The DoJ of the United States of America recently filed documents to the American Court to allow seizure of properties alleged to have been acquired through embezzlement/fraud of 1MDB, the filing documents can be read here. courtesy of WSJ. M'kini has produced an article which would be helpful to us who follow events as they unfold: Who are 1MDB Officers 1, 2, 3 and the others in US Department of Justice list?
KiniGuide In the US Department of Justice’s recent filings related to the 1MDB scandal, among the relevant individuals named in the suit are ‘1MDB Officer 1’, ‘1MDB Officer 2’, and ‘1MDB Officer 3’.
Like the much-reported ‘Malaysian Official 1’ in the document, the names of these other 1MDB officers are also concealed throughout the document.
And yet, there are tantalising clues throughout the 136 pages of the DOJ document.
Thus far, little attention has been given to the identities of these 1MDB officers.
In this instalment of KiniGuide, we look back at the history of the 1MDB scandal in an attempt to shed some light on this mystery, as well as on several others who have not been identified by name in the court filings.
1MDB Officer 1
“1MDB OFFICER 1 is a Malaysian national who served as the executive director of 1MDB from the time of its creation until approximately March 2011.”
The court filings state that 1MDB Officer 1 had served as Terengganu Investment Authority’s (TIA) executive director of business development, and later became 1MDB’s executive director. Casey Tang Keng Chee is the only person who fits the description.
TIA is 1MDB’s predecessor until it was taken over by the federal government and rebranded as 1MDB in 2009.
Tang, 51, was sought by Bank Negara Malaysia in July last year in connection with an investigation under the Exchange Control Act 1953.
A Facebook post by the central bank listed Tang’s full name, identity card number and last known address, and appealed to members of the public for information on his whereabouts.
The US Department of Justice filing alleged that 1MDB Officer 1 had misled banks and concealed certain facts from 1MDB’s board of directors in order to transfer US$700 million to Good Star Ltd, which in turn is supposedly owned by the Penang-born businessman Low Taek Jho (also known as Jho Low).
1MBD Officer 2
“1MDB OFFICER 2 is a Malaysian national who served as 1MDB’s chief executive officer (‘CEO’) between at least 2009 and 2013.”
1MDB’s chief executive during this period was Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, who held the post until March 2013, which means that ‘1MDB Officer 2’ refers to him.
Many of the most significant deals of 1MDB took place under this Stanford University graduate’s watch, including TIA’s issuance of RM5 billion in Islamic Medium Term Notes, the transfers totalling US$1.3 billion from 1MDB to Low’s Good Star Ltd, the acquisition of power assets worth billions of ringgit, and more.
While helming TIA as its CEO, Shahrol (photo) had disregarded its board’s directions to suspend the issuance of the RM5 billion notes and was briefly sacked from his post, although he was later reinstated, notes the Public Accounts Committee report on 1MDB.
According to the US Department of Justice, Shahrol had misled banks and 1MDB’s board of directors into believing that Good Star Ltd is owned by PetroSaudi International, and not by Jho Low.
1MDB Officer 3
“1MDB OFFICER 3 is a Malaysian national who served as 1MDB’s general counsel and executive director of group strategy during, at a minimum, 2012 and 2013. 1MDB OFFICER 3 was a main point of contact between 1MDB and Goldman in connection with the three Goldman-underwritten bond offerings in 2012 and 2013.”
Jasmine Loo Ai Swan, 43, was previously 1MDB’s general counsel and executive director of group strategy, and a likely candidate for ‘1MDB Officer 3’. Like Tang, Bank Negara had made a public appeal for her whereabouts in July last year.
According to the US Department of Justice, some US$1.367 billion had been siphoned from 1MDB during the ‘Aabar-BVI’ phase of the supposed embezzlement.
Of these, about US$5 million ended up in a bank account in Zurich, Switzerland, on Dec 6, 2012, which was held under the name of ‘River Dee International SA’. 1MDB Officer 3 is alleged to be the account’s actual owner.
The court filings also state that 1MDB Official 3 is an authorised signatory of a bank account held in the name of Tanore Finance Corporation.
This account was used during March 2013 to transfer US$681 million to an Ambank account held by a certain ‘Malaysian Official 1’, of which US$620 million was returned around Aug 26 that year.
Two non-Malaysians also named
The US Department of Justice’s filings had directly implicated five people as ‘relevant individuals’ in the case, three of them being Malaysians: Jho Low, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s stepson Riza Aziz (photo) and Low’s associate, Eric Tan Kim Loong.
The two non-Malaysians are Khadem Abdulla al-Qubaisi, a United Arab Emirates national who was the International Petroleum Investment Company’s (IPIC) managing director and Aabar Investments PJS’ chairperson, and Mohamed Ahmed Badawy al-Husseiny, a US national who was Aabar PJS’ chief executive.
