Monday, August 14, 2017

UMNO Sec-Gen Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor should learn that while perception problems are often fixable, facts on the other hand, can’t be faked

UMNO secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said that Barisan Nasional must counter the perception created by the Opposition on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to win back the state, said.

He claimed the 1MDB issue had been solved, and UMNO now must fix the wrong perception that the Opposition had created.

"The 1MDB issue has been solved. The bad perception was created (by the opposition) to confuse the voters. So, Umno has to step in to clear the confusion," he said after opening the Petaling Jaya Utara UMNO division meeting yesterday morning.

If only UMNO and BN’s problems in Selangor were merely as simple as “perception”.  Indeed, if that was the only problem with 1MDB, it would have been extremely easy to fix.

The challenge for UMNO-BN, if Tengku Adnan hasn’t realised by now, isn’t a mere problem of perception.  It is the problem that their attempts fake facts have gained no traction, especially in Selangor where the thinking electorate do not fall, hook, line and sinker for BN’s lies.

The people of Selangor, what more in Petaling Jaya Utara, can see with their own eyes not how the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak and 1MDB is hiding themselves from “sensitive” questions about the RM50 billion monster scandal.

Why else would the Speaker of Parliament reject nearly all questions with regards to 1MDB even as innocuous as seeking to know the current value of 1MDB’s ‘unit’ investments previously held with the now-defunct BSI Bank in Singapore?

Why else would the Prime Minister not answer as to why is it that the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Apandi Ali claimed that the charges laid out in the United States Department of Justice (US DOJ) were “politically motivated”?

It also isn’t a question of perception when 1MDB repeatedly failed to fulfil its obligations to repay its agreed instalment to Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC) amounting to billions of ringgit.

The people of Selangor are not so dumb as to not be able to see the fact 1MDB has suffered billions of ringgit of losses, as a result of a kleptocratic BN administration which will lead to Malaysians footing the RM42 billion 1MDB bill.

They can read between the lines when the Prime Minister failed to deny or explain the US$732 million which were deposited into his personal bank account in Ambank since the US DOJ exposed that the funds originated from 1MDB.  They can also deduce intelligently when his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, failed to explain or deny her acquisition of a US$27.3 million 22-carat pink diamond ring/necklace after the latest allegations by the DOJ.

Hence the biggest problem the BN administration faces isn’t a question of perception.  The biggest 1MDB problem facing BN is the people are staring at the bare indisputable facts which the BN leaders are only trying to sweep under the carpet.

Most importantly, we are confident that the people of Selangor will support the Pakatan Harapan coalition comprising of Bersatu, Amanah, PKR and DAP and reject all other parties who fail to crusade against the single largest case of robbery and kleptocracy in the history of Malaysia.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Arul Kanda’s disastrous record at 1MDB makes him the least qualified to take over the reigns of Khazanah Nasional

Malaysians were shocked to read the report by The Malaysian Insight on Thursday that Arul Kanda is one of the candidates being considered for the post of Managing Director of Khazanah Nasional.
The online portal reported that “a selection panel has been formed to look through the candidates who can take over from Azman (Mokhtar) whose contract expires in two years” and Arul Kanda is one of two outsiders being considered.

After the disastrous and disgraceful record at the debt-ridden 1MDB since his appointment in January 2015, Arul Kanda should be automatically disqualified from even consideration at the country’s sovereign wealth fund.

The latest catastrophe is the failure of 1MDB to fulfil its settlement obligations with Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC) in a timely matter.  Despite claiming since April 24 this year that its repayment to IPIC would be fulfilled via the “monetization” of 1MDB’s investment ‘units’ last known to be held in Singapore, IPIC had to twice extend the deadline for the first instalment payment scheduled on 31 July 2017.

1MDB has since managed to pay the “equivalent” of US$350 million on 11 August and would have up to 31 August to settle the balance of US$300 million.  However, even the above partial payment of the first instalment is shrouded in mystery as it is clear that the 1MDB ‘units’ have not been monetized while the source of the 1MDB funds were unclear.

In addition, Arul Kanda has botched the so-called rationalisation with the original attempt to sell 60% of Bandar Malaysia to the Iskandar Waterfront Holdings (IWH) Sdn Bhd-led consortium.  Despite 1MDB having collected 10% of the sale amounting to RM741 million as “deposit”, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) had to terminate the contract due to IWH’s repeated failure to fulfil its obligations, it was MoF which had to refund the RM741 million “deposit” to the purchaser.

However, the worst deed of Arul Kanda has been to repeatedly lie to the Auditor-General, the Public Accounts Committee and Malaysians in general, to cover up the 1MDB scandal to ensure that those behind the multi-billion dollar misappropriation in the company would be let off scotfree.

For example, Arul Kanda is fully aware that 1MDB’s investment ‘units’ previously held at the now defunct BSI Bank, Singapore are fraudulent and more importantly are worth at best a tiny fraction of their purported US$2.318 billion in valuation.  The fraud has been uncovered by the United States Department of Justice, as reported in the additional civil suit filed in June this year.

However, despite having access to all the material documents and information, Arul Kanda has continued the pretence that 1MDB had already redeemed some US$1.3 billion worth of the ‘units’.  At one point Arul Kanda even told the 1MDB Directors that he has “seen the bank statements” that 1MDB had already received the proceeds in ‘cash’.

Today we know that the entire redemption exercise was a Ponzi-like round-tripping exercise using part of the proceeds from a Deutsche Bank loan to pretend that it’s the receipt from the ‘units’ redemption exercise.

Malaysians can only shiver in trepidation at the thought that a RM145 billion-Khazanah Nasional, which is relatively healthy today, would be helmed by the same person who hammered the final nail in 1MDB’s coffin.

The only thing more shocking I heard when I started sniffing around with regards to The Malaysian Insight report is the fact that Arul Kanda is also awaiting possible appointment as a Senator which comes with a Ministerial position.  If that were true, then it would be proof that the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak would only appoint those without a shred of honesty and integrity to the Cabinet.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

How did 1MDB make its “equivalent” of US$350 million payment to IPIC?

