Rosmah the central force in 1MDB, says source

(26-06-2018)

In the most recent 1MDB news, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, the wife of Dato’ Seri Najib Razak, is the “central force” of the international graft-scandal, according to Wall Street Journal. As investigators dig deeper into the misappropriation of funds from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a portrait of Rosmah Mansor as the central force in the international scandal is taking shape.

In interviews with investigators and people close to the wife of deposed prime minister Najib Razak, the financial daily said Rosmah’s pursuit of wealth was a crucial factor in driving Najib’s government deeper into corruption. People close to her believe Rosmah’s desire for wealth was sparked when she was exposed to opulence growing up on the palace grounds of a sultan, despite her parents being middle-class school teachers. Wall Street Journal said it spoke to people who told the paper that Najib had been more focused on obtaining funds for political use rather than personal spending. The report claimed that Najib wanted to resign in 2016 over investigations into 1MDB but Rosmah disagreed and instead tried to stop investigations. The paper also said a source told it that Rosmah had sought the services of American lobbyists to get the Department of Justice to drop its 1MDB investigations.

At the time, the US Department of Justice revealed that it was pursuing 1MDB-linked assets which were allegedly bought with misappropriated funds. “One (source) said Ms Rosmah urged him (Najib) to stand firm, calling the affair a ‘test from Allah,’ when he (Najib) had wanted to resign as Prime Ministerand that she helped lead efforts to block investigations in Malaysia. “Last year, Ms Rosmah helped hire American lobbyists to urge the US Department of Justice to drop its probes of 1MDB, said a person familiar with the outreach. “This person said Ms Rosmah dialled into one meeting between the lobbyists and Malaysia’s ambassador to the US,” read the report. According to WSJ, Rosmah did not respond to their requests for an interview while her lawyer declined to comment for the article.

The WSJ, again citing sources, said when domestic investigations on 1MDB began making progress in 2015, Rosmah had pushed the Prime Minister’s Office to state it was in line with Najib’s “legacy family assets”. This was followed by a response from Najib’s four brothers who expressed concern over that statement on inheritance. “Ms Rosmah reacted angrily, claiming the brothers would bring down the prime minister, said one family member,” reported WSJ. Speaking at an event in Najib’s parliament stronghold of Pekan just three days before the May 9 general election, Rosmah denied that she was controlling her husband. “I want to tell you, I have never interfered with his business, especially those relating to the government. I don’t understand why people still connect me with my husband’s duties” she said.

Rosmah has maintained in a recent autobiography that her jewellery and handbags were purchased with her own money. But she had a large collection of diamonds, a businessman had told WSJ, of which one alone was worth US$27 million (RM108 million). WSJ also looked at how Rosmah came to now Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, whose family owned property near Najib’s residence in London. Low helped Najib set up 1MDB in 2009. The US Department of Justice is investigating US$4.5 billion stolen from 1MDB to purchase assets that include luxury properties in the US, a private jet and a film production company headed by Rosmah’s son from her first marriage. It is trying to seize nearly US$2 billion of these assets in civil suits but has sought to suspend these proceedings to focus a criminal investigation.

In Malaysia, the new Pakatan Harapan government has reopened investigations into Najib, who has consistently denied any wrongdoing. A week after the new government was voted in, raids on properties linked to Najib in Kuala Lumpur yielded RM114 million cash, jewellery, watches and 284 luxury handbags. It still not known if Rosmah had personally directed the complex transactions that diverted funds from 1MDB. The anti-corruption authority has both hers and Najib’s statements. The couple is also barred from travelling overseas. – June 26, 2018.

Malaysians will celebrate Parents Day on first Sunday in July

(26-06-2018)

Malaysia Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail today announced that the annual Parents Day will be celebrated on the first Sunday in July. “The Parents Day celebration is to honour their commitment and sacrifices in educating and raising children.”It is all due to the determination and commitment of the parents, to establish a happy and prosperous family,” she said at the National level Parents Day celebration, themed ‘Parents – Our Greatest Gifts’ at the Dewan 2020 in Kangar.

