Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Malaysia’s new national destiny - to become a global kleptocracy?

Image result for US Department of Justice and Malaysia's scandal of scandals
US Department of Justice  and Malaysia's scandal of scandals
Malaysia is once again in the midst of a serious political scandal, with the allegation that the government-run investment company 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) has been used to funnel approximately US$ 700 million to a personal account of Prime Minister Najb Razak.

It is not just Umno but the whole Malaysian nation which had been hit by the 1MDB scandal like being blasted by an atomic bomb, with the crowning ignominy of being regarded worldwide as a “global kleptocracy” as a result the US Department of Justice (DOJ) lawsuits to forfeit over US$1 billion assets in the US, UK and Switzerland as a result of US$3.5 billion criminal embezzlement, misappropriation and money-laundering of 1MDB funds.But the catastrophic after-effects of the 1MDB scandal have not ended with the DOJ action as evident from a greater and further loss of national and international confidence in Malaysian governance, when there was no official proactive response to the DOJ complaint despite the mass of details about the criminal conduct and grand larceny of 1MDB-linked funds involving the highest authority in Malaysia, euphemistically referred to as “Malaysian Official 1”.This is on top of the latest developments over the class action suit by ex-prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's former political secretary, Matthias Chang and former PAS leader Husam Musa in the United States against individuals linked to 1MDB.

Against such a backdrop, three recent developments have made it clear that the storms from the “atomic bomb” explosion of the 1MDB scandal will not recede but will continue to haunt and hound Malaysia in the coming months and even years.

Firstly, the refusal of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to re-open investigations into 1MDB;

Secondly, the announcement by the Bank Negara governor Muhammad Ibrahim that there would be no re-opening of investigations against 1MDB despite the damning 136-page DOJ complaint; and

Thirdly, the statement by the new Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner Dzulkifli Ahmad that his main focus is to ensure a civil service which is clean of corruption, misappropriation and power abuse, completely avoiding what should be the greatest challenge of MACC - to purge and save Malaysia from the international ignominy of a global kleptocracy.

The time has come for every Malaysian to know the meaning of kleptocracy - defined as a rule by a thief or thieves

the whole Malaysian nation which had been hit by the 1MDB scandal like being blasted by an “atomic bomb”, with the crowning ignominy of being regarded worldwide as a “global kleptocracy”

