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Thursday, August 27, 2015

AG officer's PR status reinstated after threatening to file an "explosive affidavit"

Jessica Gurmeet Kaur, the officer who was sacked from the Attorney-General's Chambers amidst the 1MDB scandal, is thankful that she will be able to keep her Malaysian permanent residency and now wants to move on.

"I, Jessica Gurmeet Kaur, am grateful to the director-general of Immigration Mustafa Ibrahim for confirming that my permanent residency status is not revoked.

"I would like to thank my lawyers for their relentless efforts for my cause.

New 1MDB ‘woes’ reason for panic on ringgit

Higher interest rates remains the only option to stem the ringgit’s continued decline since Kuala Lumpur has ruled out pegging as in 1998 and the possibility of 1MDB "defaulting" on its loans looms.

KUALA LUMPUR: New disclosures on Wednesday on the trouble-stricken 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), reports CNBC, are being cited as the reason for the ringgit continuing to plunge despite China’s monetary stimulus measures calming the currency market. The ringgit is at a 17-year low on foreign exchange markets.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Mahathir: Stop thinking the people are stupid

KUALA LUMPUR - Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad advised Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to stop thinking that the people are stupid and would fall for his explanations so far on the controversial RM2.6 billion so-called donation in his personal accounts.

The public, he warned Najib in his latest blog posting, have a right to the full details on the so-called donation. “The public does not believe that the RM2.6 billion was a gift personally to the Prime Minister of Malaysia for him to win elections.”

Dr Mahathir still believes 1MDB funds went to Najib’s accounts

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has suggested that the US$700 million (RM26 billion) deposited in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's personal account in 2013 is linked to the state-owned investment firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Speaking to the Financial Times (FT), the former prime minister said he does not believe the official stand by Najib, and which was confirmed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, that the deposit was a donation from a benefactor in the Middle-East.

Interpol must ‘clarify’ role in pursuit of SR editor

Fair Trials says worried ‘contacts and diplomacy’ trump rules in the light of press report that discussions had taken place among police chiefs.

KUALA LUMPUR - An international human rights organisation has asked Interpol to “clarify its involvement” with regard to the issue of an arrest warrant and a red notice request by the Malaysian police against British investigative journalist Clare Rewcastle Brown.

Abu Sayyaf terrorists threaten to behead hostage if ransom money not paid soon

After switching off her handphone for months, the wife of an Abu Sayyaf hostage switched it on again only to receive a chilling call from the gunmen – they are threatening to behead him.

Chan Wai See said she received the threat at about 5pm on Saturday.

Chan managed to speak to her husband Bernard Then Ted Fen who she said sounded worried and scared. It was the first time that she had spoken to her husband since the end of June, when she switched off the phone.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Lost plaque found is the original - Lind

KOTA KINABALU - Former Usno administration State Secretary, Tan Sri Richard Lind, has positively identified to police that a plaque found recently in Keningau is the original that was affixed onto the Oath Stone (Batu Sumpah) but mysteriously replaced following road widening work near the District Office in the 1980s.

"I don't have the slightest doubt over its authenticity since it was me who carried out the task (of erecting the Oath Stone) under the instructions of the first State Cabinet," said Lind, in an exclusive to Daily Express, Monday.

The Sabah Oath Stone is unique as it is the only such form of acceptance known in the world where an indigenous community's response towards the formation of a new nation was only secured after their wishes to have their demands literally cast in stone were met.

Lind said since the mystery of the missing plaque and its authenticity is now solved, he hoped it can be reinstated in keeping with the wishes of the Interior natives at that time.

Parliament dissolved; Singaporeans to vote in General Election on Sep 11

Nomination Day is on Sep 1 which will kick off a period of campaigning.

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans will go to the ballot box on Sep 11 to elect 89 Members of Parliament in 29 constituencies.

Polling Day was announced after President Tony Tan Keng Yam, on the advice of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, dissolved Singapore's 12th Parliament on Tuesday (Aug 25).

Acting on the Prime Minister’s advice, the President also issued a Writ of Election. The Writ specifies that Nomination Day is on Sep 1.

No place for Sabah, S'wak in 'Malay' M'sia

‘Non-Malays will always play second fiddle to the Malays.’  - Mahdzir: Political power must stay with Malays

Odin Tajué: Mahdzir Khalid, your pronouncements not only clearly show you have no regard at all for East Malaysia, but that you are also totally unfit to be education minister.

You said, inter alia, "Umno is the one who formed and built this country, with the support of MCA and MIC." That ‘country' was Malaya and not Malaysia. Since you cannot differentiate between the two, you are clearly no education minister material.

