29 March 2018
House of Horror – There’s only Altantuya’s ‘hantu’, says Guan Eng
The Dewan Rakyat descended into the supernatural this afternoon with both ruling and opposition MP invoking spectres.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng defended his father Lim Kit Siang’s presence in the House and disputed Noh Omar (BN-Tanjong Karang) describing the DAP veteran as a “hantu” (ghost).
He said there are no “hantu” in Dewan Rakyat except that of murdered Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu.
“I wish to refer to the ‘hantu‘ remark (against Kit Siang). If ‘hantu‘, there is only Altantuya.
“Gelang Patah (Kit Siang) is still here, he is real. If there is a ‘hantu‘, it is only Altantuya’s ‘hantu,” he added.
Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s close associate Abdul Razak Baginda was implicated in the gruesome murder in 2006 in Puncak Alam but was later discharged.
5 February 2016
Razak Baginda paid RM137m, ‘but not to bribe officials’
Political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda admitted to receiving around 30 million euro (RM137 million) for consultancy services in the Scorpene submarine deal but denied any of the money went to bribing government officials on behalf of French company Thales.
“It was a legitimate agreement. I did my job and I got paid for it.
“And I never paid any official,” he was quoted as saying by the Financial Times.
This was in reference to Malaysia’s purchase of two Scorpene-class submarines in 2002 when Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who was then the deputy premier, helmed the Defence Ministry.
Razak Baginda was responding to the indictment of Thales International Asia former president Bernard Baiocco last December for “active bribery of foreign public officials linked to Najib Razak”.
Razak denied having served as a paid advisor to Najib and said he had only “rarely” spoken to him about the submarine deal “over a cup of tea”, according to Financial Times.
Baiocco’s lawyer, Jean-Yves Le Borgne, said his client admits the money was paid to Baginda for lobbying works but accused prosecutors of “legal acrobatics” in trying to claim the payment were used to bribe government officials.
“They suspect the minister received some money but they have never had anything to prove that,” he was quoted in the article.
Le Borgne also confirmed that Najib and Baginda were named in judicial documents.
4 February 2016
HK police: Probe into Najib-linked funds still active
While Malaysian attorney-general Mohamad Apandi Ali may have cleared Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s in the RM2.6 billion donation case, Hong Kong police are still investigating bank deposits of more than US$250 million allegedly linked to the prime minister.
When contacted, the territory’s police public relations branch said, “A man reported to the (Hong Kong) police on Aug 30 and requested for our investigation of the bank deposits.
“Investigations by our crime headquarters are under way,” said the officer in response to Malaysiakini’s query.
Hong Kong police first opened an investigation file following a report lodged there by former Batu Kawan Umno division vice-chief Khairuddin Abu Hassan on Aug 30 last year.
Khairuddin in his police report named four companies that he claimed were owned by Najib-linked Penang-born billionaire Jho Low and his family.
“These companies are suspicious as it is understood that Najib was involved and their accounts had a record of RM1.125 billion, which was deposited through Credit Suisse Hong Kong,” Khairuddin had said in a Facebook posting.
He also asked the island police to probe possible transactions between 1MDB and companies linked to Jho Low.
How the embattled Najib can improve Malaysia’s reputation remains to be seen, but before then he must be ready to figure out a plan to tame the budget deficit while external weaknesses continue to crimp government revenue.
Najib Razak: Asia’s worst finance minister 2016
The vast withdrawal of capital from emerging markets makes it all the more imperative for Asia’s finance ministers to pursue good governance, sensible structural reform, and sound finances.
Unfortunately, the overall quality of the governments we cover has mostly deteriorated, led by the lowest ranked minister in our study. Take a bow …
Ranked No12: Najib Razak, Malaysia
Last year was a very challenging year for the Malaysian economy. The country suffered a double whammy of political scandal that enveloped state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and Prime Minister Najib Razak, who also happens to be Malaysia’s finance minister. In addition, it endured a collapse in the price of its key export, oil.