1MDB Highlights Need For Institutional Reform of State’s Role in Business
Media commentary on the scandal is full of superlatives, with Financial Times deeming it “biggest financial scandal in [Malaysia’s] modern history.” Danny Quah, writing for the Malaysian Insider, evokes 1MDB as evidence of a Malaysian political system that has lost its moorings after decades of success.
The political firestorm of the 1MDB scandal is real, and has the potential to become one of the most serious threats that the Barisan Nasional regime has ever faced.
But corporate and financial scandals like 1MDB are nothing new in Malaysia’s political economy. Observers of Malaysian politics should take note of the many historical antecedents of today’s scandal, many of which happened during an era described by Quah and others as an era of dynamism, optimism, and economic and political success.
More than 30 years ago, Malaysia was rocked by what opposition veteran Lim Kit Siang called the “scandal of scandals” when Bumiputra Malaysia Finance, a Hong Kong based subsidiary of state-owned Bank Bumiputra Malaysia Berhad, was found to have engaged in a wide range of shady dealings with the Carrian Group, a major player in Hong Kong’s booming property market.
The sordid details include not only imprudent lending to a high-flying connected borrower, but also the murder of a BBMB auditor who questioned the propriety of the loans! The BMF scandal was just one of many cases during Malaysia’s mid-1980s recession in which government-affiliated corporations—founded to create and steward wealth for bumiputeras—rescued connected firms.
Scarcely 10 years later, the Asian Financial Crisis struck Malaysia hard. As is well-known, the regime moved swiftly against its domestic opponents at the same time that it implemented its audacious adjustment package of capital controls and macroeconomic stimulus.
But at the same time, the regime shored up its corporate base as well. Funds from the state pension fund were used to rescue United Engineers (Malaysia) Berhad, which had borrowed to purchase shares in its parent company Renong, which served as a holding company for UMNO corporate assets. BBMB too was bailed out—yes, again—but this time by Khazanah, the government’s investment arm operating under the Ministry of Finance.
Other politically-linked firms found respite from the crisis as well, as Terence Edmund Gomez and Jomo Kwame Sundaram detailed in their magisterial book Malaysia’s Political Economy: Politics, Patronage, and Profits. The crisis saw so many bailouts of so many connected firms using public funds that observers often forget that each one was a significant scandal on its own.
High-level financial scandals in which public funds are used for private gain and corporate welfare are a common feature of Malaysia’s modern political economy. What makes 1MDB so special is that it implicates a politician who has struggled to cultivate an image as sitting above the corruption, graft, nepotism, and crime that are so characteristic of Malaysian politics (the decade-old Altantuya case notwithstanding).
The finding that funds were transferred to a personal account of Najib himself does not help. It strikes most observers as the height of venality to hold, as Minister of Youth and Sports Khairy Jamaluddin recently has, that there is nothing amiss in donations to a ruling party being channeled through a sovereign wealth fund and held in the personal bank account of a sitting Prime Minister.
One reason why Quah finds 1MDB so problematic is that it, for him, it represents the exhaustion of a political and economic order that brought great economic opportunity to ordinarybumiputeras without killing Malaysia’s economic growth. The 1MDB scandal shows how cronies “exploit…for self interest the very instruments designed to help others.” But if Malaysia’s political economy has a long history of scandals like 1MDB, the BN also has a long history of favoring its high-flying allies in the corporate sector.
The active role that the BN regime has played since 1971 in allocating opportunities and directing credit enables such favoritism, and its efforts under the New Economic Policy to expand rapidly the bumiputera corporate sector make it almost inevitable. Already by 1981, scholars such as Lim Mah Hui were able to show that half of all Malay directors of listed firms had political or administrative backgrounds (the figure for non-Malay directors was six per cent).
Yes, Mahathir’s actions as Prime Minister matter for understanding why UMNO politics and Malaysia’s political economy have developed in the way that they have, as Dan Slater has so cogently argued. But the enabling conditions for such scandals are part of the very foundation of the Barisan Nasional (BN) regime’s strategy for durable authoritarian rule. Najib works within the political system that his father, former Prime Minister Tun Razak, helped to create.
The use of public funds to reward and protect corporate allies is endemic to Malaysia’s political economy under the BN. It operates alongside a serious effort to favor bumiputera interests—indeed, to construct these interests through social and economic policies that nurture a particular notion of bumiputera-ism and Malay identity.
In my 2009 book on how the BN survived the Asian Financial Crisis, I termed these policies a “constitutive part of the BN regime.” The great strength of UMNO and the BN is that even with all of its high-level financial scandals, the redistributive machine of the New Economic Policy and its successors continues to function remarkably well.
Understanding this history helps to understand the prospects for reform.  That government-affiliated firms were involved in shady dealings tied to regime elites and their corporate allies 30 years ago does not in any way diminish the seriousness of the 1MDB affair today. That these were symptomatic of the strategy of coalition building, economic development, and regime maintenance pursued since 1971, though, reveals why regulatory reform or political change at the top will be insufficient to prevent the recurrence of future scandals.
Even if Najib succumbs to some challenger within UMNO, that challenger will himself be a product of the same system that produced Najib and his deputies, and will be forced to work within that system as well. Meaningful reform in Malaysia’s political economy requires a more fundamental change to the logic of rule and stability that the BN has pursued since 1971.
For obvious reasons, this is unlikely to come from within the regime. And for proponents of the kind of thoroughgoing regulatory, corporate, and political reform needed to prevent scandals such as 1MDB in coming years, the failure of Malaysia’s opposition coalition could not come at a worse time.zaik naikThe recent obsession of some with FCRA, NGOs is well known. Expectedly, some action under the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act, 2010, investigation of some NGOs linked to Zakir Naik/his family is being contemplated. While that may well be necessary, merely relying on this approach is not only likely to lead up the wrong path but may end up obfuscating the real issue. Significant amount of time, energy and public money could end up being wasted. Can such delinquencies be afforded when national security is at risk?