Dr Wan Azizah, who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister said the Mother’s Day and Father’s Day that were previously celebrated on different dates, would now be merged as one celebration. She also said with the increased number of successful working women that have impacted the family institution, her ministry would establish the National Family Well-Being Advisory and Consultative Council (MPPKKN) in August. “One in five working women faces problems to strike a balance between career and family with the main issues include finding time to spend with family, childcare and less time for themselves,” said Wan Azizah. She said the Family Well-Being Index Study of 2016 also found that family ties in Malaysia were still at a moderate level. Wan Azizah said she would chair the MPPKKN, which would act as the main advisory body to the government on family issues.

“The council will also increase the commitment and involvement of various parties to prioritise the family perspective in all socio-economic development efforts including law enforcement, policies and services as well as family-friendly facilities,” she said. Prior to the announcement, while it is not strictly observed or celebrated, Malaysians had been celebrating Mother’s Day on second Sunday of May while Father’s Day was celebrated on the third Sunday in June each year.

Meanwhile, the Global Day of Parents is observed on the 1st of June every year. The Global Day of Parents was proclaimed by the United Nations as a mark of appreciation for the selfless commitment of parents in all parts of the world towards their children and their lifelong sacrifice towards nurturing this relationship.

Ketupat, rendang dan politik Malaysia Baru

(19-06-2018)

Sambil menjamah ketupat dan rendang pada hari raya yang mulia ini, ada antara kita yang bersemangat untuk bersembang kencang tentang politik semasa. Apatah lagi inilah kali pertama dalam sejarah, Aidilfitri dirayakan bersama sebuah kerajaan yang bukan lagi bernama Barisan Nasional. Sudah tentu selepas kerajaan baru Pakatan Harapan dibentuk lebih sebulan lalu, ramai yang menuntut agar ia membuat keajaiban dalam masa yang singkat.

Mungkin ada yang rasa seolah-olah kerajaan mempunyai kuasa sakti untuk melaksanakan perubahan dalam sekelip mata. Ada yang mahu harga barang turun serta-merta, ada yang mahu gaji naik esok, ada yang mahu ekonomi pulih lusa. Ada pula yang mahu pemimpin lama ditangkap dan dihadapkan ke mahkamah sekarang juga. Sedangkan kita sedar bahawa jika kita sendiri mahu memulakan langkah untuk berubah, ia memerlukan perancangan dan pelaksanaan yang rapi. Jika tergesa-gesa melakukannya, kesannya buruk. Pemansuhan cukai barangan dan perkhidmatan (GST), usaha mengoptimumkan perbelanjaan kerajaan, dan potongan 10% gaji menteri dan pegawai tinggi kerajaan, malah Yang di-Pertuan Agong juga rela gaji dan emolumen baginda dipotong, adalah antara langkah awal untuk mengawal perbelanjaan kerajaan. Kesannya tidak akan dilihat sekarang. Masa masih diperlukan untuk memulihkan ekonomi. Krisis ekonomi negara masa kini bukan kesan kegawatan global, sebaliknya ia merupakan kemelut ciptaan rejim kleptokrasi yang lepas.

Tentu ramai yang marah dengan rejim yang lalu. Tentu ada yang mahu mereka ditangkap segera. Namun masa tetap diperlukan untuk memastikan pertuduhan yang lengkap dapat disediakan. Bayangkan jika pemimpin lama dihadapkan ke mahkamah dengan tuduhan-tuduhan yang tidak tepat dan jitu, kes akan dibuang. Jika diteruskan sekali pun, mungkin didapati tidak bersalah apabila gagal mengemukakan bukti kukuh. Buruk padahnya jika orang yang kita yakini zalim terlepas daripada hukuman semata-mata kerana kita terlalu tergesa-gesa seperti sudah tiada lagi esok dan terlalu ghairah untuk menghukum. Jika kita boleh menahan seksa, pedih dan sakit era rejim lama hampir satu abad lamanya, tentu kita boleh bersabar seketika agar semua yang dilakukan benar-benar terlaksana baik. Selain itu, ada juga tuntutan kebebasan dan hak. Biasanya kita menyalahkan undang-undang yang zalim. Andaian itu memang benar tetapi tidak semestinya semua begitu.

