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Monday, February 29, 2016

Sidang Injil Borneo against MAIWP as intervenor



Sidang Injil Borneo this morning filed a notice of appeal over the decision by the High Court in Kuala Lumpur last month, to include the Federal Territory Islamic Council as an intervenor in its judicial review application.
The application is on the use of the word 'Allah' in all publications for its congregations.
Counsel Lim Heng Seng today disclosed this to Malaysiakini after case management at the High Court. He added further case management had been set for March 14.
He said Justice Hanipah Farikullah today directed the plaintiff to submit the necessary documents to MAIWP following her decision to allow it as intervenor.
“MAIWP may also cross-examine some of the witnesses,” he added.
This was further confirmed by MAIWP lawyer Mohd Haniff Khatri Abdulla to Malaysiakini.
On Feb 23, it was reported that Justice Hanipah ruled that MAIWP had the duty and authority to advise the Agong on Islamic affairs and matters on the use of the word 'Allah' in publications and hence, it should be allowed as intervenor.
Application filed after seizure
Sidang Injil Borneo's Rev Jerry Dusing had named the Home Ministry and the government as respondents in the judicial review application, which was filed in 2007, following the seizure of books bearing the word 'Allah' at the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal in Sepang that year.
Although the books were returned in 2008, just before the general election that year, Dusing did not withdraw the judicial review application as he said it affected the Christian community in Sabah and Sarawak, and the seizure went against the agreement of the two states joining Malaya to form Malaysia.
SIB is going ahead with the judicial review application as it does not want problems in the near future as a result of this, and the use of the religious books as pawns before each election.
On Oct 1, 2014, the Court of Appeal granted leave for SIB's application to be heard on its merits, resulting in this matter being heard now.
SIB actually was the first to make the application to file a judicial review over the challenge to use the word 'Allah' followed by the Roman Catholic archbishop and the Jill Ireland case.
However, the Roman Catholic archbishop's case was the first to be heard up to the Federal Court. -Mkini

IS MALAYSIA SLIDING TOWARD DICTATORSHIP?

thediplomat_2015-10-07_18-35-07-386x256
It is worth noting Malaysia’s score up till 2013 is listed consistently as a 6, which means it barely makes the “democracy” category (scores 6 to 9) and just misses the “open anocracy” one (scores 1 to 5).
Prashanth Parameswaran, The Diplomat

Last week, Malaysia’s former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad grabbed headlines when he suggested that the country was heading towards becoming a dictatorship like North Korea under its current premier Najib Razak.
And as I reported over the weekend, Najib’s former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin also warned that the country was witnessing “the collapse of democratic institutions and the emergence of a new dictatorship.” Muhyiddin was sacked last year after criticizing Najib amid the 1MDB scandal, a high-profile corruption saga where the premier has been accused of mismanaging funds linked to debt-ridden state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
The aforementioned statements are no doubt heavily politicized and hyperbolic. But just how close are they to reality?
While Malaysia has at times received praise for being a moderate Muslim democracy, close observers have long recognized that this is far from the case. In the first iteration of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s annual Democracy Index released in 2006, before Najib even assumed power three years later, Malaysia was already classified as a “flawed democracy”, with the country ranking 81 among 167 countries (the other three types are “full democracies”, “hybrid regimes” and “authoritarian regimes”). It is also worth noting that Mahathir, now one of Najib’s fiercest critics, was himself responsible for the same anti-democratic transgressions he now fumes about, including weakening the country’s institutions and suppressing dissent, most famously in the case of his then deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim.
Similarly, Freedom House has also consistently characterized Malaysia as “partly free” (somewhere in between the other two categories, “free” and “not free”, where countries like North Korea is situated), both in an overall sense and with respect to its two indicators – political rights and civil liberties.
Lastly, in the Polity Index, which examines qualities of democratic and autocratic authority in governing institutions by examining executive recruitment, constraints on executive authority, and political competition, Malaysia is listed as a “democracy,” one step below “full democracy” (other categories are “open anocracy”; “closed anocracy”, and “autocracy”). It is worth noting Malaysia’s score up till 2013 is listed consistently as a 6, which means it barely makes the “democracy” category (scores 6 to 9) and just misses the “open anocracy” one (scores 1 to 5). An anocracy characterizes a regime type with qualities of political instability and ineffectiveness and a mix of democratic and autocratic traits – or, more loosely speaking, ‘part democracy and part dictatorship.’
While the question of what Malaysia is and how it fares generally speaking is quite easy to resolve, the claim that the country is sliding towards dictatorship is much more difficult. The claim itself overly broad one relative to the specific metrics used in each of these indexes. Furthermore, the full impact of Najib government’s crackdown following the 1MDB scandal has not been captured by the data that we have thus far even though it is clearly evident, whether through the suspension of media outlets reporting on the scandal, the undermining of institutions involved in investigating it, or the arrest of whistleblowers seeking to spill the beans. Nor are all instances of democratic regression necessarily directly linked to the 1MDB scandal either. The Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) and the National Security Council bill are two examples which suggest that viewing the country’s democratic troubles through the lens of the scandal alone is rather myopic, with other trends like the rise of the Islamic State threat also serving as contributing rationales irrespective of their validity.
Nonetheless, there is some support for this anti-democratic slide. For instance, Malaysia’s overall score on EIU’s Democracy Index did drop from 6.49 to 6.43 from 2014 to 2015, largely because the country did worse on two key sub-indicators – civil liberties and the functioning of government. On civil liberties, Malaysia’s score went from 5.88 to 5.59. But the main noticeable change was on the functioning of government sub-indicator, which measures things such as accountability, checks and balances, transparency and corruption. Here, Malaysia went from 7.86 to 6.79, more than a point decrease, which makes sense because the 1MDB scandal would affect many aspects of this sub-indicator.
This is also reflected in Freedom House’s data, though that index is more focused on rights and freedoms relative to EIU’s. While Malaysia has recorded the same score of 4 (with 1 representing the most free conditions and 7 being the least free in each of the two dimensions measured: political rights and civil liberties) over the past few years, Freedom House has also designated Malaysia as a country with a “downward trend” in each of the last three years because of changes within sub-indicators.
In the latest rankings in Freedom of the World 2016, Malaysia was also listed among the ten countries to watch because of Najib’s pressure over the 1MDB scandal. Freedom House makes an explicit link between the corruption scandal and the erosion of civil liberties as well as a crackdown on political dissent.
“In response, Najib’s government has ramped up repression, purging opponents and using draconian laws to silence critics,” the group said. “Meanwhile, authorities have launched a campaign to enforce conservative societal norms, targeting religious minorities, women, transgender Malaysians, and the LGBT community more generally.”
So while Malaysia is a far cry from North Korea and its anti-democratic turn is hardly a descent into dictatorship, the country’s slide nonetheless a discernable and worrying one.