Syed Ali Alhabshee–Jangan bohong dan Tembak Lah
The case of 1MDB illustrates the problem. It is alleged a total of US$7 billion of funds has gone missing. A majority of the misappropriated funds has allegedly flowed to offshore companies. It is also suspected that some of these funds were used to support the ruling coalition’s campaign in the 2013 Malaysia General Election.
The concerns only erupted into a scandal in 2015 when the issue was raised by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in an internal party fight with Najib. Hundreds of thousands of people then went into the streets to protest, but Najib has so far successfully resisted the call for him to step down. He has also strengthened his position by sacking critics and the attorney general from his government. He was later cleared of any wrongdoing by the new attorney general
Malaysia has a long history of high-level financial scandals, some of them involving the country’s government-linked companies (GLCs). Yet, the recent case of 1MDB is particularly shocking. This is the first time that its sitting Prime Minister ( pic above) is directly implicated.
The 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal in Malaysia which has recently become the subject of a high-profile lawsuit by the United States Department of Justice’s asset recovery initiative highlights the problems with state-ownership in the Malaysian economy. To prevent such scandals from recurring in the future Malaysia must define the role of the government in business and develop adequate institutional arrangements to counter potential abuse by politicians.
Malaysia has a long history of high-level financial scandals, some of them involving the country’sgovernment-linked companies (GLCs). Yet, the recent case of 1MDB is particularly shocking. This is the first time that its sitting Prime Minister is directly implicated.
Prime Minister Najib Razak has vehemently denied the allegations and claimed that the money was a ‘donation’ from the Saudi Royal Family. But the investigation by the US Department of Justice
Research into state ownership has long argued that GLCs are vulnerable to the problems of politicisation, corruption, and rent-seeking, which can cause them to be inefficient and mired in scandal. In Malaysia, GLCs have been used as a tool for politicians to direct benefits to their political supporters or even themselves.
Police say they do not know the purpose for which the money was deposited in the banks. This with due respects is preposterous, to say the least. This is the first, easiest and quickest fact that can be and should have been established.
The investigators will do well to remember that we have in our country something called The Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA). Its purpose, put simply, is to regulate the use of foreign exchange in India. All transaction in foreign exchange have to necessarily flow through a dealer authorised by the Reserve Bank of India.
Inflow of foreign funds is also within the framework of FEMA. Section 10 of FEMA imposes a duty on the Authorised Dealer (AD) to take necessary declarations & information from the concerned person as will reasonably satisfy the concerned AD that the transaction will not contravene the provisions of FEMA or any rules and regulations made there under. The purpose of inward remittance has to be specified. Any contravention or evasion has to be reported by the AD to RBI.
The Rs 60 crore, reportedly, came in over three years from three countries. There were multiple transactions. Money flowed in through banking channels. And yet the police claim that they do not know the purpose for which the money came. The first persons to be questioned should have been the bank officials. Did they take the necessary declarations, ask the right questions and reasonably satisfy themselves that the inflows were in accordance with the Rules of the land. They would have got multiple opportunities to do this even if they had missed out on an earlier one. The collusion, if any, between the law breakers and law enforcers would have been revealed.
Rs 60 crore is not a small amount by any stretch of imagination. It will be interesting to know what purpose was declared to the bankers by the persons in whose accounts the amounts were credited. Equally interesting will be to know what factors were considered by the bankers to reasonably satisfy themselves that the inflows of this humongous amount were in order.
Lest we lose track of the real issue, the question is not of this specific case or of the Rs 60 crore. The issue is much, much larger and grave: how much such bombs are ticking away endangering our national security.
As students of commerce will recall, we were taught to accept/deposit the inflows first and ask questions later. One sincerely hopes that the banks do not work the same way.
Notwithstanding the importance of the scarce commodity that foreign exchange is, it cannot be allowed to dilute controls by the banks which could endanger national security. Diligent professionals appreciate the distinction between academics and real life. This reassurance is necessary. Only then will we be justified in continuing to bank on the banks. And afford to sleep peacefully content that the security of our great nation is safe.