Both were also directors in the British Virgin Islands-based Aabar Investments PJS Ltd (Aabar-BVI).
Khadem Abdulla al-Qubaisi
“Khadem Abdulla Al QUBAISI (‘QUBAISI’), a UAE national, was the managing director of IPIC from 2007 to 2015 and the chairman of Aabar in at least 2012 and 2013… QUBAISI also was a director of Aabar-BVI.”
According to Reuters, Khadem, 45 (on left in photo), joined the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority in 1993, in the same year that he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics, and was transferred to IPIC in 2000 to become its investment manager.
He was appointed as IPIC’s managing director in May 2007, but was abruptly replaced in April last year amid the 1MDB scandal, and he resigned from various board and management positions in the UAE and throughout the region in the following months.
On April 2 this year, the UAE government froze the assets of Khadem and Badawy and their bank accounts, and banned them from travelling abroad pending investigations on their dealings with 1MDB.
Mohamed Ahmed Badawy al-Husseiny
“Mohamed Ahmed Badawy Al-HUSSEINY (‘HUSSEINY’), a US citizen, was the CEO of Aabar from 2010 to 2015. He was also a director of Aabar-BVI.”
Khadem and Badawy hold key positions in both Aabar Investments PJS and Aabar Investments PJS Ltd.
Despite the names differing only by three letters, the latter British Virgin Islands (BVI) company is not a subsidiary of 1MDB’s business partner IPIC, unlike Aabar Investments PJS.
The court filings allege that in May and October 2012, Goldman Sachs International raised a total of US$3.5 billion through bond issuances for 1MDB, codenamed ‘Project Magnolia’ and ‘Project Maximus’. Of these, US$1.367 billion ended up with the Aabar-BVI.
After several transfers, the money eventually ended up in the bank accounts of Khadem, Badawy and several others, some of which were used to buy high-end real estate.
The US Department of Justice claimed that Aabar-BVI was created and named such to create a false impression that it is associated with Aabar Investments PJS, although in reality, Aabar-BVI has no genuine relationship with either Aabar nor IPIC.
“Plaintiff alleges on information and belief that the Aabar-BVI Swiss (bank) account was used to conceal and to facilitate this unlawful diversion of funds,” it said.
Who is “Malaysian Official 1’?
“MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1 is a high-ranking official in the Malaysian government who also held a position of authority with 1MDB.
“During all times relevant to the complaint, MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1 was a ‘public official’ as that term is used in 18 U.S.C. § 1956(c)(7)(B)(iv) and a ‘public servant’ as that term is used in Section 21 of the Malaysian Penal Code.”
Following the US Department of Justice’s filing of its civil forfeiture suit in relation to the 1MDB scandal, speculation has been rife about the identity of ‘Malaysian Official 1’ listed in the suit.
According to the filings, Malaysian Official 1 is a relative of Riza Aziz and held a key position in 1MDB since it was founded. Any 1MDB financial commitments that would likely affect the Malaysian government’s policies or guarantees would require his approval.
In addition, the filings claim that the largest transfer to the bank account of Malaysian Official 1 was a March 2013 transaction of US$681 million to an AmBank account.
The description of the transactions match those in Malaysian attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali’s Jan 26 press statement regarding the findings of investigations into Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s RM2.6 billion donation scandal and transfers from the 1MDB-linked company SRC International.
Najib is Riza’s stepfather, and is also the prime minister and finance minister of Malaysia. He was the head of 1MDB’s advisory board until the board was abolished this year.
Najib has consistently denied any wrongdoing in the 1MDB matter, and assured his cooperation with international investigators in the interest of good governance.
Apandi also noted that Najib was not named in the lawsuits.
Responding to a question, US attorney-general Loretta E Lynch said the lawsuits only named those the department needed to name to meet the objectives of seizing the various assets.
"The Malaysian people were defrauded on an enormous scale (in) a scheme which tentacles reached around the world,"
US Department of Justice
Latest breaking news from Mkini more shame to our nation:
1MDB funds were used to pay for gambling debts in Las Vegas, said US investigators.
"Funds were stolen under the pretense of a 1MDB investment in oil exploration.
"On paper the US$1 billion was for resource rights, instead (it was) used for personal enrichment...(including) gambling debts in Las Vegas casions, a luxury yacht, interior decorators in London, millions in property including a Bombardier jet costing US$35 million," said Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Andrew McCabe.
He said this at a US Department of Justice press conference on the civil complaints lodged by the department to seize approximately US$1 billion of assets linked to 1MDB.
"The Malaysian people were defrauded on an enourmous scale (in) a scheme which tentacles reached around the world," he a said.
Other assets listed by the department in its lawsuits filed today include:
Artworks from Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh; About US$250 million investment in Parklane Hotel, New York; US$176 million invested in EMI Music; US$100 million worth of real estate in the US, United Kingdom and elswhere, including a mansion in Beverly Hills, a condominium in New York and a townhouse in the United Kingdom;
and Proceeds from the film 'The Wolf of Wall Street' which Red Granite Pictures has rights to.