1MDB proudly announced that it has successfully made partial payment for the outstanding sum to Abu Dhabi’s IPIC, after twice having the deadline extended.

The beleagured company said “1MDB is pleased to announce that pursuant to the amendment dated  August 8, 2017, to the settlement deed with Minister of Finance (Incorporated) Malaysia and IPIC, 1MDB has now remitted to date, the equivalent of US$350 million to IPIC.”

When reading any statements from 1MDB, it is always like trying to solve an Agatha Christie murder mystery.  You need to scrutinise the statement for curious or incriminating clues.

For example, in this case, why did 1MDB say “the equivalent of US$350 million” as opposed to just a straightforward “US$350 million”, or whatever the amount is?

Normally, one would perhaps phrase “the equivalent of US$350 million” if the payment was not remitted in US Dollars but perhaps in this case in Ringgit Malaysia?  This clearly lends credence to the allegations that no Bank wants to process payments relating to 1MDB transactions for fear of partaking in a money laundering exercise, especially since US Dollar transactions would require re-routing via US Banks.

The Malaysian Insight had earlier also reported that the remittance was carried out via Maybank Bhd.  Does this mean that 1MDB circumvented its US Dollar remittance “technical problem” with Bank Negara granting approval for the remittance to be issued from Malaysia in Ringgit (or any other non-US Dollar currency)?

This mystery further begs the question – how did 1MDB get its money in Malaysia?  By all public pronouncements from 1MDB and by Ministers in Parliament, 1MDB certainly doesn’t have “the equivalent of US$350 million” or nearly RM1.5 billion in cash sitting around in its local bank accounts.

That’s when you refer back to 1MDB’s 24 April 2017 IPIC settlement announcement for more clues. Then, 1MDB explicitly stated that the company’s “obligations will be met by 1MDB, primarily via monetization of 1MDB-owned investment fund units”.

The last we know, these investment fund ‘units’ were held in the now-defunct BSI Bank, Singapore.  The last known value on the balance of these ‘units’ was US$940 million.

Hence, one would certainly like to ask 1MDB, if the source of the “equivalent of US$350 million” came of the sale of these ‘units’ overseas?  If that were so, wouldn’t the investment disposal proceeds not be in US Dollars?

That’s when you go back to 1MDB’s latest statement, hoping for an easy answer.  However, like any good 1MDB statement, you will never get an honest and straightforward answer.

1MDB disclosed that “all funds paid to IPIC are from proceeds of the on-going rationalisation programme”.  This time, it’s just as important to make inference from what is not stated, beyond what is actually stated.

Notice how in the current statement, 1MDB no longer makes any reference to the “monetization of the 1MDB-owned investment fund units”, which was previously included in all of 1MDB’s past responses on the issue, including two separate Finance Minister’s replies to me in Parliament.

If 1MDB’s “equivalent of US$350 million” payment to IPIC was not the proceeds from the ‘units’ sale, then where did the money come from?  1MDB has after all, sold or transferred all of its assets – both energy and real estate, and have already used such proceeds to pare down their humongous debt and interest payments.

Hence, the US$350 million question now is, did this money come from the Ministry of Finance, directly or indirectly via some convoluted “rationalisation” schemes?  1MDB and Dato’ Seri Najib Razak must come clean on the matter, especially since 1MDB has another US$300 million and US$603 million to pay by 31 August and 31 December respectively.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Finance Minister II Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani should not bluff Malaysians by stating that the Government “has never given public funds to 1MDB to settle its debts”

According to Bernama yesterday, Second Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani said that “the Finance Ministry (MoF) has never given any public funds to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to help settle its debt”.

The Minister must think that Malaysians are complete and utter idiots to be served what is one of biggest piece of cow dung amongst all the attempts to cover up the 1MDB scandal.

The Ministry of Finance has on so many occasions come to the rescue of 1MDB over the past 2 years involving billions of ringgit of tax-payers’ monies, and yet Dato’ Seri Johari has the cheek to tell us that the MoF “has never given any public funds to 1MDB”.

Among the most clear-cut examples are the RM800 million loan from SOCSO and another RM2.4 billion Bandar Malaysia sukuk bond which the MoF have assumed as a result of taking over TRX City Sdn Bhd and Bandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd.

The Auditor-General has reported that nearly all of the above proceeds of the 1MDB borrowings were never used for the development of the 2 property projects above.  Hence when MoF agreed to take over the property projects and assumed the liabilities, MoF has effectively “settled” 1MDB’s RM3.2 billion debt problem.

What’s more, when 1MDB had originally sold a 60% stake in Bandar Malaysia to an Iskandar Waterfront Holdings (IWH) Sdn Bhd-led consortium, they had collected, and presumably spent the RM741 million deposit which has been paid upon the signing of the sale and purchase agreement in December 2015.

However, when MoF terminated the sale due to IWH payment defaults, it was MoF who coughed up the RM741 million to refund the deposit paid by the consortium.   If the deposit, should have been refunded at all, it should have been by 1MDB, and not by the Malaysian tax-payers.

The above doesn’t yet include MoF subsidiary or subsidiaries which actually acquired properties from 1MDB in TRX at inflated prices.  The irony is, it was MoF who sold the land to 1MDB in the first place at dirt cheap prices.

We understand the conundrum Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani is facing as the 2nd Finance Minister who has fallen out of favour and having to defend the indefensible regain the Prime Minister’s favour.  It is now clear that he has been dropped by Dato’ Seri Najib Razak from handling the 1MDB imbroglio, particularly in the company’s multi-billion dollar dispute with Abu Dhabi’s IPIC.

However, the Second Finance Minister should not go to the extent to telling outright lies to pull the wool over the people’s eyes.  Dato’ Seri Johari should not forget his role and responsibility to the people of Malaysia by sacrificing his own integrity and honour.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

No Malaysian or international is willing to help 1MDB launder funds via the sale of fraudulent investment ‘units’ to cover up 1MDB’s debt to IPIC

1MDB has failed to meet its own self-imposed deadline to repay its debts to Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC). The first instalment of US$602,725,000 was due on 31 July as part of the settlement arrived at the London Arbitration Court between IPIC, 1MDB and the Ministry of Finance in April 2017.