Excessive State Influence in Business
Malaysia has a long history of high-level financial scandals, but this is the first time a sitting prime minister is directly implicated. Some $7 billion of funds has gone missing from 1MDB. The failure of institutional safeguards to prevent or take action against such irregularities points to major deficiencies within Malaysia’s governance of GLCs.
The failure of institutional safeguards to prevent or take action against such irregularities points to major deficiencies within Malaysia’s governance of GLCs. Six decades of rule by the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the main ruling party in Malaysia, has undermined Malaysia’s democratic institutions. There are now no effective institutional checks and balances on the handling of GLCs by the state and politicians.
Underlying the 1MDB scandal is the problem of excessive state influence in business. It is estimated that GLCs account for approximately 36 per cent of the market capitalisation of Bursa Malaysia and 54 per cent of the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (FBMKLCI). GLCs do not only participate in natural monopolies or strategic industries, but compete with the private sector in highly lucrative businesses such as retail, construction and property development.
In the case of 1MDB, the state-owned investment company also has a huge involvement in property development, through the projects of Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) and Bandar 1Malaysia. These projects were particularly controversial because the land was sold to 1MDB at a very low price by the government. Critics argued that the land should instead have been auctioned publicly and that the projects could be handled more effectively and efficiently by private companies.
Although the government embarked on a GLC transformation program in 2004 and committed to divest their non-core holdings and non-competitive assets in 2010, its influence in Malaysian business has never really faded. On the contrary, as argued by Malaysian economist Dr. Edmund Terence Gomez, there is increasingly an ‘extreme concentration of powers by the executive’. To prevent future scandals Malaysia should curb the excessive role of the state in business and put in place institutional mechanisms that subject politicians to proper checks and balances.
There are increasing discussions at a global level, particularly by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), regarding which institutional governance frameworks can best regulate the state in its handling of GLCs while also improving their performance and accountability.
Malaysia should consider adopting the OECD guidelines on corporate governance of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to benchmark itself against the world’s best practices. The guidelines recommend a clear separation between the state’s ownership function and regulatory function, which is currently lacking, particularly in the 1MDB case where the prime minister is the ultimate decision-maker.
Both the state and GLCs must also observe a higher standard of transparency. A clear and consistent ownership policy should be established to define the overall objective of state ownership and the state’s role in corporate governance. This move must also be complemented by wider reform in Malaysia’s democratic system. The problem goes beyond the current prime minister. Lasting reform will require ensuring free and fair elections and a true separation of powers between executive, legislative and judiciary branches as well as strengthening the independence of key institutions, including the central bank and the Attorney- General’s Office.
Comprehensive institutional reform is necessary to restore public confidence. But this process is expected to be difficult given the deep influence that the ruling party holds within the different branches of government.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Zahra Haider Pakistanis watch more porn privately than any other nation in the world