Masalah yang kita hadapi selama ini bukan sekadar undang-undang yang zalim dan menutup kebebasan bersuara. Yang turut menjadi masalah besar adalah sikap dan amalan kita sendiri. Sikap taksub kepada kaum, agama dan pegangan sendiri selama ini menyukarkan kita membuka ruang perbincangan. Ada antara kita yang masih takut kepada hakikat, bimbang dengan suara alternatif, dan menolak pandangan orang lain tanpa membuka ruang bicara. Begitu juga soal penguatkuasaan undang-undang. Sebagai contoh, negara kita mempunyai undang-undang anti rasuah yang tegas, keras dan agak lengkap tetapi selama ini korupsi menjadi barah dalam masyarakat kerana penguatkuasaannya yang lemah. Ia menjadi longlai kerana tiada iltizam daripada mereka yang berada di puncak kuasa untuk menguatkuasakannya. Namun masih ada yang mahu undang-undang dijadikan lebih ketat. Untuk apa? Penyelesaian yang lebih baik adalah iltizam bersama antara kerajaan dan rakyat untuk menguatkuasakannya, tanpa takut kepada penguasa, tanpa memilih bulu dan tanpa peduli dengan pangkat serta kedudukan orang yang melakukan rasuah.

Kerajaan baru Pakatan Harapan perlu menanganinya. Memang masa diperlukan. Tetapi jika masalah yang sama ini belum selesai pada tahun-tahun mendatang, jangan salahkan rakyat jika kerajaan yang ada akan ditendang keluar seperti rejim lama. Kerajaan dan rakyat sama-sama perlu beriltizam untuk berubah. Perubahan memerlukan sedikit sebanyak pengorbanan. Ia bakal membawa luka, pedih dan sakit hati sepanjang perjalanannya. Jika sikap kerajaan dan rakyat tidak banyak berubah, sukar untuk melihat perubahan positif. Seperti kata-kata sang genius Albert Einstein: “Yang dikatakan gila adalah melakukan perkara yang sama berulang kali tetapi mengharapkan hasil yang berbeza”. Semoga Syawal yang penuh rahmat ini memberi suntikan semangat baru untuk kita berubah walau pun perubahan itu bakal menggugat ruang selesa kita sendiri.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Maaf zahir dan batin.

Wan Azizah : MB Selangor tak dapat restu hanya pandangan Idris

(19-06-2018)

Presiden PKR, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail berkata tidak timbul persoalan dalam pelantikan Amirudin Shari sebagai menteri besar Selangor yang baru. Beliau menolak dakwaan wakil rakyat Ijok Dr Idris Ahmad bahawa hanya nama beliau dipersetujui oleh PKR dan Pakatan Harapan sebagai calon Menteri Besar Selangor. Kata Dr Wan Azizah, kenyataan Idris itu hanya “pandangan peribadi” beliau, dan pandangannya itu tidak betul.

Dr Wan Azizah, yang juga Timbalan Perdana Menteri sebaliknya menegaskan, semua pihak sedia maklum bahawa Menteri Besar Selangor yang baru dilantik, Amirudin Shari turut disenarai pendek oleh PKR sebagai calon pengganti Mohamed Azmin Ali. “Itu pandangan peribadi (Dr Idris), lagi pun parti memang telah cadangkan beberapa nama dan ini termasuk Amirudin Shari,” katanya kepada wartawan selepas menerima kunjungan Amirudin di pejabatnya di Putrajaya, hari ini. “Saya ingat perkara (tak dapat restu) itu tidak berbangkit kerana salah satu cadangan (nama menteri besar) adalah Amirudin. Sebaliknya, Wan Azizah berkata semua pihak sedia maklum bahawa Amirudin Shari yang juga Anggota Dewan Undangan Negeri (ADUN) Sungai Tua merupakan antara yang disenarai pendek sebagai calon untuk menjawat jawatan berkenaan. “Beliau pun telah angkat sumpah sebagai menteri besar, jadi kita perlu teruskan (pentadbiran) kerajaan negeri dengan barisan exco sedia ada,” katanya kepada pemberita di Pejabat Timbalan Perdana Menteri, Putrajaya, hari ini.