Sultan: Don't fool rakyat by whitewashing country's woes

Sultan Ibrahim Ismail Iskandar of Johor has warned Putrajaya not to fool the rakyat by whitewashing the problems faced by the country.

"I would also like to remind representatives elected by the people to shoulder public responsibilities entrusted to them and to set aside personal interests.

"The rakyat today are a generation of smart and learned people who can dissect information they receive. So please do not take them as fools by feeding them rosy news and information to hide what is really going on.

"Deal with the problems at hand immediately," Sultan Ibrahim said in a speech in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Johor Special Forces Regiment. The speech was uploaded onto Facebook.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Swiss launch criminal inquiry related to Malaysia's 1MDB

'Two entities' of state fund probed in case involving suspected corruption

Attempts by Najib Razak, Malaysia’s embattled prime minister, to contain a financial scandal have taken a knock after Swiss authorities said they had opened criminal proceedings related to the state development fund at the centre of the affair.

Switzerland’s Office of the Attorney-general said its case involved “suspected corruption of public foreign officials, dishonest management of public interests and money laundering”.

Its confirmation of proceedings involving 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB, which has $11bn in debt, marks the potential internationalisation of a case that has so far received mainly domestic scrutiny. The fund, established in 2009 by Malaysia’s finance ministry, is supervised by an advisory board chaired by the prime minister.

It's Najib who'll bastardise Malays, says Umno man

Malays will be "bastardised" (bangsat) if Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak remains in power and isn't given the boot, says former Batu Kawan Umno vice-chairperson Khairuddin Abu Hassan.

"The Malays will be bastardised if Najib remains in power! The Malays will be divided and be bastardised if Najib is not ousted!

Immigration now says it will not deport Jessica

Former Attorney-General’s Chambers officer Jessica Gurmeet Kaur will not deported from Malaysia, says Immigration Department deputy director-general Sakib Kusmi.

“There is no need to deport her. She can apply for a special or social visit pass since she is married to a Malaysian,” The Star quoted Sakib saying yesterday.

Ringgit goes down to 3 against Singapore dollar

The ringgit weakened to a new 17-year low against the US dollar and also breached the 3.00 level against the Singapore dollar today amid uncertainties in the global economy. As at 10.45am, the ringgit was quoted at 4.2578 against the greenback. It slipped to the lowest level of 4.2615 earlier at 9.45am. At the current level, the ringgit has breached the pre-pegged lowest level of 3.9340 since August 31, 1998. The currency hit the lowest point of 4.7125 on January 9, 1998 against the US dollar.

Meanwhile, the ringgit fell against the Singapore dollar to below the 3.000 level to trade at the historically lowest level of 3.0110 as at 10.45am today. As of 11.30am, the ringgit had also depreciated 0.65% against the Australian dollar to quote at 3.0739, depreciated 4.12% against the euro to quote at 4.8946, and against the Great Britain Pound at 6.6835, down 1.87%. (watch realtime RM exchange rates)

KLCI falls 1.94% as sentiment turns bearish

KUALA LUMPUR - The FBM KLCI fell 1.94% at mid-morning today as market sentiment turned bearish in line with the slump at most regional markets.

At 10am, the FBM KLCI lost 29.94 points to 1,544.73.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Imported religious extremism from Malaya a growing concern

KOTA KINABALU - Sabah in East Malaysia is oft-touted as among the paradigms of the country’s cultural diversity, but the growing frequency of religious controversies has some here worried that this will soon be replaced by zealotry and intolerance.

In recent months, a cross outside a mission school was sufficient to raise protest by Muslim teachers and parents, and even eating in public during the recent Muslim fasting month of Ramadan became a topic of controversy.

Is it ethical for government to use spyware on their people

PETALING JAYA - On July 5, in the hardest form of irony, a notorious firm of hackers-for-hire called Hacking Team became the target of a hack themselves.

Computers in the Milan-based firm were digitally disembowelled by unidentified hackers, who prompt­ly uploaded 400 gigabytes worth of executive emails, customer invoices and software source codes.

Even Hacking Team’s Twitter feed was hacked and used to distribute samples of the leaked files.

You shouldn’t feel bad for Hacking Team, however, because in most aspects the firm thoroughly deserves it. It is most known for selling spying software to any government willing to pay, regardless of the regime’s human rights record.

Curfew in ESSZone extended to Sept 6

KOTA KINABALU - The curfew imposed in waters off six districts in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone) has been extended from yesterday till Sept 6.