 Desi Indian Boobs Nude Pics and Indian Sex Pics Collection

Zahra Haider’s real crime is that she’s been candid about her love life and worse, found her Pakistani lovers wanting
Earlier this week, a young Pakistani woman wrote a candid piece online about her premarital sex life in Islamabad. Alleging that Pakistanis watch more porn privately than any other nation in the world (she didn’t quote her sources) while publicly maintaining a fa├žade of piety, she took them to task for being a bunch of sexually repressed hypocrites. She didn’t just dole it out, she was pretty forthright about herself. She listed the number of partners she’d had (a dozen by the age of 19) and described the location of her trysts (cars, expensive hotel rooms, and once her boyfriend’s father’s office which had an attached bedroom – your surprise is not unmerited).
But she didn’t have a great time because of all the secrecy, lies and subterfuge involved. And the fact that her partners were an unadventurous, boring lot.
She had the gumption to write all this under her own name: Zahra Haider. Miss Haider currently lives in Canada where she is dating non-judgmental, non-Pakistani men and having, by her own account, a fulfilling experience.
Meanwhile in her home country, the proverbial s*** has hit the fan. Her compatriots — most of them men, I must add — have spewed their fury, outrage and disgust in a stream of abusive tweets. Admittedly a few have also maintained that her private life is her own business. I won’t go into what some have threatened to do to her but suffice it to say she has been denounced for all manner of sins. She’s a liar. She’s a slut. She’s brought shame to her family.
Shame to her name. Shame to the nation. (Funny how any number of factual reports of child abuse, gang rapes and honour killings don’t bring the nation into disrepute but one woman’s personal views on sex between consenting adults disgrace us all.) No doubt it’s only a matter of time before Miss Haider is also accused of being a traitor. Obviously she’s been put up to it for some vast but undisclosed sum by the enemies of our nation to ‘show us in bad light’. Obviously she should promptly pack her bags and shove off to the decadent, immoral West where she so clearly belongs. Were she not already there.
By far the weirdest accusation being hurled at her comes from a fervent supporter of Imran Khan’s opposition party, PTI. In a truly bizarre stretch of the imagination, this particular rant holds PML-N,
the ruling party, responsible for the shame heaped upon the nation by Miss Haider’s shocking disclosures. Why? Because she was once the class fellow of Maryam Nawaz, the Prime Minister’s daughter. Yes, go figure.
Quite clearly, Miss Haider has become a lightning rod for all sorts of ugly prejudices, insecurities and anxieties. It is worth stressing that what she says in her article is hardly revelatory. We all know that there’s plenty of pre- and extra-marital sex around, and has been forever. That we like to deny its existence for reasons of honour or propriety is no secret either. In providing her own evidence, Ms Haider has made clear the disconnect there. All she’s asked for, really, is more openness and honesty.
I can see why her demand has discomfited many. She’s asking for a fundamental change in societal attitude, one that goes against millennia of custom and tradition. When that change involves women, men go ballistic. If any evidence were needed simply consider the bitter opposition to the Punjab’s protection bill for women. But I suspect Miss Haider’s real crime is that she’s made so bold as to talk of her love life openly and worse, found her Pakistani lovers wanting.
The depressing fact is that men the world over resent outspoken, confident women. The Guardian newspaper recently ran a survey in Britain investigating online abuse experienced by its writers and discovered that female columnists, particularly non-white female columnists, were subjected to much greater, much nastier trolling than their male counterparts. Had Miss Haider’s article been penned by a man, I’m convinced it would not have generated half as much controversy as it has. But because she’s a woman, and a desi woman at that, she must be put in her place. Misogyny is rampant everywhere but online it is out of control.
Though it pains me to admit it, I’m not surprised by the viciousness. For that matter, Ms Haider couldn’t have lived in Pakistan for 19 years and not known that. But she wrote it any way. So kudos to her.

Monday, February 8, 2016

True story based on the high profile 1MDB

this exclusive article by syed ibrahim
“based on true story  based on the  high profile heist, 
A message went out from  Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali office: you provoke us at your peril, no matter what the collateral damage. We play piped music before one trapped cobra and call it an opera. Then we fall asleep at our own show.It is both easy and pointless to blame the government. Every government keeps a thermometer in its holster and calibrates its decibel levels according to ground temperature. If it’s warm, it will blow hot,Our Malaysian response to a scandalous mess is neat and categorised. Cash and sex are the north and south pole of mass interest, each with a sprawling magnetic field. We divide the hemispheres with the equator of logic. Cash and corruption are the preserve of politics. Sex is the province of glamour. We refuse to recognise any cross-over evidence
Image result for Rosmah and Taek Jho Low