Then, 1MDB had disclosed that “these obligations will be met by 1MDB, primarily via monetization of 1MDB-owned investment fund units”.

Now with the payment in default, 1MDB said that it “is awaiting funds that were due to be received in July. Due to the need for additional regulatory approvals, the receipt of those funds has been delayed to August.”

The Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak repeated the same when questioned in Parliament by the Opposition Leader, Dato’ Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, claiming that the delay in payment is merely a “technical issue” without elaborating any further.

All of the above responses are cryptic and opaque as no one after reading or listening to the above responses have any clue as to why exactly is there apparent difficulty in processing the above transactions, or what regulatory approvals are involved, in making the above payment to IPIC.

The reason for the opacity and secrecy is simple. There is no Bank in the world today who is willing to process the ‘sale’ of the 1MDB-owned investment fund ‘units’. This is because the United States Department of Justice have stated that these ‘units’ were fraudulent. They were created to cover-up the more than US$1 billion which were misappropriated by 1MDB to Good Star Limited when the intent was to have invested with Petrosaudi International Limited.

In fact, the Singapore Courts also confirmed that the financial analyst from NRA Capital in Singapore was bribed to produce the false valuation report on these investment ‘units’.

Any Bank, Malaysian or international which facilitates the transaction involving the sale of these fraudulent investment ‘units’ by 1MDB to whoever or whichever party would hence be guilty of facilitating money laundering.

BSI Bank, the Singapore branch of the 132-year-old Swiss private bank which was the ‘custodian bank’ for the above 1MDB investment had already been punished. It’s merchant banking licence was terminated by Singapore and subsequently, the Switzerland’s financial regulator, FINMA has demanded that the Bank be dissolved.

No bank worth its salt would want to experience and endure the same fate as BSI Bank or many other Banks which have been fined and punished as a result of their entanglement with 1MDB.

The only way for 1MDB to repay IPIC would be a direct payment by the Government of Malaysia to IPIC. However, if that were to happen, it would be a direct admission by the Government that 1MDB is carrying the fraudulent investment and billions of dollars have been lost and stolen from the company, which requires a further mega-bailout from the country’s coffers.

Therefore, the decision by the Speaker to deny the Member of Parliament for Segambut’s motion to debate the default by 1MDB is a clear decision to save Dato’ Seri Najib Razak the embarrassment of having the truth revealed in Parliament or worse, incriminating the Prime Minister in the largest ever financial scandal to be inflicted on Malaysia.

We call upon Dato’ Seri Najib Razak to explain himself and tell the full truth to the millions of Malaysians who are gravely concerned with the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal. If there is ‘nothing to hide’ and what we have stated above is in anyway without basis as the BN leaders often claim, then come to Parliament, answer questions and debate openly.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Auditor-General and PAC Chairman's decision not to pursue 1MDB scandal proves that they are compromised and unfit to protect the interest of Malaysians

Malaysians are aghast, but perhaps not surprised, that both the new Auditor-General, Tan Sri Madinah Mohamad and the Public Accounts Committee Chairman, Datuk Seri Hasan Arifin have decided against pursuing the 1MDB investigations and audit further.

This is despite the fact that the United States Department of Justice (US DOJ) had over the past one year, revealed new explosive evidence and details of how the billions of dollars of 1MDB funds have been misappropriated, stolen and laundered all around the world.

Most incriminatingly, the US DOJ suits detailed how more than US$732 million (RM3.1 billion) flowed in and out of the Prime Minister’s personal bank account between 2011 and 2014.  The specific dates and amounts of funds transferred, as well as the respective banks involved are listed in Table A on below.

Even the most partial observers would have to concede that there is a prima facie case to investigate the flow of funds, to determine the veracity of the allegations contained in the US DOJ report.  The investigators in the United States did not pluck these transactions out of the sky, but have meticulously corroborated all evidence with all the international banks across the world from global banks like Standard Chartered Bank to private banks like Falcon Bank of Switzerland.

None of the above transactions were investigated or were made available to the previous Auditor-General Report by the then Auditor-General, Tan Sri Ambrin Buang as well as the Public Accounts Committee Report tabled in Parliament in April 2016.

The Auditor-General then had reprimanded 1MDB for refusing to hand over its foreign bank account statements and transaction verifications despite multiple requests.  However, even without the above, there was sufficient damning evidence of abuse and mismanagement within 1MDB for the PAC to table its critical report last year. 

Now, with the scale of new explosive details of the scandal surfacing since the April 2016 Report, any God-fearing and responsible Auditor-General or PAC Chairman would have demanded a re-opening of their investigations.

While the PAC had a meeting yesterday to receive the latest Auditor-General’s Report, there was no discussion of pursuing the 1MDB investigations.  Instead Dato’ Seri Hasan Arifin unilaterally told the media that the Committee will not re-open the case.

On the other hand, Tan Sri Madinah Mohamad merely added her department would do so only if it receives instructions from the Cabinet.  Such instruction would never come of course, given the blatant conflict of interests involved with the Finance and Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak directly implicated in the massive scandal.

Their refusal to pursue the investigations only serves to entrench the rakyat’s perception that they are stooges installed by Dato’ Seri Najib Razak to protect the latter from the outrageous scandal.  After all, it has been exposed previously that Tan Sri Madinah is or was an UMNO Kepong Division member where her husband is the Division Chairman, Datuk Rizuan Abdul Hamid had openly expressed his willingness to “die for Najib”.  On the other hand, Dato’ Seri Hasan Arifin was installed as the PAC Chairman after the previous Chairman, Datuk Nur Jazlan was “promoted” to become a Deputy Minister.  Dato’ Seri Hasan had in his own words, rejected the need to summon Dato’ Seri Najib to the PAC because he has to “cari makan”.