Below is the press statement from the US Department of Justice in full:
Attorney General Loretta E Lynch announced today the filing of civil forfeiture complaints seeking the forfeiture and recovery of more than US$1 billion in assets associated with an international conspiracy to launder funds misappropriated from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.
Today’s complaints represent the largest single action ever brought under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.
Attorney General Lynch was joined in the announcement by Assistant Attorney General Leslie R Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, US Attorney Eileen M Decker of the Central District of California, FBI Deputy Director Andrew G. McCabe and Chief Richard Weber of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).
According to the complaints, from 2009 through 2015, more than US$3.5 billion in funds belonging to 1MDB was allegedly misappropriated by high-level officials of 1MDB and their associates. With today’s complaints, the United States seeks to recover more than US$1 billion laundered through the United States and traceable to the conspiracy.
1MDB was created by the government of Malaysia to promote economic development in Malaysia through global partnerships and foreign direct investment, and its funds were intended to be used for improving the well-being of the Malaysian people.
Instead, as detailed in the complaints, 1MDB officials and their associates allegedly misappropriated more than US$3 billion.
“The Department of Justice will not allow the American financial system to be used as a conduit for corruption,” said Attorney General Lynch.
“With this action, we are seeking to forfeit and recover funds that were intended to grow the Malaysian economy and support the Malaysian people.
"Instead, they were stolen, laundered through American financial institutions and used to enrich a few officials and their associates.
"Corrupt officials around the world should make no mistake that we will be relentless in our efforts to deny them the proceeds of their crimes. ”
“According to the allegations in the complaints, this is a case where life imitated art,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.
“The associates of these corrupt 1MDB officials are alleged to have used some of the illicit proceeds of their fraud scheme to fund the production of 'The Wolf of Wall Street', a movie about a corrupt stockbroker who tried to hide his own illicit profits in a perceived foreign safe haven.
"But whether corrupt officials try to hide stolen assets across international borders – or behind the silver screen – the Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that there is no safe haven."
“Stolen money that is subsequently used to purchase interests in music companies, artwork or high-end real estate is subject to forfeiture under US law,” said US Attorney Decker.
“Today’s actions are the result of the tremendous dedication of attorneys in my office and the Department of Justice, as well as law enforcement agents across the country.
"All of us are committed to sending a message that we will not allow the United States to become a playground for the corrupt, a platform for money laundering or a place to hide and invest stolen riches.”
“The United States will not be a safe haven for assets stolen by corrupt foreign officials,” said Deputy Director McCabe.
“Public corruption, no matter where it occurs, is a threat to a fair and competitive global economy.
"The FBI is committed to working with our foreign and domestic partners to identify and return these stolen assets to their legitimate owners, the Malaysian people. I want to thank the FBI and IRS investigative team who worked with the prosecutors and our international partners on this case.”
“Today’s announcement underscores the breadth of the alleged corruption and money laundering related to the 1MDB fund,” said Chief Weber. “We cannot allow the massive, brazen and blatant diversion of billions of dollars to be laundered through US financial institutions without consequences.”
As alleged in the complaints, the members of the conspiracy – which included officials at 1MDB, their relatives and other associates – allegedly diverted more than US$3.5 billion in 1MDB funds.
Using fraudulent documents and representations, the co-conspirators allegedly laundered the funds through a series of complex transactions and fraudulent shell companies with bank accounts located in the Singapore, Switzerland, Luxembourg and the United States.
These transactions were allegedly intended to conceal the origin, source and ownership of the funds, and were ultimately processed through U.S. financial institutions and were used to acquire and invest in assets located in the United States.
In seeking recovery of more than US$1 billion, the complaints detail the alleged misappropriation of 1MDB’s assets as it occurred over the course of at least three schemes.
In 2009, the complaints allege that 1MDB officials and their associates embezzled approximately US$1 billion that was intended to be invested to exploit energy concessions purportedly owned by a foreign partner.
Instead, the funds were transferred through shell companies and were used to acquire a number of assets, as set forth in the complaints.
The complaints also allege that the co-conspirators misappropriated more than $1.3 billion in funds raised through two bond offerings in 2012 and $1.2 billion following another bond offering in 2013.
As further detailed in the complaints, the stolen funds were laundered into the United States and used by the co-conspirators to acquire and invest in various assets.
These assets allegedly included high-end real estate and hotel properties in New York and Los Angeles, a US$35 million jet aircraft, works of art by Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet, an interest in the music publishing rights of EMI Music and the production of the 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street.
The FBI’s International Corruption Unit and the IRS-CI investigated the case. Deputy Chief Woo S Lee and Trial Attorney Kyle R Freeny of the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Kucera and Christen Sproule of the Central District of California prosecuted the case. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided additional assistance.
The Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative is led by a team of dedicated prosecutors in the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, in partnership with federal law enforcement agencies to forfeit the proceeds of foreign official corruption and, where appropriate, to use those recovered asset to benefit the people harmed by these acts of corruption and abuse of office.
Individuals with information about possible proceeds of foreign corruption located in or laundered through the United States should contact federal law enforcement or send an email to email@example.com
PUTRAJAYA, Sept 29 — The Federal Court upheld today the one-year jail term previously meted out to Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo, after the former Selangor mentri besar lost his final appeal against a corruption conviction.
The apex court also maintained the forfeiture of the land that he had underpaid for back in 2007.
Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin, who chaired the five-man panel, said among other things that public interest should always be the first and foremost consideration in sentencing.
“We unanimously dismiss the appeal against sentencing. We therefore affirm the sentence of one-year imprisonment meted out by the trial judge,” Zulkefli said, adding that corruption in any form should not be condoned.
Mohamad Khir, 50, is a licensed dentist who had served as Selangor mentri besar for eight years up until 2008.
Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had last week sought for a fine for Mohamad Khir or an order to provide free dental care to the poor as community service instead of a jail term as his client was a first-time offender, among other things.
But the Federal Court noted that Mohamad Khir had, as a public servant and chief executive of Selangor, taken advantage of his official position, with one of Section 165 of the Penal Code’s purpose to prevent that kind of corruption.
“Corruption in all manner and form cannot be condoned. A fine would not send that message. Neither would community service,” Zulkifli said, noting that community service is only an available option for youthful offenders and under the Offenders Compulsory Attendance Act 1954 which does not apply to this case.
The judge also noted that the offence that Mohamad Khir had committed was not “trivial” as it destroys public confidence in the government, with imprisonment a right and proper punishment that is also not excessive.
The Federal Court dismissed Shafee’s arguments that Mohamad Khir should only be made to pay half of the difference between the RM3.5 million paid and the actual fair value of the land, ruling instead that the land should instead be seized subject to an existing charge to the bank.
Last Tuesday, the Federal Court panel ruled that the offence was proven beyond reasonable doubt when it unanimously upheld Mohamad Khir’s previous conviction under Section 165 of the Penal Code, which comes with a maximum two-year jail term or fine or both.
The other judges on the Federal Court panel are Tan Sri Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha, Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop, Tan Sri Hasan Lah and Datuk Ramly Ali.
On December 23, 2011, the Shah Alam High Court convicted Mohamad Khir of corruptly using his position as then Selangor MB and Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) chairman to obtain land and property below the market price in 2007.
He was given a 12-month jail sentence after being found guilty of obtaining two plots of land and a bungalow in Section 7, Shah Alam for himself and his wife Zahrah Kechik, from Ditamas Sdn Bhd through its director Datuk Shamsuddin Hayroni with the inadequate payment of RM3.5 million in 2007.
He was charged with knowingly obtaining a valuable thing as a public servant without paying adequate consideration for the property that Ditamas had itself purchased at RM6.5 million in December 2004, and doing so with the knowledge that Shamsuddin had official dealings with him.
On May 30, 2013, Mohamad Khir lost his appeal at the Court of Appeal against his conviction and one-year jail term.
I think there are lots of similarity with the LGE case ...though the sales and purchase between a public servant and a member of the public is not a problem in itself but if the prosecution can show that the seller benefit somehow from the Government that LGE leads it will be an offence like what happened to Khir Toyo.
Interesting how the court trial will unfold, interesting because LGE does not have to be in this current situation as he as CM is entitled to a official State House. Wallahualam.
KENYATAAN YB TAN SRI DATO' HJ MUHYIDDIN HJ MOHD YASSIN
Saya bersetuju dengan cadangan Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad untuk menubuhkan sebuah parti politik baharu yang akan bekerjasama dengan semua pihak termasuk Pakatan Harapan, PAS dan pertubuhan masyarakat sivil untuk meneruskan perjuangan menyelamatkan Malaysia di samping mengambil langkah-langkah perlu untuk melakukan reformasi institusi. Saya telah berbincang dengan Tun Dr Mahathir, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, Datuk Seri Mukhriz dan rakan-rakan yang lain mengenai keperluan penubuhan sebuah wadah politik untuk meneruskan perjuangan ini menerusi penyertaan di dalam pilihanraya.
Pada masa yang sama, saya juga akur bahawa penubuhan sebuah wadah politik baharu hanya akan berkesan sekiranya ia dipersetujui secara konsensus oleh rakan-rakan pimpinan parti-parti pembangkang yang lain. Untuk itu saya akan meneruskan perbincangan dengan pihak-pihak yang berkaitan sebelum memutuskan langkah selanjutnya.
