GABENOR Bank Negara Muhammad Ibrahim luah hasrat letak jawatan selepas dua tahun memegang jawatan itu, lapor Bloomberg yang memetik sumber tidak dinamakan.Semalam, The Malaysian Insight melaporkan kedudukan gabenor bank pusat itu mungkin dalam keadaan genting susulan kenyataan dikeluarkan Pengerusi Majlis Penasihat Kerajaan Daim Zainuddin.Daim antara orang kepercayaan Dr Mahathir Mohamad mengecam keputusan bank pusat itu membayar RM2 bilion untuk pembelian tanah dalam urus niaga yang dibuat terburu-buru bagi membantu pentadbiran Najib Razak melunaskan hutang dibuat 1MDB.
“Ada alasan untuk mempersoalkan bagaimana cepat, rapi dan apa sebabnya urus niaga itu dibuat,” katanya dalam wawancara dengan akhbar Straits Times.”Pembelian tanah itu contoh yang baik kenapa kebebasan BNM, proses urus tadbir dan pelantikan ketua institusi yang kritikal sangat mustahak bagi pentadbiran sekarang.”Bloomberg melaporkan jurucakap Bank Negara dan pegawai Kementerian Kewangan enggan mengesahkan hasrat Muhammad untuk letak jawatan, dan gabenor berusia 68 tahun itu juga tidak memberi jawapan balas kepada pertanyaan mereka.Bulan lepas, Menteri Kewangan Lim Guan Eng mendedahkan yang 1MDB tidak mampu membayar hutangnya dan kementerian perlu membayar RM7 bilion hutang dan faedah bagi pihak syarikat itu tahun lepas.Wang yang didakwa 1MDB hasil pelan rasionalisasinya kemudian terbukti hasil jual beli tanah dengan Bank Negara.Pada 4 Januari lalu, bank pusat itu mengatakan urus niaga itu berlaku selepas perbincangan beberapa bulan.Muhammad juga mendakwa pembelian itu adalah pada harga yang berbaloi dan dibuat secara telus dan tulus selepas perbincangan.
Muhammad mula berkhidmat di bank pusat itu pada 1984, lulusan sarjana Harvard University itu kemudian dilantik sebagai gabenor untuk lima tahun pada Mei 2016 selepas Zeti Akhtar Aziz berundur. Zeti berkhidmat selama 16 tahun, dilantik pada 2000 oleh Dr Mahathir. – 5 Jun, 2018.
Ting Pek Khing is (or perhaps one should say was) a Sarawak businessman, who flourished under Taib Mahmud by becoming involved in projects linked to the present governor’s ‘family enterprises’. Suddenly, following Harapan’s surprise win, which has put the strongmen in Sarawak in a massive quandry, given that Taib thrived from his collaboration with the now defunct BN, this tycoon cum bankrupt cum elderly retiree has popped out of the woodwork to propose a massive RM30 billion project in Dr M’s constituency. In the eyes of most Malaysians it does look rather blatant. The new Prime Minister has been fairly cautious in his response, saying Mr Ting Pek Khing is ‘welcome to do business’ in Langkawi, which has none-the-less been sufficient to ring alarm bells amongst reformers, who supported his leadership of Harapan.
After all, it’s tempting for the premier. In one fell swoop he can hope to bring the magic rain on his local voters, who might expect to benefit from jobs as cleaners and servers for the massive influx planned of tourists into such a resort on their island. However, in a proper management of such issues of development, there ought to be full due process and consideration given, proper tendering, planning and all the rest. There should be full scrutiny of the models being proposed, the consequences of what is being proposed and who really will benefit in the end. In a democracy, it is the wider population who must expect to gain most. For example, do Langkawi residents really want to host a mega-resort on their island with tens of thousands of cheap travellers pouring in to soak up water, make filth, cause trouble, create prostitution issues and drug worries and all the rest of the social ills that inevitably accompany such resorts? Are they ready for the environmental effects on their waters, their reef, natural plants and sea life? Do they appreciate that soon their island with its tower block hotels will become a magnet for incoming workers from across Asia, who will undercut their own sons and daughters when it comes to competition to work in the hotels and restaurants etc?