These top officials have betrayed the interest of the rakyat and are traitors to their race, religion and nation.  If they have any iota of honour left in them, they should resign from their positions and let others who have the interest of Malaysians at heart take over these posts.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Is Treasurer-General and 1MDB Chairman, Tan Sri Irwan Serigar aware of a third ‘secret’ Letter of Support for 1MDB’s US$975 million borrowing from a Deutsche Bank-led consortium in September 2014?

The latest suit filed by the United States Department of Justice (US DOJ) last month exposed a new allegation Dato’ Seri Najib Razak signed a ‘secret’ Letter of Support for 1MDB to secure a US$975 million loan from a Deutsche Bank-led consortium in September 2014.

The US DOJ suit stated that Dato’ Seri Najib Razak, referred to as “Malaysian Official 1 (MO1)”, “on behalf of the Government of Malaysia, provided a Letter of Support to Deutsche Bank in connection with the $975 million loan.”

This would have been a third Letter of Support issued by Dato’ Seri Najib Razak as the Finance Minister to effectively guarantee borrowings by 1MDB.  The letters had stated that “in the event 1MDB… fails to provide the required funds, Malaysia shall then step in to inject the necessary capital into the Issuer or make payments to ensure the Issuer’s obligations are fully met”.

The DOJ suit further noted that “internal Deutsche Bank records reflect that 1MDB officials opted to provide a Letter of Support signed by MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1, rather than some form of guarantee by 1MDB… at least in part because a letter of support did not require Bank Negara or Cabinet approval. At the request of 1MDB, all references to the Letter of Support were removed from the Facility Agreement.” 

I had submitted a question to the Finance Minister to confirm the existence of the letter in the current parliamentary sitting.  However, the question has been inexplicably rejected by the Speaker on the ultra-flimsy grounds of presumably questionable assumptions (“sangkaan”).

I had last week issued a statement via a press conference seeking answers from Dato’ Seri Najib Razak himself as to whether he had indeed issued this “secret” Letter of Support and whether he had the authorisation from the Cabinet and Ministry of Finance to do so.

However, the questions posed have been met with utter silence, whether from the Prime Minister himself or from his Cabinet cheerleaders.

I can fully understand why the Prime Minister might want to remain absolutely silent so as not to incriminate himself with any answers he may provide.

Hence, I now pose the same questions to the Treasurer-General of the Ministry of Finance, Tan Sri Irwan Serigar who has also been appointed as the Chairman of 1MDB just a year ago.

As the Treasurer-General of Finance Ministry, is Tan Sri Irwan Serigar aware that the Minister of Finance had signed a third Letter of Support for 1MDB in September 2014?  The official reply provided by the Minister of Finance in March 2016 stated that there were only 2 such Letters of Support issued in March 2013 for US$3 billion and another in March 2015 for US$150 million.

Was the reply which would have been prepared and approved by the Treasurer-General mistaken? Or was he, horrors of horrors, completely unaware that a third ‘secret’ Letter of Support had actually been issued by the Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak.

Secondly, even if he was not previously aware of the ‘secret’ letter, Tan Sri Irwan Serigar, as the Treasurer-General and 1MDB Chairman, must surely investigate.  Has he called Duetsche Bank to verify the existence of the Letter of Support as alleged by the US DOJ?

If Tan Sri Irwan fails to do the simple task of calling up the Bank to confirm this information, then he has betrayed the trust of Malaysian tax-payers as the most senior financial civil servant in the country today.

If he is unable to protect the financial interest of the 30 million Malaysians in the country, then he is completely unfit to continue in his position, both as the Treasurer-General and the 1MDB Chairman.

Dato’ Seri Najib Razak must come clean as to whether there was another undocumented “letter of support” for 1MDB in 2014 to borrow US$975 million from a Deutsche Bank-led consortium

In November 2014, when it was first discovered that Dato’ Seri Najib Razak had signed a “letter of support” to enable 1MDB to secure a US$3 billion bond in March 2013, it was immediately met with denial in Parliament.

On 6 November 2014, Datuk Ahmad Maslan, the then Deputy Minister of Finance had insisted in Parliament that the Government did not issue any such “letter of support”.  However, a few days later, he conceded to the media that such a “letter of support” existed and he was ultimately forced to apologise to the House for his “error” on 18 November 2014.

The existence of this “letter of support” had major financial implications for the Government because it stated that “In the event, 1MDB has shareholder of the issuer fails to provide the required funds… Malaysia shall then step in to inject the necessary capital into the issuer or make payment to ensure the issuers obligations are fully met.”  This meant that the Malaysian Government had effectively guaranteed, one way or another, the US$3 billion 1MDB borrowing above.

As reported by The Edge Financial Daily on 12 November 2014, Datuk Ahmad Maslan had said that there was “no other letter of support for 1MDB apart from the US$3 billion” during a media conference at the Parliament.

Further on 16 March 2016, when questioned by the Member of Parliament for Indera Mahkota, Dato’ Fauzi Abdul Rahman, the Finance Minister had confirmed that there were only TWO “letters of support” which was issued by the Government, including another for 1MDB’s US$150 million borrowing from Bank Exim in March 2015.

However, we have since discovered, via information provided by the latest United States Department of Justice filing to seize assets acquired with funds laundered from 1MDB that there exist another secret “letter of support” to borrow US$975 million from a Deutsche Bank-led consortium in September 2014.

The US DOJ suit stated that Dato’ Seri Najib Razak, referred to as “Malaysian Official 1 (MO1)”,
“on behalf of the Government of Malaysia, provided a Letter of Support to Deutsche Bank in connection with the $975 million loan.”

The suit further noted that “internal Deutsche Bank records reflect that 1MDB officials opted to provide a Letter of Support signed by MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1, rather than some form of guarantee by 1MDB… at least in part because a letter of support did not require Bank Negara or Cabinet approval. At the request of 1MDB, all references to the Letter of Support were removed from the Facility Agreement.”

Like the earlier “letters of support”, the Government agrees to financial support to 1MDB to ensure the company’s ability to repay. Dato’ Seri Najib Razak even “waived its sovereign immunity in connection with disputes arising out of the Letter of Support”.