Saya juga bersependapat dengan Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, Dato' Seri Azmin Mohamed Ali dan beberapa pimpinan PH dan PAS yang lain bahawa parti-parti pembangkang perlu kembali berunding untuk mewujudkan kesepakatan dalam menghadapi pilihanraya umum akan datang. Kesepakatan ini adalah amat penting untuk meraih keyakinan rakyat bahawa parti-parti politik selain BN mampu untuk menerajui Malaysia dengan lebih baik dan membela nasib rakyat.
Saya amat mengalu-alukan perkembangan positif ini dan bersedia untuk berbincang dengan semua pihak bagi bersama-sama mencari kaedah terbaik untuk membawa perubahan politik dan kerajaan yang amat dinanti-nantikan oleh seluruh rakyat Malaysia menerusi pilihanraya umum akan datang. Andaian bahawa BN akan terus berkuasa dan pemimpin rasuah akan terus bermaharajalela lantaran perpecahan dalam kalangan parti-parti pembangkang tidak semestinya betul. Saya yakin Malaysia sudah bersedia untuk menyongsong arus perubahan dan rakyat tanpa mengira kaum dan agama akan bersatu hati untuk membela nasib rakyat, menentang rasuah, salah guna kuasa dan manipulasi sentimen perkauman yang melampau demi mencipta masa depan yang lebih baik untuk semua.
InsyaAllah, berkat muafakat rakyat dan jiwa besar pemimpin yang ikhlas memperjuangkan nasib rakyat dan kepentingan negara, kita akan berjaya mengenepikan perbezaan, mewujudkan kesepakatan dan mencapai kemenangan.
‘Jangan jadi kuda tunggangan DAP’. Itulah ungkapan yang sering digunakan oleh pemerintah Melayu kepada rakyatnya. Malah mereka mengatakan bahawa Melayu akan lebih bangsat sekiranya orang Melayu tidak menyokong UMNO. Hakikatnya, sudah berapa lama merdeka sekali pun, sudah tukar Perdana Menteri sekalipun, kita masih mendengar keluhan orang Melayu yang kecewa dengan taraf hidup mereka sendiri.
Persoalannya, siapa ‘tunggang’ orang Melayu sebenarnya?
Pemikiran Orang Melayu
Orang Melayu kebanyakannya terkenal dengan sikap ketaatan kepada pemimpin. Tidak kira pemimpin itu melakukan kesalahan, sukar bagi masyarakat Melayu untuk mengkritik atau melawan pemerintahnya. Orang Melayu sejak turun-temurun lagi telah menerima sifat kehambaan itu sendiri.
W.E Maxwell telah mengkaji dan mengenalpasti beberapa peribahasa Melayu yang membuktikan ‘kehambaan’ orang Melayu itu sendiri. Contohnya, peribahasa ‘anak-anak ikan kecil menjadi makanan ikan besar’ yang bermaksud orang bawahan sentiasa menjadi hamba orang atasan. ‘Siapapun yang menjadi raja, tanganku ke dahi juga’ bermaksud walaupun pemimpin bertukar ganti, orang Melayu tetap taat kepada tuannya.
Pemikiran ini merupakan ‘saka’ kepada generasi Melayu hingga kini. Politikus elit Melayu juga menjadikan pemikiran ‘taat’ orang Melayu untuk mencengkam kekuasaan mereka. Orang Melayu tidak mempunyai jalan untuk mengubah nasib dan bergantung penuh kepada kerajaan bagi mencari makan. Oleh sebab pemikiran seperti ini, orang Melayu tidak pernah percaya diri mereka itu mempunyai hak dan kuasa. Akhirnya, pemimpin terus meninggi dan rakyat Melayu menjadi hamba. Pemikiran ini telah memerangkapkan orang Melayu untuk maju ke hadapan dalam pelbagai aspek hingga hari ini.
Kesengsaraan Orang Melayu dalam Politik
Dalam politik Melayu, golongan elit dan bangsawan sebenarnya untung. Pemimpin Melayu, khususnya UMNO, mudah mengekalkan kuasa dengan pemikiran ‘taat’ orang Melayu. Tahap kepercayaan ini sehingga setiap keputusan diletakkan hak dan kepercayaan sepenuhnya kepada pemerintah untuk melaksanakannya. Budaya pemikiran seperti ini telah membelakangkan lagi orang Melayu dalam berpolitik.
Sistem menerima diri sebagai ‘hamba’ itu sendiri telah membentuk sebuah masyarakat yang tidak produktif. Walaupun mereka mempunyai idea dan kuat bekerja sekali pun dalam politik, mereka tetap akan kekal di bawah. Insan yang pandai ‘mengipas’ elit sahaja mempunyai peluang, itu pun sekerat.
Akhirnya secara mudah, orang Melayu dituduh oleh pemimpin sebagai Melayu mudah lupa, Melayu malas dan bangsat. Walhal, pemimpin Melayu itu sendiri telah menindas orang Melayu sehinggakan mereka malas untuk bekerja kerana akhirnya mereka tidak memperoleh apa-apa, tetapi orang atasan yang untung. Mereka tidak mempunyai pilihan lain selain taat kepada pemerintah untuk terus hidup. Itulah yang berlaku dalam UMNO hari ini. Masa berubah, tetapi konteksnya masih sama.