A study ought to be made of the impact of mega-modern hotel complexes from Hawai, to Benidorm to Pataya beach in Thailand before the people of Langkawi are subjected to what would be the tranformation of their island, not necessarily for the better. Indeed, any such mega-project ought to be the subject of a proper 360 review by an independent special planning enquiry, involving a full local consultation process for local people to understand, evaluate and decide on such a life changing transformation that might benefit them far less economically than promised. After all, what did Ting Pek Khing’s Bakun project do for the refugee communities displaced by that mega-dam, which was meant to economically transform Sarawak? They had all been previously promised this project would enrich them, yet it has destroyed their beautiful homeland and left them impoverished. There is also the thorny issue of where Mr Ting Pek Khing’s financing will come from. Full transparency on that matter is required, not least because of his closeness to Taib Mahmud, whose management of Sarawak has made the kleptocracy of characters such as Najib Razak pale into insignificance.
Indeed, to place such a mega-project into the hands of a single financier, in itself can run several risks, especially given that this ‘grand plan constructor’ has plunged into bankruptcy before on just these sorts of ventures. An economic case needs to be made for this old boy’s mega-plans, so that Langkawians do not end up with something completely different from what was promised (a ‘classy resort’ could end up a sleezy sink if things go wrong). It is entirely probable, that a more restrained, sophisticated, lower key investment would in fact benefit Langkawi people better. Less, but richer tourists; less, but better jobs and less impact on the environment, so that they keep their island beautiful and safe – a place still nice to live in. These sorts of issues need thought and transparency and public debate. It is not for one rich and controversial entrepreneur with dubios connections just to make the offer nor for the new MP just to accept the offer, over a couple of deal making discussions where no one else gets a chance to make wider concerns heard.
Much damage has already been done by that sort of development, especially when the motives appear suspect from the start. Thankfully, Dr Mahathir has indicated that Ting’s bid would indeed need to go through the state parliament and be handled in the proper way.
Sondakh certainly owed Najib the favour. Sarawak Report and others have reported on one of BN’s most egregious scandals, which has been the use of hundreds of millions from the FELDA settlers’ fund to bail out the tycoon’s dodgy Eagle Plantation for at least double its actual worth. But, how did Najib think he could get away with it so late in the day? Plainly, he had woken up long after the rest of Malaysia had smelt the coffee over the demise of UMNO. The news of the flight manifest found its way into the hands of PKR activists within no time and soon news organisations and social media, including SR, were alerted to the issue. News of Najib’s planned escape, timed for a 10am take-off the following day, went viral and once again it was popular determination that made the outcome of these nerve-wracking developments, in restrospect, inevitable. They were assisted by Malaysia’s newly liberated and unshackled news media, which has been joyfully doing its proper job at last, covering events even-handedly as possible and accurately, without fear.
At first, since they could not deny being caught in the act, the couple issued a statement to say that they had only been planning a little holiday for a couple of days, whilst Najib drew up the list for his opposition line-up. They would be back next week, the couple assured. Fat chance! The authorities seemed too slow and indecisive at first. Were there suspicious signs that Najib still had his allies in key decision-making roles, people wondered? The immigration department’s online access suddenly went down inside Malaysia and enterprising journalists had to call up sleuths abroad to track down the PM’s travel status. At first, relief. The couple had been blacklisted (orders of the new PM). However, mysteriously, as dark drew in, their names evaporated from the list – they were free to travel after all. The nation spoke with one voice – Najib must not be allowed to leave! Hundreds of people even took themselves down to the airport to vet arriving passengers overnight – one couple only in their sights!
The population watched, sleepless with bated breath…. then names of Najib and Rosmah returned onto the blacklist; police took over the job of vetting arrivals at the airport; the new Prime Minister confirmed that he had ordered the couple must not leave the country (pending serious matters being investigated) and the ex-Prime Minister issued a statement to say that he respected the decision of the authorities to ban his travel. Phew! As Saturday rolled on and it was announced the flight was cancelled. It finally became apparent, even to Najib, that the game was finally up. Early evening and, at last, the once all-powerful, all-terrifying, untouchable UMNO President cum Prime Minister cum Finance Minister announced his resignation. It was accepted with good grace. The over-arching triumph of these extraordinary, historic events has been their peaceful nature. Malaysia has provided a magnificent example to the world and to countries round about that enormous changes can be achieved without violence or hatred as a nation has united around a single purpose, to return the rule of law.
