Gravitas: Has China infiltrated Indian newspapers?

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John Berthelsen, Asia Sentinel: UMNO’s Audacious Get-Out-of-Jail Gambit…

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Excerpts from:

UMNO’s Audacious Get-Out-of-Jail Gambit

‘We can keep ruling coalition in power for favors,’ corrupt party hints

John Berthelsen

The July 30 announcement by the United Malays National Organization that it would remain outside Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s Perikatan Nasional alliance while continuing to support the alliance amounts to little more than a blackmail attempt to keep a half-dozen of its leaders out of jail, political sources in Kuala Lumpur say.

At stake is the continued freedom of UMNO officials and allies accused of corruption following the 2018 general election, which was won by the Pakatan Harapan coalition that has since been dumped from power by Muhyiddin’s alliance. One of them is former Prime Minister Najib Razak, now free on appeal from 12 years in prison stemming from his conviction on seven charges of varying degrees of corruption stemming from the collapse of the 1MDB investment fund.

UMNO President Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who himself faces at least 87 charges of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of power, said UMNO would work to strengthen its alliance with Parti Islam se-Malaysia, the rural Islamist party whose head, Abdul Hadi Awang, has been credibly accused of taking RM90 million (US$21.09 million) in bribes from Najib in an effort to wreck the increasingly popular Pakatan Rakyat’s 2018 election chances by taking his party out of the at coalition prior to the polls.

UMNO isn’t leaving the Perikatan coalition to go it alone with PAS. The two parties, although they have remained in a loose alliance with Muhyiddin, never officially joined Perikatan. What Zahid is saying is in effect that while they will continue to support Muhyiddin as prime minister, they could pull out at any time, causing the government, which holds a shaky 113-111majority in parliament, to collapse.

The 67-year-old Najib faces at least two more corruption trials connected to 1MDB.

Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor faces three counts of corruption in complicity with her husband’s actions.

Others in the dock are Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, the former UMNO secretary-general…,…supreme council member Ahmad Maslan, Mohd Isa Ahmad Samad and Shahrir Abdul Samad, and Abdul Azeez Abdul Raman, the former chairman of Tabung Haji., the Muslim pilgrim’s fund.

“I read it as a shot across the bows after the Najib conviction,” said a Kuala Lumpur political analyst “Don’t forget there are five or six other Umno leaders in court over corruption, money laundering, etc. and other charges. They are telling Muhyiddin that they can cause his government to collapse at any time. Basically, they are blackmailing him to somehow get the charges against their leaders dropped or eased. That’s how I read it.”

Muhyiddin is under pressure to call snap elections sometime later this year attempt to solidify his position in power.

“I think in the coming election, it’s going to be all bets off. Bersatu is a sinking ship,” said one analyst. “I am being told Muhyiddin is welcome to jump back across to UMNO.”

Another said the coalition is likely to be gone by the end of the year. What happens then – which way the political situation will splinter – is a mystery.

“Both Bersatu and UMNO, which is divided, are not certain what they must do next, with UMNO maneuvering to emerge as the dominant power while the former is struggling to retain its political eminence as exemplified by the current composition of the cabinet,” said another longtime observer. “Whatever the outcome, the present discreet tussle between the two parties would be most significant in shaping the political map ahead.”

https://www.asiasentinel.com/p/umnos-audacious-get-out-of-jail-gambit

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Bridget Welsh: The Sabah Political Crisis: What It Means For Pakatan, Perikatan – And Malaysia…

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The Sabah Political Crisis: What It Means For Pakatan, Perikatan – And Malaysia

By Bridget Welsh

After the guilty Najib Razak SRC International verdict on July 28th, political attention in Malaysia quickly turned East, to the state of Sabah, where after a 24-hour sleepover standoff on July 29th/30th  and intense political pressure from Kuala Lumpur, the state’s Governor Juhar Mahiruddin consented to Chief Minister Shafie Apdal’s request for state elections.  

These elections should be held within the next couple of months, likely after the politically-charged September 16th Malaysia day. This state contest both reflects and shapes national power. 