Kesengsaraan Orang Melayu dalam Ekonomi
Ekonomi merupakan aspek utama yang diperjuangkan oleh Melayu sejak dahulu lagi. Daripada Dasar Ekonomi Baru (DEB) hingga Model Ekonomi Baru, ekonomi masih menjadi isu kritikal dalam komuniti Melayu. Bebanan ekonomi ini tidak dirasai oleh golongan pembesar, elit dan kapitalis Melayu yang menikmati hasil yang berlipat kali ganda dengan hasil tender dan projek yang ada.
Syed Hussein Alatas pernah mengkritik DEB kerana dasar ini menghasilkan golongan kapitalis Melayu kerana perpindahan aset negara diberikan kepada golongan Melayu ‘tertentu’ untuk memastikan penglibatan 30 peratus orang Melayu dalam ekonomi. Untungnya pada kelompok ‘kecil’ yang kaya, bukan rakyat biasa.
Dasar yang ada sebenarnya hanya menguntungkan golongan elit Melayu dan bukan rakyat biasa. Mereka kini terbeban dengan kos kehidupan yang semakin membimbangkan. Jika dahulu mereka terpaksa memberikan hasil tanaman kepada pembesar sebagai cukai perlindungan, kini mereka terbeban dengan pelbagai cukai yang menelan duit kocek sendiri. Kalau dulu mereka mempunyai tanah dan rumah, tetapi kini dua-dua perkara ini lesap dari pandangan.
Kesempitan ini memaksa mereka bergantung kepada pemimpin politik untuk mendapatkan kedudukan dan pendapatan dengan jalan yang lebih mudah. Ini berlaku dalam kalangan kontraktor kelas F, yang terpaksa membayar ribuan ringgit semata-mata untuk mendapatkan tender kerajaan. Lebih mudah lagi sekiranya mereka membantu ahli politik ‘berkempen’ untuk partinya bagi mendapatkan projek. Tetapi, keuntungan kontraktor ini hanya beberapa kerat sahaja. Lain semunya dikaut oleh ahli politik Melayu.
Siapa ‘Tunggang’ Orang Melayu?
Orang Melayu akan mula sedar sekiranya mereka tidak mendapat impak yang efektif dalam pembangunan negara. Hasil keuntungan ekonomi Malaysia hanya mengenyangkan perut pemimpin dan golongan elit Melayu. Pemimpin Melayu itu sendiri telah menunggang orang Melayu ke jalan yang gelap selama 58 tahun. Walau pun orang Melayu mempunyai hak keistimewaan dalam perlembagaan, mempunyai jumlah majoriti, dan menjadi Perdana Menteri, tetapi orang Melayu masih gagal membangun dalam sudut ekonomi dan politik. Mengapa perkara ini boleh terjadi?
Lebih menghairankan lagi apabila orang Melayu masih menyalahkan pihak lain seperti etnik Cina dan pembangkang dalam kemunduran mereka sendiri. Mereka tidak pernah menyalahkan pemimpin Melayu yang secara terang-terang memakan keuntungan dan memundurkan rakyat Melayu sendiri. Ini semua hasil daripada ‘saka’ warisan dan pemikiran yang ditanam oleh pemimpin Melayu demi mempertahankan kuasa serta kekayaan mereka.
Hakikatnya, orang Melayu sukar untuk berganjak mengubah nasib mereka kerana masih takut akan perubahan kepada bangsanya sendiri. Perubahan minda ini akan mengambil masa 100 tahun. Selagi ada lagi pak menteri UMNO dan keturunan Melayu ‘tua’ yang menanam pemikiran ini, selagi itu ia akan kekal bermasalah kepada generasi akan datang.
Persoalannya, Adakah orang Melayu masih larat ‘ditunggang’ UMNO lagi?
Mohammad Fakhrurrazi Mohd Rashid adalah pelajar tahun akhir, Kajian Politik dan Pemerintahan UNIMAS. Orang Melayu terutama generasi baru harus bersikap skeptikal dan banyak bertanya...jangan dok terima bulat-bulat apa orang cakap lebih-lebih lagi cakap orang politik.
Saya fikir cukuplah sesetengah daripada kita mengeji, mengutuk dan memperlekehkan Dr. Mahathir. Sebahagian besar daripada kita tentunya sedikit sebanyak menikmati hasil daripada buah fikiran dan ideanya terhadap negara ini. Memanglah Perdana Menteri dibayar gaji dan segala macam termasuk jet mewah, tetapi tidak semua orang yang diberi jet mewah boleh membuat seperti Dr. Mahathir.