Pesawat Emas Sultan Johor Selamat Mendarat Di Senai



JOHOR BARU: Pesawat 'emas' Boeing 737 milik Sultan Johor selamat mendarat di Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Senai selepas terbang dari Amerika Syarikat.

Sultan Ibrahim ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar berada di lapangan terbang untuk melihat dan melawat pesawat berkenaan selepas ia mendarat pada kira-kira pukul 1:30 tengah hari di sini, Isnin.

Pesawat berwarna emas dan biru itu turut mempunyai lambang negeri di bahagian ekor dan bendera di bahagian badan.

Menurut laman web pemantauan radar penerbangan, pesawat itu sebelum ini terbang dari Los Angeles ke Hawaii sebelum ia meninggalkan Honolulu pada 27 Februari.

Pesawat itu akan diletakkan di tempat menyimpan dan menyelenggara kapal terbang bersama beberapa pesawat dan helikopter milik Sultan Ibrahim.

Sultan Ibrahim berkata, pesawat terbarunya yang boleh menampung antara 25 hingga 30 orang akan digunakan untuk mempromosikan Johor.

"Saya ingin menjelajah dunia seperti nenek moyang saya yang pernah mengembara dengan kapal," katanya kepada The Star di sini.

Sultan Ibrahim berkata beliau juga boleh membawa bersama-sama pegawai kerajaan dalam perjalanan beliau.

Menjawab soalan sama ada baginda akan menerbangkan sendiri pesawat itu, juruterbang berkelayakan berkenaan menjawab: "Saya akan mengikuti latihan simulator di Brisbane sebelum saya terbangkannya."

Ditanya mengenai rancangan untuk mengadakan lawatan sulungnya menggunakan pesawat berkenaan, Sultan Ibrahim berkata: "Saya masih belum merancang perjalanan saya tetapi mungkin boleh terbang ke Pulau Pinang untuk menikmati nasi kandar."

Baginda juga berharap untuk membawa mereka yang kurang bernasib baik ke Mekah bagi mengerjakan haji menaiki pesawat itu.

Selain itu baginda berkata pesawat itu mengambil masa dua tahun untuk disiapkan termasuk 18 bulan bagi kerja pengubahsuaian dalaman.

Pesawat itu dilengkapi dengan ruang makan, bilik tidur dan ruang mandi.

Sultan Ibrahim adalah seorang pengumpul kenderaan mewah termasuk kereta, motosikal dan trak.

Pembeliannya sebelum ini adalah trak Mack paling mahal di dunia. - mstar

MyKMU: Mahathir never had, nor will he ever have principles

Pro-Umno blog also says that if at all the former PM had principles, he would have quit Umno in July last year at the height of the scandals.
mahathir,mykmuPETALING JAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad has never had, and will never have, principles, a pro-Umno blog alleged today following the former prime minister’s decision to quit the party yesterday.
In an article, MyKMU said that if at all Mahathir quit Umno on the grounds of “principles”, he would have done so much earlier when many of the reasons he cited for his decision, were still unresolved.
“Except for the suspension of Umno deputy president (Muhyiddin Yassin) last week and the removal of his son (Mukhriz Mahathir) from the Kedah MB-ship last month, all the other matters cited by Mahathir, happened in July last year.
“Then why did he only quit Umno yesterday, and not earlier?”
MyKMU also accused Mahathir of never having had principles in the past, while stating confidently, he would never have any principles ever.
“He (Mahathir) said that he was quitting Umno as the party now only serves to protect one man – Prime Minister and party President Najib Razak.
“Whatever the case, Mahathir quitting Umno is not a big deal. If he thinks of Umno like a public toilet that he can enter and exit anytime he wishes, then it’s only fair for us to consider him as the ‘thing’ we get rid of while in the toilet.”

Public official has no locus standi to sue media

The High Court had dismissed Utusan Melayu Bhd's bid last year to strike out the lawsuit by Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob over an article published in November 2014.
Adnan-Yaakob_utusan_law_600PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has ruled that public figures cannot sue media companies for defamation in their official capacity.
Justice Rohana Yusof, along with Justices Idrus Harun and Mary Lim, unanimously ruled that Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaacob cannot bring the lawsuit in his position as the state leader. “He has no locus standi to bring the lawsuit.”
She was agreeing with Utusan’s lawyers, M. Reza Hassan and Azhar Arman Ali’s submissions, on a case in Derbyshire where the English court ruled that public figures cannot sue because of criticism against them as office bearers. “It’s an obvious case for striking out,” said Justice Rohana.
Previously, on July 23 last year, the High Court had dismissed Utusan Melayu Bhd’s bid to strike out the lawsuit taken by Adnan, over an article entitled “Hebat Sangatkah Adnan” that was published in November 2014.
The appeals court panel also ordered Adnan to pay the publication RM3,000 as cost.
Americk Sidhu represented Adnan.
Reza said this ruling means that public figures especially politicians cannot sue media companies for criticizing their actions in office.
On December 8, 2014 Adnan filed a suit against Utusan over an article where he alleged the newspaper had portrayed him as a person unsuitable as Menteri Besar, failed in his responsibilities and was pretentious.
He added that the article had tarnished his reputation and brought him shame.