The failed takeover that preceded Juhar’s consent to new elections showcases the limits of federal influence of Malaysia’s most insecure national government – Perikatan Nasional, led by Muhyiddin Yassin. The prime minister and his key ally, Sabah’s former strongman chief minister Musa Aman, failed to win control of the state through defections and political deals. This move would have shored up Muhyiddin’s political base in national parliament and both symbolically and substantively showcased him as ‘being in control’. Instead, it did the opposite. 

This ‘front door’ move (aiming to walk directly into the Governor’s residence) was in the works for months but gained traction after 46 corruption-related charges against Musa Aman were discharged in June. While money did play a role in the changing political alliances (with unconfirmed reports on social media claiming as much as RM20 million was offered to woo defectors), it was the promised positions and perceived political security that were the main drivers of realignments; Sabah frogging has always been about safe landings for a secure income in a context riddled with insecurities. 

Two factors contributed to its failure – heavy-handed federal mismanagement of political pressure on Sabahans that included reports of visits by senior federal ministers (which backfired) and over-reliance on Musa Aman, who has his own baggage and ultimately served to harden opposition to his leadership even as he managed to get the numbers to form a state government. 

The Sabah debacle showcases the symbiotic relationship between federal and state power, which has been enhanced in this era of coalition politics and backroom deals. States have increased power to shape national contests through loyalties in parliament, shoring up tenuous alliances and access to patronage at the state level. Without positions at the state level being bartered to consolidate national power, the PN government would not have been possible. 

Traditionally, the federal government has dominated negotiations and state leaders have bowed to their greater financial and sanction powers, but the failed Sabah takeover shows this is no longer the case. The Borneo states in particular have greater autonomy and have savvily wielded the levers at their disposal – in this case Shafie’s closer ties to the Governor. 

Events in Sabah have two additional important national spillovers. Foremost, they are shaping the two main national coalitions. With Najib’s guilty verdict, the never officially formed/registered PN coalition was formally rejected; it has for months been quietly informally been opposed as a vehicle for the next general elections. Most of UMNO in particular are not comfortable working with Bersatu, which is their competitor and comprises of many who left the party behind. 

Muhyiddin has failed to convince UMNO and PAS to move away from their preferred relationships, the Muafakat Nasional PAS-UMNO partnership and the still (barely) alive Barisan Nasional coalition that was ousted from national power in 2018. Sabah tests the PN allies further. Though Musa is officially UMNO, his loyalists are now part of Muhyiddin’s Bersatu, while UMNO Sabah has distanced itself from Bersatu-tied leadership. 

UMNO state chairman Bung Moktar Radin openly stated UMNO was not part of the state takeover bid – which is accurate as it does not have the seats at the state level to make a difference. Sabah’s state polls are now a test in the competition for  power between Bersatu and UMNO. It will place tension on an already frayed post-Najib verdict relationship. Resources (which is wealthy Musa Aman’s main advantage) may win the day, but not without fragmentation.

For the rest of the article:

https://betweenthelines.my/the-sabah-political-crisis-what-it-means-for-pakatan-perikatan-and-malaysia/

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Watch “The case for Hydroxychloroquine: What China says【中英文字幕】闫丽梦博士:羟氯喹虽不是神药,但是能救命!中共在研发更可怕的病毒!陈薇去武汉就是为了销毁证据!” on YouTube

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*Bill Gates on Elon Musk’s controversial coronavirus comments: Stick with electric cars and rockets…

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https://www.marketwatch.com/story/bill-gates-on-elon-musks-coronavirus-comments-he-should-stick-with-electric-cars-and-rockets-2020-07-28

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Katusa Research: The US Dollar Collapse – What’s really going on…

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Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Much has been made of the impending demise of the US Dollar…

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Katusa Research: The US Dollar Collapse – What’s really going on…

Posted on August 2, 2020

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Investopedia: Understanding the Correlation of Oil and Currency…

Posted on August 2, 2020

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The Dollar takes center stage…

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What is the Dollar Smile theory?

Posted on July 24, 2020

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Chris Hedges: Goodbye to the Dollar…

Posted on July 23, 2020

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Wishful thinking: China confident ‘de-dollarization’ is fast underway amid tense times – Global Times. Read the article after this.