Why we Malaysians are such suckers for all sorts of conmen Is Malaysia going to pieces?
a trauma turns into a struggle between anger and amnesia. It is a no-contest. Amnesia wins every time.explains the callous indifference to the perpetrators of crime evasion was prelude to escape local wrath. Over time, even the noise has become a passing perfunctoryThe ebb from outrage to rage, its decline to umbrage, and then a drift to amnesia is the narrative of the 12 months Our unstated reason has been that action against Najib,  new media.http://lawmattersjournalmalaysia.blogspot.my/ has done some moving reportage of in the last few days. It would be interesting to find out, possibly through market research, whether the readers of the nation’s most powerful newspaper have been moved at all.
the Swiss also tell us that there is misappropriation of money. All of these are linked with 1MDB and invariable to one man, the chief fundraiser, and with his private bank accounts. The PM has a credibility deficit as do you, Mr AG.there is a deficiency in our law.disputed that might argue that there is no law that says that the receipt of a donation from a foreign source is illegal. The motive of the “donation” is definitely important if the recipient is the PM.By receiving such a huge sum will certainly make the PM feel obliged to the donor, and what the donor wants in return can be detrimental to the interest of the country.No one gives such huge sum for nothing and this is the reason why the people want to know the motive of the “donation”.Apandi, your answer is naive. If a person has billions, certainly there is no problem for him to give away RM2.6 billion, but it is certainly a big problem if the recipient is a PM, regardless of its purpose
have to accept that Arabia is the source of various fables, from Ali Baba and quite deservedly the Forty Thieves to Sinbad the Sailor to The Arabian Nights.
But now,Malaysin will be impressed and no doubt titillated to learn that you, without the least shame, guilt, and self-respect, are the author of the latest tale of wonder.under that Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act “gratification” means “money, donation, gift, loan, fee, reward, valuable security, property or interest in property being property of any description whether movable or immovable, financial benefit, or any other similar advantage”.It is clear that donation comes under the meaning of gratification as defined by the Act. To dismiss it as easily as you did makes you look incompetent.

 ALSO READ THIS Apandi, harsher laws will protect me from journalists

When Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali determine the state of law the real cost of a bribe
a traffic cop in the fairy-tale town of Swat had booked a car speeding through its bazaar, NATO troops could have left Pakistan by 2003, Iraq might have escaped NATO’s invasion, Barack Obama would probably be an unknown Senator from Chicago and George Bush Junior’s presidential library in Texas would certainly have something to cheer about. But, according to Maryam, her husband Ibrahim al-Kuwaiti “quickly settled the matter”, and the bribed Swat cop never realized he had just let Osama bin Laden escape. Maryam was giving evidence before the Justice Javed Iqbal commission, set up to enquire into the events of 2 May 2011, when US Navy Seals flew three hours into Pak territory, found and killed Osama. Nothing works on our great subcontinent better than instant cash. Al-Kuwati, Osama’s most trust aide, knew that. This is the kind of authentic detail which makes a fabulous story so entirely believable.
Who’s the RM2.6b Saudi prince?
In the great toss-up between perception and evidence, the former generally wins. Conventional wisdom, for instance,Apandi says donations are not illegal under Malaysian law. Corruption is better understood with a scan below the surface. Tilt the perspective on what seems an obvious fact, and the picture changes to startling effect.  has made a dream debut as Najib’s sidekick  think back to the start of much play of an opinion poll, done by his associate in the open. His message was unambiguous — he is in the game for governance, not maverick thrills, and he was taken seriously by voters.Continue reading  CLICK BELOW