1MDB first started to attract unwelcome attention in early 2015 after struggling to settle a RM2 billion ($563 million) bridge loan. The funding crunch was an embarrassment for Najib, who chairs the fund’s advisory board and expanded its remit on coming to office in 2009, to help turn Kuala Lumpur into a financial hub.
Then The Wall Street Journal reported that nearly $700 million had been transferred to the prime minister’s personal bank account from the Saudi Arabian royal family, prompting a series of investigations. The identity of the donor and the reason for the donation was never disclosed, but it triggered demands for Najib to step down and cast doubts over about the country’s commitment to good governance. After seven months, investigators said in January that they had found no evidence of wrongdoing by Najib.
The long-running political crisis has taken up time that could have been better spent addressing the country’s acute economic troubles and made Malaysia appear even less attractive as an investment destination. According to Moody’s, foreign investors withdrew approximately RM24.5 billion ($5.83 billion) from the country in the third quarter of 2015. The ringgit also depreciated by 19% last year to its lowest level since 1997.
The main task for Najib will be whether he can manage down the budget deficit to 3.1% of GDP in 2016 from 3.2% in 2015 in the face of a further slowdown in Chinese economic growth and low oil prices. Najib’s stated aim is to balance the books by 2020, which would be no mean feat for a country that has run a deficit since 1998.
Tuesday, 02 February 2016 23:25
NAJIB THE JINX? NOW, ABU DHABI FUND AABAR STARTS TO UNRAVEL, DRAGGED BY 1MDB WOES
While 1MDB has been hanging on to a bail out from the Abu Dhabi fund Aabar to cover its debts, it turns out that Aabar itself is seeking to re-finance its own massive debts!
Last week its new managers were in the UK trying to raise at least US$2.5 billion (insiders say it is more) to cover a loan coming due in April.
1MDB is due to pay back its own billion dollar debt to Aabar out of equivalent assets by June… except many have pointed out that, having sold off its major assets already to try and bring down its multi billion dollar over-draft, 1MDB has nothing left to provide Aabar with its payback.
Aabar is a subsidiary of the sovereign wealth fund IPIC, which has guaranteed its position. However, the fund managers who had extended the loan to 1MDB, having been involved in a number of joint ventures with the Malaysian development fund, have now been sacked.
The new managers of Aabar, who are struggling to manage the vast losses incurred over recent years, are unlikely to wish to continue to bail out 1MDB when that repayment comes due in June.
Since the Minister of Finance, Najib Razak, gave an effective guarantee to Aabar on behalf of 1MDB on the bail out, this is another tab that the Malaysian taxpayer will apparently be forced to pick up to cover the billions that have disappeared from the so-called development fund. – Sarawak Report
Troubles resurface for Malaysia’s Najib in Europe
While the submarine deal was being negotiated, Mr Baginda was the lover of 28-year-old Mongolian socialite Altantuya Shaariibuu who was murdered by two of Mr Najib’s bodyguards in a patch of jungle in the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur in 2006.
Ms Shaariibuu was dragged from a car, knocked unconscious and shot twice in the head, according to court testimony.
She had begged for the life of her unborn baby and then her body was wrapped in C4 explosives and blown up, ensuring the fetus was destroyed, along with the identity of the father.
Ms Shaariibuu, who was abducted outside Mr Baginda’s house, had reportedly demanded $US500,000 to remain silent about her knowledge of the submarine deal.
In 2008 a Malaysian judge sensationally dropped a charge of abetting murder against Mr Baginda, even before any evidence was heard at his trial.
Mr Najib’s police commando bodyguards were subsequently convicted and sentenced to death over Ms Shaariibuu’s murder.
One of them, Sirul Azhar Umar, managed to flee to Australia and is now in custody in Sydney’s Villawood immigration detention centre.
Malaysia has called for his return but Australian law forbids sending suspects back to other countries to face possible execution.