No one could have doubted the determination of the people to see their will carried through. The numbers were there and the will to move solidly onto the street if needed, but that was enough. And the worst fears were never realised. There were no Red Shirts or angry communalists or fist fights – everyone had got the message, since the people had spoken across races and religions, in favour of a leader they could trust. There await plenty more episodes to watch around the demise of UMNO’s power couple. A thousand cover-ups to be unravelled and billions of dollars to be unearthed – handbags, diamonds, will all come tumbling out. But, the danger is now over – Najib is gone. The thieves of UMNO have meanwhile done their nation one big favour. They, like the people, have acted with dignity and restraint. There has been no violence and the people are too happy to be churlish. The new PM has called for orderly transition and the rule of law. No need for abitrary actions. This has been democracy in action.
Sarawak Report has been warned Malaysians should be prepared for the discovery that the vast sum of money found at Najib’s property in the KL Pavillion building (RM114) was merely petty, housekeeping cash, compared to what the lady of the house was storing in her various bank accounts over the years. We understand it amounted to billions of ringgit. This website already revealed back in 2015 how one Roslan bin Sohari had paid a total of RM2 million in cash, through eight separte transactions, into Rosmah’s Affin Bank account No-1000 2000 0058, between February and April 2015 alone. He had brought the money in cash.
Popping a bit of housewife’s petty cash into the bank? Roslan Sohari had responded by denying he worked for Rosmah and calling Sarawak Report’s story a fake. However, a perusal of his own Facebook page soon revealed that a man of this name had been travelling around the world on the exact same dates as Rosmah and Najib over previous months and years, staying at the very same luxury five star hotels. He had faithfully posted pictures and details of himself on these trips to prove the point.
Moreover, the Whatsapp contact for the number registered as being Sohari’s by the bank also showed the same photo of him standing in front of the Paris Arc de Triomph as one he had used on Facebook. This chap on Facebook (before the site was hastily pulled down) advertised himself as none other than the Resident Manager of the Prime Minister’s Office, reflecting the bank documents, which described his employment as ‘Personal Assistant in the Prime Minister’s Department’.In short, the number given by the bank as belonging to Roslan Sohari, the man who brought in money for Rosmah’s bank account, tallied with the Whatsapp’s phone directory and profile picture for a person of that name. And that picture identically matched the man who had a Facebook account under Roslan Sohari, who claimed to work for the Prime Minister!
As late as last year, Sarawak Report learnt from separate sources that Roslan Sohari was a member of the large entourage that checked in with the former Prime Minister and his wife to the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC, where they had come to visit the US President, who owns the hotel. Sarawak Report has received further undocumented information about this and related accounts, from sources it has reason to believe. Back in 2015 these sources confided that Rosmah held no less than RM2 billion in this Afin Bank and related accounts in other banks. We now understand that the sum in fact topped RM4 billion ringgit, but that much has been transported out. In which case, investigators and asset tracers certainly have their work cut out. Malaysians will want to see that money back and will surely be interested to know what excuses the former ‘First Lady’ will provide to explain such sums and whether they will be any better than her husband’s?
Will they involve more election donations or perhaps selling the rights to her singing, writing and other talents to eager businessmen (yet to market the precious products)? Have her bomoh’s learnt to magic cash from thin air? Or are the numerous reports that have been circulating true, which is that this ‘First Lady’ had been getting her talons into every government contract going, from armourment purchases to the sales of state lands and development deals, with a demand of anything up to 60% on the profit in return for that precious signature from her husband?Her former close confidant and business partner on such deals, Deepak Jaikashan, is on record saying her stated ambition in life was to top the wealth of the Sultan of Brunei. Thanks to the investigations now under way,
Malaysians ought soon discover just how near she got to achieving that goal, before interrupted by GE14.