How we turn a blind eyeCase closed does justice matter

Friday, February 5, 2016

Pain in his ass do escape happens in Najib’s firewall

Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi says the government is willing to engage with employers before revising the new levy for foreign workers. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, February 6, 2016.
‘Wonder’ is one of those simple words we think we know the meaning of, till we begin to articulate what it really means to us. We could say that wonder is present when we experience a powerful moment of awe, with its combination of dread and excitement, after which one seems to have anew perception and appreciation of life.We might agree it arises from our natural, inborn curiosity about life, increasing our capacity to be enthusiastic explorers of the outer physical world through our senses, as well as of the inner world of the emotions and spirit through slowing down and reflection.Or we might describe it as the capacity to remain aware and present to the delights of small things that easily go unnoticed, and to do this with undiluted joy. Much like when we were children.Wonder isn’t something we do, but something that happens to us; we can’t force it — but by remaining open to it, we find it is actually in some way cultivable — because having a sense of wonder for grownups is actually a choice.t is consciously being open, and responding to what seems miraculous and often inexplicable. It is also looking at reality, with its beauty as well as its flaws, and deciding it is precious and meaningful. When we say, “I wonder…,” it implies we don’t really know. So, the stepping-off point to rediscover wonder is to give ourselves permission to be fresh, new learners or rediscoverers. What triggers wonder in us is all around us, every moment.
Pain in his ass
Datuk Seri Najib Razak, fresh from being declared innocent a day earlier in the RM2.6 billion 'donation' saga, leaves the Parliament building today. Former leader Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has described the decision by the A-G yesterday as a 'judgment'. – AFP pic, January 27, 2016.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak can use all the power he has at home to muzzle his officials in Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency, the Auditor-General, Bank Negara Malaysia and threaten or charge his detractors and critics Din Merican @UCusing the Sedition Act and the Multimedia and Communications Commission.  But there is one thing he should know and that is, he has no influence whatsoever with the Swiss and Singapore authorities.

Switzerland and Singapore are global financial centers with solid reputation for  their commitment to the Rule of Law, integrity and probity, good governance, and professionalism. It is immaterial whether our authorities will cooperate with their regulators, they will proceed with their investigations.

I don’t know who Najib Razak’s friends are in Saudi Arabia, but I sure want a few.

Who wouldn’t covet a pal or two willing to toss you $700 million as a “gift,” no strings attached? That’s at least the Malaysian prime minister’s story, and he’s sticking to it. Politicians overseas, meanwhile, would sure love to have Najib’s electorate. Since the Wall Street Journal broke news of his good fortune, Najib has displayed a fatalistic willingness to take an entire economy down so he can stay in office. And his party harbors little fear of losing power.

There’s the “Twilight Zone” and there’s the “Malaysia Zone,” and just try discerning the difference. Najib-gate grew even more surreal last week when Malaysia’s attorney general suddenly cleared him of criminal or corruption charges. In a hastily-arranged press conference, Mohamed Apandi Ali said Najib had returned all but $61 million of that “donation” from the Saudi royal family. Somehow, Apandi kept a straight face as he declared the matter closed.Continue reading below

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A blood stained jihad:Pas rampant fanaticism in Malaysia