Najib is a liability to Umno

Some Umno grassroots members, who now feel uneasy facing the public, are saying that scandal-tainted Datuk Seri Najib Razak is a liability to the party.

Trust among the rank and file towards the party president has been affected by ongoing controversies, from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) to the RM2.6 billion put in his personal accounts, allegedly as a donation, with members finding it hard to swallow the explanations given.

"The people want Najib to step down. Even if we talk nicely they do not want to hear, so what more to say?

"Umno members still love Umno, but Umno members no longer love Najib," said former Tenggara Umno youth committee member Asrul Esreen Mohd Salleh to The Malaysian Insider.

United Sabah Alliance to organise "Sabah Day" on August 31

KOTA KINABALU: United Sabah Alliance (USA) a grouping of local political parties and Sabah local NGOs will jointly organize the celebration of Sabah's 52nd year of  Independence on August 31 at Kundasang Town, said Japiril Suhaimin in a press conference today.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Sleepless nights for families of Ocean King kidnap victims on hearing beheadings, shootings in Jolo

KOTA KINABALU - The families of the Ocean King kidnap victims are having sleepless nights amid reports of beheadings and military raids in Jolo, southern Philippines.

Now Zahid says donor wanted Malaysia to remain Sunni

Deputy PM says he had met with officers of Middle Eastern family who gave Najib controversial RM2.6bn donation

KUALA LUMPUR - Umno vice-president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is said to have met representatives of the Middle Eastern family behind a controversial US$700 million (RM2.67 billion) “donation” deposited in bank accounts in the name of Najib Razak, the party leader and prime minister.

Malaysia excludes integral MACC in new team to probe 1MDB

Malaysia's attorney-general has formed a new task force to investigate state fund 1MDB but it excludes the country's anti-corruption body, local newspaper Sin Chew Daily reported on Friday.

The task force comprises the central bank, attorney-general's chambers, police, customs department and the Inland Revenue Board, the newspaper said, citing Mohd Shukri Abdul, deputy chief commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Swiss open criminal proceedings against 1MDB

ZURICH: A criminal proceeding against 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) has been opened by Switzerland’s Office of the Attorney General (OAG).

"The Office of the Attorney General confirms that, on Aug. 14 2015, it opened a criminal procedure against two entities of 1MDB as well as against an unknown person," said its spokesman as quoted by Reuters.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Sacked AG officer to file revelation in 'explosive' affidavit

Jessica Gurmeet Kaur and her family are expected to file a judicial review with an "explosive" affidavit on why the authorities are bent to terminate her work at the Attorney-General’s Chambers and revoke her permanent residency (PR).

Malaysia has been home to Jessica for more than 20 years before the sudden move, within a spate of days, that started with investigations by the authorities on her and former MACC adviser Rashpal Singh over the alleged leak of a purported charge sheet on Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Final appeal for Borneonisation, Malayan court claims no locus standi

KOTA KINABALU - Two former civil servants have lost their final appeals to sue and compel the Federal and Sabah governments to implement the Borneonisation policy in the civil service.

Swiss Court to rule on Sabah CM’s case

The resolution of a technicality would see the UBS Banking Group facing a money laundering case involving Musa Aman.

A case against UBS Banking Group, triggered by a complaint under criminal law by the Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), a Swiss human rights and environmental organisation, may see it facing money laundering charges and a heavy penalty.

United Sabah Alliance, a new Sabah opposition grouping, is in the offing

Local-based opposition parties in Sabah are not going to remain idle as a new grouping at the national level, known as Gerakan Harapan Baru (GHB), is taking shape and likely to be announced on Aug 31 or Sept 16.

For, they too wish to establish a new group going by the name of United Sabah Alliance (USA) or Gabungan Sabah, a gathering of like-minded opposition parties and NGOs in the state that might later be turned into political entities.

This move has been confirmed by former chief minister Yong Teck Lee who told Theantdaily that Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) headed by him as president, is one of two opposition parties in the new grouping.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Narrow approach of Najib on human rights regretted - Suhakam

The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) has rubbished assertions by the country’s leadership that human rights in Malaysia are different from the universal version.

While not mentioning names, it is clear Suhakam was reacting to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's remarks on Tuesday that universal human rights are not for Malaysia.

Suhakam chairperson Hasmy Agam said Malaysia had a duty to uphold human rights in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the Organisation of Islamic Countries' Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam (CDHRI).

PTPTN defaulters tell why they are not paying up

Study loan defaulters seem to have many reasons why they can’t or should not have to repay the money.

Some claimed that the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) was inefficient and uncaring, the main reason why they refuse to pay.