Najib has not hesitated to get his paid-up bullies in Red Shirts onto the streets to threaten ordinary folk, following the DOJ’s devastating details over his thefts from 1MDB. But it’s next week that he plans to really take charge. On 1st August his shocking National Security Act comes into force, designed to hand him dictatorial powers wherever he likes, against whom he likes for any six months at a time. Then he can renew those powers.
The bill was introduced without warning late on the final day of the Parliamentary session at the end of last year. Surprised MPs were given no time to scrutinise it, let alone put forward amendments and the debate was cursory as it was rushed through its stages in an effective pre-planned coup by the Prime Minister against his Parliament and the democratic rights of his own people. Even the Sultans and the Agong have been shocked into a rare refusal to sign it unamended – but rather than accept their counsel on a matter of core national security he has brushed their concerns aside and forced it into law unchanged or re-considered. That Najib’s excuse was the need to combat ISIS is no surprise. Yet the terms of this Act would lead anyone to conclude that Malaysia has experienced worse threats than Europe, Indonesia and the US put together, which of course is not true.
None of those countries have attempted to create such sweeping powers to combat terrorists – the reason being that this law has nothing to do with fighting criminals… and everything to do with protecting the one who is presently in charge. To give just a single example of the evil intent of this National Security Act, consider the clause that cancels the formal inquest into the death of anyone killed by army or police in any crackdown under its provisions. Someone must have thought closely to insert such a sinister detail in advance. That someone must have decided that they are tired of being inconvenienced by all the paraphernalia of the law when it comes to murder cases. That person wants to be freed from questioning and investigation, when someone who gets in his way is ordered dead. Does Malaysia want to place such a dangerous law in the hands of a desperate thief and liar like Najib, who is furthermore himself personally associated with a string of murky, half-solved murders?
And yet, the mainstream press in Malaysia has been almost as silent on this deadly law, as over the shocking revelations by America’s Department of Justice about their Prime Minister’s thefts from 1MDB. The story which has been headlines for the past two days in every other country in the world has remained virtually unreported where it is most relevant – Malaysia. What press coverage there has been has even attempted to pretend that the description of Najib as ‘Malaysian Official 1′ means that he has somehow not been identified in the US indictment. Do they think Malaysian’s are laughably stupid? For the avoidance of doubt the PM is plainly and clearly identified in the United States Department of Justice indictment as the corrupt official who received $681 million in his private bank account direct from 1MDB (no Saudi Royals in sight). The rest of the world media has had zero problem in making the connection, as evinced by the headline at the top of this article. It is merely that legal documents only cite by name those who are directly moved against in that indictment – since Najib placed the US-based loot in the name of his step-son Riza and Jho Low (both now hiding in Malaysia and Taiwan) he was not directly relevant to that indictment.
However, his proven duplicity and shocking level of corruption is supremely relevant to people in Malaysia. Frogs?
There is an over-used analogy, which explains a dangerous torpor, which could finally lose Malaysians their last vestiges of freedom, promising poverty and misery for their country. A frog will jump out if you put it into hot water, but if you start from cold and heat it up, it stays and cooks. After years of incremental abuses and ever-worsening corrupted practice, it seems Malaysians no longer understand a tipping-point or see the moment to act. Revelations that mobilised Icelanders and even people in Brazil to successfully voice their outrage and to pressure the departure of discredited leaders, seem in danger of falling on deaf ears amongst self-defeatist Malaysians, who have perhaps bubbled in the pot too long?
It seems too many prefer to explain why ‘nothing can be done’, rather than take a risk and do it. This paralysis is worst amongst those with the most responsibility to take action now – those around Najib. Their failure to do the necessary is forcing others – ordinary people – to have to do their job of replacing a leader who has lost the plot.Here we have one of the remaining countries in the world where sodomy remains a crime and was even used to place a popular opposition leader in jail on cooked-up charges. Yet, the population is being asked to nonetheless bend over and be thus abused.
How will once proud Malaysians be able to look other nations in the face if they let it happen and surrender up their freedoms to a thief, who has been exposed and discredited the world over for buying power with money stolen from the poor?