Sebelum itu, Anggota Dewan Undangan Negeri (ADUN) Ijok, Dr Idris Ahmad dalam sidang medianya mendakwa pelantikan Amirudin Shari sebagai menteri besar Selangor yang baru tidak mendapat restu dari Pakatan Harapan. Kenyataan itu dibuat kira-kira sejam sebelum Amirudin mengangkat sumpah sebagai menteri besar Selangor ke-16. Idris mendakwa nama Amirudin Shari hanya dicadangkan oleh Azmin Ali tanpa persetujuan parti lain. Idris sebaliknya mendakwa beliau adalah calon untuk jawatan itu yang mendapat persetujuan daripada semua parti HARAPAN. Idris juga mengemukakan surat sokongan pemimpin Parti Peribumi Bersatu Malaysia (BERSATU), DAP dan Parti Amanah Negara (AMANAH) Selangor. Satu lagi surat sokongan yang dikemukakan Idris ditandatangani oleh Wan Azizah sendiri. Dalam semua empat surat berkenaan yang ditandatangani awal bulan ini, nama Idris adalah calon tunggal yang dikemukakan oleh setiap parti. Amirudin Shari merupakan Adun Sungai Tua. Sumber daripada PH bagaimanapun, nama Amirudin dan Idris telah dicadangkan oleh Ketua Umum PH Anwar Ibrahim semasa mengadap Sultan Selangor pada 31 Mei lalu. Cadangan sama juga dikemukakan oleh Presiden Amanah, Mohamad Sabu.

Amirudin dalam pada itu meminta semua pihak agar tidak lagi membangkitkan isu pelantikan menteri besar dan bekerja sebagai satu pasukan bagi memastikan Selangor ditadbir dengan baik oleh PH. Amirudin juga menafikan pertemuan dengan Dr Wan Azizah tadi ada kaitan dengan isu “restu” pelantikannya sebagai menteri besar, sebaliknya kunjungan biasa seorang menteri besar bertemu presiden partinya selepas mengangkat sumpah.– 19 Jun, 2018

KJ joining Presidency contest said source

(17-06-2018)

UMNO Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin will join the contest for the top Umno, post, an English daily said today. Quoting sources, The Star Online said the former youth and sports minister would submit his application to run for party president at Umno headquarters today. Today is the last day for the candidates to submit their applications to run in the party’s elections which are expected to be the most heated in 30 years.

The 42-year-old Rembau MP had previously indicated that he would run for one of the three vice-president’s posts. However, he had ruled out contesting the roles of either president or deputy. It remains unclear if he will withdraw from the vice-president race. Khairy’s candidacy would make him the fourth person to throw their hat into the ring, and comes just one day after party veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah officially announced his bid on 16 June, following intense lobbying from several quarters. The UMNO Presidency is being fought over by current deputy president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and entrepreneur cum blogger Rahmat Azim Abdul Aziz, better known as Mat Umno. Tengku Razaleigh, who is Gua Musang MP, confirmed his candidacy during a press conference at his home in Jalan Langgak Golf in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday (June 16).

The 81-year-old Kelantan Prince Tengku Razaleigh’s influence in the party will be put to the test again, after having famously challenged for the top post in 1987 only to be edged out by a mere 43 votes. As for Dr Ahmad Zahid, it will be his first attempt for the presidency. Another challenger so far is relatively unknown – businessman and blogger Rahmat Azim Abdul Aziz. Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said that Khairy was the best candidate for the post as Umno was now deemed as a party in disarray and directionless in its struggle. However, the Rembau MP dismissed this, stating that the Premier was just being sarcastic, or was merely ribbing. Following Umno’s poor showing at last month’s general election and subsequent calls for a shakeup within the party, Umno announced that the top two posts would be open to contest.

This was a departure from the decision made at the last general assembly for the posts of party president and deputy to remain uncontested this year. Despite its thumping at the 14th general election, Umno remains the biggest opposition party with 54 parliamentary seats. – 17 June 2018