I have submitted a simple question in the current sitting asking the Prime Minister to confirm if he had indeed issued a “Letter of Support” in connection to the US$975 million loan from Deutsche Bank.  The question has been rejected on the basis that it was “sangkaan”, or “presumably questionable assumptions”.

There was no assumptions in my question.  I had asked a simple matter as to whether there was indeed a “letter of support” issued in September 2014.  If there isn’t, just say “no”.  What’s so difficult?

Both Dato’ Seri Najib Razak and the Parliament’s refusal to entertain the simple factual question only serves to confirm the suspicions in everyone’s minds that such a secret guarantee was indeed issued.  Dato’ Seri Najib Razak cannot come to the Parliament to say “yes” to the question simply because it would mean that he had previously lied to the Parliament when he said there were only 2 such letters for the sums of US$3 billion and US$150 million.

This further raises the question as to whether Dato’ Seri Najib Razak had issued the letter without the Cabinet’s approval or for that matter, without the knowledge of the Finance Ministry – which will be a clear cut abuse of power by the Prime Minister.  I will confer with Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, the former Deputy Prime Minister to confirm if such a “letter of support” which binds the Malaysian Government was ever discussed in the Cabinet.

If not, then the Attorney-General must commence immediate investigations over the possible criminal breach of trust, abuse of power and even fraud against Dato’ Seri Najib Razak.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Dato’ Seri Najib Razak must answer what happened to the US$3.51 billion 1MDB said it has paid to IPIC or its subsidiaries

Yesterday, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak told the Malaysian and international investment community that there were only “lapses in governance” in 1MDB but he has “ordered investigations into the company at a scale unprecedented in our nation's history”.

If it were indeed true that investigations were are an “unprecedented” scale, then the investigators must be the most incompetent ever seen in Malaysian history.  This is because to date, the key questions surrounding the various dodgy investments by 1MDB and the billions of ringgit misappropriated, often to entities owned by Jho Low have never been explained.

In one of the few questions with regards to 1MDB which was not rejected by the Parliament Speaker, I had asked Dato’ Seri Najib Razak who is also the Finance Minister, why did we assume the liabilities of IPIC’s guarantee for 1MDB’s US$3.5 billion worth of bonds when 1MDB claimed that we have already paid IPIC or its subsidiaries the sum of US$3.51 billion.

1MDB, via its President and CEO, Arul Kanda, testified to both the Auditor-General and the Public Accounts Committee that 1MDB had already paid US$1.367 billion in collateral deposits in 2012, US$993 million in options termination compensation in 2014 and an additional US$1.15 billion in “top-up security deposit” also in 2014 to the IPIC group.

In the Finance Minister’s reply, he stated that 1MDB “is responsible for all future interest payments and the repayment of the principal for the 2 bonds” while the Ministry of Finance Incorporated has provided IPIC with the relevant “undertaking” and “indemnity”.  This effectively means that the Malaysian government has taken over the guarantee from IPIC.

The problem is, despite the boast of “investigations… at a scale unprecendented in our nation’s history”, Malaysians are no nearer to finding out what happened to the US$3.51 billion we have already paid.

And it is very apparent that the Prime Minister is also hiding this information via a convenient “lapse of governance” because he failed to answer this question in his parliamentary reply.

It is as if the US$3.51 billion paid to the IPIC group previously was but a minor detail, or an insignificant “lapse in governance” which didn’t require any justification or concern on the part of the Government.

Hence Dato’ Seri Najib Razak is only showing the thickness of his skin by trivialising the unprecedented scale of the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal and dismissing the Opposition protests as blowing the issue “out of proportion”.

Instead, the continued secrecy of the Auditor-General’s Report on 1MDB and the refusal to entertain 1MDB questions in Parliament seriously only leads to the public believe that the US$3.51 billion above, and more other billions of ringgit have been misappropriated, or worse, stolen at “a scale unprecedented”.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Yes, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak, the Opposition blew up 1MDB issues to topple the Government because we are now a world-renown kleptocracy

For the local and foreign investors listening to the Prime Minister’s speech when opening the InvestMalaysia 2017 conference, it must have been an utterly surreal experience.

While he acknowledged that there “were lapses in 1MDB's governance”, and he had “personally given instructions for a rationalisation of the company's operations”, he denied culpability and even blamed the Opposition for fanning the flames.

"But let's not forget that while there were issues in 1MDB, certain politicians blew them out of proportion, and tried to sabotage the company, in an attempt to topple the government in between election cycles,” he said. 

In a parallel development, the opening of the mid-year Parliamentary sitting this week saw more than 30 questions thrown out for utterly bizzare and frivolous reasons.

My question on the current value of the 1MDB “units” investment and who is the custodian bank was rejected because they apparently contained questionable assumptions (“sangkaan”) and were a figment of my imagination (“buah fikiran”).

My question on whether the Attorney-General had investigated the claims made in the latest United States Department of Justice (US DOJ) suit to seize up to US$1.7 billion worth of launder assets from 1MDB funds was similarly and incomprehensibly rejected because it was deemed a “sangkaan”. 

I had a total of 5 questions relating to 1MDB which were rejected.

The investors on the floor would have loved an opportunity to ask the the Prime Minister, if he had indeed done no wrong, why would he not just give simple answers to the simple questions above? 

In fact, Malaysians would also like to know why Dato’ Seri Najib Razak only has the courage to deliver his “defence” of 1MDB with a straight face to an audience without a opportunity to raise questions, and refused over the past 5 years to address the Parliament? 

In fact, the Prime Minister would have had the best opportunity to make the Opposition look like complete idiots if it were true that the latter was blowing the issue “out of proportion”.

What’s more, Malaysians would also like to know why Dato’ Seri Najib Razak has refused to comment on the origins of the US$731 million which was deposited into in personal bank account in Malaysia since the anti-kleptocracy action was filed in July last year by the US DOJ?

How about the latest expose last month where the US DOJ also discovered that a 22-carat pink diamond necklace cum ring was purchased by the Prime Minister’s wife for US$27.3 million with money traced back to the sums deposited in his personal bank account?  Why haven’t the Prime Minister or the wife refuted the above “discovery”?