As the debate continues to swirl around secularism, albeit with ebbing intensity, but still provoking a loose nerve or two, an intriguing question demands an answer. Is India secular because Gandhi was secular, or was Gandhi secular because India is secular? What precisely do we mean by secularism?
The western definition has two origins: the French Revolution, which separated church from state; and communism, which erased religion from political and social life. Between Voltaire and Karl Marx, religion was marginalized into the grey space of “unreason” from Europe to China, with ramifications that extended far beyond the extent of state power.
What kind of mind believes that it can ascend to paradise from the graves of 132 innocent schoolchildren?
The same mindset that kills at least 150 women, many pregnant, because they refuse to become sexual slaves in the Iraqi province of Al Anbar. At around the same time that a suicide mission from Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) shook the soul of Pakistan and the world, a barbarian named Abu Anas al Libi executed these women, according to a report by the Turkish Anadolu Agency, “because they refused to accept jihad marriage”.
A similar mental aberration persuades Sunni fanatics to practise takfir, which declares many fellow Muslims “unbelievers”, or kafirs, and therefore worthy of death. This is why thugs from groups like Sipah e Sahaba Pakistan massacre Shias, making Pakistan the most dangerous country for those who recognise Hazrat Ali as the first imam after the Prophet.
The fact that the acknowledged founder of Pakistan Mohammad Ali Jinnah was a Shia is kept hidden from public discourse, as are other aspects of his westernised personal lifestyle, including his preference for moderate levels of alcohol.
West of the Indus and the Afghanistan border has already become the Taliban jihad space or space for Baluch secessionists. Now a direct challenge has been mounted against the entrenched Pakistan establishment, the army, which by its very barbaric nature signals the start of a battle for carving out an ISIS-like space.
The ideological fountainhead of TTP, which has claimed public ownership of the Peshawar massacre of children, is Jamaat-e-Islami, and its subsets like Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazlur Rahman faction). The parent organisations take care to maintain a certain distance from their jihad machines, to sustain thin deniability; but it is their madrassas which turn out the assembly-line supply of suicide missionaries in pursuit of different targets.
Broadly, the Islamic jihad has defined its foes in three categories: the far enemy, principally America; the near enemy, or those domestic institutions or forces who prevent the creation of a sharia state at home; and countries like India, China (in Xinjiang) and Russia (in Central Asia), which have occupied “Islamic space”. Sometimes this loose, international confederation of jihadists cooperates; more often, they travel in their own direction.
From the inception of Pakistan, Jamaat-e-Islami has posed a simple question: since Pakistan was created in the name of Islam, why is it not a fully Islamic, sharia compliant state? Every Pakistan president and prime minister has fudged the answer, except one — General Zia-ul-Haq, who became dictator during the critical decade between 1976 and 1987. Politicians have purchased time through periodic compromise, but have only delayed the doom. Support for theocracy has grown among the people, encouraged surely by the dismal character and governance of their rulers.
Today, there is a subterranean culture where mothers offer sons for martyrdom, confident that not only will he go to heaven but be able to persuade the Almighty to grant paradise to his near and dear ones as well.
TTP believes that the Pakistan army is the only obstacle left. A TTP pamphlet, quoted by Abu Bakr Siddique in his excellent book, The Pashtun Question, says: “With Allah`s blessing, the hereafter of the Taliban will be blessed … In this world our ultimate aim of ‘sharia or martyrdom’ is now focused on the destruction of Pakistani rulers and army … We want to implement the sharia in place of the old Satanic system … Destruction is a prerequisite for (re)construction.”
The Pakistan establishment is trapped in two ways. It cannot deny that Pakistan is an Islamic state, and it cannot explain why such a state has “un-Islamic” characteristics. It does not have the courage to admit the truth, that Islam is a brotherhood and not a nationhood; and that religion cannot be a basis for nationalism. That would mean accepting that the very basis of Pakistan, the two-nation theory, was wrong.
The second is blowback from strategic fallacy. The Pakistan state, and particularly its army, has used faith-based terrorist organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba and vituperative hatemongers like Hafiz Saeed against India, and the Taliban in Afghanistan. How long can you sup on venom and not become victim to poison?
Pakistan’s PM Nawaz Sharif now accepts, at least in the heat of the moment, that there is no good Taliban. But can he hand over Mullah Omar, emir of the Afghan Taliban, who has conducted a long war against Nato and Afghanistan from safe houses in Quetta and Karachi, to Washington or Kabul? Can he extend this logic to a more relevant proposition, that there is no good terrorism or bad terrorism? The ferocity with which every section of the Pakistan state, including the judiciary, continues to protect an internationally recognised terrorist like Saeed speaks for itself.
The conflict between India and Pakistan is not about geography; it is about ideology. India is a modern state which believes in democracy, faith freedom, gender equality and economic equity. Pakistan is a theocratic concept, being torn apart by genetic contradictions. It had the potential, in 1947, to become a model for the postcolonial Muslim world; instead, its inability to come to terms with modernity has dragged it into a swamp of blood.
Two Pakistanis have won the Nobel prize: Abdus Salam, for physics; and Malala Yousafzai, for heroic courage. Both found honour abroad and despair at home. Salam was subject to takfir. Malala is a child in the crosshairs of faith fanatics.
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