Zaid: IGP’s threats not working

The former law minister pokes fun at the IGP on twitter, labelling the latter as a 'worried man'.
Zaid-IGPPETALING JAYA: Former Umno minister Zaid Ibrahim appears unfazed over earlier warnings given by Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Khalid Abu Bakar, as the former boldly dismissed them as “not working”.
“He is trying hard to intimidate me, but it’s not working. We are not afraid. Don’t see Khalid having a job after the next election. Do you?” he tweeted sarcastically.
The former law minister was perplexed over the IGP’s recent negative comments, where he pointed out that the IGP was being too worried.
“IGP is a worried man. First, he gave me a strong warning about March 27. Then he called me ‘confused’. I don’t know what else he will do,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, Zaid also told the Red Shirts that they are free to hold their own gathering, but reminded them of their small numbers.
“As for the Red Shirts, they can do their own gathering. People are free to support Najib. But so few of them now,” he told FMT when contacted via WhatsApp.
Previously, Khalid had warned Zaid that he could face the music for organising an “anti-Najib” gathering, adding that the police would monitor it despite assurances that it was merely a “private event”.
He said as a lawyer, Zaid should know better, as removing the prime minister can only be done through a general election or a vote of no confidence in the Parliament.
According to Khalid, officers will be placed in strategic points of the venue to ensure that no incidence of chaos would erupt, aside from monitoring speeches delivered at the gathering for elements of sedition.
Zaid had earlier clarified that the gathering would be an “invite-only” affair involving around 1,000 participants, including representatives from political parties, student leaders and civil society members.

Najib very much in control of the levers of power

Mahathir and his band of loyalists will be frustrated again.
COMMENT
NajibBy Din Merican
I am not surprised by the latest move by Tun Dr Mahathir to quit the Umno he created, which was renamed Umno Baru, to replace Umno (1946) outlawed by Justice Harun Hashim after 1987. I regard it as a preemptive move on his part to forestall his own sacking from the party. On that score, Dr Mahathir is not like Muhyiddin Yassin.
Lest some of us may conveniently forget, Umno Baru is not Umno. Umno Baru was Mahathir’s creation with a new constitution that gave the party president almost absolute powers. It is very difficult to dislodge the president because the rules for party elections are skewed in favour of the incumbent. For that, we must thank the Tun. Furthermore, Umno Baru is the godfather of crony capitalism and money politics. While Umno 1946 was a party of Malay school teachers and housewives, the party which Prime Minister and party President Najib Razak inherited and used to his advantage is a party of elitists and businessmen. Corruption is the lifeblood of Umno Baru where, as Najib rightly puts it, “Cash in King.”
What impact does this Mahathir move have on Najib? For that, I need the advice of our MH370 bomoh! Since he is probably on Najib’s payroll, the Bomoh will likely tell me that Najib will survive because he is kebal (invincible protected by the spirits). So, Dr Mahathir’s resignation can only be treated as a mosquito bite. Umno members will continue to support Najib as long as he has the cash to buy their loyalty.
Mahathir and his band of loyalists will be frustrated again. They cannot count on Pakatan Harapan since DAP and its partners do not trust him. Mahathir only wants to remove Najib, but he is not a reformer. So we are stuck.
Umno will not change; the Pakatan Harapan is divided and leaderless; and there is little civil society can do to unseat Najib except to urge Mahathir on. The incumbent President cum Prime Minister is very much in control of the levers of power including the ability to declare a state of emergency under the new NSC (National Security Council) law, if the situation warrants it. As a nation, we are in a state of political paralysis.
More than I care to admit, Najib is obviously a very astute politician, who has surrounded himself with very sharp strategists.

MAHATHIR QUITS UMNO: A FAMILIAR EPISODE BUT A DIFFERENT UMNO

Shannon Teoh
Unlike in 2008, Mahathir’s party influence is waning; Najib also has support of the leadership
Shannon Teoh, The Straits Times
When Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad resigned from Umno in 2008, the party reacted by giving him what he wanted – kicking out Tun Abdullah Badawi, who was his own handpicked successor.
The episode underlined the huge influence Malaysia’s longest-serving premier still wielded over the party then. He had stepped down in 2003 after leading Malaysia for 22 years.
Mr Abdullah was forced to leave in April 2009 by his own party chiefs, who had seen the Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) lose two-thirds of Parliament for the first time in the 2008 General Election.
This time around, things are different. Datuk Seri Najib Razak, though besieged from many directions, enjoys widespread support among the party’s leadership.
Despite facing mounting allegations of graft and mismanagement at state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad, Mr Najib was able to sack deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Umno vice-president Shafie Apdal from the Cabinet without much Umno backlash last July.
For good measure, he replaced the Attorney-General and chief of the Special Branch intelligence section.
Earlier last month, Mr Najib engineered the removal of Dr Mahathir’s son as chief minister of Kedah in a fuss-free fortnight.
Last week, the 62-year-old Mr Najib got Tan Sri Muhyiddin suspended from his post of deputy Umno president. And again, there were few ripples in the 3.3 million-strong party.
“Nobody cares about his quitting Umno. Najib is no Abdullah and will cling onto power with all possible means,” senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies Oh Ei Sun told The Straits Times.
By resigning from Umno again yesterday, Dr Mahathir, 90, is playing chicken with Malaysia’s biggest political party. He is asking the party if it is ready to face an increasingly angsty electorate without his endorsement.
But Mr Najib has shown that he does not flinch easily.
On the flip side, Dr Mahathir’s influence in Umno is waning. The rebellion also comes at a time when party elders want to band together after seeing in 2008 that infighting at the top only weakens the party.
“This is probably the last straw in Mahathir’s hands. I doubt his resignation from Umno will have impact unless he is able to trigger even more resignations from other Umno leaders. If this remains a lone protest, it will not make any difference,” said Mr Wan Saiful Wan Jan, chief of think-tank Ideas.
Housing and Local Government Minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan was even more direct. He noted that when Dr Mahathir made a surprise announcement about resigning from all his posts in 2002, “many Umno members cried”. “But this time around, tears no more!
“As a party with more than three million members and an entrenched organisation, Umno will survive any attempt to destabilise it, including resignations,” he wrote in several tweets yesterday.
Dr Mahathir himself seems to recognise his waning power, saying he wants to see a “core group” of leaders declare and act on their commitment to topple Mr Najib. He did not say who they were.
His ally and former law minister Zaid Ibrahim has spoken of a March 27 gathering among like-minded personalities to seek a viable strategy to achieve this aim.
Perhaps the most significant takeaway from Dr Mahathir’s press conference yesterday was not so much his resignation, but that he finally abandoned his insistence that removing Mr Najib – or Mr Abdullah previously – is all that is needed to reform Umno. “The party should be voted out of power but the opposition has got no majority, so we cannot do it,” he said.
Malaysia’s opposition is currently fractured following last year’s break-up of Pakatan Rakyat, which gained the popular vote in 2013 but could not take parliamentary majority.