What’s more, while the Prime Minister wants to take credit to initiating investigations into the 1MDB fiasco, he failed to highlight the fact that he replaced the Public Accounts Committee Chairman with Dato’ Hassan Ariffin who refused to summon the Prime Minister for questioning because he had to “cari makan”.  The Prime Minister also ‘retired’ an Attorney-General who was about to prosecute him and he refused to instruct 1MDB to comply fully with the Auditor-General after the company failed to provide any of its overseas bank records and statements for audit.

Let us make it clear that the Opposition did not sabotage 1MDB.  The Prime Minister and the 1MDB top management did the sabotaging by carrying out misappropriations exceeding US$5.7 billion (RM25 billion) resulting in the company failing to meet its debt obligations.

However, we are in agreement with the Prime Minister that we are indeed fanning the single largest financial scandal in the history of Malaysia.  This is in order to topple his disgraced administration, which has become a renown kleptocracy in the eyes of the world.

The investment community are not gullible fools who would believe the naked emperor.  Their confidence in the country will only be returned when a new clean and competent government gets elected by 2018.

Dato’ Seri Azalina Othman’s denial of a massive parliamentary cover up over 1MDB questions by the Speaker has no credibility whatsoever.

Opposition Members of Parliament were in a state of shock yesterday upon taking our seats at the start of the second sitting this year.  More than 30 questions, all of which concerns the single largest financial scandal ever to hit Malaysia, 1MDB were rejected by the House Speaker.

While some of our athletes are making inroads overseas and breaking new records, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin is determined not to be left out of the party.  The Guiness Book of Records of Malaysia must take note of the sheer incredible scale of rejection of parliamentary questions in a single sitting. 

I myself had 5 questions rejected – possibly an individual parliamentary record in itself.

The opposition uproar was met with an ‘official’ denial by the Minister in-charge of parliamentary affairs, Dato’ Seri Azalina Othman who described the “cover-up” allegations as “utterly baseless”.  The fact that a member of the executive, who is an interested party in the scandal, had to step forward to defend the Speaker who is supposed to be impartial in the running of the august House speaks volumes.

Dato’ Seri Azalina even had the cheek to reprimand the Opposition MPs and asked them to “give precedence to issues that concern people under their respective constituencies”.

The blinkered Minister obviously doesn’t realise that my constituents voted for me overwhelmingly not because I spend my time debating about drains and potholes in my constituency – although those problems are dealt with by my office with the local council.  They gave me a very specific mandate to not only check a corrupt and kleptocratic government, but also to expose all the wrong-doings of those who are in power.

In fact, as an MP who achieved the second highest majority in the country with 45,000 votes in the last general election, my constituents believe that their livelihood would be much better – less debt, better exchange rates and lower cost of living, if I succeed in throwing out the corrupt BN administration in the next round.

The Minister had argued that our questions were “against the Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders”.

As an example, let me ask the Minister, how the following rejected question was “against the Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders”.

I had asked the Minister of Finance to

“menyatakan baki nilai terkini pelaburan ‘unit’ yang dimiliki oleh anak syarikat 1MDB, Brazen Sky Limited dan nama institusi bank atau kewangan yang kini menjadi ‘custodian’ kepada pelaburan tersebut”.

The Speaker had rejected the above question on the pretext of presumably questionable assumption (“sangkaan”) and a figment of my imagination (“buah fikiran”).

The Finance Ministers as well as 1MDB itself have openly stated that the company had investments in the form of “units” held with a “custodian bank” previously valued at US$2.3 billion, of which a substantial portion has apparently been redeemed.

Hence where is the “sangkaan” or “buah fikiran” in the above question when I was only asking what is the current asset value as well as which custodian bank was holding the “units”?

Instead, ironically, it is the refusal of the Speaker to approve and the Minister to answer the question that leads to a reasonable “sangkaan” that the “units” are fraudulent or are of minimal value, and perhaps there is no longer any “custodian bank”!

Tan Sri Pandikar Amin has unquestionably and possibly irreversibly condemned the Parliament into a kangaroo sitting.  Instead of leaving a legacy of reform which will lead us to the heights of a first world parliament, he has now disgraced the highest legislative institution of the land.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Rahman Dahlan disparages US DOJ's US$1.7 bil. asset seizure suit; doesn't deny Mr. & Mrs. MO1 received US$732 mil. cash and US$27.3 mil. pink diamond pendant

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Dato’ Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan continued his tirade against the US DOJ again yesterday, accusing the DOJ of publishing a “half-cooked report”.

He even insinuated that the United States of attempting to influence the results of the impending Malaysian election.  "Is it because the election is around the corner and some desperate quarters need a leg-up?" he tweeted.

This is on top of the Minister in charge of the Economic Planning Unit berating the US DOJ the previous day, “you (DOJ) mock, you gave the impression that Rosmah and the diamond did something wrong.  But in the document you submitted, you didn't include the diamond as one of the items that you want to seize. It was unnecessary to put the name there.”

The Minister is saying that since elections is around the corner, the US DOJ should not have filed the updated suit last week as it might influence the results of the election, since it implicates both the Prime Minister and his wife of misappropriating state funds for their own personal benefit?

Is the Minister trying to tell the US that they should have waited until the election is over and the Najib administration has won a new mandate, before publishing such scandalous allegations against those who have misappropriated more than US$5.6 billion of funds from 1MDB?

Does the Minister realise how ridiculous he sounds?  Is he really that half-witted, or is he only pretending to be so?

In responding to Dato’ Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan’s criticism, the US DOJ said that they “have to allege enough facts to show a reasonable belief that United States money laundering and other criminal laws were violated and that the subject assets were involved in or traceable to these illegal transactions.”

Surely Dato’ Seri Rahman Dahlan would know that the way to fight a factual allegation is to provide factual evidence which destroys the allegations.  The daily repetitive attempts by the Minister and his colleagues to taint the US investigations with insinuations of political and other motives not only does not help the cause of the Prime Minister and his wife, they actually worsen the negative perception because the alleged facts have not been challenged.

