech appears part of the Malaysian government’s larger effort to tighten the noose on anyone expressing political discontent,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

“The authorities should cease prosecuting people for criticism or perceived ‘insults,’ and the government should urgently revise its laws to meet international free expression standards.”

The report, Deepening the Culture of Fear: The Criminalization of Peaceful Expression in Malaysia, documents the government’s use of broad, vaguely worded laws to criminalize peaceful speech and assembly.

It said the government had sought to punish individuals who criticized Najib’s administration, particularly in regards to a massive corruption scandal involving the government-owned 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Read more