Close ranks, save Malaysia, Wan Azizah tells lawmakers

Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah says she will meet leaders of Pakatan Harapan partners and other parties, NGOs and individuals to agree on a guide for a national consensus. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, March 1, 2016.Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah says she will meet leaders of Pakatan Harapan partners and other parties, NGOs and individuals to agree on a guide for a national consensus. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, March 1, 2016.
Opposition leader Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail today pledged to take proactive measures to reach a consensus with other groups and individuals to reform the country's institutions and save it from a scandal-ridden leadership.
The PKR president urged lawmakers from both sides of the political divide to close ranks and come together to save the country.
"Given the never-ending scandals involving the leadership, I urge all parliamentarians regardless of party and political inclination to join us in our efforts to save Malaysia," she said in a statement today.
Dr Wan Azizah said she would meet leaders of Pakatan Harapan partners and other parties, NGOs as well as individuals to agree on a guide for a national consensus.
Former deputy prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who was suspended from Umno, last Friday, has said he would not appeal against the party's decision, and instead would continue to speak out for institutional reforms.
"I will continue to speak up to uphold justice and to demand for holistic institutional reform," the former Umno deputy president said on his Facebook page.
Muhyiddin had also raised concern over the country’s credibility and image that were being tarnished by various allegations.
He said Malaysians felt they were being squeezed by the rising costs of living and narrowing democratic space and freedom.
Muhyiddin also urged Malaysians to set aside their racial, religious and ideological sentiments to establish a people’s consensus to create a government with integrity.
- TMI

Dr Mahathir a coma patient waiting for his time, says Ismail Sabri

Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's quitting the party will have no impact. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, March 1, 2016.Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's quitting the party will have no impact. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, March 1, 2016.
Saying he was not surprised by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s decision to quit Umno, a member of the party's Supreme Council today likened the former prime minister to a coma patient waiting for death.
"Many of us expect this. Statements made by Mahathir before this shown his disagreement with the leaders today. We know this would happen sooner or later.
"We are not shocked, just like sick coma patients suddenly pass away, it is expected, just a matter of time," Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob told reporters in Kuching after presenting excellence service certificates to some 200 staff of his ministry.
The rural and regional development minister said Dr Mahathir's exit carried little weight even though he was once Umno's president and a former prime minister.
"We have three million members. I believe the effect is not that big to divide Umno," he added.
Dr Mahathir announced his decision to quit the country’s biggest Malay party, saying Umno was now only interested to keep Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in power.
This is the second time Dr Mahathir quit Umno, the first in May 2008, over his unhappiness with then prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, following Barisan Nasional's losses in the general election that year.
Ismail said when Dr Mahathir quit the party in 2008, Umno was not divided but continued to win in the general election in 2013 to form government.
"What is important is that existing Umno leaders and members continue the sole objective of the party on the struggles of Malays and Bumiputeras," he said.
He said people joining and quitting Umno was normal because it was a democratic party.
"Many leaders have quit, Umno's first president Datuk Onn Jafar also quit, but Umno continues to be strong until today."
- TMI