Malaysians are asking, if the US DOJ is indeed concocting malicious allegations against the Prime Minsiter and his wife as the Cabinet Ministers continue to insist, why haven’t the allegations been denied?

In fact, why hasn't Dato’ Seri Najib Razak produced proof that this bank account(s) never received the purported US$732 million which had originated from 1MDB?  Why hasn't Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor come out to publicly deny that she had indeed acquired, or received as a gift, the alleged US$27.3 million pink diamond pendant?

Their silence speaks a thousand words, while the aimless barking by the Prime Minister’s lieutanants only served to confirm without a doubt in the minds of the people, the truth of the US DOJ scandalous allegations.

Perhaps in his eagerness to castigate the US DOJ, Dato’ Seri Rahman Dahlan has merely forgotten to establish the facts.

Let me challenge Dato’ Seri Rahman Dahlan once again, did or did not the Prime Minister, referred to as MO1 in the US DOJ suit, receive more than US$732 million in his personal bank account in Malaysia while his wife, Mrs MO1 acquired a US$27.3 million diamond pendant after trips to Monaco and New York in 2013?

If the EPU Minister can’t answer the above questions, then he should stop making a complete fool of himself and further destroy whatever is left of the good name of Malaysia to a watching international audience.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Why is Rahman Dahlan not outraged by the allegation that US$27.3 mil. of 1MDB funds helped buy a 22-carat pink diamond pendant necklace for Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor?

Malaysians are amused by the sardonic entertainment the Barisan Nasional (BN) Ministers are putting up for us on a daily basis in response to the recently updated US DOJ suit to seize an additional US$540 million worth of assets laundered with funds from 1MDB.  This sum is on to of nearly US$1.2 billion in the suits filed since July last year.

At the heart of the scandal is the involvement of a “Malaysian Official 1” (MO1) who received more than US$732 million of the laundered funds in his personal bank account in Malaysia.  What further stunned the nation was when “MO1’s wife” was mentioned in the updated kleptocracy suit, when DOJ alleged that she spent US$27.3 million on a 22-carat pink diamond pendant necklace with that money.

Dato’ Seri Hishamuddin Hussein would put up a blank face feigning ignorance and asked “for all we know it could be anyone. ‘MO1’ could be (Second Finance Minister) Johari (Abdul) Ghani.”

This of course runs contrary to Economic Planning Unit (EPU) Minister, Dato’ Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan’s public admission on BBC in September 2016 that “obviously, if you read the documents, it is the prime minister…”

This confirmation is on top of the Minister’s earlier contemptuous remark made in August 2016 that “only an idiot doesn’t know who MO1 is”.

The question as to whether Dato’ Seri Rahman Dahlan would tell Dato’ Seri Hishamuddin Hussein that the latter is “an idiot” is perhaps best left for the former to answer.  What is perhaps comically incongruent is how two senior Ministers in the Prime Minister’s office held 2 contradictory positions over the simple poser.

They were both however consistent in ignoring the elephant(s) in the room pointed out by the DOJ – that MO1 received more than US$732 million in his personal bank account while Mrs MO1 got her US$27.3 million necklace with money borrowed by the Government’s wholly-owned subsidiary.

Yesterday again, the EPU Minister, who is also BN Strategic Communications Director, confirmed that MO1 is Dato’ Seri Najib Razak, and MO1’s wife would be Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

However, Dato’ Seri Rahman Dahlan took pains to lament that “you (DOJ) mock, you gave the impression that Rosmah and the diamond did something wrong.  But in the document you submitted, you didn't include the diamond as one of the items that you want to seize. It was unnecessary to put the name there."

The Minister clearly and intentionally missed the woods for the trees.  Instead of asking why “implicate” Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, should the Minister, whose primary responsibility is not to protect the Prime Minister’s wife but the interest of the Rakyat, confirm if the US$27.3 million diamond necklace was indeed purchased with money laundered from 1MDB?

It is worth noting that the EPU Minister did not deny these facts.  He is merely making a hue and cry of the exposure of these “facts”.

Before Dato’ Seri Rahman Dahlan decides to speak to the press again regarding this issue, let me challenge him to confirm these simple facts exposed by the DOJ with Mrs MO1:

1.     On or about July 5, 2013, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor met New York jeweller, Lorraine Schwartz together with Low Taek Jho and others aboard the 147 meter Topaz, one of the largest private yachts in the world in Monaco.  There group discussed the design of the necklace to hold the 22-carat pink diamond, which itself would be made of smaller diamonds.

2.     On or about September 28, 2013, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor again met Schwartz with Low in a hotel suite in the Mandarin Time Warner in New York in order to show them the layout of the necklace that Schwartz had designed.

3.     The finished 22-carat pink diamond necklace, which included the 22-carat pink diamond as a pendant, was delivered to a friend of Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor in Hong Kong on or about March 7, 2014, for delivery to the wife of the Prime Minister in Kuala Lumpur.

If Dato’ Seri Rahman Dahlan can provide evidence, on behalf of Mrs MO1 that the above allegations are brazenly untrue, then let me assure the Minister and everyone else in the Cabinet that I will be the first from the opposition bench to sit with him in a press conference to publicly denounce the DOJ allegations.

If not, then let me remind Dato’ Seri Rahman Dahlan, that as a responsible Minister and citizen, he must report the above transgression to both the Police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for their respective investigations.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

All Malaysians should heed the call by the MACC Chief Commissioner to be “brave” and file reports on the corruption, abuse of power and money laundering in 1MDB as exposed by the US DOJ

We wholly support MACC Chief Commissioner, Dato’ Dzulkifli Ahmad’s call for Malaysians to be “brave” to report all cases of corruption to the agency.

"Concerned Malaysians need not fear the MACC. We are friendly, so join us and report corruption and abuse of power.  Together we will bring up a society that is brave and will say 'no' to corruption and the corrupt," Dzulkifli told reporters in Kuala Lumpur on 17 June 2017.

He assured that those who want to remain anonymous will have their identities protected and launched the new anti-corruption hotline number 1800-88-6000.