A civil servant, who wanted to be identified as Ridza, was “extremely displeased by the service”.

He said he had excellent results in university and even received the Vice-Chancellor’s Award, so he expected to be automatically exempted from repaying his loan.

Zeti denies circulars to forex dealers to halt taking orders

Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz has denied the central bank has issued circulars to forex dealers from taking orders for transaction from offshore banks to stem ringgit depreciation.

“There is no circular has been issued, we just reinforced the rule that we have in place, this is what we have informed those in the forex exchange market,” she told reporters at the sidelines at the briefing of the Global Findex 2014 Measuring Financial Inclusion around the World on Thursday.

According to a spokeswoman, it has always been the requirement that all foreign exchange transactions are backed by underlying transactions and that banks are reminded that they can decline these orders, which does not meet the requirements.

Bank Negara steps in to stem ringgit freefall

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has issued a circular to foreign exchange dealers of both local and foreign institutions disallowing onshore banks from taking onshore fixing orders from offshore banks, sources say.

The move follows the ringgit’s plunge to 4.10 to the dollar last Friday and the foreign exchange reserves dropping to below the US$100 billion threshold in July.

Six months to resolve 1MDB issue, a “window of opportunity” for Sabah

KOTA KINABALU - The six months period that Prime Minister Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak has given himself to resolve the 1MDB issue is a “window of opportunity” for Sabah and Sarawak to complete the "autonomy talks" to transfer federal powers and funds back to the two states.

Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Datuk Yong Teck Lee said whether this six-month period is meant for 1MDB to pay off its loans, or for it to clean up the mess before the PM leaves, either way, it is possible that the Najib has decided to leave after his self-imposed grace period of six months.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Thai police hunt 'foreign' man, two others for Bangkok blast

Thai police said on Wednesday that a suspect captured by CCTV cameras minutes before a bomb exploded at Bangkok's Erawan shrine was a foreigner, and his appearance suggested he might be from Europe or the Middle East.

Police spokesman Prawut Thawornsiri also said investigators were now convinced two other men seen on the grainy video footage were accomplices.

At least 20 people were killed in Monday's blast in the heart of the Thai capital. The government says the unprecedented attack on the city was designed to wreck the country's economy, which depends heavily on tourism.

Resolve the Sabah PTI problems before thinking of Bangladeshis

KOTA KINABALU - The silence of the RCI Technical working committee to reveal the findings and the recommendations of the committee begs the question on what are the priorities of the Sabah BN leadership, said Edward Dagul, SAPP Deputy President in a press statement issued yesterday.

“It has been more than a month since we made the call to the RCI technical working committee led by Deputy Chief Minister, Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan to make known to the people of Sabah what are the outcome of the findings and recommendations of the committee are, stated Edward.

Ahmad Maslan: Boos don't mean they hate me

Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Ahmad Maslan insisted today that the booing of him at the Pontian Umno division annual general meeting last Sunday does not mean the delegates dislike him.

The incident had been an embarrassment for Ahmad, who is the division's deputy chief and also the constituency's MP.

However, Ahmad insisted he still enjoyed support, pointing out that his private secretary and special officer garnered the second and third most votes respectively among seven representatives elected to represent Pontian Umno at the party's annual general assembly at the end of the year.

Who are the three Tanduo plotters, Zahid? - Yong

KOTA KINABALU - Where are the three alleged local plotters behind the Tanduo incursion by Sulu attackers in Lahad Datu in 2013?

This question was posed by former Chief Minister Datuk Yong Teck Lee, who reminded deputy prime minister Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, that he has yet to name the three (Sabah) opposition leaders whom he had publicly alleged to be conspirators of the incursion.

M'sia worse than Mexico due to scandals, worse to come - UBS warns

Malaysia is paying the price for weak foreign currency holdings and messy politics as the cost to protect its debt soars to near a four-year high. UBS Group AG (Union Bank of Switzerland) predicts even more pain ahead.

The spread on the nation’s credit-default swaps widened 74 basis points in 2015 to 180 this week, a level not seen since October 2011. It's the worst performing in Asia and almost 40 basis points more than similar-rated oil-producer Mexico, which the Swiss bank says best illustrates the malaise for Malaysia.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Mahathir: Najib has stolen the government

Dr Mahathir Mohamad has painted a grim picture should Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak continue to helm the nation.

The former premier also accused the man whom he endorsed to replace his successor as having "stolen the government".

"Najib may be able to buy his way through in the next election but he will not be able to acquire funds to sustain his purchase of popularity.