All eyes on Dr M if he'll lead anti-Najib campaign



When Dr Mahathir Mohamad quit Umno yesterday, all eyes focused on whether he would lead a campaign against Prime Minister Najib Tun Abdul Razak in cooperation with the opposition and possibly even civil society.
If everything goes on smoothly for Mahathir and the opposition, political commentator Josh Hong expects for the next general election two years down the road, a coalition or alliance that matches the ruling BN.
Several conditions are needed to strengthen the anti-Najib campaign so it can weaken the BN led by Najib, he said.
These conditions include both Mahathir and opposition ironing out their terms for co-operation plus other heavyweight leaders in Umno and BN supporting their efforts.
"From what I see, every time Mahathir runs into dead alley, he will come out with something dramatic," said Hong (photo) referring to Mahathir's decision to quit the party in 2008 and yesterday.
"Do not overestimate Mahathir's influence. He wasn't left with much choice and he doesn't has much advantage now (as compared in 2008 when he first exited Umno)," he said.
The country's longest serving premier will need to rely on the opposition, particularly for his long-time rival and PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim's green light to form an anti-Najib coalition, he added.
Despite a warm reaction from DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang and PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, the nine-month old Pakatan Harapan and its allies have yet to come out with a stand on working with Mahathir.
Mahathir only wants Najib to step down while the opposition has repeatedly demanded for a total change of the system.
If Mahathir stands firm in only wanting to change Najib, then the jailed PKR de facto leader may not work with him, noted Hong who is also a Malaysiakini columnist.
"Even if they settle their differences and work together, they still need the support of heavyweight leaders in BN and Umno like suspended deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin, vice-president Shafie Apdal and veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah," he added.
Najib's trump card
Only then can the anti-Najib coalition affect BN badly enough before the next general election though Najib will be unshakable for the time being.
"And why did I mention the Umno veterans? Razaleigh is pretty much a symbol to the the hardcore and middle-class Malays who distrust both Najib and PAS but think that the veterans like Razaleigh and Mahathir are moderate nationalists," Hong explained.
"And from what I see, PAS is Najib's trump card. There is a chance PAS may work with Umno. PAS has its own hardcore supporters," he said.
PAS will think twice in supporting Umno if the anti-Najib coalition builds up its momentum, said Hong adding 'the low morale' opposition coalition needs Mahathir more than Umno does.
"It is pretty ironic that the opposition needs a leader to lead them. In the past, they needed Anwar, now they need Mahathir," said Hong.
The last time Mahathir exited Umno saw then Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi step down a short while later.
"Several reasons led to Pak Lah to exit politics,” recalled Hong. “First, Umno wanted to get rid of him following the 2008 general election setback which saw BN being denied a two-thirds majority.
"Also, Abdullah had a good successor - Najib. Now, you don't have one to replace Najib. Deputy prime minister and party vice-president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is with Najib.
“Mahathir dislikes leaders like Hishamuddin Hussein and Khairy Jamaluddin. They do not trust Mahathir either," he said.
"Najib is pretty much a fighter himself and he just uses the machinery (to retain power). He had the former attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail replaced irregardless of criticism," he added.
Umno does not see Najib as a betrayer as Umno had won more seats in 2013 general election compared to Abdullah's era, he said.
When asked about the March 27 'oust Najib' gathering called by former law minister Zaid Ibrahim, Hong noted its success would depending on Mahathir and the opposition parties.
He said he personally does not see Zaid as leading the 'closed door' event.
He also pointed out the organisers risk angering Catholics as they will be celebrating Easter Day on March 27. "So, it is better for them to change the gathering date," he said.
Another observer, meanwhile, said that Najib and his party would not suffer any far-reaching consequences for now.
Mahathir won't have an effect
"In the short term, any negative impact on Umno and Najib is limited. They will solve the problem they are facing," said Ibrahim Suffian (photo), executive director of independent pollster Merdeka Center.
In the medium term, he said Mahathir could galvanise public opinion further against Najib and the government.
It will also be difficulty for the administration to win back the support lost due to the slowing economy and the various controversies that it is embroiled in, he added.
"If Mahathir mobilises the dissenting elements in Malaysian politics, this move would signal that he is taking his case to the electorate rather than Umno members.
"If he is successful, he could split the Malay-Muslim vote which forms the backbone of support for the ruling party in Malaysia," noted Ibrahim.
Whether Mahathir will lead the opposition in his anti-Najib campaign up to the next polls will depends on how things develop from here on, he added.
Meanwhile, National Defence University’s Prof Aruna Gopinath said Mahathir leaving Umno meant that he had more room to oust Najib.
However, she said whatever Mahathir does will not gain traction as Malaysians have lost faith in the former premier.
"Once you are out of politics, you should not interfere. He has been interfering too much in the sense that he tried to provoke (the people to topple Najib)," she said.
"He should retire like Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Mahathir thinks that he has a large following but I don't think the people will give him due respect," she added.
When asked about Mahathir voicing his concern over Najib's RM2.6 billion donation affair and the 1MDB fiasco, she said Mahathir was only harping on these issues without evidence.
"Without evidence, you cannot simply talk about it. It is wrong to speculate. Unless you have evidence, then it will be different," she said.
"Only Najib knows the truth," she added. -Mkini

Mahathir, Kit Siang meet on 'national issues'



DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang said today he had met with former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad on national issues and they were able to find encouraging developments in solving the problems the country was facing.
This comes amidst speculation that following his exit from Umno yesterday, Mahathir may now champion a movement to oust Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
"I have met and discussed with Mahathir the current national situation, as well as with Zaid Ibrahim on his March 27 initiative.
"Both of these are encouraging developments to find a solution to the national cul de sac," Lim said in his speech at a retreat for DAP councillors in Selangor this afternoon.
Without elaborating, he said the party would support all efforts to 'Save Malaysia' as opposed to campaigns to just 'Save Najib” or 'Save Umno'.
Prior to Pakatan Rakyat's break-up in April last year, Lim had called for all like-minded Malaysians, including Mahathir, to work on a common agenda to 'Save Malaysia'.
[More to follow]

Roti canai prices set to rise after subsidy cut



Roti canai, a staple breakfast for many Malaysians, could be more expensive starting today after the government abolished subsidies for 25kg bags of wheat flour.
The Star reports that the subsidy was removed effective today, bringing up the price for 25kg bags of wheat flour from RM33.75 to RM42.
The English daily quoted a flour importer as saying that prices of food like roti canai and local kuih which use normal or general purpose flour could be affected by the subsidy removal.
However, the importer said the price of bread, biscuits and cakes, which use premium flour that is not subsidised, would not be affected.
Subsidies for the 1kg bags of flour bought by most households, however, will still be subsidised and sold at RM1.35.
It is understood that millers and wholesalers were informed of the subsidy removal last week.
However, The Star report does not state why the subsidy was removed.
Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's administration is embarking on cost-cutting measures, as his government struggles amidst economic downturn and the continued slump in world oil prices coupled with the drastic fall in the value of the ringgit. -Mkini