Dato’ Dzulkifli’s call and toll-free number could not have come at a more opportune time.

Malaysians have been outraged and flabbergasted by the latest suit filed two days earlier by the US DOJ under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative for multi-billion ringgit worth of assets for funds laundered from 1MDB.

Not only did Malaysians discover that funds exceeding USD5.6 billion have been laundered by 1MDB officials, Jho Low and his associates, we discovered that more than US$200 million or approximately RM880 million have been used to purchase precious designer jewelry for their family and friends.

This included a US$27.3 million 22 carat pink diamond pendant necklace which was acquired by the wife of Malaysian Official 1 (MO1).  The Minister in Prime Minister’s office, Dato’ Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan has publicly stated that MO1 is none other than Dato’ Seri Najib Razak, and anyone who doesn’t know who MO1 is, is an “idiot”.

The DOJ also detailed how 1MDB forged financial statements, falsified audited financial statements, created multiple version of agreements for the very same transactions, colluded with foreign companies, lied to financial officers and authorities and outrageously pledged worthless securities as collateral to secure its US$975 million loan from the Deutsche Bank-led consortium.

The DOJ have included all these evidential details – telephone conversations, email correspondences, financial statements, transaction documents – were clearly painstakingly gathered by the DOJ from all international banking institutions involved with 1MDB as well as other relevant witnesses around the world.

Hence with the wealth of information and evidence contained in the 251-page suit, all Malaysians can now be “brave” and ring the toll-free 1800-88-6000 number to file a complaint against corruption, abuse of power and money laundering by 1MDB as well as against both MO1 and his wife.  After all, there is no bigger case of corruption plaguing the country today than the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal.

This will answer the Chief Commissioner's honourable plea for the public to “help [MACC] realise the anti-corruption revolution to ensure that our country is free from corruption and abuse of power within the next three years when we hit the year 2020".

However, the bigger question is, will MACC be equally “brave” as ordinary Malaysians to investigate MO1, his wife, 1MDB officers as well as Jho Low and his associates for their crimes against the nation?

Dato’ Dzulkifli Ahmad shall not be so cowardly as to abdicate from its constitutionally enshrined responsibilities by passing the buck to the Royal Malaysian Police, as he so-declared at the same press conference.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Malaysians shamed as Attorney-General Tan Sri Apandi Ali gets schooled by the United States Department of Justice

The updated second asset seizure suit filed by the United States Department of Justice (US DOJ) under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative contained even more outrageous exposés on how 1MDB funds have been misappropriated to those who are in power as well as their associates.

Besides some of the juiciest scandalous details befitting tabloid headlines around the world, the DOJ also took pains to elaborate how the funds exceeding USD5.6 billion have been laundered by 1MDB officials, Jho Low and his associates.

The DOJ detailed how 1MDB forged financial statements, falsified audited financial statements, created multiple version of agreements for the very same transactions, colluded with foreign companies, lied to financial officers and authorities and outrageously pledged worthless securities as collateral to secure its US$975 million loan from the Deutsche Bank-led consortium.

All these evidential details – telephone conversations, email correspondences, financial statements, transaction documents – were clearly painstakingly gathered by the DOJ from all international banking institutions involved with 1MDB as well as other relevant witnesses around the world.

And yet, the first and only response from our Attorney-General, Tan Sri Apandi Ali to date has been to rue DOJ’s “insinuations that have been made against the prime minister of criminal wrongdoing”.

You are wrong, Mr Attorney-General.  The US DOJ suit did not mention or even highlight any specific wrongdoing by Dato’ Seri Najib Razak.  The US DOJ merely detailed how more than US$5 billion from 1MDB, an entity owned by the Malaysian government have been laundered around the world by a Low Taek Jho and his associates.

In the process, the US DOJ merely mentioned that some of the ultimate beneficiaries of the laundering exercise were Dato’ Seri Najib Razak, to the tune of US$732 million and his wife, who received a gift of a pink diamond necklace worth more than US$30 million.

Like Jho’s girlfriend, Miranda Kerr who received multi-million dollar diamond studded jewelry, or “friend”, Leonardo DiCaprio who received multi-million dollar worth of rare movie memorabilia and paintings, they may be oblivious to the fact that the items were purchased with laundered funds.

Perhaps the Prime Minister and his wife are equally innocent and all they need to do is to return the money or surrender the jewelry, just as Leonardo have done.  Hence, it is misguided for Tan Sri Apandi Ali to conclude the DOJ case as one against the Prime Minister.

The real question then is for Tan Sri Apandi Ali to investigate the money laundering exercise carried out by mastermind Jho Low and the abetting 1MDB officials.  The Attorney-General cannot deny the overwhelming prima facie evidence presented by the DOJ on the above.

In fact, the DOJ even presented how the above crimes have broken Malaysian laws:

942. Misappropriating public funds by a public official is a criminal offense under Malaysian law, as enumerated by the Penal Code of Malaysia, including but not limited to sections 403 (dishonest misappropriation of property), 405 (criminal breach of trust), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant or agent), 166 (Public servant disobeying a direction of the law, with intent to cause injury to any person (including a company)), 415 (cheating), 418 (cheating with knowledge that wrongful loss may be thereby caused to a person whose interest the offender is bound to protect), and 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property); and the Malaysian Anti- Corruption Act 2009, including sections 16, 17, and 23. Copies of these laws are set forth in Attachment B.

943. Bank fraud is a criminal offense under Malaysian law, as enumerated by the Penal Code of Malaysia, including but not limited to section 415 (cheating), 418 (cheating with knowledge that wrongful loss may be thereby caused to a person whose interest the offender is bound to protect), and 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property).

Malaysians are embarrassed by the fact that our top prosecuting officer had to be schooled by foreign jurisdictions on the laws of this country.

Instead of crying “frustration” that “the AG's Chambers was not informed or alerted by DOJ of this action”, Malaysians would like to know if the AG has bothered to even initiate requests for evidence from the US authorities since the DOJ filed their first asset seizure suit nearly a year ago?

Or is it a case for the AG to see no evil, hear no evil and hence speak no evil?