Dr. Mahathir bukan siapa-siapa. Dia seorang tua dan tidak ada apa-apa kuasa pun. Jadi tidak perlulah kita memusuhi dan melabelkan yang buruk-buruk. Lagi pun bukanlah kita selalu menganggap Dr. Mahathir sudah tidak ada pengaruh. Kita yang besar pengaruh dan panglima kiri kanan buknlah lawan Dr. Mahathir.
Saya secara peribadi ada yang tidak setuju dengan Dr. Mahathir. Tetapi biar sahajalah. Dia bukan boleh buat apa-apa, jadi ketua bahagian UMNO pun tidak. Ahli pun tidak. Tetapi saya tidak tergamak menghina Dr. Mahathir. Pertama kerana dia bekas pemimpin kita, kedua dia seorang tua yang bukan siapa-siapa.
Apabila ada kecenderungan pemimpin pelapis yang menyerang dan mendesak kemudahan itu dan ini ditarik balik, yang lekeh dan hilang pekerti bukan Dr. Mahathir tetapi kita. Kita dengan kuasa yang ada boleh saja menghalau Dr. Mahathir dari Petronas, Proton, Yayasan Kepimpinan Perdana dan suruh polis soal siasat. Tetapi yang kelihatan buruknya adalah kita.
Kalau selepas ini ditakdirkan Dr. Mahathir menutup usia dan tidak disemadikan di Makam Pahlawan di Masjid Negara, Dr. Mahathir tetap dikenang. Tetapi kita diingat sebagai pemimpin pelapis yang tidak megenang budi.
Saya percaya sebahagian besar dalam kalangan kita pernah dididik dan diasuh oleh tok guru, ustaz atau ustazah semasa kecil dulu supaya menghormati orang tua. Adakah asuhan itu kini sudah tidak relevan apabila kita menghina orang yang bertaraf bapa atau datuk kepada kita? Kalau hendak menyerang, seranglah masa Dr. Mahathir berkuasa. Itu akan diingat sebagai pemberani. Kalau sekarang kita diingat sebagai seorang pengecut.
Tidak perlulah memberi "wahyu" kepada media yang kita kawal dan kongkong supaya "membelasah" Dr. Mahathir. Kutip segala pencacai kita yang tunduk hormat sampai tercium tahi ayam untuk menyerang seorang tua 92 tahun. Ini bukan sifat seorang pemberani. Kalaulah kita ini kuat sangat, lawan kita bukanah seorang tua seperti Dr. Mahathir. Kita lekeh kalau anggap Dr. Mahathir sebagai lawan.
Kalau masih banyak yang terpengaruh dengan Dr. Mahathir, tanyalah diri kita kenapa kita yang pegang semua kuasa masih tidak berpengaruh seperti Dr. Mahathir. Di mana salahnya? Adakah masih salah Dr. Mahathir juga?
Ku Seman Ku Hussain
Bekas Editor Kanan Kumpulan Pengarang Lidah Rasmi Umno
It would be wishful thinking to even think that Dr Mahathir will back down...he won't.
The Chief Minister of Pulau Pinang was charged for corruption yesterday. M'kini produced a good easy to read report on the matter: The ABC of Guan Eng’s corruption charges What happened yesterday? Lim and Phang were charged at the Penang Sessions Court and their cases were immediately transferred to the Penang High Court. The charges were personally brought by attorney-general Mohd Apandi Ali. Once at the Penang High Court, the duo pleaded not guilty to their respective charges and claimed trial. Lim has since been released after posting a RM1 million bail with one surety, while Phang posted a RM200,000 bail with one surety. You can read more of what transpired in court in Malaysiakini’s live reports yesterday. What were Lim’s charges about? Lim’s first charge is under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 (MACC Act), which criminalises the use of a public office for personal gratification. The law presumes that the officer (in this case, Lim) has used his office for gratification whenever he made a decision that he, a relative, or his associates, had a direct or indirect interest in. The burden of proof would be on Lim to challenge this presumption, rather than for the prosecution to show that he has actually benefited from the decision made. He was accused of having committed this offence on July 18, 2014 at a Penang State Planning Committee meeting, by approving the rezoning of a land from agricultural to housing in favour of Magnificent Emblem Sdn Bhd. This is purported to have benefited him and his wife, Betty Chew. The said land is located at Lot 436 and 437, Mukim J, Daerah Barat Daya, Penang. Upon conviction, Lim can be jailed for up to 20 years, as well as pay a fine no less than five times the value of the gratification, or RM10,000, whichever is higher. He will also face a five-year ban from active politics after serving his sentence. Lim’s second charge is under Section 165 of the Penal Code, which bans public servants from accepting valuables from someone whom the public servant knows is likely to be linked to a public business that he is engaging in. In Lim’s case, he is accused of knowingly buying a bungalow at Jalan Pinhorn, Penang, below market price. Lim and Chew now reside in the bungalow. According to the charges, Lim purchased the house from Phang on July 28, 2015, which is over a year after the land conversion was approved. The 10,161.13 square-foot property was supposedly worth RM4.27 million at the time, but was transacted at only RM2.8 million – an alleged difference of RM1.47 million. If convicted, Lim can be imprisoned for up to two years, fined, or both. What about Phang? Phang is the owner of Magnificent Emblem Sdn Bhd, and she also has a stake in several