Dr Mahathir tells Najib to sue WSJ over US$1 billion claim


Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says Datuk Seri Najib Razak should sue an American business daily over its latest expose that billions were diverted from a state fund into the prime minister’s accounts. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, March 1, 2016.© Provided by The Malaysian Insider Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says Datuk Seri Najib Razak should sue an American business daily over its latest expose that billions were diverted from a state fund into the prime minister’s accounts. – The…Datuk Seri Najib Razak should sue The Wall Street Journal over its latest expose that more than US$1 billion was deposited into his accounts, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He said otherwise, the report would be deemed as having some truth to it.
“If it is not true, the prime minister should sue them for false reporting.
“If he doesn’t, then there must be some truth to what was said,” the former prime minister said today.
The WSJ on its latest expose today reported that the prime minister received more than US$1 billion – hundreds of millions more than previously identified.
The US-based business daily said its sources said global investigators believe much of it originated with a state investment fund, 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
The WSJ began its expose of Najib’s personal bank accounts last July but has yet to be sued by the prime minister, who has denied all allegations.
Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali said in January there was insufficient proof to charge Najib with any wrongdoing over the US$681 million found in his bank accounts.
But WSJ said the investigators’ belief contradicted the A-G’s conclusion.
The A-G had said that US$681 million deposited to Najib’s account was a legal donation from a member of Saudi Arabia’s royal family and most was returned.
Apandi said there was nothing improper and it was time to stop scrutinising the deposits, a notion echoed by Najib.

Harga Minyak Turun Subsidi Tepung Pula Ditarik Balik Bermula Hari Ini




PETALING JAYA: Subsidi seguni tepung gandung seberat 25 kilogram akan ditarik balik mulai hari ini (Selasa), satu langkah yang mungkin akan membawa kepada kenaikan harga makanan seperti roti canai, mi dan banyak lagi.

Pengilang yang menghadiri mesyuarat dengan Kementerian Perdagangan Dalam Negeri, Koperasi dan Kepenggunaan minggu lalu berkata, mereka dimaklumkan mengenai penghapusan subsidi tepung gandum.

Pemborong juga dipercayai telah menerima pekeliling mengenai perubahan harga bagi tepung gandung seberat 25kg di Semenanjung Malaysia termasuk jenama Blue Key, yang kini dijual pada harga RM42 tanpa subsidi.


Seorang pengilang tepung yang hanya mahu dikenali sebagai Ng berkata, beliau adalah antara wakil-wakil industri yang hadir pada mesyuarat 24 Februari lalu yang dihadiri oleh pegawai kanan kementerian.

"Tepung gandum RM25kg yang dibeli oleh peruncit seperti kedai kopi dan restoran mamak, akan meningkat daripada RM33.75 kepada RM42," kata Ng.

Walau bagaimanapun, kerajaan akan mengekalkan harga RM1.35 subsidi bagi 1kg tepung gandum yang dibeli oleh isi rumah seperti jenama Blue Key dan Bunga Cempaka.

Beliau berkata, sebelum ini mereka menikmati RM600 hingga RM800 subsidi bagi setiap tan metrik tepung yang dihasilkan setiap bulan atau 60 sen hingga 80 sen sekilo bergantung kepada harga gandum di pasaran.

Subsidi ini, katanya telah merosakkan harga pasaran tepung kerana kos memproses gandum menjadi tepung boleh melebihi RM33.75 sekilo.

Harga untuk pengeluaran tepung adalah berbeza-beza berdasarkan harga gandum iaitu yang terkini adalah RM968 (AS$230) satu tan metrik.

"Kami mengalu-alukan keputusan Kerajaan," katanya.

Seorang lagi pengimport tepung berkata, harga makanan seperti roti canai dan kuih tempatan yang menggunakan tepung biasa boleh terjejas akibat penghapusan subsidi ini.

Beliau berkata roti, biskut dan kek yang menggunakan tepung premium yang tidak mendapat subsidi, tidak akan terjejas.

Menteri Perdagangan Dalam Negeri, Koperasi dan Kepenggunaan, Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin dan Ketua Setiausaha Kementerian itu, Datuk Seri Alias ​​Ahmad enggan mengulas mengenainya.

DR M'S NEXT MOVE: TO 'BURY' NAJIB & ROSMAH, MAKING PEACE WITH ANWAR IS CRITICAL

DR M'S NEXT MOVE: TO 'BURY' NAJIB & ROSMAH, MAKING PEACE WITH ANWAR IS CRITICAL
Mahathir will make his peace with Anwar if that is what he has to do.  If Anwar has to make his peace with Mahathir to be relevant to Malaysian politics again, Anwar will make his peace with Mahathir. Malaysia is bigger that either of them. Great leaders like Gandhi and Mandela had nothing more than a belief in themselves to make their own people believe that all is possible if they will only try.


Today the incumbent is Najib Razak. Today the one with the big armies and deep pockets is Najib Razak. Today all that you would want and all that you would need to hold on to government legally or illegally is with Najib Razak.

Mahathir has zilch and Anwar Ibrahim is incarcerated in Sungai Buloh. What then do we have?

What Najib Razak does not have is you, me and the critical mass that will decide Malaysia's fate in these coming days. He lacks the moral authority that only the people can give him.

Yes, we are agreed with Mahathir that there is within our country now, a core group that wants Najib ousted as Prime Minister of Malaysia. Mahathir has seized upon this core issue to rally us all against Najib. He has done it at an age when he is one decade short of a century and he has done so with a flourish  -  cakap serupa bikin - he has left Umno! And so will his wife, children and many others.

But who will the people listen to?


Who will the people follow as many had followed Anwar during the Reformasi days?

Who will be make the impossible possible?

Who will unite those who are for and against Umno into unity of purpose : to rid themselves of  Najib Razak.