Justo sentenced to 3 years for blackmail of oil firm

BANGKOK - A Thai court has sentenced a Swiss man to three years in prison on charges of blackmailing his former employer, a Saudi oil company, by threatening to reveal stolen documents.

The case has drawn the greatest interest in Malaysia, because documents said to have been leaked by Xavier Justo allegedly revealed links between a financial scandal and Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Justo's original six-year sentence was cut in half after he pleaded guilty Monday at a Bangkok court.

I'm no traitor, declares Bung

Controversial Umno lawmaker Bung Moktar Radin is disappointed with the allegation that he is amongst the BN members of Parliament conspiring to topple the government and Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.    

"I have never been a traitor to the party. This is a serious and regrettable accusation," he said in a statement reported by Bernama.

The Umno supreme council member said while he might be vocal, he has never pawned his dignity for not being on the same page with any leader.

UMNO’s Corporate Cornucopia

In the 1980s and 1990s, Halim Saad and Tajudin Ramli were two of Malaysia’s brightest stars, picked by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to lead the country’s ethnic Malays onto the national stage as exemplars of a new Bumiputera business culture that would catch up with the ethnic Chinese who had dominated commerce as long as Malaysia had been in existence.

When Mahathir took office, insiders say, his plan was to create a cadre of 100 super-rich bumis who in turn would help rural Malays into prosperity under a konsep payung, or umbrella concept routed through the United Malays National Organization, much the way he envisioned driving the country into industrialization through massive projects.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Twitter users doubt RM2.6b was a donation, survey shows

KUALA LUMPUR - Twitter users were largely unconvinced that the RM2.6 billion deposited into Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s accounts was a donation, according to a survey by Politweet.

Instead, they viewed the amount to be linked to state-owned investment firm 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The pollster noted that Najib and the state investment firm’s supporters lacked influence on the social networking site and consequently were unable to use official Twitter accounts to convince people of their side of the story.

China Tianjin blast death toll hits 112 and increasing

A Chinese official says the death toll from the giant chemical explosions in the Chinese port of Tianjin has reached 112.

Residents from the area have been evacuated over fears of cyanide contamination.

A days-long fire intensified at the hazardous goods storage facility with a series of new explosions sending thick black smoke into the air on Saturday.

According to rescue headquarters, more than 700 people have been hospitalised, 58 of whom are in a critical or serious condition.

Twenty-one firefighters were among the dead, authorities say.

Illegal immigrants bring in leprosy, says minister

Indeed, illegal immigrants have brought many problems to Sabah, one of the many problems include health as this minister said because he is in charge of health. The government has not addressed the illegal immigrant problem with sincereness that threatens to tilt the demography and dramatically changing the political landscape in Sabah.

UNHCR in Malaysia told to stop issuing refugee card

DOUBLE STANDARD - While urging the UNHCR to stop issuing refugee cards, the government has been granting citizenship to illegal immigrants in Sabah.

ALOR SETAR - The United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Malaysia has been urged to stop issuing refugee cards without the consent of the Malaysian government.

SPM repeat result out on Wednesday

The results of the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) (Repeat) 2015 examination involving 14,053 candidates will be released on Wednesday.

A statement from the Education Ministry said the candidates would be informed of their results by post and they could also contact the Education Department of the state where the candidates had registered for the exam.

The results can also be checked via mySMS 15888 which would be activated at 10am on Aug 19 up to 11.59pm on Aug 26.

Najib had to make arrests preempting charges against him

BN strategic communications director Abdul Rahman Dahlan said Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had to "take out people" after an alleged charge sheet against him emerged.

"Given that scenario what would you do? You would take drastic action wouldn't you?

"Okay, take these people out first, so that things will get back to normalcy and see what will happen next.

"If you could appreciate that scenario then you would understand the flurry of action taken by the prime minister," he said in an interview with The Star Online.

Abdul Rahman was responding to a question on whether the charge sheet was real.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

US$650m from Najib's account stashed abroad

Sarawak Report has claimed that US$650 million out of the US$681 million deposited into the personal account of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak was transferred abroad after the 13th general election.

The portal said that the money was transferred back to Tanore Finance Corporation at Falcon Bank in Singapore, the same company that had made the initial deposit into Najib's personal accounts, according to an emailed statement from Sarawak Report.

Foreign Investors Withdraw RM11.7b From Malaysia

International investors are selling Malaysian stocks at the fastest pace in Asia as the country’s political scandal and doubts grow over the local economy outlook.

Foreign funds have pulled out RM11.7 billion in shares as the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index retreated by 4.1%. The Ringgit has slumped to its lowest level since 1998 after sliding down 11% against the US dollar, the biggest decline among other Asian currencies.