Posted on July 21, 2020

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The yuan won’t be a ‘safe-haven’ alternative to the dollar anytime soon: Citi

Posted on July 10, 2020

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Stephen Roach: The US dollar will plunge by as much as 35%…

Posted on June 16, 2020

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If China can have the digital Yuan, why can’t America have the digital US dollar?

Posted on June 13, 2020

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The US Dollar is no longer Almighty but it might be 20 years or more before it is replaced. If it ever is…

Posted on June 11, 2020

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Will the US dollar crash? Not likely.

Posted on May 26, 2020

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The Atlantis Report

5 Things to End The Dollar As We Know It.

Premiered May 23, 2020

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No, China has not abandoned its currency peg to the US dollar in stock exchange transactions…

Posted on May 3, 2020

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China has introduced its digital yuan, to ultimately challenge the US dollar for supremacy, but it will take a long time before it does so…

Posted on May 1, 2020

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Investopedia: Understanding the Correlation of Oil and Currency…

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https://www.investopedia.com/articles/forex/092415/oil-currencies-understanding-their-correlation.asp

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Watch “What made South China Sea controversial? Explainer | South-East Asia | WION” on YouTube

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Malaysia didn’t go back to the future for Najib’s 1MDB verdict

Daniel Moss/Bloomberg
July 29, 2020 11:43 am +08

(July 29): This development, in a Malaysian courtroom, truly is unprecedented.

Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was found guilty Tuesday on charges of abusing power, money laundering and criminal breach of trust. The verdicts in the high court capped the first of a series of trials stemming from scandals at state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Bhd, or 1MDB. The judge sentenced Najib to 12 years in prison and a fine of RM210 million. His legal team will work to keep him out of custody during the appeals process.

The saga enmeshed Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Hollywood and spurred an outcry that helped drive Najib’s party from government in 2018, the first time the long-suffering opposition won a general election. The revolution was short-lived; the new cabinet collapsed less than halfway through its five-year term, largely because its two leaders, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, couldn’t bury decades of rivalry. But the team was in power long enough to preside over something extremely important — the arrest and charging of Najib with an array of corruption offenses, a first for anyone who ever held Malaysia’s top office.

Malaysia has now had its turn. Najib, who maintains his innocence, will appeal, and the legal process still has a long course to run. No matter. The Southeast Asian country has crossed a milestone in the rule of law. Goldman, which settled with the government last week for US$3.9 billion, will be content to have sealed that deal before there’s any fallout. (My colleague Nisha Gopalan and I wrote about Friday’s settlement here.)

When I was Bloomberg News’s bureau chief in Kuala Lumpur during the late 1990s, I couldn’t conceive of a prime minister busted for so much as a parking infringement, such was the authority of the long-ruling United Malays National Organization. Mahathir sat atop the power structure and survived a serious challenge during the Asian financial crisis from his deputy, Anwar, that ended in trials and imprisonment for his erstwhile protege.

Najib, then an up-and-comer, was never just a run-of-the-mill politician. Even after leading Umno to historic defeat and being charged, he has rebounded as a popular figure. His pedigree is deeply woven into Malaysia’s political, economic and social fabric. He is descended from aristocrats and is the son of the country’s second prime minister, who presided over contentious affirmative-action laws that enshrine benefits and preferences for the Malay majority.

Najib’s status is what makes it amazing that things got as far as a courtroom, much less that the judge turned thumbs down on all seven counts.

When Umno maneuvered its way back into power in March by allying with defectors from Mahathir’s camp, the disappointment among reformers was palpable. Many feared political expediency would mean that the new prime minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, a party stalwart, would take a more lenient stance and that Najib would somehow escape the law. After all, given the pandemic and a deep economic slump, who could blame voters if they lost interest?

The real significance of these court proceedings so far is that they happened, period. Granted, it took a historic change of government. That may be one of Mahathir’s real services to his country after a life in and around politics. He created the circumstances that facilitated this unprecedented chain of events. The opposition now knows it can win, under the right circumstances, and leaders can be held to account.

https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/malaysia-didnt-go-back-future-najibs-1mdb-verdict

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