Who can do this and yet understand that once that purpose had been achieved, they will all again be sworn enemies of each other? Perhaps more civil and more respectful of each other but still sworn enemies that will face each other off at the next general election?

Three names : Tun Dr Mahatir Mohammad, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Lim Kit Siang... and in spirit aruah TGNA and the late great Karpal.

And a supporting caste of many.


This is not the time for race, religion or politics. Cast aside the past however painful and personal it has been. There will always be time in the future for revenge or forgiveness. For now our task is to make ready our front line for battle. Mahathir and Lim Kit Siang are ready for battle. Anwar Ibrahim is still MIA (missing in action!).

What are we to do to have Anwar join them? - http://steadyaku-steadyaku-husseinhamid.blogspot.my/

NO WONDER ADENAN SUPPORTS NAJIB: EXPOSED - SARAWAK'S OWN 1MDB DEBACLE

NO WONDER ADENAN SUPPORTS NAJIB: EXPOSED - SARAWAK'S OWN 1MDB DEBACLE
SARAWAK'S 1MDB - Native Customary Land Fund ASSAR Conceals A Half Billion Ringgit Shortfall
Huge sums of money have vanished from the official fund entrusted with managing the savings of Sarawak’s most disadvantaged people, the Native Customary Landowners of the state, according to documents obtained by Sarawak Report.
The finding ends trust in the state government’s claims to be the guardian of the interests of the native poor and raises acute concerns over the viability of ASSAR, as well as other state funds, which have failed to give adequate disclosure about their assets.
Indeed, our evidence shows that instead of building the value of savings, via prudent investment, the money which was forcibly taken from native families, has been ploughed into loss-making enterprises associated with the rich and powerful political elite, operating behind a veil of secrecy in the financial management of ASSAR.
Figures show that at the present time* the unit value of Amanah Saham Sarawak Berhad (ASSAR) stands at a mere 17 sens, compared to the minimum level guaranteed to investors of RM1.00 by the state.
The shocking discovery leaves taxpayers liable and indicates that, after years of saving, native families can only expect to get the barest minimum of a return on their investments, in the event of a far from certain bailout by the state.

Report by Securities Commission revealed dire situation in 2012

Sarawak Report has obtained a review of ASSAR by the Securities Commission, which was prompted by concerns about the fund. The report, which has been kept secret since it was published in July 2012, revealed that the net asset value of the fund (i.e. the value of its assets on the stock market) had plunged to just 25% of its liabilities by that date.
In a summary of the performance of the fund it was noted that a staggering 82 of its 90 chosen investments (‘counters’) had lost money totalling RM46.7 million over the past year, leaving it after a long period of fluctuating poor performance worth only 25.5% of the minimum price guaranteed by the state of RM1.00 per unit.
88
NAV means Net Asset Value – Securities Commission Report 2012.  Only 8 out of 90 investments did not lose huge sums of money!
Further figures obtained by Sarawak Report, confirm that by that 2014 the value of the fund had plunged even further to just 17%, despite a number of injections of support by the State Government.
In other words, far from increasing the nest eggs of poor families, the state has presided over the disappearance of more than 80% of the money invested by nearly 72,000 Sarawak savers with ASSAR.
Most of these individuals concerned are vulnerable native customary landowners, who were forced by the state to invest in the fund.
“We note that ASSAR’s fund’s NAV [net asset value] is insufficient to cover full redemptions from all 71,874 accounts…” said the 2012 report.
Not enough assets to pay back 72 thousand Sarawak savers their money
Not enough assets to pay back 72 thousand Sarawak savers their money

Assets just a fraction of the minimum guaranteed unit value

From the figures detailed the report (above) it can be seen that while ASSAR’s net asset value in March 2012 was only RM138.67 million, the guaranteed minimum redemption value of it total number of units was a whopping RM542.96 million.
It is simple to calculate that this represented a RM404 million shortfall, meaning the fund was only worth 25% of its benchmark value at that time in 2012.
Worse, Sarawak Report has obtained later figures which show that by the end of December 2014 the crisis had deepened, despite two separate injections of RM50 million by the State Government in the intervening period. By that date the shocking shortfall in the fund had reached RM446,627,310 million ringgit, according to a summary of the Financial Records in our possession:
Plunging figures
Plunging figures show that ASSAR assets were valued just 17 sens per RM1.00 unit by December 2014
The shortfall figure represents the difference between the minimum owed to present investors, which was RM541,712,004 (based on the guarantee of RM1.00 per unit by the state), and the actual net asset value of the fund, which had fallen to a paltry RM95,084,694 – 17% of its guaranteed value.
Where have the native Sarawak landowners' promised nest eggs gone?
Where have the native Sarawak landowners’ promised nest eggs gone?
Contacts close to the fund have further confided to Sarawak Report that the ensuing past year has been dire for the fund, indicating that in the run up to the coming election the figures have got even worse than those indicated in the graphs above showing where matters stood in December 2014.
It represents a devastating loss of nearly half a billion ringgit, which has gone missing from the fund entrusted with protecting the compensation money awarded to Native Customary for the confiscation of their territories (in most cases illegally, by the state’s so-called Land Custody and Development Authority, known as Pelita).
Plunging values
Plunging values

Forced Ponzi Scheme!