other companies. She is the former owner of Lim’s bungalow. The businesswoman was charged under Section 109 of the Penal Code for abetting an offence, referring to Lim’s second charge. It was read together with Section 165 . If convicted, she can be imprisoned for up to two years, fined, or both. But wasn’t it about the Taman Manggis land awhile back? Penang Umno, which accused Lim of buying the Jalan Pinhorn Bungalow at below market price, had at that time linked it to the Taman Manggis land deal. The 0.4-hectare plot along Burma Road, Penang, was sold to Kuala Lumpur International Dental Centre Sdn Bhd (KLIDC) in 2012 for RM11.6 million via open tender. Lim does not sit on the tender committee, while Phang has no stake in KLIDC. However, some had argued that KLIDC’s majority shareholder Tang Yong Chew is Phang’s business partner in another company, Windbond Management & Consultant Sdn Bhd. Nevertheless, the Taman Manggis issue was not mentioned in Lim and Phang’s charge sheets. The matter may still resurface during their trial, but for now, the issue appears to be moot. For more information on the Taman Manggis row, check out a previous instalment of KiniGuide here. What’s the story with the bungalow? The 10,161.13 square-foot property is located at 25, Jalan Pinhorn, Penang. According to previous media reports, Phang originally bought the property on Sept 27, 2008, for RM2.5 million, or RM246 per square foot, on Sept 27, 2008. She then had the building renovated and later rented it to Lim for six years at RM5,000 per month, before finally selling it to Lim. Lim bought it for RM275.56 per square foot on July 28, 2015, totalling RM2.8 million. You can read more about Lim’s bungalow purchase in a previous instalment of KiniGuide here. What became of the Taman Manggis land and the Magnificent Emblem land? The Taman Manggis land had been earmarked as the site of the Penang Island Dental College, which will include a 200-chair dental hospital, resource centre, hostel and recreational facilities. However, the site remains undeveloped to date. Despite allegations on the contrary, the land is reportedly still majority-owned by KLIDC. As for the Lots 436 and 437 that Magnificent Emblem sought to develop, a federal government website listing development projects states that the company’s application for planning permission was rejected on Dec 1 last year by the Penang City Council. According to Lim yesterday, it is still classified as agricultural land. However, it should be noted that the ultimate fate of the land is irrelevant in proving the charges. For Lim’s first charge, the only facts that would be salient is whether Lim had indeed made a decision - any decision - in relation to the land conversion application, and whether Lim can prove that he did not benefit from the decision. Why does all this sound so familiar? Since Lim’s arrest on Tuesday evening, comparisons had been drawn between his bungalow purchase and that of former Selangor menteri besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo. Khir had bought two plots of land at No 8 and 10, Jalan Suasa 7/11, Shah Alam from Ditamas Sdn Bhd director Shamsudin Hayroni on May 29, 2007. He then demolished a bungalow sitting on one of the plots and replaced it with a Balinese-style mansion. Like Lim and Phang, Khir was subsequently charged under Section 165 of the Penal Code, while Shamsudin was charged under Section 109 of the Penal Code, read together with Section 165 of the same code. Unlike Lim however, Khir was no longer a menteri besar when he was charged on Dec 6, 2010, having lost the post in the aftermath of the 2008 general election. The charges against Khir and Shamsudin were brought by then attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail, who urged for a RM1 million bail for each person. However, the court set the bail at RM750,000 instead. Like Lim and Phang, Khir claimed that the transaction was done on a willing-buyer, willing-seller basis. However, the High Court in Shah Alam was unimpressed with Khir’s arguments and found him guilty. Khir’s subsequent appeals were unsuccessful. The Federal Court found that while Khir paid RM3.5 million for the property, it was actually worth RM5.5 million at the time of the transaction, citing two valuation officers. Khir was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment but only served eight months. He has since been released from parole and is now free. The property, however, was forfeited. Lim objects to being compared to Khir. “Unlike Khir Toyo’s case, Phang did not make a loss of RM5 million but recorded a small profit of RM300,000 from her original purchase price of RM2.5 million. “Unlike Khir Toyo’s case, Phang is not a housing developer who has to be reliant on the state government to continue her business,” he said.
Read in full at Malaysiakini here. Kesian saya kepada Ms. Phang but the law is the law, and Lim you are the CM of a DAP State Gomen, you are a man being watched at every move you make..what were you thinking when you bought the bungalow at lower price than the market value?