The consequences for native people are devastating.
When ASSAR was set up in 1993 the then Chief Minister, Finance Minister and Resources and Planning Minister and present Governor, Taib Mahmud, presented it as a way of introducing vulnerable native communities to modern saving practices.
Taib liked to be flattered as Sarawak's CEO - together with present protege Adenan Satem now faced with ASSAR's financial black hole
Taib liked to be flattered as Sarawak’s CEO – together with present protege Adenan Satem now faced with ASSAR’s financial black hole
His government had forcibly and illegally alienated vast tracts of land belonging to Native Customary Landowners, in order to make way for lucrative logging and plantation concessions, which were primarily handed to companies owned by his own family and key cronies.
The compensation payments to natives represented a pathetic fraction of the true value of their territories, thanks to the arbitrary payouts determined by the State Government, but even so the all-powerful Chief Minister was not willing to allow them to have the money directly.
A scheme was set up to divert their payments into ASSAR, where they were placed under a so-called ‘moratorium’, meaning that their forced investments could not be removed from the ‘trust’ for a minimum of five years.
People close to the fund have confided to Sarawak Report that for several years the payments to those withdrawing from the fund have been financed directly by the money coming in from new forced savers, rather than the supposed profits from wise investments – the definition of a Ponzi scheme.
“Sarawak’s Native Landowners Fund is nothing more than a forced Ponzi scheme on the brink of collapse. It makes the problems of Tabung Haji look minor by comparison.  The Bank Negara Governor issued a warning when that fund fell to 90% of its unit guarantee. These figures show that Assar has plunged to a pathetic 17%”, one former employee of the fund recently told Sarawak Report.
The current shortfall means that if only a small percentage of the present investors were to exit the fund there would be no money left to pay the remaining unit holders who were forced to hand over their money.
So much for conserving native wealth and so much for introducing natives to modern saving practices!

Damning report

The reasons behind the fiasco are clearly indicated in the damning 2012 report, following an investigation by the Securities Commission, after concerns about the fund’s mismanagement were reported by staff insiders.
Sarawak Report has a copy of that official report, which has predictably been kept secret from the public. A statement by the Auditor General last year further hinted at the very same problems with the fund.
In the report the Commission detailed numerous failings in the management of the fund, including inadequate supervision and attendance by key board members.  MP Alexander Linggi, for example, and former State Secretary, Tarmizi bin Sulaiman, were recorded as having failed to attend numerous meetings.
No show from BN crony Board Members
No show from BN crony Board Members
Furthermore, shocking failures in compliance included a lack of any supervision over potential conflicts of interest amongst key directors and executives over the companies into which money was being invested.
No check on whether the fund's investments benefited the decision makers
No check on whether the fund’s investments benefited the decision makers
It means there has been no system in place for preventing corrupt investment decisions at the loss-making fund.
“We simply didn’t know if the investments benefitted any of our decision-makers” one former officer told Sarawak Report
The same staffer added that they suspected that self-interested investments in crony companies and loss making enterprises linked to interested parties was the key reason for the loss of hundreds of millions of ringgit of investors’ money.

Landowners not told how to get their money out!

There is no obvious legitimate reason for ASSAR to lose money, explain insiders, because the government has made numerous licences and concessions available to the public companies which are supposed to be generating the income to sustain the fund’s investments.
Yet somehow nearly all these companies are losing money or not reporting profits to the fund’s managers.
“Money that should go back to the fund simply does not come onto the books”, one financial employee has told Sarawak Report. “Profits due back to the fund from these companies it is investing in don’t seem to be registering”
The consequences for Sarawak’s humble investors have already been far reaching, with the Securities Commission report detailing numerous cases of late or staggered payments by the fund to those attempting withdrawals.
Worse, the report noted that no effort is made by the fund to provide the necessary forms and information to new investors to help them understand how to remove their funds at a later date.  Such a basic lack of provision, as the report makes clear, amounts to deliberately obstructing the small and inexperienced rural investors, making it extremely hard for them to access their own cash.
The report highlights how there have been illegal lengthy delays in paying investors when they do attempt to remove their money, which is clearly the product of its cash-strapped position.
ASSAH Headquarters - a hive of mismanaged investments.
ASSAH Headquarters – a hive of mismanaged investments.
The practice of paying dividends is also sporadic and lamentable when it comes to small unit holders the report confirms. Dividends which ought to be higher than the base rate of interest have in fact been even lower, according to the figures, despite the fact that the State Government has started to intervene to support the payout
In 2012 a measly 1.5% dividend was paid says the report, 66% of which was in effect subsidised by the state government owned holding company PASB:
In the absence of profits paltry dividends have been effectively subsidised
In the absence of profits paltry dividends have been effectively subsidised
Since the native villagers (whom ASSAR was supposed to have educated in the art of saving) have been left unsure by the fund as to what to expect, they often receive no dividends, say complainants, apart from sporadic handouts, usually by BN politicians around Christmas or election time.
According to the indigenous rights campaigner Peter Kallang, his village Ikang-Banyok, which was “developed” over 10 years ago, has received nothing from their investment in ASSAR.
“The SLDB [Land Development Board] come round before Christmas with a ‘gratuity’, but no dividend from ASSAR at all. They give it in cash to the landowners, one by one, from RM200 – around RM6,000. We don’t know how much money is invested in ASSAR. None of the villagers have had statements for the last 3-4 years.  They would say that once the land was developed they would pay bonuses at the end of the year, but so far nothing.”
At least with an election around the corner ASSAR fund holders can probably expect a small handout some time soon.  But, as taxpayers they may soon have to also help shell out the money to bail out the fund, which has mysteriously lost so many tens of millions to its suspect investments in Sarawak’s crony companies.
Adenan praises ASSAR while the fund whittles down to near zero
Adenan praises ASSAR while the fund whittles down to near zero
ASSAR’s Executive Chairman in charge of the Board of Directors is the ubiquitous Tan Sri Datuk Amar Haji Bujang Mohd Nor (also Chairman of controversial logging outfit Harwood Timber and Board Member of the Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation).
Also on the Board is the equally ubiquitous JC Fong, the former State Secretary of Sarawak and legal fixer for Taib Mahmud.
Protected by secrecy, these managers have allowed the disappearance to take place of almost the entire sum of money invested by Sarawak’s native people as the remaining benefit from their inherited lands.
Welcome to Sarawak’s own financial scandal – one of many and every bit as shocking as 1MDB.
- Sarawak Report